Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 26, 2017 · 86 comments

  1. I worked yesterday and brought food from home, even though all I had for a heat-and-eat meal was half of a roasted acorn squash, hard boiled eggs and a banana. I worked my tuchus off and needed every single drop of the free crappy coffee and the free delicious tea.

  2. I came home and remembered that they’d started airing the second season of The Durrells in Corfu on the PBS Roku channel. I loved the My Family & Other Animals books when I was a child, and even read them aloud to my sons when I became a parent. This Masterpiece Theater series is one of the few television adaptations that does justice to the source material. Laying in bed watching the struggles and adventures of the perfectly imperfect Durrell family was the perfect end to an exhausting day.

  3. I’ll be treating my mother to a Birthday Day of Adventures this afternoon. I won’t spoil the surprise by sharing my specific plans, but there will be an anchor activity, a meal and then a treat. All based on my mother’s interests and centered around a single locality. Very few of us are wanting for miscellaneous knick-knacks and random tchotchkes, so I encourage you to consider replacing your thing based gifts with experience based gifts. After all, multiple studies have shown that experiences make us happier than physical objects. Plus the enjoyment of the gift can be shared with all who participate. Click HERE to see how we celebrated last year.

  4. I decided that I didn’t like the You’re a Badass at Making Money book that I currently have from the library. The author’s tone and central premise about the super cool amazingness of being rich rubbed me the wrong way, so I’ll be returning it to the library this afternoon. It’s a couple days overdue, so I’d planned on dedicating time to finish it, but instead I decided to cut my losses. I’ll also drop off our election ballots at the library, which will save us 98¢.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 8:49 am

1. My daughter and her family just moved. They are struggling with just one income, moving costs, and a new baby. I asked them to come over to eat then raid my pantry. She said they didn’t have any money for gas because her husband only had enough to get back and forth from work. I told her if she came over I would give her gas money. I also packed them a big box of stuff from my freezer and pantry. So glad I get so many good deals that I am able to share the bounty.
2. I am so sick of political news that I am keeping my TV off. It all makes me sick. How is this frugal? I am getting more small projects and housework done instead hiring the jobs out.
3. Can I just say that I don’t get massages, pedicures, or even a decent hair cut but indulge myself with a 5-10(occasionally more)minute blissful hot shower in the morning. To me, that is one splurge that I can’t apologize for. It’s colder outside and my aching muscles/bones need just a little extra hot water. Surely, what I save in other areas make up for this wasteful luxury.
4. My friend recently gave me several bottles of various laundry detergents. I’ve said here before that he “likes the pods better”. I have worried that my kids would have skin reactions because they have sensitive skin but so far, nothing. I am using less than the stated amount so maybe that’s the reason. I’m so glad he likes the pods, lol!
5. I have been very guilty of excess paper towel usage. I have finally broken that habit. I simply quit buying them and even took the paper towel holder off the wall. At meal time, I just lay a couple clean dish towels on the table and we use them if we need them. If we don’t, I put them back up. For company, I have a roll stashed away, but for everyday usage-no more.


Anne V. October 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

I am doing the same as you (#2) with respect to political TV. I am trying to restrict myself to checking the newspaper headlines online once in the morning and once in the evening. I think it is crucial to remain informed about what is going on, but to avoid getting sucked into a near-constant state of outrage/anxiety etc. which a lot of political news on TV purposefully engenders. Trying to stay mentally healthy (and freeing up time to get more things done) is totally frugal 🙂


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

Exactly, I felt that the constant media coverage was making me emotionally sick. Like you, I do read the news daily and that is it. I want to know what is going on but reading it cuts down on the drama that the reporters add which lessons the blow of the information given.


A. Marie October 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

Loud cheers for Jennifer’s #2. DH and I haven’t regretted for a minute getting rid of the TV last year–and I’m trying to keep my online checking to brief a.m. and p.m. visits to my two main sources. In my case, it’s probably prolonging my life by not sending me into high blood pressure territory.


Cindy in the South I October 26, 2017 at 11:59 am

I have not had a tv for ten years because it made my blood pressure go up…lol. I do not miss it.


MW October 26, 2017 at 11:41 am

After a few years of not using paper towels or napkins, I finally took down the paper towel holder when painting the cabinets. What a great feeling! Besides, it was a rather junky one left by the previous owner and it got in my face when I was washing dishes. Good for you for doing it proactively!


MW October 26, 2017 at 11:42 am

Oh- and I keep some nicer cloth napkins that I picked up off the curb for company. It confuses some of younger guests, but they roll with it.


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm

My paper towel holder was inappropriately installed and was practically falling out of the wall so it was basically begging me to remove it, lol


Sandra October 26, 2017 at 11:47 am

RE #2- I second that. I just turn on music and like you, I keep busy with chores. It seems there is always something to be done.
Re #3 – I don’t splurge on manicures, pedicures, facials, spas, etc. but I do enjoy a good hot bath. It has always been my go to stress reliever and pick-me-up, not to mention soothing to tired aching muscles. We’ve been cleaning the garden and boy does that hot bath feel good at night.
Re #4 – Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of cloth napkins, mostly from thrift stores and garage sales. Almost all of them are wrinkle free. I just wash them, fold them and use them again and again and again, etc. etc. This is not only frugal, it is also very green.


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I have so many dish towels that I decided not to buy any cloth napkins for now. That same friend that gave me all the detergents also gave me all his mom’s old “out of style” dish towels.


That Other Jean October 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Dishtowels have style? Who knew?


Mand01 October 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm

The definitely do – but it doesn’t mean we need to follow it!

Pam October 26, 2017 at 7:06 pm

I once read that putting vinegar in the rinse water of your laundry will help remove any detergent left in your clothes and prolong their life. I do the vinegar thing every now and then. An acquaintance complained that her daughter had reactions to even sensitive skin detergent and I told her about vinegar. She tried it and told me later it worked. I have never noticed a vinegar smell in my clean clothes. My dryer method of choice is dry-it-for-15-minutes-then-hang-it-up and will sometimes catch a whiff of vinegar smell when I open the dryer but nothing after that.


