Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 1, 2017 · 72 comments

  1. I bought an on sale chuck roast yesterday and filled my house with the heavenly scent of pot roast. I gobbled up all the ambrosia-like carrots and onions, so I’ll go to the store today for more carrots to bake in the leftover broth. Day two of the house smelling like pot roast? Even Lorelei Gilmore would approve.

  2. I sold an Izod shirt on eBay that I’d had listed for ages. I then bought a pair of eBay jeans that I’ve determined to the perfect size and style for me. I was down to a single pair of pants, (“trousers” for you British readers) and was unlikely to come across these specific jeans while thrifting. I paid $13.50 with free shipping, which works for me.

  3. For years I’ve set up an old TV/VCR combo in our front window on Halloween to play “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” We no longer own this TV, so instead I set up a big computer monitor and played the same movie through Netflix. Our nine front steps are wide, which gives them the illusion of being steeper than they actually are, so I feel the need to advertise our house as “worth the effort” to hesitant trick-or-treaters. It always works and many of the kids commented on how much they loved it. This Halloween decor doesn’t need to be bought, stored or maintained. Using what I already have as a Halloween feature? Perfect!

  4. I packed up the Izod shirt in a used manilla envelope, I arranged a free USPS pickup to avoid driving to the post office, I handed out Red Rose figurines to trick-or-treaters who wanted “a ceramic figurine” and I only bought practical food while grocery shopping. So yeah . . . no ice cream.

  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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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer November 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

Pot roast!!! That’s awesome..wish I had some.


Teresa November 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

How did you happen to have so many ceramic figurines on hand?


Jane November 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Red Rose tea used to put a small ceramic figurine in every box of tea and if you were a serious tea drinker, they had a way of accumulating…


Su Mama November 1, 2017 at 3:55 pm

They still do — at least in the 100-bag boxes!


Jenny November 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm

And kids know to ask for them?


Katy November 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Every box of Red Rose tea comes with a ceramic figurine. I keep them in their plastic and tuck them aside to sell or give away. I had enough, (maybe 40?) to give kids the option to pick one if they wanted. This was in addition to two pieces of candy.


Teresa November 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Well who knew? Red Rose Tea is like Cracker Jacks for grownups. Thank you!


Vickey November 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm

*That* was hilarious! Thanks for the chuckle.


Isitaneedorawant November 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

(1) Am making a red lentil / yam soup with ingredients at home. Almost finished the yams I purchased on sale for 19 cents/lb. last fall.If kept off concrete floors, on cardboard or on wooden shelves with air circulation / not touching they last for months.
(2) Going to a combined birthday party on Saturday. First recipient has asked for certain movies and enthusiastically will take used vhs copies. Found 10 on his list for 10 cents each at one of my favourite volunteer run thrift stores.
(3) Wrapping movies in recycled comic papers from the newspapers. Had to go through my newspaper recycling bin from the last month and a half to get enough. I save the newspapers for our Humane Society who needs them and any shredded papers for their animals.
(4) Other Birthday recipient loves attending sporting events.Part of his gift is a car flag and coffee thermos cup for the NHL team in our city. I won these items in a GW auction and initially gave them to my son but he won’t use them so they are being passed on. Starting with someone donating to GW, this is the third time these items are being gifted.
(5) Using cards for birthday recipients from my stash. I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a friend who every birthday gifts me a box of cards she has made scrapbooking. The ones I need to go and purchase I always seem to be able to get at my favourite thrift stores for 15 or 25 cents.


Jennifer November 1, 2017 at 11:18 am

1. Skipped lunch today because I ate a big breakfast. Think I will do that more often.
2. The evening before Halloween, I proactively prepared my kids school lunches for the day after Halloween. This would have been a tempting day to send money instead after getting home late after trick or treating.
3. My friend gave me a t-shirt because the business she works at ordered too many.
4. I am making a ground turkey, quinoa, and salsa bowl tonight in an effort to eat more healthy. The ground turkey was some I found reduced and chunked in the freezer a few weeks ago.
5. Another one of my hens layed her first egg…and then…she ate it. Hopefully, she will figure it out soon.


Lindsey November 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

If your chicken persists in eating her eggs, there is one way to cure them that has worked for us: blow the raw egg out of a shell and refill with mustard. Replace in the nest and let her have a good dose of the mustard. It cured our hen, although it made a mess of the nest.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 4:05 am

I will try that, thanks!


KJD509 November 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

1) Went in for what I thought was a blood pressure check this morning and discovered I’d been scheduled for the whole tip-to-toe physical, including all the unpleasant bits. Nurse and PA jollied me along and ignored my complaining, so we got the whole thing done, for free because preventative tests are covered by my insurance as long as you have them regularly. I feel like my grandmother, who complained mightily about doctors, but she lived to be 100 so I guess she’s the right person to feel like.
2) Pulled meatballs out of the freezer for dinner last night, but discovered as they were partway cooked that they weren’t the kind we were expecting (Swedish vs Egyptian garlic). Managed to scrounge the appropriate sauce and enjoyed them anyway.
3) Haven’t bought anything at the cafeteria at the office in 3 weeks, including today
4) Some Goodwill love: on a friend’s recommendation, loaded a huge amount of clothes up to take to a local thrift store that both sells items and helps settle refugee families. It’s due to snow this week, we get a lot of sub-Saharan families in this region, and I had a big stack of winter jackets plus some very long, very skinny jeans that sons wore during their growth spurts but don’t fit anymore (33×38 and 40). It seemed like the right stuff to donate there. BUT the store requires everything be sorted by size and type, you have to walk it in the very crowded building to a counter in the back, and they go through item by item to decide what they’ll take. Um, no thank you. Goodwill gladly unloaded it for me in their drop-off zone and handed me a receipt through the window. Goodwill rocks.
5) No Lear jet, no gold-plating. Again!


