Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 2, 2017 · 111 comments

  1. I gave away all our leftover Halloween candy to someone in my Buy Nothing Group who is a middle school counselor. She’d posted a request, asking “Have leftover chocolate? I’d be happy to take it off your hands for my students. I’m a middle school counselor and chocolate has a magical way of making teary, awkward, emotional middle schoolers feel much better after a crappy day.” Poor kids, middle school is THE WORST!

  2. I sold all my leftover Red Rose Tea figurines to someone who sells at area flea markets. (Not a ton of money, but every penny counts!) Once I’ve decided to get rid of something it’s almost painful to continue looking at it. I also picked a different buy nothing recipient to come and get a tea kettle that I’ve been trying to give away. (The person who had so desperately wanted it kept flaking out.) I finished up another Clark Howard article that I’d been tinkering with for a few days. In the end it took a long time to write, but I’m really happy with the end result. I’ll start on another article today that’s hopefully a bit more straightforward.

  3. I needed to get out of the house yesterday, so I texted my friend Lise to see if she was up for a walk to the grocery store. I needed carrots, onions and beef broth to tart up my leftover pot roast, and I even stuck to my list. We had a nice long chat while crossing tasks from our respective to-do lists. She’d recently reorganized her magazines, and I showed her a nearby Little Free Library that would be a perfect way to declutter a few of her old New Yorkers.

  4. I took some Dollar Tree navy beans that I’d cooked in the crock pot a few days ago and am turning them into a savory soup. I work tomorrow and would like to have some nice leftovers to bring for lunch. The hospital cafeteria has an amazingly inexpensive salad bar, but homemade is still cheaper.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela @ Tread Lightly, Retire Early November 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

We’re headed to our second monthly neighborhood dinner for those of us with young families. Someone else is hosting so we’re bringing homemade potato salad and just walking down the street to the party!


Kathy Hairston November 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

1. The former room of no return is now a bona fide guest room. I searched to find enough nails to hang pictures.
2. Reheated yesterday’s dinner for lunch
3. Will list some items on eBay
4. Gathered magazines to donate to library


Beth November 2, 2017 at 1:01 pm

1. Booked four cat pet sits and one dog walk for this weekend.
2. Booked a prospective new cat sit client.
3. Made Stuffed Pepper Soup for Halloween using orange and yellow peppers I had on hand, love it, tasty and filling after a cold dog walk.
4.Bought candy at the dollar store for the kids at school as we don’t get many trick or treaters – a bag of Smarties and Tootsie rolls go along way 😉 $2.
5.Started closing bedroom doors/window blinds now that it’s getting cold out to save on heating costs.


Suzanne Kouns November 3, 2017 at 6:03 am

Love #5 !Winter can be long, that’s a lot of savings.


Denise November 3, 2017 at 10:11 am

Don’t close the curtains or blinds on sunny days – get the benefit of solar gain, then close up at sunset. I was amazed at the difference this made in my study last winter.


Lindsey November 2, 2017 at 1:27 pm

1. Convinced husband that two of his flannel shirts were really rags masquerading as clothing…off to the rag bag they went.
2. Got off my butt and cleaned out a junk drawer, where I found a $50 gift card to Subway that someone had given me almost a year ago!
3. Argued with my doctor’s office about a coding error that cost me $18.01. The clerk had the nerve to resist refiling with the insurance company, saying, “It’s a lot of fuss for $18.” I said, “If your doctor were too lazy to fix an error that cost your mom or grandmother enough to buy groceries for a few days, would you be as cavalier about it?” My grand retort was somewhat ruined when she said, “What does cavalier mean?” I congratulated her for the courage to ask when she does not know a word, and told her the meaning. Today I got an insurance check refund for $18.01. I am sending her a thank you card in tomorrow’s mail, to reinforce the job she did in getting me the refund.
4. Had two socks from different pairs develop holes beyond repair. I am wearing the mates that were left, even though they don’t match. Who looks at my ankles anyway?
5. Finished a Christmas gift for an anglophile: I found yarn that is made in the colors of the London tube (subway) and knit my friend a pair of tube socks. I hope he gets the joke—tube socks in the colors of the London tube. (My husband didn’t think the joke was funny either…) I had to order the specially dyed yarn from England, so not exactly frugal but I used Swagbucks to earn an Amazon card and then traded it to a friend for cash that I used to buy the yarn.


KJD509 November 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm

I think the tube socks are hilarious! Excellent gift.

1) Picked up free boxes someone was offering on the Nextdoor site. Bonus: turned out to be the mom of one of Littlest’s buddies from preschool. Fun to see a familiar face, hard to believe that tiny towheaded boy is already a towering middle schooler.
2) Repurposed leftovers for an entirely mediocre dinner. Ate it anyway.
3) The used car dealership and its associated fix-it shop are arguing over who is responsible for replacing the transmission in our new to us but very used car. Somehow the service consultant guy took it as a personal challenge to get a brand new, with warranty transmission. I’m cheering him on. Doesn’t matter to me how long it takes – they gave me a loaner.
4) Driving said loaner – a brand new 2017 car with all the bells and whistles – is making it clear to me how little I care about that stuff. Paid for is my favorite kind of car.
5) Leftover Halloween candy is fortifying enough to get me through paying bills – several of them have upgraded their websites so it required all the re-registration, plus our mortgage was sold to an incredibly annoying new mortgage company – AND getting through all the benefits election nonsense that we have to do every year to keep insurance through work. My mood is so grateful we had only 9 trick-or-treaters, though my pants are feeling otherwise.