Jennifer October 27, 2017 at 4:08 am

Never heard of using it to remove detergent, that’s good to know. I do use it to freshen my towels and sheets sometimes. Thanks!


Sandy October 27, 2017 at 5:18 am

Jennifer, I have multiple chemical sensitivities and am severely allergic to fragrance. I use vinegar, and have for years, in my laundry rinse. Works a charm! It also keeps static cling down if you put clothes in your dryer. It pulls the detergent and any accumulated fragrance out of the clothes. Try it!


Jennifer October 27, 2017 at 7:09 am

So glad to hear this. My hair is super fine and in the winter it all either sticks to my head or stands on end due to so much static.

Liz B. October 27, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Question: where do you put the vinegar so it enters the wash drum during the rinse cycle? I have a front loader.

Sandy October 27, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Liz B. I just put the white vinegar where I would normally put softener. I have a front loader as well. Just put in as much vinegar as you normally would softener and you are good to go. My speed queen has a drawer that slides out. I just fill the appropriate cup with white vinegar — the cheapest kind I can find. I buy it by the gallon.

FrugalStrong October 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm

How wonderful that you could help your daughter! We don’t have cable so I don’t watch the news, listen to the news, or read the news. If there’s a major event, I’m sure to hear about it on Facebook, but even then, I rarely click on the post. I have NO IDEA how people can watch cable news shows all day long. Mr Money Mustache wrote a great article awhile back about focusing on one’s “sphere of influence” and it’s what I try and do.


Kamani October 26, 2017 at 10:22 am

Awww, that’s a bummer about the book. I’m still waiting for my copy from the library. Hope your mom has a great day!


K D October 26, 2017 at 10:26 am

1. I have been listening to You’re a Badass at Making Money on CD, while in my car. I’m about half way through and so far the author hasn’t said a lot, but has managed to throw in the use of a bunch of swear words. I too may cut my losses, after I find something else to listen to.

2. I have been oven roasting vegetables. Sweet potatoes the other day, some of which will be used for a sweet potato pie filling (it’s healthier and gluten free to skip the crust). Yesterday I roasted carrots and a cauliflower and also a couple of butternut squashes. Once vegetables are cooked I eat a lot of them. Tonight’s dinner will feature pulled pork (currently in the slow cooker) and vegetables.

3. It’s chilly out but I just wear an extra layer during the day and have several layers of covers on the bed at night.

4. Avocados are $.99 at Aldi this week (happy days are here again, are here, are here are here again). I bought five this morning while I was in the area. I’m also giving their EVOO a try.

5. A friend and I went hiking the other day, in a local state park. I ordered a 2018 state park pass and it will be good the rest of this year as well as all of next year. Yeah! $2/car is not a lot but this will save on that charge.


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 10:42 am

2. So do you fill a pie pan with sweet potato pie filling and bake it just like a pie with crust or do you just eat the filling as is?


Lindsey October 26, 2017 at 10:36 am

1. We have been wanting to get together with a couple and they invited us to go to a restaurant with them. I suggested we meet at our house and I would make a pot of clam chowder and they could contribute a loaf of bread or rolls. Great night and soooooo much cheaper.
2. Needed a few cards so went through my supplies and made them instead of buying them. I have not purchased craft supplies in years so they have just been lying around. Glad to use stuff up and also save money.
3. Cleaning out the cupboards I found two packages of ramen husband had purchased some time ago for a camping trip. “Best if used by 10/2010.” I used them up any way and no one seemed to notice.
4. In grocery store saw almost expired seriously marked-down milk so bought a gallon and made yogurt out of it. Four quarts for 75 cents!
5. Feeling sort of low but instead of stopping on the way for some take out or fast food, I went home and made one of my comfort foods: homemade tomato soup from tomatoes and herbs I grew and froze this past summer, and grilled cheese sandwiches from homemade bread. Cheaper and healthier.


Cindy in the South I October 26, 2017 at 10:58 am

I love homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches!


Carolyn S October 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Any chance you might share that tomato soup recipe? I’d love to find a good alternative to the store bought stuff.



tonya October 26, 2017 at 10:49 am

1) Eating leftovers for lunch. I made pork green Chile that was too spicy for my family members, so now I get to eat it all. Perfect for the cool weather today.
2) Reading library books. I finished the new thriller by B.A. Paris in 24 hours. At the rate I read it’s good to use the library!
3) Staying home this week during my vacation days. It’s been lovely to rest, read and get the house more organized. And it hasn’t cost anything.
4) Eating from the freezer this week. Tonight is markdown salmon jalapeño sausages.
5) Eating more oatmeal as the weather gets colder. Frugal and filling.


Cindy in the South I October 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

1. I purchased discounted flowers to put on my mom’s grave for the anniversary of her death next week (she would love that as she was the original cheapskate…lol). I have to drive 2.5 hours from home, and it is only 2 hours from work, so I will be driving from work to her grave.
2. There was a free delicious luncheon at work for breast cancer awareness week.
We were served chicken salad, salad, homemade stew, and pound cake.
3. I saved my lunch I brought to work to eat tomorrow. No waste…yay!
4. I scheduled a free oil change for my Toyota Yaris (not a status symbol…lol) on my day off.
5. We will be having a cold spell in the upper 30’s to low 40’s at night (how appropriate for having a “spell” before…. I plan on turning on my heat at night, but setting it at 60….we will see how that goes because I do not like being cold.