Cindy in the South I November 1, 2017 at 11:38 am

My daughter and I used to LOVE to watch the Gilmore Girls. I always wanted to live in a New England town like that….
1. I brought my lunch to work….It seems I always list that but well, I almost always do that so …whatevah 2, 3, and 4. I cleaned out my Hoosier Cabinet, and started cleaning my walls and baseboards. It is apparent, I am going to have to do a bit of painting. My goal is to clean up and out every single inch of my house during the months of October and November. I have been through every room, every closet, every drawer in my house, so far. I am going to have to redo cleaning my tile floors in my bathroom and kitchen. They are not up to my standards. 5. I have turned on the heat but am keeping the heat on 60 at night. It will be interesting to see what my power bill will be this next time. I know it will be more than my usual under $50.


A. Marie November 1, 2017 at 12:54 pm

(1) Cindy in the South’s #5 re: her power bill reminds me that in our latest bill, we’ve come out $13.75 ahead of National Grid (aka “National Greed”) on our budget plan. Hee hee!

(2) Slightly gross but possibly worth mentioning: After draining off the excess bacon grease, I stored my “good and greasy” cast-iron skillet from last night’s BKT dinner in the cold oven, and am just about to get it out and make a kale frittata in it. This is my standard operating procedure whenever I fry bacon, and we’re not dead yet. But feel free to consider this an expatriate Southerner’s extreme frugality.

(3) Bestest Neighbors are going out to dinner with DH and me Friday night for a joint wedding anniversary celebration (our 38th on 10/30, their 36th on 10/31). I am going to insist on our picking up the check for this one, as thanks for Dr. BN’s “above and beyond the call of duty” attention to my injured ankles. There are times when gratitude is frugal.

(4) I just phoned our GOP congressman’s office to tell him to continue voting no on the GOP tax bill. All but two of NY’s congresspersons voted no on the first round–mainly because voting yes to the bill as it now stands, killing the property tax deduction, would be political suicide in this state. But the bill stinks for numerous other reasons, as I tried to make clear in the phone call.

(5) Finally, enough of my late tomatoes have ripened for me to freeze a quart bag of them, for the first time this season. Better late than never!


Lindsey November 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm

A. Marie: I was raised in a household where bacon grease was drained into a coffee can and left standing on the stove until you needed some of it to fry something. Went back years later and the same perpetual grease can was still on the stove, doing its job. And in spite of that, Grandma lived to 99 and Grandpa to 89, no dementia, never a heart attack or stroke, and taking no pills of any kind for any chronic illnesses. They died of the flu. As a single young adult I had my own grease can but my new husband was so appalled that I threw it away. I am not from the South, but I appreciate your thrift!


Isabelle November 2, 2017 at 2:32 am

We keep some bacon grease too, but very rarely use it. Just don’t think about it.


Cindy in the South I November 2, 2017 at 5:20 am

Yea, I still have the grease can…I was raised by my Southern grandma…lol


A. Marie November 2, 2017 at 8:54 am

Thanks for the shout-outs re: the traditional grease can. I keep a grease jar (usually a canning jar that has a chip or is getting cloudy) in the refrigerator (as a concession to my non-Southern DH!).

Oh, and if I’m storing the bacon pan (or anything else) in a cold oven, I always leave myself a sticky note on the oven door to remind myself I’ve done this. Having to call the fire dept. for a grease fire in the oven is sooo not frugal!


Jenny November 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Is that for real? The trick-or-treaters wanting figurines? Or is this April Fools’ Day?


April November 2, 2017 at 5:48 am

I too am curious about the whole figure thing. I’m from the Deep South and have never heard of this. It sounds intriguing. Do you give trick or treaters a choice between candy and a figurine?


MW November 2, 2017 at 6:23 am

Err. . . this isn’t a Portland thing either. . . This is a Katy thing. That said, I could see one of my kids being thrilled by the choice- the other one would demand a sucker (he’s 3).


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 7:29 am

She has probably been throwing some figurines in with the candy for the past few years and certain kids remember that she is the house “with the figurines”. Just my guess….