Kathy Hairston November 2, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I have a annual matching making sock party. I often wear mismatched socks especially around the house


Tina November 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

I love number 3.. good for you 🙂


Sandy November 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I was born and raised in London, and I LOVE your tube yoke! Well done! Hope your friend appreciates the socks!


Liz B. November 2, 2017 at 7:00 pm

#3…..nicely done. Persistence pays off again! Too funny about the clerk not knowing the meaning of “cavalier”.:-)


Bethany M November 2, 2017 at 9:53 pm

I had a gynecologist point out once that my socks didn’t match while my feet were up in stirrups. I mean com’on! She had the gift of making an uncomfortable situation worse than it has to be.


Tracy November 3, 2017 at 4:44 am

I think that’s an amazing idea! Maybe you could print a photo of the London tube colors or even just make a tag saying “London Tube Socks” to make sure he gets the reference!


ouvickie November 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Love the Tube sock joke, that’s hilarious and very creative!


Robin November 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

I really love your response to when the lady asked what cavalier meant. It was simply kind and the world can use as much kindness as possible. Best of wishes to you.


Katy in Africa November 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm

1. Used today’s laundry rinse water to water plants…it’s getting so dry here!
2. Made a big batch of rice and fish as premeditated leftovers.
3. Fed the leftover fish bones from said meal to one of our cats who joyfully accepted them!
4. Went to 2 grocery stores today and spent more than usual, but my plan is to save gas money by not having to go back for a while.
5. The kids made some bday cards using dolphin pictures from a calendar, the birthday lady loves dolphins, so it was a prefect way to get a second use out of the calendar picture.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I would love to visit Africa some day!
3. Is it ok to feed cats fish bones? It seems that I heard you can’t feed dogs fish bones, except maybe from canned salmon, but I’ve never thought about cats. I bet they do love them.


Panthor November 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I always heard you shouldn’t because they can splinter and injure them. And that you should cook salmon before giving it to cats.


Jennifer November 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

1. I made a sheet pan meal out of reduced diced russet potatoes, chicken thighs from the freezer, and a packet of hidden valley ranch mix I found in a buggy on clearance for 25cents.
2. I also heated up some white beans that I made last week in the crockpot then froze last week. I figured up that this meal cost about $3 to feed my family of 4.
3. I really wanted to go to Sam’s club today and browse around but I decided not to because I know they have things that will beg me to purchase them for the upcoming holidays.
4. I was especially tired today and my husband wanted to bring home takeout. I declined and made the above meal. It only took a few minutes to throw together.
5. My youngest daughter, age 5, wants to go on a leaf hunt adventure. I am taking her outside for a walk around the neighborhood for some free fun.


Bee November 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm

As Susie’s Daughter would say, ” Some nights you deserve a medal for cooking dinner.” :-). Good job!


Susie's Daughter November 3, 2017 at 7:36 am

Well done indeed! 🙂


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

Thank you! It’s the little victories that keep us all pushing forward, I think.


cathy November 3, 2017 at 11:22 am

Are you familiar with the children’s book _Leaf Man_ by Lois Ehlert? Lovely book and illustrations with various kinds of leaves that ‘clump’ together to form a leaf man. It was one of my son’s favorites when he was about that age. Ehlert is also the author of one of our other favorites _Eating the Alphabet_ which is about all sorts of fruits and veg and their names as it goes through the alphabet. I’d bet your library has both.


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

Oh, so glad you mentioned these books. I will put them on my library list. She is so intrigued by leaves right now. She finds a new leaf for her collection every time we are outside. I love to see her so interested in nature. Thanks Cathy!


TJ November 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

When we were small growing up in South Jersey, we would bring home beautiful leaves in fall colors, and my mother would take the time to help us iron them in between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and then we would have them as table mats for fall.


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

That is a great idea. Turns out my daughter now has a stomach virus, yuck! I think we will try this while she is getting better since I actually have some wax paper.

ouvickie November 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

#3 – I’ve avoided Sam’s Club for nearly a year now, simply because I’m an impulse spender. We keep our membership, so hubby can buy supplies in bulk for his store. It’s just too tempting for me!


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Exactly, and it seems that I can buy just a few items there and spend $100+. That’s why I stay away from there. $100+ gets me so much more at the grocery store.


Isitaneedorawant November 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

(1) Found post Halloween light up pumpkins on sale today . Originally $21.00, yesterday husband ran in to the store and I asked him to check the price. They were $8.50 today they were slashed to $2.94 . They were all sold out by the time I left the store.
(2) Same daughter had leftover candy I am using to fill a birthday mug.
(3) Also purchased 4 packages (20 boxes of Halloween tattoos )for .54 . Set for next year. This year’s freezies were a success. One year I gave flexible rubber rulers in various colours.
(4) Returned an item to Costco. Ate a couple of food samples there and at IKEA.
It tied me over till I was home for a late lunch.
(5) Boiled a dozen eggs. Like to have this easy protein source available to snack on. Once on a flight, a fellow took a couple of boiled eggs out to eat as his snack. Thought that was pretty ingenious.


Ashley November 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm

I do the same! I buy tattoos/bubbles/stickers on clearance to put up for the next year as party favors/holiday favors for my kids at school. I have three of them so it saves a lot of $$$!