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm

1. Your mom taught you well.


Cindy in the South I October 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

Thanks Jennifer. I had to deliver her eulogy at her graveside service. Although she attended the little Methodist Church that is 180 years old, where she is buried, she would not let me pay the preacher to deliver it so we had a graveside service. I announced her cheapness regarding the preacher at the beginning of the eulogy. Everyone got tickled, because they knew how tight she was with a dime, and there was so much laughter. I read a list of her do and do nots which included always have a little black skirt. It will take you from funerals to parties to work. She said you only work for every other Friday (meaning payday)…(she was an OR nurse for years, and then the Nursing Director for a hospital) and don’t let the stress get to you. She said even doctors have to sh……t so do not let anyone intimidate you. She also said never tell who you vote for and who you sc….. Some things at the funeral, I had to edit. Then, the President of her high school class (yes, he was still alive and well at 82) got up and told some rather raunchy stories about my momma in high school. I thought my kids were gonna pass out laughing.


Jennifer October 27, 2017 at 9:39 am

I love this! I have said some of these same things. I am a nurse and I have said the doctor one, for sure. Such a sweet gesture from you at her eulogy. She was proud of you I’m sure. Thanks for the neat story.


Joanna October 27, 2017 at 4:49 am

I bought a used Yaris last summer and I LOVE driving that little guy. He’s so zippy and the hatchback offers a significant amount of cargo space. He’s white and egg shaped, so I call him El Huevo. He’s my true, gas sipping car soul mate.


Jill A October 26, 2017 at 11:14 am

1. I combined errands on Tuesday. I had a drs. appt. Afterwards I filled my car up with gas at Costco and hit up Trader Joes for some potatoes and dinner rolls for Wednesday nights dinner.
2. I picked my Mother up and ran some errands with her. Her car is in the shop. We stopped at Goodwill and I found a pizza cutter and a pasta spoon/forkie thing for my daugher. We also ran through McDonalds for the 2/2.50 snack wraps and my mother had a $1 soda. I drank my water I’d brought along.
3. Last night I made dinner and had my daughter, her boyfriend and my Mother over. Dinner was a roast I had in the freezer that needed to get eaten, veggies that I’d picked up at Aldi last week and baby potatoes and rolls from Trader Joes. My Mom brought the dessert. Cheaper than going out and we enjoyed having them.
4. My daughter brought us a few leftovers from the fridge clean out at her culinary school. My husband had the sandwich for lunch and I added some of the ham to a salad we had for dinner Tuesday night. Free Food is frugal.
5. I cleaned all my bathrooms this week mostly homemade cleaners except for some lysol that I bought in bulk four years ago and will be using up for many more years and a little barkeepers friend.


A. Marie October 26, 2017 at 11:44 am

FFT, Still More Leg Drama edition:

(1) Went to my orthopedic practice’s foot and ankle center Monday for a follow-up on my two sprained ankles. The right ankle got a clean bill of health, but the left turns out to have a minor fracture after all. No cast or boot, but for the next 4 weeks, I’m going to be wearing a nifty nylon and plastic brace I’ve already dubbed my “ankle corset.” How is this thrifty? Because with the brace, I can now actually sort of walk enough to do basic errands with DH and not have to continue relying on the kindness of the neighbors (although that kindness has been substantial).

(2) And we’ve been managing to wash and hang laundry throughout the crisis: I drop the dirty stuff down our 1928 house’s laundry chute, support myself down the basement stairs (DH installed hand rails several years ago that would probably take Refrigerator Perry’s weight!), and pretreat/start the wash. DH then hauls the wet stuff up two flights to our second-floor array of drying racks (all but one of which were salvaged from former rental properties).

(3) We’re still harvesting a few tomatoes and peppers, although that will probably come to an end with Sunday’s predicted cold rainstorm. DH has begun taking out some of the plants that are already totaled, since I am forbidden to do any gardening.

(4) Still saving money by not being able to go out and spend much, except for absolutely essential groceries and prescriptions. But there may be a major thrift shop bender in my future once I’m fully mobile again.

(5) Finally, I haven’t missed a day of work (thank goodness yet again for telecommuting) and am occupying my leisure hours with Literary Society matters and local political activism of various types. (I’m lucky enough to own a book signed by the late Molly Ivins with these words: “Keep raising hell! And keep laughing too.” I try, on both counts.)


KJD509 October 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Love that inscription!


Jennifer October 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

I’m in awe of the fact that you are able to wash and hang laundry with the double ankle injuries. I’m feeling quite lazy and ashamed right now.


Kim in Maryland October 26, 2017 at 6:32 pm

A. Marie your #3 reminded me to go pick the few green peppers that were still on my plants since we have a frost warning for tonight. They are small but I chop them up anyway for red beans and rice. Thanks for the reminder!


ouvickie October 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm

1) I had a 1/2 baked potato with bacon bits in the freezer here at work, so I ate that and a bag of popcorn for lunch. That was the last of my freezer meals stored here. Thankfully I get paid next Tuesday, so I can stock up again.
2) I found a box of Alpine Spiced Cider at the Dollar Tree. I love hot apple cider during the cold months.
3) I’m loving my the new black, fleece jacket I received for free. It has zipped pockets on the side and a high neck. It’s perfect for chilly Autumn mornings, when a wool coat or insulated jacket are too much for the mild afternoon temps.
4) I like finding multi-uses for things at work, as well as home. A co-worker needed a hook for his cubicle and sent me a pic of one he wanted me to order; however, I found a pinned cubicle clip in back that works just as well as any hook for him to hang his telephone headset on. He was good with that. Thankfully my Team is pretty easy to please and they’re fine with multi-purpose or re-purposing things, instead of expecting something brand new. I believe that’s one reason my boss doesn’t nitpick about items or pricing, when I place an office supply order – he knows I try to be frugal with our budget.
5) I recovered our well house with a heavy tarp last night and told my husband we could use one more. We need a new well-house built, but finding a way to improvise until that occurs is okay with me, as long as our water pump doesn’t freeze up. I’m quite fond of modern plumbing and I hate it when/if the pump freezes up during cold snaps.