Katy in Africa November 1, 2017 at 1:18 pm

1. Tonight we made an egg bread casserole with the ridiculous amount of bread leftover from breakfasts. I also threw in a can of chicken broth some one who was moving gave me.
2. I froze some bananas a friend gave me from their banana plant. Yay for free food!
3. Another friend gave me peanut butter, between what she gave me and what I already have, I may not have to buy any until December!
4. I finished up one of my kids old partial used notebooks and now working on the second. No need to buy a new notebook for my random notes and lists, at least not yet.
5. This one is more of seeking advice… I have a friend who’s bday is this weekend. She recently moved and probably doesn’t need more stuff. I also thought about doing an activity type gift, but she’s leaving next week and I don’t think she’ll have time. I’m thinking about just writing a nice note about the things I appreciate about her, or maybe buying a special food as a gift. Any ideas?


Cindy in the South I November 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Food she can eat as a snack while packing/unpacking like cookies?


Jenzer November 1, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Expanding on Cindy in the South I’s idea, how about a “First Night in Your New Place” care package? Cookies are great, but maybe add some savory, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat foods that could work as a full meal in a pinch. If she drinks alcohol, she might appreciate some small, screw-top bottles of wine to help take the edge off at the end of moving day.

As goofy as this sounds, you could also add a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand soap. I’ve learned through experience how nice it is to have “wipe-and-wash” supplies in my vehicle so I can get to them easily once I arrive at a new place. It beats getting there, needing to pee, and not remembering where I packed the TP.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 4:16 am

When I was a travel nurse, I remember when I arrived to my new apartment. My flight had been delayed so it was getting late. I walked into the apartment and found a gift basket with spaghetti noodles, Parmesan cheese, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. It was so nice to be able to fix a really easy, quick, warm meal before unpacking. If she is moving she may not can find her dishes yet but I thought this may give you ideas.


Roberta November 2, 2017 at 6:16 am

How about a Groupon for something to do in her new city? I did that for my nephew when his family moved just before his birthday, so they’d have an opportunity to try something fun in their new city.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 7:30 am

Love this idea!


Katy in Africa November 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for the ideas! I got her some snacks for her trip and wrote a note of what I appreciate about her. The kids made homemade cards too.


Mand01 November 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm

It’s my busiest time of year at work so I’ve been head down and not spending much except on the essential things to keep my family alive.
1. Over the weekend I dried herbs and edible flowers from my garden for herbal teas. I’m blending these and will package them into gifts for Christmas. I bought 100 empty teabags from eBay for $2.
2. I’m going away for work for four days. Breakfast is part of the hotel package. I get a per diem but I can’t tolerate eating out that much so I’m packing meal replacement shakes. For a couple of days it will be ok and I will bring home a chunk of my per diem. I’ll be flat out over the four days so I won’t have time to spend anything.
3. Doing online surveys through a good company and then I use the proceeds for movie tickets.
4. Taking bits and pieces for lunch today. I am going to buy a good coffee because it’s the last day of an enormous project and I have a big big day ahead. That will help me get through.
5. Wearing another fully thrifted outfit.


Jill A November 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm

1. I sold another small item on ebay. It’s not much but better than nothing. I reused a padded envelope that I had.
2. My husband and I ate leftover chili for dinner and some dinner rolls my daughter had brought over. They were extras from her culinary class. Very inexpensive dinner. Dessert was my husband’s homemade banana bread.
3. My mother had less trick-or-treaters than she expected so she gifted us with some of her leftovers. I’ll put them in the freezer and try not to eat them all at once. We don’t get trick or treaters so we have no leftovers of our own.
4. My mother colored my hair for me and then we had lunch at Panera. I drank water with my meal.
5. Cleaned my bathrooms today with my homemade cleaners and mowed the lawn but only the areas that are getting long which saved a little gas.


Shannon November 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Does Red Rose still give out the little Wade figurines or are these the vintage ones?


lisa endrigian kranick November 1, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Yes, they’re still in the 100 box.


Ava November 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

1. Day 5 of sickness for me and it is amazing how that makes me just not care about cost of things and making thoughtful purchases, so we are doing the best we can.
2. Sent husband to the store for Halloween candy and he got much more than we needed. I didn’t care. Made the candy come out exactly right by giving generous quantities and then turning off the light when the last of the first bag was finished.
3. Spending nothing myself because hardly leaving the house. Husband has spent on take out food and over the counter cold medicines. He didn’t have to get much because we were pretty well stocked with store brand medicines bought on sale, though we will have to replenish now.
4. On day 3, husband got sick too, so food consumption dropped even more. We are making meals of things like 1/2 a baked sweet potato and chicken juice. Neither of us cares.
5. Forced ourselves out of the house to take the kitten to the vet. He has not been right since his “fixing” and was obviously feeling bad. Vet considered it complication of surgery so there was no charge for treatment. Vet listened to me cough and asked me which arm I wanted MY shot in.


Bee November 2, 2017 at 2:55 am

Feel better, Ava. I hope you, your husband, and kitty are on the mend.


Bee November 1, 2017 at 3:58 pm

1) I also made pot roast last night. Chuck roast were on sale this week, so I bought two –one for now and one for later.

2) I made bean enchiladas for dinner tonight. I cooked a batch of pinto beans in the crockpot. This is truly an inexpensive meal(s).