Teddie November 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm

A less than frugal week and no gems for my frugal crown:
1. Took GS to clinic for his late flu shot. Took more than 2 hrs ~ new patient paperwork, show custody papers, and waiting. On the way home he was starving and thirsty and I did not have the energy to follow meal plan, so I made an executive decision to drive thru fast food. GS was overjoyed ~ he had not had fast food for 3 months.
2. Saturday DH and I went Christmas shopping with a list and a budget. We stayed under budget to use left $$ to shop online for what we could not find in the stores.
3. After 3 hours of shopping we needed a pick-us- up so we went to a drive thru and got 2 drinks ~ husband’s was free as I had a coupon and I got a small.
4. Ordered remaining items on the Christmas list online at Amazon. I signed up for the Prime free trial ~ so no shipping charges. I also ordered some home products at real deal prices. Do you use Prime? Do you like it? Sure is great getting items at deal prices delivered to my doorstep.
5. Tuesday doing laundry lost my balance. I tried to catch myself, but unfortunately my fake knees do not twist and I crashed into the shelf holding canned goods and bakery items. Saw a doctor today ~ had x-rays and now waiting for results, but in the mean time I hurt so dinner last night was Subway. Making sure DH and GS can do simple dinners for a few days until I feel better.


Marie November 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Yes, I love Prime. 2 day free shipping. We also stream t.v. And prime has similar movies to Netflix.
Hope your not injured too bad.


Liz B. November 2, 2017 at 7:11 pm

We love Prime, too. We have family all over the country, so free shipping definitely comes in handy for Christmas and birthday gifts, as well as things we need. We watch a ton of Prime shows and movies, and we subscribe to the Starz add-on through Prime. I use Amazon’s cloud for photo storage, and would use the Kindle library benefit for books and magazines- but the membership is in hubby’s name, and that benefit is not (yet?) available to “associate” members. Still well worth it for us.


Liz B. November 3, 2017 at 6:16 am

Forgot to mention….hope you are on the mend from your fall. No fun at all being laid up afterwards! Yay you for getting your holiday shopping done.


Tracy November 3, 2017 at 4:45 am

So sorry for your fall. And you can feel smug about having finished your Christmas shopping, I haven’t even started!


SheilaS November 4, 2017 at 6:35 am

We love Prime. Yes, the two day shipping is nice. It is great finding deals. Streaming tv and movies is great. The best thing about Prime? All of the free and low cost books I can read on the Kindle app!


Trish November 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

1. Gave a couple of extra cast iron skillets to my sister in law. She and her husband have lent us some baby things recently, so it’s nice to reciprocate.

2. Made a big pot of potato and Italian sausage soup. Added a random assortment of home grown herbs and veggies in the fridge. When it was ready I scooped it out into lunch-seized Pyrex containers for myself and my husband to eat for the next few days.

3. Made a big breakfast casserole for my husband and son to eat. Eggs and hash browns are less expensive per serving than breakfast cereal, and making them in a casserole makes it much easier for my husband to prep each morning. My preschool aged son tends to get a sugar/carb high and then crash if he eats even low-sugar cereals. A protein-loaded breakfast definitely helps with his attention span at school!

4. Decided not to buy any more baby clothes even though I was tempted to. About half of what we have is just not quite right for my LONG skinny baby (our other son was husky and they are mostly his hand-me-downs) We are making-do with the other half. He may have a small wardrobe, but it’s enough to last between laundry days. If anyone asks for Christmas gift ideas for him I will ask for some long skinny onsie and pant outfits in the next size.

5. Took my preschooler to the library to get his first library card. I am trying to show him the merits of borrowing and lending over buying.


Roberta November 2, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Check ebay for baby clothes — don’t buy them new! I recently became part owner in a used children’s clothes store, and I cannot believe how much baby clothes are out there. There are enough newborn and 0-3 onesies to outfit every baby in America for the next 10 years!


Liz B. November 3, 2017 at 6:14 am

Facebook Marketplace will sometimes have baby clothes for sale, too…may be worth a look.


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 11:45 am

4. Same thing happened to me. I have 3 girls so I thought they would all be able to wear each other’s hand me downs but so often my middle child needs a looser fitting pant while my youngest has a very slim build and long torso. Luckily, some of it will work.


Bee November 2, 2017 at 6:01 pm

1) I worked on paperwork today — balanced the checkbook, reviewed this month’s budget, paid bills, filed and worked on my to-do list. This was much needed. I was drowning in paper and needed to pay attention to my finances. Life has been busy!

2) It was a beautiful evening, so my dear hubby and I went to a walk on the beach. We saw the almost-full moon rise and came home to a simple dinner. Lovely,relaxing and free!

3) Although I did not make a special trip, I stopped at the service desk at the grocery store. I was overcharged for an item last week and asked for a refund. It was not a great deal of money –just $1. However, it was the principal of the matter, and this has been happening a lot recently.

4) As mentioned above, I am sorting through old papers and files. I have several boxes of sensitive papers that need to be destroyed. There is a shredding fundraising event this Saturday. With a donation of $5 or more, sensitive materials are securely shredded and sent to be recycled. What a deal !

5) ? — I drank only water and home brewed coffee today. We ate at home. Watched a little Netflix. Boring but good. 🙂


Kathy Hairston November 2, 2017 at 7:49 pm

I too balanced the checking and savings accounts


Susie's Daughter November 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

#4 – Bee, I am wishing for a similar event! Last year one of the local banks offered free shredding as part of their financial security process. No such luck this year. I am beginning to think we should buy a shredder for home…


Bee November 3, 2017 at 3:38 pm

I would love to go paperless. However, I am not there yet. Although I have tried to shread things as they come in, I don’t seem to have very good luck with personal shredders. I am always jamming them up. I am impatient at times.


kathleen November 4, 2017 at 9:37 pm

I work for a nationally known investment company with branches in almost every small town. Home office requires that every branch has a shredding truck come out and shred on site once a month. If you happen to have an IRA and/or investments with such a company, you might ask your financial advisor if you could bring by your papers in need of shredding (all papers are kept in a locked bin inside the branch until shredded). I work in numerous branches, and they’ve all been happy to do that for clients.