Mand01 October 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm

1. Working like a demon right now leaves little time for much else. But I did take my youngest out last night for some frugal retail therapy to the thrift store. We left with a big armful of clothes for $71. I’m extremely picky and bought high end designer duds including two very nice items that still had the tags and were very pricy if I’d paid for them new. My child tells me that labels don’t matter and bought a few shirts. We have a divergence of ideas on that point.
2. Got up early for a workout on my home gym equipment. I hurt my back which I think is because I’ve slacked off over winter and my job involves sitting at a desk. Time for frugal fitness.
3. Cobbling together a lunch from the fridge and cupboards for work.
4. Saving for a little holiday at the end of the year. Only cash baby.
5. My saved seeds have all come up. I can’t express my level of nerdy gardener excitement about that. Free plants but also I’m contributing to the biodiversity of our planet.


Frugal Aussie October 27, 2017 at 2:16 am

#5 I love it even more when the self seeded plants pop up – tomatoes, eggplants, spring onions, pumpkins. It gladdens my gardener heart!


Mand01 October 27, 2017 at 4:11 am

Me too! I have alyssum, parsley, cosmos, oregano, thyme, violets, lambs ear and even lavender self seeding everywhere at the moment. I’m going to dig some up tomorrow as there is just too much of it. Im going to pot it all up


Linda October 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Love that you give Birthday Day of Adventures. I do the same for family birthdays & for my great nephews (birthdays & Christmas). I love that I get to spend time together with family & there’s no clutter. And this gift will probably be remembered longer than some knickknack.


Bee October 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I also love Thr Durells of Corfu. It never fails to warm my heart and awaken my desire to live more simply and meaningfully. Not a great deal has changed in the last few weeks, but I will try to come up with five somewhat, interesting frugal, things.
1) I worked my little side hustle today. I brought my lunch — 1/2 a sandwich, some grapes, and water. There wasn’t much in the house to bring with me, but the little I found kept me from getting too hungry while I work. As I have mentioned, my AT-hiking-son has returned home. However, he has brought with him a monstrous appetite. I can’t seem to buy enough food. Which brings me to my second frugal thing…

2) I continue to cook primarily from scratch. I have added pasta, rice, potatoes or some other starch to my nightly menu in an attempt to stretch what I have. Last night, I made cheese grits to go with our fish. I also have started baking again. The batch of brownies that I made yesterday afternoon is already gone. I hope dear son’s metabolism returns to normal soon.

3) I made a trip to GW earlier in the week. I brought three items for resale spending a total of $8.54. I have listed these on eBay for 10x that amount or $85. Keeping my fingers cross that these will sell quickly. Although I did sell one thing this week, things have been a wee bit slow.

4) I stopped at the library yesterday and picked up The Sherlockian and a DVD. We have watched the World Series and, of course, that occasional episode of Bargain Hunt. However, the temperature here in North Florida is finally in the 70s, so I have been trying to get outdoors.

5) I brought some mums back to Home Depot that looked stressed when I bought them (not enough water). They would not root. Since HD guarantees plants for a year, I dug them up and returned them for a refund. I have never done this before. I usually don’t need to.


Roberta October 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

1. Returned some storage bins for the shop at Costco. I picked up butter while I was there, but I forgot to get “fancy bread” for sandwiches next week, so I will have to do that later. I did fill up the truck with gas, though, so I won’t run out next week and be forced to pay more.
2. I rummaged around, and I found enough yarn to make my dad socks and a hat for his Christmas present. He loves hand-knitted socks, and I won’t have to buy anything this year. (I always look for real wool yarn at the thrift store, so I’ll stock up again next year.)
3. Used the free wifi at the park to listen to two podcasts at the park while my daughter was in dance class. I put prices on things for the shop while I listened.
4. Took advantage of the hot weather to dry a bunch of laundry on the line. I am trying to stockpile for the shop now, so I don’t have to do as much when the weather is cold and damp.
5. Taking my overdue library books to the library tonight for fine-free Friday. The last Friday of the month they waive fines, and I’m definitely taking advantage this month!


Anne V. October 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

1) Finishing up a bag of organic pears and a bag of organic applies from Aldi. They were great!

2) My husband is sick with the latest illness that is completely sweeping the Chicago area. I bought the generic brand of cough/congestion medication for him at Walgreens (saved $3) and will be thawing some homemade chicken stock for him to drink. (For those of you who are expert stock-makers, can you tell me how to ensure that the broth turns gelatinous when refrigerated? It is a totally random outcome for me).

3) Last 2 books from the library have been disappointing, making be especially glad I did not purchase even cheap used copies of them. Next up: latest Louise Penny mystery.

4) Did not withdraw cash at an ATM that charges a $2 convenience fee, even thought it would have been super convenient to do so

5) Kept my receipts and returned 5 unsatisfactory items from Whole Foods for $40. $6.99 for a bag of dry, bland oranges – no way. Their produce quality has really decreased over the years, in my opinion. And now you can find organic foods in so many other stores. (I am fully aware that shopping at Whole Foods is not frugal, but I will continue to buy a few select things there).


Bee October 26, 2017 at 2:33 pm

At the suggestion of another reader, I began adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This seems to help. I also make my chicken broth in the pressure cooker, my beef stock in a crock pot.


Sophie October 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm

I love the Durrells in Corfu! My husband just had a book published, like Larry, and we laughed so hard during Larry’s book launch (where no one showed up) in the latest episode.


Sophie October 26, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Also, I haven’t read the Badass at money book, but I pretty much follow the Mister Money Mustache approach to handling finances and this has worked well for me. I like his rejection of consumerism, shopping, and cars as status symbols.


Panthor October 27, 2017 at 7:39 am

I love MMM! I wish he posted more often these days.