3) I batched errands today and stopped by the Goodwill. I did not buy anything, but I was amused. I watched an extremely well dressed woman pull into the parking lot in her Maserati. She entered the store and began shopping with wild abandon. She dug through bin after bin and filled her cart with tons of stuff. Later I overheard her speaking to her daughter on the phone asking her to bring in her frequent shoppers card. She wanted the 20% discount. People watching is free entertainment.

4) Since I was running errands, I stopped by the utilities department to pay my electric bill. I had forgotten to set it up on Bill Pay and it waould have been late resulting in a 10% late charge.

5) I went to the Y today. Paying attention to one’s health is frugal. However, I have hurt my hip, so I am not getting as much exercise This means I must watch my carb and sugar intake. This is not so easy with tons of Halloween candy leftover. I bought too much which is not frugal.



Jenzer November 1, 2017 at 4:01 pm

1 – I concocted a tasty soup out of leftover this and that: homemade chicken broth, salsa, roasted squash, a few potatoes. I seasoned the soup with homemade taco seasoning, pureed it in the blender, and served it with broken tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag.

2 – A recent Zen Habits blog post about letting go inspired me to do a round of digital purging. Am I ever going to make this new recipe “someday”? No. [DELETE]. Am I ever going to read this lengthy, thought-provoking article when I never have brain left at the end of the day? No. [DELETE]. Digital decluttering is as much of a mood-lifter for me as physical decluttering, and it’s free.

3 – I scored a DVD copy of one of my all-time favorite indie movies from a local thrift store for $1.

4 – I inventoried my pantry and made plans to use up a few items which have been lingering in there for a while (green tea, popcorn kernels, a few cans of chickpeas).

5 – I joined our small town’s wellness center so that I could start weight training. Aside from a sports bra, I haven’t bought any special exercise clothing. Old t-shirts and knit shorts/pants that I already own have worked just fine.


Lindsey November 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

1. Husband and I had a cheap date: a free taco each from Taco Bell’s 2 to 6 pm free taco promotion, and then walked next door to an artisan chocolate maker and turned in two coupons for a free truffle each. Then we drove to the river and ate our free dinner, drinking water we brought from home. Not the healthiest meal but fun.
2. Safeway was giving away pumpkins for free today. I raise pumpkins but use a lot of them so snagged two huge ones for free. Some people were walking out with shopping carts loaded with them but I felt piggy enough taking two instead of just one.
3. Bought a jar of mayo to the cashier and as I was paying for it, she was the one who noticed that it had a crack in the lid. You could still see the silver underneath, so the contents had not been exposed to air or contaminated, so I said no it was fine. She ended up giving it to me for free! She told me they would just be throwing it away anyway.
4. Sold another book on Amazon and sent it off in recycled padding and box.
5. I was standing in the agency where I volunteer once a week, complaining that I had been taken off aspirin by the doctor, and had just purchased a half year supply when it was on sale about two weeks ago. The secretary said she had just been put on an aspirin a day so I was able to give it to her. Not frugal for me but great for her, as the salary for a secretary in a small non-profit is pretty low. Today I got a nice thank you note in the mail, which made my day.


Marcia November 1, 2017 at 5:35 pm

A good way to be frugal is to be too busy to spend money. Had Mon-Thurs things to do last week. Friday I was so happy to stay home and do laundry and not have to go anywhere. Turned out the weekend weather was crappy so we stayed home then too. We did go out to eat Thursday night.

This week was not planned this way, but turned out to be the same story. Somewhere to be every day through tomorrow. Friday is laundry day again. On the weekend I plan on going to a quilt show in town, but if I look carefully I should find a money off coupon in the paper. So that should not be a big expense–I think full price to get in is about $6 anyhow.

Tonight husband and I wanted separate things for dinner–so I heated up leftovers again for him and I made myself a grilled PB & J on freshly made bread! Exactly what I was craving! I’m not even a PB & J fan, but once in a while, it’s what I want. A couple little leftover candy bars made a fine dessert.

My scalloped potatoes and ham that I made earlier in the week turned into 5 meals–2 each for 2 of us and 1 more for him tonight. Ham is from the one I bought recently for $1.09 a lb–this was one of about 8-9 packages I froze from that ham. Very frugal meals this week. Granddaughter was here for Halloween and she wanted pizza, and also took home the leftovers.

Not exactly knocking myself out cooking but we’re managing to eat every night!! With luck I should be back by 1 or 1:30 tomorrow, so no problem making a real meal tomorrow.


Elizabeth November 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm

1. Had some of my kids’ friends and their parents over for Trick or Treating. The parents brought some hard cider and tortilla chips and taco dip so I have leftovers of the dip and cider. Had some of the dip on chips under the broiler like nachos today. We have a little bit of candy leftover which I will stick in the freezer to enjoy as treats throughout the year.
2. Project Use it Up: big 3 wick Yankee Pumpkin Candle, two Glade candles, a small hand cream, a collagen lotion sample, a small bath and body Works vanilla candle and a small bath and body Works seaside breeze lotion.
3. Have been listing a bunch of our outgrown or unused clothes and items. In the last two months I’ve made $860 from stuff that was sitting around our house unused. Used shipping boxes I already had to send them out.
4. Most of my recent clothes shopping is at goodwill. I can get such nice brands and nice stuff for so little that I have a hard time shopping other places! So, usually I wear st least one (but often all) thrifted items each day.
5. Spent a long weekend in Boulder with my sister and cousin. Had a $200 credit on United so my flight was only $87. Used my PayPal money (earned from selling stuff sitting around the house) to pay for my share of the Air B and B and rental car. While my cousin spent LOTS of money on the day we went shopping I only bought a T-shirt for my son and one for my daughter and nothing else, which was hard because I saw a lot of stuff I liked!