Kim in Maryland November 3, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Susie’s Daughter check the online coupons from Staples. They normally have a coupon for free shredding of a few pounds.


Susie's Daughter November 4, 2017 at 10:23 am

Will do – thanks for the suggestion!

TJ November 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

How are shredded items recycled? We have 1 Stream recycling here in my area of FL, and they do not accept shred.


Bee November 4, 2017 at 10:39 am

The shreading company sells it for recycling. I am surprised your recycling company doesn’t accept shredded paper. Perhaps there is a recycling center nearby..


karen November 4, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Or if you have a compost pile you can put the shredded paper in there.


Ney November 3, 2017 at 8:37 pm

I have bought shredders at thrift shops for $2 to use for such papers.


Bethany M November 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

1. I have an Ebay saved search for my favorite children’s literature books. One lot popped up in my price range and I snatched it up to bring to a birthday party today.
2. Fought the urge to grab a lunch out and came home for leftovers.
3. Grabbed 4 pairs of practically brand new jeans out of the cabinet for my daughter. Bought them for about 8o cents a piece a couple years ago when I saw them on VarageSale.
4. Hemmed up the jeans myself tonight.
5. Took pictures of some items to get them listed on Ebay.


kathleen November 2, 2017 at 8:30 pm

1. Got back from 2 weeks vacation, and just totaled expenses. Looks like we came in at 2/3 of amount I had set aside in savings for it! Wheeeee!
2. I took the advice of a commenter here (thank you!), and went to a thrift store in one of the cities we visited for souvenirs. My favorite purchase was a $1 piece of costume jewelry…a pin in the shape of a covered bridge. I’m going to use a small square frame from my stash and a scrap of fabric to frame it…a perfect souvenir for an autumn trip through Amish country.
3. I’m doing a reading challenge this year, and one of the categories I hadn’t completed yet was ‘a book you bought on vacation.’ I found (also in the thrift store) a book I hadn’t read yet by a favorite author for 50¢.
4. Before we even got home, I received phone calls and booked a day and a half of work for next week.
5. It has finally cooled off some here. Between that and us being gone for half of the month, our electric bill was drastically lower this month.


janine November 3, 2017 at 5:52 am

Loved your #2. Being creative is a great frugal asset! Anther way to score inexpensive souvenirs is by hitting up stores off the beaten tourist track. My kids love sports memorabilia and logo imprinted sports clothing seems to be much cheaper in the chain stores in obscure parts of town.


Liz B. November 3, 2017 at 6:23 am

I love shopping in thrift stores while on vacation. We visit bestest friends who have a lake cottage at Lake Erie every summer, and there *just happens* to be a Goodwill not far from their cottage. Found awesome Ninja Turtle pajamas for our son there, when he was 4 (and heavily into TMNT).


Mand01 November 3, 2017 at 1:59 am

JK Rowling was right- chocolate can cure a Dementor attack!
1. Working like crazy is frugal. I’ve just grabbed whatever I can find from the freezer for lunch and barely noticed what I’ve eaten.
2. Wore an amazing shirt I got BNWT from the thrift store today. Such a great buy and it did double duty as I had to attend a function after work.
3. Dinner was a casserole my husband made a couple of nights ago, reheated, as part of Operation Empty Freezer. Tomorrow I will assess our progress while planning next week’s meals. As I will be away my husband will be in charge of OEF.
4. I didn’t buy a new iPhone on a payment plan as some on my office did today. Crazy. “Only” $130 AUD a month, y’all.
5. Making use of my library membership for free audiobooks on the Overdrive app. Great for my long long commute.


Denise November 3, 2017 at 10:21 am



Susie's Daughter November 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

I think it means Brand New With Tags…


kathleen November 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

BNWT = brand new with tags


Suzanne Kouns November 3, 2017 at 2:33 am

So, on this fun Friday ….. while watching my adorable grandson, we will hunt for more pliable thin sticks from the woods surrounding our house to fashion Cinnamon Brooms for a homemade Christmas this year (I will only need to purchase cinnamon oil for this gift idea. Yesterday, we had fun cutting all the large, slightly fading blooms from the hydrangea bushes ,to dry out in water buckets. They will take about a month to dry, but I plan on making a window valence with them in the kitchen window to take away the winter blues. Lots more ideas brewing in my head……..will share more ideas later 😉


Jill A November 3, 2017 at 3:49 am

1. I have our programmable thermostat set low and wearing a warm fleece in the house and blanket while I’m sitting.
2. I’m reading free books on my kindle and watching Netflix.
3. Took a beautiful walk with a friend. Good exercise since I don’t have a gym membership.
4. Eating leftovers.
5. Working on Swagbucks and other survey sites. I have earned enough points for three free amazon gift cards and many airline points.


Suzanne Kouns November 3, 2017 at 5:47 am

I also do #1, otherwise elec is so not affordable. Have not heard of swagbucks…..hmmmmm.


KJD509 November 3, 2017 at 5:56 am

I usually do #1, too but our programmable thermostat isn’t working quite right – it’s not following the schedule, and it sometimes says “recovering” and keeps the temp at my “at home” level vs “at work and school” or “sleeping.,” which are much lower.

I know I need to look it up online and fix it . . . but it has been so warm! Only one fleece vest needed instead of several layers. Today’s the day to suck it up and fix it, before I’ve inadvertently used up the oil due to last through February. Thanks for the reminder.


Denise November 3, 2017 at 10:23 am

Do you have to keep your heating on all the time when it’s an oil-fired system? Yikes!


KJD509 November 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

No – that would be so expensive! There’s not even a pilot light, but an electronic spark that starts the flame when the furnace kicks on.