FrugalStrong October 28, 2017 at 8:07 pm

So do I!


Trish October 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

The Durrells in Corfu is utterly charming!!!!


Ava October 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

1. Continued to put off buying groceries because we were going put of town. Cupboard was truly bare when we left. Will do a big shop with list and coupons when we get back.
2. Went to a wedding and wore a gifted top that my friend got at a yard sale, a thrift store skirt that was 1/2 off, and very expensive shoes that were 4.50 at the thrift store. Received compliments.
3. Working on training my husband to use his cell phone. My goal is to have the house phone removed but I am not willing to do that until he is using his phone, and mine is not the only point of contact for all communication. I told him how much the house phone costs and he says he is motivated.
4. Continuing to make crafts for the big sale coming up in Nov. It is usually profitable.
5. Took a box of items to Goodwill and will deduct from taxes. Planning a major purge of items in the new year.


KJD509 October 26, 2017 at 1:59 pm

1) Drove 6 hours home with ALMOST no snack stops – when I drive alone with just the dog, he expects to share an order of French fries. It’s almost the only people food he gets, and I noticed that he got antsy every time I passed an exit that had a McDonalds – he must have been able to smell them, because I’m pretty sure he can’t read. So 375 miles for under $3 plus gas.
2) Gratefully pulled frozen leftovers out of the fridge for work lunches the past two days.
3) Took some coworkers out for a drink last night for a thank-you. They ordered (and paid for!) appetizers, I paid for the drinks, and it was enough to count as dinner, as well as being a lovely evening full of laughs. Smart, delightful coworkers are a real blessing.
4) Brought the cat’s self-feeder in from the garage while the dog and I were gone. Expected to have to buy more cat food by now, but apparently he eats quite moderately and I’ve been feeding a large number of mice. I’ve found a place on a shelf in the laundry room that he can get to and the dog can’t, so I’m leaving it inside. If the pattern holds, this is going to save us the cost of several bags of mouse I mean cat food per year.
5) The FSBO house we were trying to buy in New City seems to have sold out from under us. There is a chance this is a frugal disaster – prices are rising there, and while that house would have been a stretch, we could actually have afforded it. But I’m trying to see it as meaning that a better option will appear.

Thanks, all, for the recommendation of the Durrells – I finally got around to Poldark thanks to the enthusiasm of this group and am embarrassed to recount how few days it took to get through all the previous episodes.


Panthor October 27, 2017 at 7:40 am

You made me laugh both with the dog’s french fries and the mouse feeder!


Susie's Daughter October 27, 2017 at 7:58 am

Poldark! Oh sigh… I may or may not have rewatched a couple of the early episodes, just saying.


Cindy in the South I October 27, 2017 at 9:21 am

Maybe you could buy in one of the nearby towns or Queens (although that is expensive also)???? Good luck with the house hunt….it is always so stressful in a seller’s market.


janine October 26, 2017 at 5:07 pm

1. Shopped three stores today – discount produce, overstock bakery bread (75c a loaf vs $3) and loss leaders at regular supermarket. Overheard person in line in front of me at supermarket complaining about her bill and a discussion ensued about the high grocery costs especially for a family. Should have taken her aside and told her about my bargains which routinely results in major savings. Note: it does take a little extra time.
2. Had a lunch meeting yesterday – fully researched restaurant’s menu on line so was able to take advantage of low priced specials. Drank water.
3. Turned in rebate form for $12 for dog’s expensive heartworm medication.
4. Like so many other posters I watch minimal TV. Sometimes a news break is good for the blood pressure.
5. Will take advantage of free polling place a few blocks from our house in November. We generally don’t mail in ballots unless voting absentee so no 98c expenditure. Haven’t yet fully made up my mind on local candidates anyway!


Bethany M October 26, 2017 at 6:21 pm

1. I politely rejected my sister-in-laws offer of expensive face gunk. Saved $52 (And she said she was giving me the distributor price. Yikes!!!)
2. Rewarmed my daughter’s soup for her, because she refused to eat it last night.
3. Needed some snow pants for our toddler and found some brand new ones on Varagesale for $3.
4. Have a buyer lined up for Sunday for some ankle weights we don’t use. My kids got a few hours of fun playing with them, while I had them out. Funny to watch them strap them on the toddler….His face…priceless.
5. Price checked our computer anti-virus, since it was time to renew. Switched companies and saved $20.


Kim in Maryland October 26, 2017 at 6:21 pm

1. Bought a large basket of yellow squash at the farm stand for $3.50, from the seconds shelf, a few days ago. Today I washed, sliced and simmered with chopped onions. Made a delicious squash casserole from a recipe, that I got years ago from my aunt that lives in Georgia. She got it from Jimmy Carter’s cousin who was her neighbor. Froze enough squash to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All trimmings went into the compost pile.
2. Sold a book on Amazon and found 33¢ the past 2 days.
3. Decorated my front yard for fall/ Halloween. The only newly purchased item was my big pumpkin I bought for $2.50 at Aldi last week. Everything else had come from church sales and thrift stores through the years. It looks really cute!
4. Made 36 firestarters. Egg cartons, lint and old candles all used to make something useful.
5. The biggie this week is DH replaced his brakes, rotors, etc. He ordered the parts online, from a company he’s used in the past with great success. He said it saved us $600 by him doing it himself. He’s learned to do so many things from the University of YouTube!