Pattilou November 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm

1. I earned enough Swagbucks to get an Amazon gift card. I will use it to buy a Christmas gift.
2. While I was at the Doctor the other day he gave me samples of a medication I am on. This will help me put off filling my prescription a little longer.
3. Went to a Halloween themed wedding. I borrowed a costume rather than buying something.
4. I found free street parking instead of paying the $14.00 I would have paid for the hotel parking to attend the wedding.
5. Found 45 cents in the last two days.


Chessie November 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

I so enjoy reading what everybody posts here! Hugs to all you brilliant frugal people! <3


Kim in Maryland November 1, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Carrots cooked with pot roast have to be one of the absolute best ways to eat a vegetable!
1. Stopped at the farmstand as 10/31 was their last day of the season. Bought 1/2 bushel of seconds tomatoes for $10. Will turn them into roasted salsa and tomato jam. Also gave a few to Bestest Neighbors.
2. Used $3.05 Staples Reward before it expired and a $2 Reward. A Lego water bottle in clearance for $2 (reg. $7.99)will be a Christmas gift and 2 Avery products for $1 each (reg. $25.99). Listed the Avery products on Amazon.
3. Bestest Neighbor and I bartered. He needs a pair of wool pants hemmed and I needed a box shipped to DS#2 at college. I was willing to do it for nothing but he wouldn’t hear of it. He could ship it cheaper than me due to his business account and tomorrow I will be his personal tailor. Win win!
4. Picked up freebies at Giant. Tropicana lemonade, 4 pack of yogurt, bodywash and cat treats. Over $9 of digital coupon freebies. Cat treats will go to Bestest Neighbors kitties.
5. I’ve done 30 merchandising jobs so far this week, mostly in grocery store and Target. Found total of 53¢ in Coinstar kiosks, 1/2 price milk at Safeway and free caramel corn at Target cafe.


Jen from California November 1, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Hi Kim, 30 merchandising jobs in a week? I just started doing some book/magazine merchandising in grocery stores and I really like it. How do you do 30 jobs in a week and what are you merchandising, if you don’t mind sharing?


Kim in Maryland November 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm

I do projects for several companies. This week it’s been cell phone accessories, coffee, flavor waters, soda, ice cream, protein bars, soup. Some are OSAs- on shelf audits.


Jen from California November 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm

I am more excited than I should be about your perfect pair of jeans for $13.50 that will soon be delivered to your door. One to wash and one to wear! Yay. Figurines? I am so confused. Why is this the first time we have heard of these? Weird figurine bonuses from tea? One of the houses my kids trick-or-treated at gave kids the option of candy or a selection from a big box of broccoli. Haha.


Kathy Hairston November 1, 2017 at 9:45 pm

1. Used the school supplies I bought on sale w/coupons to pass out to trick or treaters. No candy bought or brought into house.
2. Picked up NWT items from GW for holiday gifts.


nancy from mass November 2, 2017 at 5:19 am

For years, i would always give out pencils, erasers, etc (and some halloween candy). My hubby would always say “no one wants pencils! we’re going to get egged!” Kids would FREAK over the school supplies! sometimes, if i was giving candy, they would ask for an eraser or pencil instead. It was always so funny (plus the parents didn’t have to worry about allergies). I would try and find cool looking pencils to hand out….not just Dixon or Ticonderoga.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 7:37 am

My kids brought home a lot of candy. Mixed in with the candy was miniature rice crispy treats and fruit snacks. I dug these out to send to school for snack. When my kids get old enough that I can stay home and give out candy myself I am going to give out small bags of chips or things similar to yours. We love candy at our house but we have way too much.


SueB November 2, 2017 at 4:00 am

1. Trying to empty the freezer a little bit to make some room for Christmas things. I am that maitre d’ trying to stuff in just one wafer thin mint.

2. Managed to keep the fire off until 1st Nov. Oct was pretty mild until the last few days and then I just kept telling OH how much he’d appreciate the fire “if he just waited”, and “cold is good for laying down brown fat” and “if you’re so cold then why in the heck are you still wearing shorts?????”

3. Mended the lining of my winter hat (I like it when it’s windy because my ears get sore).

4. We have a grape vine in the garden but we don’t really have the outdoor climate for grapes, so usually they stay hard and green. This year they stayed hard and purple but the chickens liked them.

5. Just one more present to get and Christmas is sorted 🙂 Many years ago I used to hit the shops in desperation on Christmas Eve, being organised about this has saved a packet over the years as well as my sanity and also stopped the somewhat random element to my present giving.