But right now the programmable thermostat seems to be sending wrong information to the furnace, so it is running much of the day and night. I suspect we’re tearing through oil at great rate, but haven’t been down under the house where the tanks are to check the gauge. Also on the list today.


Mrs. Picky Pincher November 3, 2017 at 4:21 am

I LOVE that you donated your leftover candy. Fortunately we didn’t have any leftovers this year. I know some dentists will pay people for their leftover candy, so I might check that out sometime too (I think they donate the candy, but I’m not sure).

This week:

1. Yesterday my in-laws were in town and they kindly bought barbecue for the family to enjoy together. Thanks guys! This was way tastier than the spaghetti I was going to make.

2. Instead of getting a manicure, I painted my nails myself–using bargain-rack nail polish, no less.

3. I did a load of laundry with our homemade laundry soap.

4. I made a DIY advent calendar for about $20. We can use it for many years to come, so I didn’t mind fronting a little money now. I think our future kids will get a kick out of it. 🙂

5. Our cat, Zap, loves to go outside through the window in my office. The downside is that I have to leave the window open and bugs get in the house. I finally installed a DIY cat door that Mr. Picky Pincher made out of particleboard. The cat comes and goes as he pleases and less bugs get in the house. At the end of the day, I take the kitty door out of the window and put it back in the next day.


Alexandra November 3, 2017 at 5:01 am

I have heard you have money or time but rarely both at the same time. I have been working so much lately! I get a per diem for food so eating out is a no brainer, and that is good because my brain is a no-brainer right now…
1. Went to a work event where there were free samples of food. Brought home NINE loaves of homemade artisan bread. No one else wanted (they allhad to travel but still..). Giving some away to neighbors, the rest going into the freezer.
2. Giving neighbor our read copies of “the Sun” magazine. GREAT magazine from NC that has been around for 25 years, no advertising, and exceptional writing. Always looking for someone to share them with.
3. Discovered some local grocery sales that are really spot on for us. WAITING to go until after I have done home inventory. I have a bad habit of getting so excited about a good sale that I miss the fact that I am already stocked up! Is that the “hunter gather” part of my brain kicking in?
4. Got to spend a whole hour with a wonderful saleslady at a nice clothing store discussing styles to make me look my middle aged self “best”. She must have brought me 50 items to try on. Her help was invaluable. I spent $120 on two items that I look FABULOUS in for work. I will take her lessons with me to the thrift store for future shops. Future me is glad I spent the time and the money (on the fence about “frugal” spending $120 but feels like an investment”.
5. Had money left after trip for dinner but came home and ate frozen pizza with DH. So ready to be off the road, so ready to catch up with him and be home. Even though I did not use up my whole per diem, it didn’t cost me anything either.


Liz B. November 3, 2017 at 6:34 am

Personally, I think spending money on clothing (accessories, a good coat, etc) that makes you feel fabulous IS a good investment. I find that if something fits me just right and makes me feel like a million bucks, I walk taller, I feel more confident, and my smile shows it. If the pieces are timeless and classic, well worth the $$. AND if you can use her valuable advice when thrifting? Awesome. It all balances out.


Alexandra November 3, 2017 at 7:04 am

Thanks Liz B!


Lynda November 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

My daughter used to work for The Sun magazine. Brought a smile to my face when you mentioned it.


Liz B. November 3, 2017 at 6:44 am

Love the idea of donating excess Halloween candy. Not that such a thing exists in my house (ahem, coughcough….as I head off to the thrift shop for larger jeans….)
My fft:
1) Found 16 cents at the Coinstar. Started with two pennies on the floor by the CS machine, then looked up and realized there was change in the change bin. two nickels were stuck to a penny each – one by a smashed M&M candy. Lol! Cleaned up, unstuck, and tossed into the spare change jar.
2) Finally sold a used pair of Dansko leather clogs I’d listed on fb marketplace for $18. I bought them at a yard sale for $1.50 this summer.
3) Sold a Disney Halloween themed scrub top for $3.00. Purchased at the bins for pennies.
4) Drained and froze a small amount of leftover soup beans to use in future soup. Now that the weather has turned cold, I’m thinking soup making will be sooner rather than later.
5) Hubs, son and I went out to eat last night at a local restaurant to celebrate son’s Adoption Day (we finalized his adoption 7 years ago on Nov 2). Used a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase that had just arrived in the mail the same day. Hooray for our Local Town Saver magazine!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Kim in Los Alamitos November 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

Good for your family celebrating your son’s special day!
We call it our “Family Day”, which for us is May 2. We go out to dinner
and make our way to the pier for a walk.


Liz B. November 11, 2017 at 7:19 am

Thanks, Kim! Same to you – no matter what we call it, the day our kids became “officially” ours is a special day!


ouvickie November 3, 2017 at 7:39 am

1) Spending a nice weekend with my daughter & grandkids at my house this weekend. I bought a gluten-free brownie mix on sale at Big Lots and I’ll let the grandgirls have fun mixing and baking.
2) My daughter is bringing a small HD television to put in our backroom for the kids to use while they’re at my house. She bought it for the girls bedroom last year, but she said they rarely use it. Free replacement works for me, the video card went out on the one I had in that room.
3) I’m wearing my free OU Football Bedlam Series t-shirt I received after my last donation at the blood donor center.
4) I found an old 3 ring binder while cleaning out some things at my desk here at work. We don’t use them anymore and usually trash them. I decided I’m going to fill it with notebook paper and throw it my car. My grandkids loving writing and drawing during car trips.
5) I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, a yacht or anything encrusted in gold this week.