Marcia October 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Not so frugal stuff: Was just discussing the cost of groceries with my sister today. I spend carefully, I use coupons, I check the store ads and use the store coupons, and lately I seem to be spending almost $80 a week for 2 people. That includes hygiene items, non-food items like cleaning stuff and paper products, etc. I buy fresh vegetables as much as possible and some fresh fruit also, although we do use a little canned fruit also. That does usually cover three meals a day at home–one dinner out a week. This week I had a lunch out as well. I cook from scratch. I do have my cupboards and freezer stocked up pretty well for the cold weather months ahead, but I am constantly surprised at the total at the end of the weekly store visit! There are no discount stores here except Aldi’s–no closeout grocer, etc. I go to Sam’s Club about every 2-3 months and stock up on their good meats, and various other well priced products–such as 25# bags of flour, walnuts, over the counter drugs, and the things I use that are cheap there. I do not buy more than is on my list and I can get out of there for under $100, which requires quite a bit of self control. The rest I get at the supermarket in town but I wait for sales or sale/coupon combos. We don’t see prices like many of you do. Ground beef on sale this week (85% lean) for $2.99-and that’s a deal here!! BSCB for $1.99 a lb–occasionally cheaper but only down to $1.88 a lb. They had roasting chickens for 99 cents a lb. but they were all over 6-7 lbs, which is too much for 2 people!! (We don’t care for cooked and frozen chicken after cooking.) I make almost all our bread and rolls although husband will slip in a package of ciabatta rolls from Sam’s every time we go there. 8 large rolls for $3.54, I think is the price. They are good but 1/2 a roll is enough for me. And yes, I cook dry beans and make my own soups.


Roberta October 27, 2017 at 6:25 am

$80 a week works out to about $2 a meal for each person (did I do the math right — 3×7=21-1 meal out x2people= 40. $80/40 = $2 a meal). Still, $80 a week is a lot of money. You mention paper goods — do you still use disposables? That’s a quick way to cut a few bucks from the budget — switch to cloth napkins/serviettes and throw them in with the wash. (We don’t use new every meal, so it’s not a significant increase in laundry). Same for paper towels — if your husband resists, you can still use them yourself and cut your cost in half.

Are you experiencing food waste? I know the average family wastes a lot of money that way ($1500!). If food is not getting eaten, you might want to see if you could cut that back a little bit every week to further get the cost down.


Cindy in the South I October 27, 2017 at 9:26 am

I think $80 is a good price, depending on where you live. It is certainly cheaper than eating out every meal. I think you are probably doing the best you can where you live. The only thing I would suggest is using $1 dish soap, vinegar and baking soda to clean with and use cloth towels or napkins.


MommaL October 29, 2017 at 9:36 am

I live in an area where food isn’t cheap in the summertime (resort town). i started growing some food, and trading it with friends. The Prudent Homemaker opened my eyes to looking at food prices differently. I used to think “oh that’s a good price for …(fill in the blank)”. Now, I look at all veggies and fruits as how much per pound they are, no matter what it is. I buy a lot more of the cheaper veggies and fruits now, and I look at proteins differently now too. Price per pound, instead of “oh its 1/2 off”, has made a big difference.


Debie from Minnesota October 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm

1. After discovering that electric is not a good heat source in Minnesota, we’ve been cutting a lot of wood. Today we split and carried wood in and kept the inside of our house at a nice 80* temp all day.
2. Along with the wood splitting, there’s a lot of sawdust. We had a low part in our yard that fills up with water and then becomes an “ice rink” every year. We filled the low area with sawdust and a little bit of dirt thus making the ground higher and filled for free.
3. I usually have my coffee pot going all day. It’s a Bunn that keeps the coffee warm all day. Instead of dumping out the last bits of the pot, I put them in a cup and re-added it to a half full pot, thereby saving coffee money. Probably gross to some, but it doesn’t taste bad to me.
4. We did not click on any political posts today. We don’t have a tv, so all our news tidbits are from the internet.
5. We made stirfry tonight using 1/3 of a steak and 1/3 of a bag of $1 frozen veggies, and leftover rice from last night.


Emily October 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm

1. Went to eat free grilled cheese and soup at our apartment complex. They gave us 2 loaves of bread because no one showed up. Score! I have no problem eating pb and j for lunch every day.

2. Got one of those sun blockers for my car. I really needed one (living in the south with BLACK LEATHER interior ugh), but waited until found one super cheap. 3 dollars at target on clearance.

3. Just re-heated fried pickles left over for a lunch out with a friend yesterday.

4. My halloween plans consist of going to a girlfriends to watch scary movies, eat popcorn, and drink spiked cider. Adult slumber party at its finest. Say what you want about greek life in college, but I love that I have one of my sorority sisters in a city I moved to after college. When you have lived in a dorm with someone, you can make just about anything frugal and fun! I really don’t feel like making OR buying a costume this year, so I am happy for a a night in!!

5. Thinking of making some banana muffins tomorrow, with ingredients I have on hand of course!


Jennifer October 27, 2017 at 3:03 am

1. I am doing a work training in another city yesterday and today. I packed a lunch and walked with a co-worker over the break.
2. AFter the training yesterday I swung by the bread outlet and got 3 packs of hotdog buns, 2 loaves or bread and a box of crackers for $6.52 – today I will stop at the discount produce market on my way home as it is across the street from the training.
3. I made muffins last night while dinner was baking. We are eating them for breakfast and don’t have to turn the oven on again today.
4.My kids are off school today so I went to the library earlier this week and got a bunch of interesting magazines and books to occupy them and avoid electronics. I also turned in a book on time so I didn’t accrue a fee.
5. I work in an elementary school and have to dress up for Halloween. I am raiding my dh’s closet and will dress as a football referree – all for free.


Barbara October 27, 2017 at 3:10 am

We cancelled Netflix and Hulu since we weren’t using it enough to justify. Find ourselves watching local channels and PBS the most. We recently donated to PBS so that we could also enjoy their streaming on ROKU, but noticed we are not getting all the content that was advertised. Their support was very lacking in answering our questions. Did you have any issues with this? Any suggestions?


Bee October 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

I have the PBS app. I agree that it is difficult to use. There is a lot of content, but finding it is difficult. I use the programming list @ for reference. I hope they improve upon it.