6. Am trying to expand the gardening so replanted some self seeding parsley in the garden with plastic cloches (aka old lemonade bottles with the bottoms cut off), replanted some of those self seeders in pots to come in for the winter AND collected from seeds before they fell so that if nothing comes from the transplants, then at least next year I’ll have some seeds to sow.


Susie's Daughter November 3, 2017 at 7:23 am

#1 Loved your description! Many is the time I have said “wafer thin” 🙂


Tracy November 2, 2017 at 4:41 am

1. Made pumpkin bars rather than buying something to take to Halloween potluck at work, had to buy a couple of ingredients but still much cheaper than buying the whole dish pre-made. Was tempted to buy a silly hat or head band thingy to wear to said potluck but resisted temptation, didn’t want more crap.
2. Reading a library book I put on hold and downloaded electronically via Kindle app once available. And e-books automatically return themselves at end of loan period so no overdue fees!
3. My brother was at beach house right before me last weekend, he forgot 3 of those pre-made salad kits that cost $3-$4 each (left in fridge). They are not my favorites but didn’t want them to go to waste so I rescued them and last night we ate the last one. I doctored them up a bit and they weren’t half bad.
4. Wore head to toe thrifted to work yesterday and looked very professional if I do say so myself!
5. No lear jet or gold plated apartment in the sky purchased!


Sandy November 2, 2017 at 5:28 am

1. Picked up a book and a movie from the library. Free entertainment! (Well, the movie was $1, but still cheaper than streaming or actually going to the theater.)
2. Bringing lunches I made to work instead of going out.
3. Using a birthday present Petco gift card to buy litter and food for my cats. Pet care can be expensive and my family never knows what to buy me for my birthday, so I suggested Petco gift cards. win-win for everyone!
4. Cut last month’s spending by over $500. I had medical expenses of $2K that I had to put on my credit card so I’m trying to not spend anything I don’t need to in order to get that paid off. Was more successful than I thought when I reviewed my Visa bill.
5. This isn’t exactly a fail, but I’ll probably have to spend another $2K on more laser surgery. It is necessary for my health but it is a challenge for me to remain positive about it when it is such an expensive out of pocket fix. Insurance considers it cosmetic even when I have had three separate doctors tell me that it isn’t. All have tried to reason with insurance — to no avail. My goal is to remain positive that I can get the care I need and even though I have to save and cut costs to do it I can afford it. My point is it isn’t out of reach, which would be horrible.


Robin November 2, 2017 at 8:23 am

Insurance is a tricky thing. If you are in the US, have you had all three doctors write in letters to your insurance company (cc’ing you ideally) saying that the treatment is medically necessary and is not cosmetic? Letters from doctors can really help sometimes in making the argument. Once the letters are in, if you are still getting a solid “no”, don’t forget to try and take it up the chain of command at the insurance agency. Also, you might contact the manufacturer of the laser to be used to see if they have FDA approval for the medical condition you have or have any references/data that you could get a copy of to submit to your insurance agent. Mind you, none of this will help if the particular treatment is listed as not covered, but otherwise it might be worth your time if you are feeling up to it. Good luck.


Lindsey November 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

Also consider contacting the insurance regulatory agency in your state. They were very helpful when I had a similar situation.


Bee November 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Unless a medical procedure is specifically excluded or limited in the under the terms of your policy, it is considered to be covered in most cases. Both Robin and Lindsey have given you good advice. After years of trying to fight a rejected claim on my own for years, I also was able to solve an issue rather quickly by contacting my state’s Department of Insurance. I suggest you acquire a copy of your policy or Certificate of Insurance along with any other documentation that you may have before calling or writing the state. The more info they have, the more helpful they can be. Good luck!


nancy from mass November 2, 2017 at 5:43 am

1. realized I have way too much in my freezers, so, dinners have been whatever we have on hand. Frozen pizza, frozen soup, etc.
2. my neighbor asked if i wanted her extra ice cream maker. I said, hmmm. She suggested i borrow it to try. bad move on my part…..i made vanilla ice cream on saturday and decided half way through that i was keeping the thing. i made ginger ice cream last night and brought half in to share at work. i did get 2 pints of heavy cream for $1.69 each, so that with the milk and sugar make for a fairly inexpensive batch of ice cream (each batch takes 1 pint of heavy cream and makes about 5 cups of ice cream).
3. found a beautiful name brand cashmere sweater on for DS for Christmas. Paid 15 with shipping.
4. needed a new purse (my old one was about 15 years old, small and starting to wear out in places). i found a nice leather bag on Amazon. not too big, not too small. Since i was ordering that on Prime, i had the option of adding a larger vegan leather bag for $25. That bag will go to SIL for Christmas. It’s really nice looking and i know she’ll like it! both bags were about $60.
5. wanted to clean the 2 gallon brita dispenser so i half-filled the sink with nice hot soapy water to soak the pieces. then i rinsed and set out to dry. since the soapy water in the sink was hot and truthfully, not dirty at all, i grabbed a rag and washed my kitchen floor. some people may be grossed out by that but the brita only holds water and i like to completely clean it about every 6 weeks.


nancy from mass November 2, 2017 at 5:48 am

i have a 6th item…today i am shipping out 5 Aran Wool hats to the Hats for the Homeless in Bangor Maine. I have 3 more at home that I will give to my local police department for anyone in need. I still have enough yarn left to knit up about 10 more hats.