Susie's Daughter November 3, 2017 at 7:54 am

1) Made DS’s favorite apple crisp last night with apples (we think are Cortland variety) from the tree at the farm across the road. It was a super prolific tree this year and I will have apples for quite a while.

2) Returned the rug cleaner I borrowed (last year!) to my parents with a new container of cleaner solution. Thankfully, they don’t mind having us store it.

3) While at my folks, I loaded up about three days of emergency firewood. They heat with oil only now and their cellar is still 1/3 full of good firewood. We use our woodstove on cold days to ease off the furnace, but it would be our only heating source in power outage. After Monday’s 18 hour windstorm outage, I am progressively getting more prepared for possible disruptions.

4) Picked kale in our garden in a short sleeve shirt since it is 60 degrees (and rainy) here today. Hurray for a garden that is STILL producing!

5) Dinner last night included “pumpkin” pancakes (unlabeled 2015 ziploc bag out of the freezer, people! But it was squash of some kind 🙂 ) and sausage from the freezer as well. Breakfast for dinner is always a winner in my book.


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 11:51 am

5. I thought I was getting a small bag of pumpkin purée out of my freezer last night and instead it was refried beans! I just threw them into a pot of chili. It was in one of those freezer bags that has a bluish tint instead of clear so it was hard to tell. Oh well!


Lindsey November 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Cortland apples are my favorite! I was introduced to them when I went to New York state for grad school and have not had them again since returning home to Alaska. Every fall I grieve not finding them in the store. Lucky you to have a supply so close to home!


Susie's Daughter November 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

Lindsey – I wish I could ship you some! When I was in Alaska in 1998, I discovered that I DO like beer, it’s just the hops I don’t like. Alaskan Amber was produced with very few hops since they didn’t survive the shipping and it quickly became my favorite (only) beer. I try to have some whenever I am in the Pacific NW. I fear the hops scenario would be true for the Cortlands as well…


A. Marie November 4, 2017 at 10:50 am

Lindsey’s comment reminds me how lucky DH and I are to live in prime NY State apple territory. My current favorite for winter use is Empire (a Macintosh x Red Delicious cross, which seems to hold up better over the long term than Cortland), but at the moment we’re enjoying all of the newest varieties available to us. I’ve been picking up Crimson Crisp (a “hard, tart” cultivar) at our Regional Market for the last 2 weeks.


Liz B. November 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Ooooo, A. Marie….so envious of your apple situation. I’m lucky to have several local farms near me that raise a yummy variety of apples….my favorite is Stayman Winesap, though I also like Paula Red, Ida Red, Cortland, and Jonagold. Macintosh is my fave, when I’m forced to buy supermarket apples.


Bee November 4, 2017 at 4:02 am

When cleaning out my freezer after Hurricane Irma, I realized how many mystery items I had saved. I have been making a concentrated effort to label everything I put in. However, as was looking at the jars in my freezer yesterday, I realized that chicken,beef, and veggie broth all look a like when frozen. This is a problem.


Panthor November 3, 2017 at 8:28 am

1) Cleaned out my work closet and found two pair of brand new sandals in the boxes and a pair of headphones (the day I received my replacement pair of headphones I’d just ordered in the mail)

2) Put together my list for Project 333 and accounted for all the items I picked (some of which were still in the laundry); started doing Project 333 on Nov 1

3) Stopped in the thrift store to check against my housewares/project supplies lists and didn’t find anything I needed so I didn’t buy anything.

4) Brought coffee to work every day. Brought lunch most days and on the days I didn’t, I ate shelf stable meals that I stocked at my desk. Ate dinner at home every day.

5) Still haven’t replaced my broken Fitbit but have been using my iphone Health app instead for now until I can figure out how much it would help me health-wise for motivation to have a better fitness tracker.

Bonus: have been on top of submitting my health insurance claims and have logged payments received and deposited the checks right away. It feels so much better to not have a stack of pending invoices to organize and sort through. And I’m also tracking my spending against my budget semi-diligently.


Denise November 3, 2017 at 10:33 am


Semi-diligently is a lot more diligently than I managed in October!

Well done on being organised and disciplined. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you about Project 333. It’s always intrigued me, just….never been disciplined or organised enough to do it. I’m sensing a theme here!


Panthor November 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I am unsure if I will be diligent enough but I’m going to try. We’ll see! 🙂


Sandra November 5, 2017 at 3:43 am

What is Project 333?


Panthor November 7, 2017 at 11:25 am
rebecca November 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

1. Made split pea soup in the crockpot for about $2 total and have about 10 servings of it. It’s so nice to have it in the freezer and be able to heat up on a cold night.
2. I went to CVS yesterday to buy some Halloween candy on sale. There was nothing there. Save me some $ and my waistline.
3. I resisted the urge to buy a coffee out. I made one from home and brought it with me. It’s a no brainer and still I struggle sometimes.
4. This weekend I have plans to see clients, take a walk each day, correct papers, meal prep and spend no $ except to buy gas and groceries.
5. I turned the heat on for 2 days and now it is back in the 60’s. Heat is off.


Denise November 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

I am in the “buying things” stage of my unexpected and unwanted refurbishment, so I’m not sure about FFT, when I’ve just increased my credit card limit to £12,500. Ho hum.

1. I am an ace negotiator at work but am about as impressive as Mr. Magoo on a bad day when acting in my own interests. But I managed to haggle an additional £500 off an already heavily discounted list of appliances. I typed up my list, then addressed an email to three competing appliances stores, so they could see against whom they were competing.

Then I sent the cheapest response/bid to the other two and said “beat that offer or forget it”. One withdrew at that point, the other one came in £300 cheaper. That bid went to the first one. On Friday 27 October- the last day of the first company’s trading month (I’d asked someone earlier in the process), I got the extra £500, plus my dishwasher and main oven were upgraded as Neff are replacing those models. Overall discount off “list price” is £1070. Result!