Tracy October 27, 2017 at 3:50 am

1. Had my Mom and my 23 year old son and his GF over for dinner this week. Made chicken and dumplings and a yummy salad with fresh pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, almonds and pears (plus butter lettuce). My son’s GF spent a year studying in Turkey and showed me a really cool way to cut/break open the pomegranate and get the seeds out. Frugal because I had already bought everything we ate for dinner including the two pomegranates which were on the discount produce shelf 2/$1!
2. Have brought breakfast and lunch to work every day this week.
3. Have been tempted to stop at grocery store for that “one ingredient” a couple of times but have resisted (am trying to shop 1 x/week and then not do extra stops as I never walk out with the “one ingredient” I walk in for). This falls under the “make do” category of cooking and its been fine.
4. Trying to make one tank of gas last two weeks. Didn’t quite make it this week (got gas on day 11) but did go to cheap Fred Meyer station and did get an additional .50/off with rewards points — was able to fill (very empty) tank for $30.
5. Going to beach this weekend with dear women friends. Frugal aspects: using Mom’s beach house (free), driving not flying (we had discussed options that would have required flight and hotel). Non-frugal aspects — we will each have a spa treatment and we will eat dinners out. And we will probably go shopping (although I will go, enjoy the “window shopping” and being with my friends but will not buy anything, I am just not a “retail” shopper). But this (spending time with these ladies who have been dear friends of mine for 30-45 years) is very important to me and I am not going to impose my frugal ways (I would be perfectly happy eating in) on my friends when this is a very occasional indulgence.


Jill October 27, 2017 at 5:05 am

I’m just starting the Dorrell’s in Corfu. What is it about British series I love so much more than American television? I don’t know but I just do! I didn’t know about My Family and Other Animals. Have to check that out!


Sandy October 27, 2017 at 5:31 am

1. It was my birthday this week and my boss took me out for lunch and my friend took me out for dinner! Lovely time hanging out with both and 2 free meals!
2. Went to locally owned running store and was fitted for walking shoes. This is frugal as I have had problems with a popped tendon and have paid thousands of dollars in emergency room costs/doctor bills/physical therapy. Well fitted shoes are frugal! Plus paying a local business owner is a bonus.
3. My car was recently hit in the parking deck at work. I have to pay the uninsured deductible of $300. When my boss asked about the progress on fixing the car I told him the story. On my birthday he gave me the $300 for the deductible saying he felt awful that it was hit on the day I paid it off while I was at work. I was speechless. He and his wife had talked it over and wanted to do that for me. They are truly great people. My car accident will now cost me zero — but the fact that I work for such a caring family means more to me than the $300.
4. I received two Petco gift cards from my sister and my Mom which means I can buy several cases of cat food for my pets. Again, savings!
5. Frugal fail: I did by a Powerball ticket on my birthday and didn’t win. 🙂


Alexandra October 29, 2017 at 6:49 am

What a great boss!


Lauren October 27, 2017 at 5:37 am

1. Sold an old dining table that we have since replaced with furniture that fits the room better. That’s one thing out of storage and a little bit of cash back.
2. Made baked apples with apples that were going soft and oats that have been going ignored in the pantry. It wasn’t my favorite recipe but not terrible and at least nothing went to waste.
3. Yesterday was a big frugal fail as I took myself out for lunch and to a secondhand book store after an appointment. BUT I had an amazing day, recharged my batteries, and bought a signed copy of a book by my favorite author that I will absolutely cherish.
4. We tried a new cut of beef for a roast the other day and it came out slightly drier than we usually like. Found out today at lunch that it’s absolutely delicious when eaten shredded with salsa, cheese, and tortilla chips on top of quinoa. I love when leftovers turn out even better than the original. The bonus here is that I use less meat for this meal so I’ll be able to stretch at least three more lunches/dinners from the one leftover portion!
5. Took the bus in and out of the city for my appointment and splurge day date with myself. The bus stop is right next to the library and I timed it so I could hop off and return a book before it went overdue and grab a new title off my list before meeting my husband who picked me up on his way home.


Alexandra October 29, 2017 at 6:51 am

Recharging your batteries is so worth it! I find being alone and either eating out or hitting a coffee shop does a lot for me. Once a quarter seems to do the ticket. When my batteries are low, I”m not fun.


rebecca October 27, 2017 at 7:04 am

1. The other night I was driving in the pouring rain and my passenger side windshield wiper fell off. I went to auto zone and bought a new pair. The salesman offered to put on for me.
2. I then went to get my oil changed and used a coupon. I asked them there how much for a new pair of wipers. It was double the cost.
3. Bringing bits of things for lunch.
4. I had a new client this week.
5. I bought some new clothes and everything was on sale and I used a coupon.
Frugal fails-I have been eating out and getting take out way too much. I feel it in my wallet and in general health. I need to stop. Sometimes, I have difficulty following “the all things in moderation” mindset. ugh! Life is challenging sometimes. lol


FrugalStrong November 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

We recently bought a car battery at an auto parts store. They installed it for free, we received a military discount, and they were first able to confirm that our battery was indeed the issue. Way cheaper than a repair shop plus we were in and out in 15 minutes!


Panthor October 27, 2017 at 7:33 am

1) brought lunch and snacks all workweek; prepped scones, smoothies and lunches in advance (recently learned you can puts smoothies in the freezer and defrost them the night before you need them so I made a bunch at once!); also stocked up my desk with shelf stable meals so I don’t get takeout when I invariably forget my lunch in the future (if you have access to Upton’s Massaman Curry, get it)!

2) drank the office coffee (I have to bring my own non-dairy creamer anyway and the office coffee is not too bad with a small cheap container of Califia Farms cashew/almond creamer)

3) took home work catering leftovers that paired with some food I made from bulk at home

4) stopped at the thrift store and didn’t buy anything since nothing on my secondhand list was there

5) put together a list of money generating/saving things ranked by impact so I know what to focus on next instead of nickel and diming my tasks (now we’ll see if I do them)


Alexandra October 29, 2017 at 6:53 am

would you consider sharing that list? That sounds really intriguing!