Shelia November 2, 2017 at 6:15 am

1. We live in the country and , sadly, get no trick or treaters but we did put on funny hats and got 3.00 burritos at Chiptole Tuesday night. It was fun seeing the different costumes.
2. The deer now seem to be leaving my kale alone so we’ll have quiche tonight with the kale and some apple salad from a .99 bag from Kroger. It will be enough for dinner tomorrow also.
3. I got a haircut/perm Tuesday and ran errands while out. Lunch was my free Chik-fil-a calendar card soda and two cheesesticks I packed. I also hit my favorite thrift shop and found several really nice things. I’ve been collecting baskets for a griefshare group friends from church operate and I found four there. The price on baskets vary widely but I stick to the .09-.69 ones.
4. Unusual for me but I made another trip into town yesterday and again, combined errands. One was to find thin archival paper that could be written on for a Christmas gift. The ladies at the paper store found the paper I needed but when I went to pay for it, they were enjoying roasted pumpkin seeds and just gave me the paper so they wouldn’t have to was their hands!
5. Today I’m finishing up items for a craft show Saturday. I spent so little on the materials, it will be fine if I make very little money. I’ll have spent the day with my sister and nieces. Also, I saw a friend for lunch yesterday who seemed tense when I mentioned the craft show. She had just posted that her church was doing a craft show the following weekend for a missions trip she’s going on. She had posted she would gladly take donations for the craft show. She kept saying “Really, I didn’t know you were doing a craft show when I posted that!” We got a good chuckle from the timing and I have a place to happily send my leftovers that don’t sell. Perfect timing!


Roberta November 2, 2017 at 6:37 am

1. Cooked and pureed two of our pumpkins from Halloween, and roasted all of the pumpkin seeds. I wish I know someone who was giving away pumpkins, I would have gone for that! The other two pumpkins, and the roasted skins, fed the chickens.
2. My daughter has a math test today, and she was feeling a little under the weather from staying up late and candy Halloween night, so we skipped dance class last night — and the drive! Instead, I stayed home and listened to podcasts while I priced, and was pretty chuffed with myself.
3. My son has a cross country meet tonight, down by the waterfront. I’ll be bringing tea to eat while he runs (and the race before him, and the race after him…). We’ll have a nice time, and avoid the temptation to eat out.
4. I went down to the bins yesterday, and found a couple shirts for my dad, in addition to the stuff for the shop. We’re going up to see my parents this weekend, and I’m glad to be able to pass something along to him. (Bonus: my mom thinks we might make money this month, which is exciting! They say not to expect to make money for the first six months.)
5. I have a birthday party for a friend next weekend, and I found a groupon for wine tasting very near his house. I know he likes wine, so I hope he’ll like this, and if nothing else, it won’t be cluttery!

Question: my niece just got her RN, passed the test (hooray!) and is finally having a graduation party. Other than a job, what does a new RN really want? She doesn’t have a specialty — she’ll take a job anywhere.


Robin November 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

When my husband passed his exam, he really wanted nothing more than to not study and not do any work for a week. Once he started working he would probably have said comfortable socks, comfortable shoes, something to put all the random stuff from his pockets in when he walks in the front door at home, and easy to eat quick snacks that he can store in his desk and grab a quick bite of during his shift. He’s on his feet so much at his job, he has to wear shoes around the house too for extra foot support, which means new indoor only shoes were on the quickly purchased list. Also, if you live near her, once she starts a job, especially if it’s shift work, it might take her some time to get adjusted to her new schedule/routine which could be a great time to volunteer to bring over some meals for her fridge or freezer 🙂 Good luck to your niece on her job hunt.


Roberta November 2, 2017 at 6:36 pm

I love the idea of ready-to-eat meals! Her husband is a PT student, so food would be personal, un-cluttery and appreciated on a student budget!


janine November 2, 2017 at 6:47 am

1. We had an abnormally small crowd on Halloween ( lots of construction around our house) so had a large bag of candy left plus some from an open bag. Sent unopened bag out to son and put the remaining candy in husband’s packed lunches. Full confession: sampling some myself – those Baby Ruths were really good.
2. Another month of heavy expenses so working on budget to make sure all ‘needs’ plus a few ‘wants’ get met.
3. DS#2 took me out for lunch yesterday – portions so generous that I fed husband the entire main course for dinner. I ate the soup and salad.
4. Frugal Fail – Signed dog up for training class but as he went out the door he got loose and ran around the neighborhood until he stopped to greet a doggie friend and got caught. This is hunting season and he is restless!
5. Husband moved his office out of downtown and doesn’t need quarters for parking meters or bus fares to hand out to people who don’t have correct change. He gifted me with a $10 roll of coins. (I know it’s all in the family, but I didn’t know about the $$.)


ouvickie November 2, 2017 at 7:25 am

Ooooh, Pot Roast sounds good. I may have to make one this weekend, it’s been awhile!
1) I needed several, basic staple items yesterday and hadn’t been to Big Lots in awhile. I bought a bag of IAMs dry cat food for $6. I have a long-haired cat and it was the Hairball formula so I thought I’d try it – definitely cheap price. I found some garlic & spinach egg-noodles in their gourmet section. I’m going to make a garlic-butter cream sauce to go over it and throw in some shredded chicken. Easy meal for 5-6 for less than $3. I spent a total of $48 and bought all the staple items and some food items. Other than resupplying food items we use weekly, I’m done with buying staple items for the month.
2) I made myself some beef , black bean & cheese nachos from the Fuzzy’s Taco leftovers in the fridge here at work. We still have queso and chips to snack on.
3) I bought a box of Alpine Spiced Apple Cider packs (4 pk) for a $1 at the Dollar Tree a week or so back. I hadn’t tried that brand, but it’s really good. I love hot apple cider this time of year.
4) I love Yardley’s English Lavender bath soap (large bars) and DT carries it, but I found a 4 pack of the bars at Big Lots for $3.50 yesterday. Now I have some lovely smelling bath soap that should last me for the next 4-6 months.
5) I didn’t buy a yacht, a Lear Jet or a gold-plated anything this week. Saving huge bucks there!


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 7:43 am

3. We love those apple cider packets this time of year, too. They also have a sugar free version for my diabetic hubby. If you get a cold or flu, try them with a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and then add a little honey. So soothing to a congested head or sore throat. I keep them for just this reason.


Alison November 2, 2017 at 8:13 am

1. I made fried rice for dinner using Tread Lightly, Retire Early’s recipe (¢serving/) but substituted with a few things (bok choy instead of kale and beef instead of pork because it’s what I had). It was delicious, easy and a great new way to use up leftovers!

2. I bought white vinegar in bulk at BJ’s and used it as a laundry softener, shower cleaner to remove mold, and toilet bowl cleaner (along with baking soda)

3. When I heard that a favorite author has a new best-seller out, I added it to my hold list at the library (via online app). After 3 months, I just got an email that it’s waiting for me at the library. I love reserving books this way – it’s like a surprise gift when you get that email notice.

4. I used my town’s ‘Buy Nothing’ and ‘Garage’ Facebook pages to give away a box of tea that wasn’t my taste and to sell an excellent condition winter coat that my son outgrew. Will be listing a few other items too.

5. I shredded the daily credit solicitations that we received this week and congratulated myself for erasing two big debts from the past year. We’re working on two more big piles of debt, but I’m inspired.


rebecca November 3, 2017 at 9:46 am

I love the surprise gift of a library book too.


Mary November 2, 2017 at 1:13 pm

I love the movie idea! Every year we put a boom box on our front steps that plays the “Monster Mash” song on repeat. I love that it adds that extra festive touch and costs me nothing but a bit of electricity, since we already owned both the boom box and the CD.


MommaL November 4, 2017 at 9:18 am

1. Bought candy on sale, with coupons, for Halloween.
2. Made the decision to attend a friend’s birthday dinner gathering at a local restaurant after much thought, deciding that our friendship was more important that seeing the trick or treaters and worth the price of a meal out.
3. Donated most of the candy to the school counselor.
4. Was pleasantly surprised that our friends catered their own party as a surprise and gift to all who attended their birthday dinner! Only paid for beverages.
5. Contributed to a group gift certificate, enough people attended so that it came out to be a small donation apiece for a decent gift.
6. Spent a lovely evening with dear friends: priceless.


Carolyn November 7, 2017 at 5:29 am

I collect the figurines from the Red Rose tea boxes and share them with my niece. We have an 800 foot driveway and the house is not visible from the road, so we get zero kids knocking for candy
We save the bacon grease in a jar in the refrigerator as it is great when cooking the very lean venison, adds flavor, no gamey taste, as well as lubricating the cast iron pans.
Cleaned out my two sons’s drawers and closets of outgrown clothes, gave 5 bags away to friends and one friend gave me a Northface winter jacket her son outgrew that now fits my oldest. He is now taller than me and wears men’s size medium.
Mice! Ugh, I hate them this time of year, saw/heard one this last weekend and told hubby he needed to set the trap. He caught two so far, but I won’t touch the trap to get rid of the dead mouse, I have my son do it.
Hubby gave me a haircut on Sunday, my ends really needed to be trimmed. The boys are due for their monthly haircuts, my youngest reminded me last night. Told my husband to fit them into his schedule, I cannot do them, the boys won’t let me, my oldest, now a teen fired me several years ago, told me I sucked at cutting hair and the younger one told me the same. Not a very nice thing to say to their mom, but they were honest. As both are happy with hubby’s haircuts, it remains his job and It saves me hundreds a year, with great looking results.


Caryn November 15, 2017 at 6:48 am

This brought back memories. I used to collect red rose figurines with my grandmother. We would talk about our latest finds during our monthly phone call, which was as often as we. could afford to talk long distance when I was growing up. You couldn’t buy the tea in the Midwest, so she would send us 3-4 hundred bag boxes every month or so. I still can’t find the 100 bag boxes here, so didn’t know they were still making the figurines. I feel a deep 30 year hole where figurines should be. And I miss my grandmother.


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