2. I’m just about to go through the same process for my kitchen cabinets. I wanted real wooden doors but decided that I won’t fall in a faint if I get wood grain-effect MDF instead. About a 35% saving, maybe more.

3. While I’m not making soup at present, I am buying tins of soup to eat most days at work. Miles cheaper than sandwiches bought from Pret! I’m also eating breakfast at work every day, provided by my employer. And the fruit they provide. And the chocolate bars. And the biscuits…(cookies). I started HRT six weeks ago- doctor only told me about the massive increase in appetite at my six week review- prefaced by “you’ve put a lot of weight on, haven’t you?”. Yep, seven pounds in six weeks. Welcome to looking like the Pilsbury Doughboy. And wanting to eat the little pastry fool!

4. I used three coupons to get a rich Neutrogena face cream for £2, instead of £12. That’s my skincare needs taken care of.

Frugal fails:

Saw a shiny coin on the floor under an adjacent empty table – too embarrassed to be seen picking it up. Someone else did – a new £1 coin. Grrrr.

Went to a Physiotherapy appointment and was in so much pain afterwards, that I took a taxi back to the train station…



Lindsey November 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

WOW on your appliance deal making!


A. Marie November 4, 2017 at 10:42 am

Hi, Denise:

(1) I second Lindsey’s wow on the appliance deals. DH and I once spent a Christmastide in London doing painting and minor renovations on a friend’s flat in exchange for free lodging, and we got enough of a sense of British prices in general and London-area prices in particular to recognize what a coup you pulled off.

(2) At the risk of starting an entire secondary thread here, I’ve been avoiding HRT like the plague because of an extensive family history of breast cancer, and would generally advise friends to avoid it (and I consider all the NCA regulars as friends) unless menopause side effects are unbearable. Mine weren’t, fortunately. But your mileage may vary.


Denise November 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Not sure if you’ll see this, Anne-Marie, but thank you for sharing your kind thoughts.

I’m giving up on it- I was willing to run the rigorous a year or two (no cancer in my family over the last three generations), as menopause has left my memory really jiggered, and it’s a real problem at work – forgetting what I’m talking about mid-sentence, forgetting to do work – but it’s having no effect and I’m not doubling the dose.


Mary in Maryland November 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

I know what you mean about being ready to get rid of things. I have made some good sales on Craigslist. But if things don’t sell, the act of listing them loosens the roots enough that I can just take them to the thrift shop and be done.


janine November 3, 2017 at 4:11 pm

1. Went to an expensive environmental conference and ate the delicious brunch provided along with tea.
2. A local well known restaurant is closing next week. Resisted the impulse to dine there “one last time”.
3. Appreciated my privileged position as I listened to speakers talk about the issues facing Flint and Oakland. CA. who are fighting lead poisoning in their children. One keynote speaker said that our best protection is your neighbor’s healthy and well fed children. Good health and safety are also frugal.
4. Entertainment last evening was a beautiful fire in our fireplace using logs from our trees.
5. Noticed grocery store overcharged me by $3.30 and asked them to make an adjustment. They did.


Bee November 4, 2017 at 4:19 am

Clean water issues disproportionatly impact the poor in the US. As the water delivery systems age, I am afraid we will see more of the Flint situation. Since I drink so much water, I had ours tested. Since I live in Florida, I was to worried about lead but pesticide content.


janine November 4, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Along with the rest of the country I was aware of the problems in Flint. However the situation in Oakland took me by surprise. I agree with you Bee, that we should all be concerned because our aging infrastructure may have some nasty surprises for us in the future. You are also right that it will disproportionately impact the poor.


KJD509 November 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm

The technology exists to monitor water quality on a near-real-time basis. Initial costs for sensors, communication infrastructure, and analytic software are quite high, except when you compare them to the human cost of not monitoring. One thing we can all do is consider supporting our local utilities or municipalities when they request regulatory permission to upgrade, because chances are good that those of us in more privileged neighborhoods aren’t seeing the effects of aging pipes (in the case of water and natural gas) or wires (in the case of electricity). Ironically, neighborhoods where people pay their bills consistently on time don’t get as much scrutiny by utilities, so our meters tend to be older; they slow down with age, so some of us are unintentionally not paying our fair share.

One more thing before I get off my favorite soapbox: whenever there’s an opportunity to make public comments around an upgrade, instead of complaining about the cost, ask what the percentage of loss is through the distribution system. Average for water in the US is 15%, with some areas, even in drought, above 30%. Utilities are able to charge customers for that loss – that’s partly what the fees are on your bill. In addition to being unconscionably wasteful, loss recovery also hits the poor disproportionately hard. Public pressure is often the only thing that will encourage utility providers to improve their loss percentage – there’s no inherent incentive as they’re able to charge us for water or gas that leaks.

[steps off soapbox sheepishly]


Cathy November 5, 2017 at 9:40 am

Thanks for that perspective. I’ll think more critically next time a utility pushes for a rate increase. Fortunately our water/sewer/garbage are municipal, not private, so there’s often more transparency.

Vickey November 18, 2017 at 11:24 am

Wow, KJD, that was very informative, thank you!

Cindy in the South I November 6, 2017 at 11:35 am

I will not drink my small town’s water. Uniontown, AL…read about it…sigh


Joann November 3, 2017 at 5:50 pm

1. Went out of town for work weds this week and packed my drinks and snacks for the 4 hour drive.

2. Went to Trader Joe’s (not one in my town) for my husband’s favorite snacks (his birthday is next week). And picked up some wine on sale for my sister for Christmas (was $7 off each bottle).