Panthor October 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Do you mean the stuff I keep in my iphone notes to look out for secondhand? Or the money-generating one?

The money generating one is just stuff like:
– get photos off my old iphone so I can sell it
– take pictures of clothing for online consignment
– call vintage glasses store to see if they’ll buy my old frames
– bag up clothes I don’t wear for the resale shop

It’s stuff I know I have to do and was too lazy to do! When I have a free weeknight, that’s the stuff I should do!


SheilaS October 27, 2017 at 8:10 am

It seems like I struggle with these but here goes.

1. Finally got to turn off the air conditioning for the year. I didn’t think it would ever get cool enough.
2. Found .51 cents on the ground. Most I’ve found in a long time.
3. Continuing to eat down the freezer by cooking a cheap turkey we got at Costco last year the day after thanksgiving. We’ve been eating on it all week. The dog loves it.
4. Went thrifting and came home with one shirt, a beautiful sweater with leather buttons and a Talbots cardigan. I also bought a new with tags Eileen Fisher linen top for next Spring/Summer for $5. Retail was around $90 I think. Spent around $12. I wish we had cheap thrifts around here. The one I went to was our cheapest. AmVets.
5. Replaced DS iPhone battery instead of buying a new phone saving $950. Seriously. Who in their right mind would pay $1000 for a phone??? Priorities people!
Frugal fail – I went to Home Goods and the wintery pillows were too perfect for my living room to pass up.


Teddie October 27, 2017 at 8:15 am

1. Took a free Zumba class.
2. Cut the store brand least expensive dryer sheets in half. I have found a half sheet of the store brand works as well as a full sheet of the brand name.
3. Fall and cooler weather has come to Pensacola. Turned off AC and opened the sliding glass doors. Bonus: Hearing the waves lap up on the shore.
4. Down to the last few drops of my shower gel. Added a little water and poured into my recycled hand foam soap bottle.
5. Finally figured out what Plenti points are all about. I read a lot about folks who use Plenti points to buy groceries. Went to WD and signed up.


Isabelle October 27, 2017 at 10:07 am

* Was going to Zumba yesterday, using my pre-paid card (7$/class). When I arrived, I got informed that it was a special Halloween class costing 18$. Left and went for a walk
*Still eating from the freezer and pantry, trying to be creative. Yesterday’s groceries bill: 22$ (initially 42$, but 20$ off using my PC Points)
* Found my Christmas dress at GW for 7,50$. It super beautiful and fits like a glove. Wearing Plus Size, new dresses don’t come cheap, so this is a true bargain!
* Starting a new position on monday that guarantees me 30 hours/week, which is my weekly goal. I work as a casual, which means that when I don’t work I make zero money (no sick days, no statutory holidays, etc. But I get paid extra to compensate). Can’t wait!
* I always buy good (expensive) shoes now. I used to buy the crappy flats at Walmart for 10$ and would go through 3-4 pairs per year. I work standing all day (physical therapy), so this was a really bad place to be cheap…. I started buying good shoes and it makes a world of difference! Plus, they are expensive but last way longer! My 125$ North Face winter boots are going on 5 winters now. And I live in Quebec, Canada, so a lot of snow here! I will never go back to cheap shoes.


MommaL October 29, 2017 at 5:44 am

Isabelle, I agree. I found some brands of women’s dress shoes with good support and rubber heels but they still look professional. My momma used to tell me: buy good shoes and good bras, be thrifty with everything else as long as its well made.


Jenny October 29, 2017 at 6:49 am

Isabelle and Momma L ( and others)
What are some good brands of shoes?


MommaL October 29, 2017 at 7:57 am

I have to dress professionally, (suits, skirts, dress pants) so I can’t wear comfy shoes like Danskos but I hear they are great. To combat the hard floors in my school, I wear round toed pumps with wedges made of rubber by Lifestride, Ann Taylor Sport, and Naturalizers. I look for comfort insoles. Those rubber soles make a huge difference. They have improved and don’t look like “grandma shoes” so much anymore…though now that I’m a grandma too I’m not sure it matters, haha. For more casual wear I buy Keds and Sperry. DSW has good sales, free shipping, a rewards point system, and I have DH return what doesn’t fit when he goes into the city for Dr. appts.


Laur October 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

1. I picked up 3 extra shifts at work this week and enjoyed free lunches and coffee there.
2. Cooked up a big batch of spaghetti and froze the leftovers ready for a quick meal for the days I work/ get home late.
3. I sold two items on my local FB buy & sell site. Free listings and no postage and I pocketed $67. I list popular items like clothes bundles, furniture and toys on FB to avoid eBay fees and postage.
4. I received free packing boxes from work. Already put together so ready to pack straight into.
5. I mended two items of clothing that were in need of some TLC.


FrugalStrong October 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

1. Bought a rug off FB (brand new, never used) for our living room. I’d bought a different one off FB the week prior but it ended up being too dark. Was able to sell it for $10 more than I bought it. Also sold 4 other things in the past few days from our post-home improvement purge/redecorating.

2. Did buy a new recliner &coffee table, but for a great price from the store’s clearance section. I hadn’t been able to find what I needed used & we needed specific sizes/styles/colors.

3. Donated travel sized toiletries my husband’s brought home from work to a group that will be delivering them to the homeless.

4. Supported our schools spirit night fundraiser at a local restaurant but used 2 BOGO free coupons, so the 4 of us are for the price of 2. Plus the kids got free ice cream!

5. Scored amazing deals on a few groceries at Sprouts and Albertsons by combining promotions, sales, coupons, & Ibotta. Included 4 boxes of name brand cereal, 3 gallons of milk, & 2 dozen eggs for $9!


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