3. Finally remember to get small plant for a co-worker who has been extra helpful to me these past weeks. (Always for get to pick up a small potted plant and did so at Trader Joe’s for under $5.00). (She helps me remotely)..

4. Check in at hotel and found out there were free pizza and wings in the lobby. Ate heavy snack, took a shower and went to Cheesecake Factory for desert (used gift card).

5. Lunch at my meeting was catered, remembered my cooler this time and the caterer had left ice packs so win win – took home oddles of food. (Not much was taken by the locals).

6. Was suppose to meet my in-laws for dinner (they live in same town as my meeting) so surprised them with leftovers so we didn’t have to go out to eat, and I could change into more comfortable clothes for my 4 hour ride home. Left them with big bowl of fruit (from luncheon- I took a bowl home too), left them with a pile of sandwiches (took 6 sandwiches home) and left 2 bowls of strawberry salad, took home at least 6 more cups of salad). Over all figured will get at least 4 or 5 meals with all this food.

Gave some can drinks (left over from meeting) to a friend who gave me some clothes for my brothers son (her boys are much older now), gave her the drinks she was so happy, (need to figure an amount to pay for the clothes figured the cans and we will meet up next week for the Starbucks buy one get one free drink and I will know more what I should pay for the clothes. ).

Will take the extra tea (bags) and napkins to work to use there. And the left over muffins will last us at least 2 more days of snacks.


auntiali November 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm

1. noticed hubby bought the wrong toothpaste last week that wasn’t on sale. Yes, he will return them. I will not spend $8.97 on 3 tubes of toothpaste when the sale ones where $1.25 when you bought 3.
2. did a day of errands with my daughter yesterday. Some of the errands were for her departure for China.
3. Today we picked up daughter’s new glasses from Costco. Spent $115 on the glasses and it was worth it as she could really notice how dirty and scratched her old glasses were. Will write off the charge on taxes.
4. Returned my library dvd and magazine.
5. picked up my 2018 monthly pages for my planner book that I use. Paid for it with my allowance cash – no error messages with cash.


Jennifer November 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

1. I don’t think my husband even looks at prices on things like toothpaste. It bothers me that he can’t take a few seconds to at least do a small price comparison.


Jill A November 4, 2017 at 3:13 am

If it makes you feel any better my youngest daughter picked up her toiletries for college and you bought a $5 tube of toothpaste. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. She usually so good with her own money, but I guess the grocery store was a little too overwhelming.


Amanda November 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm

1) I used not one, not two, but three $5 off Aldi coupons this week!

2) My husband has decided to eat low carb for November. He’s got meals and snack options planned so that we don’t have to spend a ton of money to make it happen.

3) We hired our third full time employee today. My husband and I have been very slowly expanding our business, making sure that we have plenty of work for each hire. We hope this approach means that we will stay in the black and that our employees can count on a job as long as they want it.

4) Our house is rented on Airbnb right now. It is not always easy sharing your home, but it pays the mortgage.

5) Every stitch of clothing I am wearing right now was free. The shirt was a hand me down from my neighbor. My pants were a Christmas gift. Even my underwear was the result of a free coupon from Victoria’s Secret.


Mand01 November 3, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Free clothes are the best.
I love to calculate cpw or cost per wear for thrifted clothing. The cheaper the item or the more frequently you wear it, the lower the cpw.
Free items of course have the lowest possible cpw so are the best.
This is honestly how my brain works…


Susie's Daughter November 4, 2017 at 10:34 am

Mand – I love this idea! I am frequently doing this per meal, but clothes!!! Since I only dress up for work a couple of days per week, it would be really interesting to do this for work purposes… LOVE IT!


A. Marie November 4, 2017 at 10:44 am

Mand, great NCA minds run in the same directions!


Mia November 4, 2017 at 6:59 am

What kind of business do you have? I’m always curious/nosy to see what people do for a living. Thanks.


Mia November 4, 2017 at 7:00 am

Sorry, mean’t this for Amanda.


KJD509 November 4, 2017 at 11:10 am

Amanda, I’d love to hear about your Airbnb experiences. I know Katy’s mom rented out a home, too, but it didn’t seem to be one she lived in. I’m trying to think creatively about ways to make a home in Expensive New City work for us – especially since we’re moving from Inexpensive City Where Home Prices Are Dropping – and have seen several places that look like they might be attractive for that option. Do you remove personal items? How do you screen renters? Is it worth the cost and effort?



Alison November 5, 2017 at 8:09 am

1. DH did a minor repair of the fan switch in our rental suite using a replacement one he had stored away. Took two minutes, and cost nothing.
2. Went thru my Christmas wrap, etc and collected up all the holiday stickers and have them to a grade 6 teacher. She’ll use them on her students’ work.
3. Using up freezer items for dinner. DH and DD had burgers that were stored individually, buried in the bottom. Since we have given away our freezer, I only have our fridge freezer and need to make sure it doesn’t get over full.
4. Used airmiles to pay for $30 worth of groceries. I paid $15. ( one bag of groceries was $45!!!!)
5. Went to dinner with friends, my female friend complimented me on my jacket/sweater/coverup thingee I was wearing. I revealed to her it was almost 17 years old! But, it’s black and a classic style, so hasn’t gone out of style, and I dont wear it often, so it looks newish. And the fabric is durable so washes well.
6. And, I have decided to go gray! Instead of getting my hair coloured every 4 weeks (I can’t do it myself), I got a shorter haircut to prepare for the awful “growing-out stage”. It’ll be cheaper, and healthier in the long run. It’s been 9 years since I covered all my gray, so I’m feeling now that I can handle it.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: