Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 20, 2017 · 98 comments

  1. I sold two things on eBay, one item through Instagram and am arranging a Facebook Marketplace sale of a thrifted Vera Bradley purse for later in the week.

  2. I accepted my father and step mother’s generous hospitality and spent one night at their mountain cabin this weekend. I stopped into the nearby library and bought a 50¢ Tony Hillerman paperback to read on the airplane for my NYC trip at the end of this month. It’s the perfect travel book as it’s light, cost next to nothing and I won’t need to worry about bringing it home if I finish it during the trip. I can even leave it at my sister’s library for the next reader!

  3. I finished a library book, wore thrifted clothing, created my own eBay packing materials using paper bags and cereal boxes, closed off the heat vent to my son’s room after he visited, arranged free USPS pickup service to avoid a post office trip, was reimbursed for something I picked up at Costco for a family member and wore layers instead of turning up the heat.

  4. I hit the magic number of 800 hours worked in a calendar year to earn a bonus check in January. All the “resource” RNs can earn a bonus $1.25/hour once we work over 800 hours. I’ll likely end up working around 1000 hours this year, which’ll come in extremely handy after making the next university tuition/fees payment on January 1st. By the way, this will be THE LAST double tuition payment, as my older son is due to graduate college at the end of winter term!!!

  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.

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeena November 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Hello, I’ve been following your blog for a while but I have yet to figure out the inside joke about the Learjet and apartment in the sky. Do you have a link so I can laugh along? LOL.


Katy November 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm

The Lear Jet refers to how much of frugality is about what you *don’t* do, and the “vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky” refers to the certain horrific man who until recently lived in a gold-plated apartment at the top of a NYC skyscraper.


Kristen November 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm

YAYYYYY for only one college tuition payment!


Crosby November 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

He’s graduating already?? Man time flies.

1. I drove 3 hours each way to see my best friend and her daughter this week BUT I took my husband’s hybrid to save on gas (and have the 4 wheel drive, first snow of the season means slick roads and bad drivers) and packed my own snacks/water for the trip so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy anything on the road.
2. my houseplants are multiplying like crazy so I spent Sunday repotting a bunch, and taking cuttings of my aloe, pothos, and spider plants and posting them on our Buy Nothing group so other can enjoy plants indoors.
3. Created some art for my office using 2 photos that my husand took on our last vacation and 2 beat up wood frames that I bought at a thrift store and sanded and painted myself. (Frugal Fail – I had to buy the photo mattes new because I couldn’t find any in the right size that didn’t look incredibly worn)
4. bought a brass bowl for a few dollars at a thrift store that was looking verrrry worn and spruced it up with some Barkeepers Friend that I had on hand. It is so shiny now!! I put a candle in it that I had on hand and it really made our apartment much cozier since the weather has turned
5. Encouraging my family to join me in a Buy Nothing Friday hike on one of our free local trails the day after Thanksgiving instead of getting bogged down in the maddness of consumerism.


Bethany M November 20, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I thought aloes propagate by pups not by cuttings. Tell me how you do this!!! I’m very interested.


Crosby November 21, 2017 at 7:07 am

I must admit, it was lazy typing on my part. My propagate by pups as well, I just used cuttings, incorrectly, as a broad term. ALTHOUGH when I was repotting a rather beastly aloe plant, I broke of a “bunch” by mistake and I’m seeing if it will root. I’ll let you know!


Mary November 20, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Hope your sons realize that no college debt is the best gift you’ll ever give them. We did the same for our 2 daughters. They held up their end of the deal by working hard. And…one graduated in 3 years, and the other skipped her last year of high school. We were fortunate to have them graduate at the age of 20. They knew what they wanted to pursue. We realize we’re lucky.


Cindy in the South I November 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

I cannot believe he is graduating….I remember reading your blog when he had just started college….wow! 1. I stayed at home for most of the weekend so I spent little in gas. 2. I took a long nap. 3. I made 69 cent turnip greens with leftover chicken, spices, and then added rice. I have also tossed in a can of green beans and leftover sweet potato. I know most folks down here flavor their greens with pork, but chicken is what I had on hand…shrugs…. Soup is inexpensive (I think the whole pot cost me less than $4, probably less than $3), will last the whole week, and is easy to eat after a long day. I also continued to eat my 99 cent tomatoes, with an egg, for an egg sandwich in the mornings for breakfast. 4. I took cheese, and peanut butter and fig jam sandwiches to work for lunch. 5. We had our first freeze at night, it hit 30 degrees. I loathe cold weather, so the heat came on at 65…sigh….there goes my low electric bills. Why is this frugal????…it is better than the 72 I used to keep it on a few years ago…lol


Lindsey November 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

1. More Bar Keeper’s Friend praise: I salvaged a gross cookie sheet from the dump site platform where people put stuff someone else might want instead of throwing it in the dumpster. Brought it home and used elbow grease and Bar Keeper and ended up with a sparkling cookie sheet instead of buying a new one.
2. I mention this again because it keeps giving frugal dividends: the husband finally cleaned the tools and misc. boxes out of the garage so we can park in there. It was 23 below here this morning and even though it was in an attached but unheated garage, the car was warm when we went out to use it. If we had left it outside for the night, we would have had to plug it in (which costs money), start it and let it warm up to clear out the frosted windows (which costs gas and hurts the environment), and we would have had to drive the first mile or so very slowly because the tires would have been square and it takes a mile or so to round them off (saves tires in the long run and time). Why didn’t we do this last year???!!
3. The dog is elderly and needs pills but refuses to eat them unless encased in meat. Hot dogs were on sale and I had a coupon so I bought 20 packages of hot dogs for 49 cents each and froze all but one package. Much cheaper than any other meat alternative. He is worth it. Now I just have to keep the husband away from the hot dogs.
4. Mended four pairs of pants. I detest mending.
5. A friend sent me a gift of six pairs of holiday socks that were much too small. I took them to the place I volunteer and a woman took them to put in her daughter’s Christmas stocking, since they were brand new and still had the tags on them. I was happy to pass them on. The next day I was on, she brought me four large sausage and cheese and pesto rolls made with phyllo dough, as an unexpected exchange. Paired with a salad, it was enough to feed me and the husband dinner that night. She apologized, saying the rolls were actually leftovers from their dinner the night before but she thought I would like to taste them. If this is how she cooks all the time, I want to move in with her.
6. Tonight’s dinner is simmering on the stove, a mac and chili made with bits from the freezer and cupboard that years ago I would have thrown away—a half a tomato we didn’t finish so I threw it in the freezer, six elderly meatballs, a half a jar of tomato sauce, a cube of pesto, a tiny bit of caramelized onion I had put in plastic and frozen, one leek, and about a cup of leftover pumpkin pulp. I will add to this mish/mash a box of elbow macaroni purchased on sale and it will feed us for two nights. The sauce tastes pretty good, actually, and will be even better after more simmering and a few spices thrown in.


Lorraine November 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

I love it that you bought your dog hot dogs. Yes, he’s worth it. So sweet. I hope your husband won’t eat too many… And, where do you live where it’s so cold already?!! Brrrrrrr…….


Lindsey November 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Interior Alaska. We are paying for an unusually long and mild fall.


A. Marie November 21, 2017 at 3:26 am

Some of Lindsey’s are like some of mine, so I’ll hang my FFT here:

(1) 4″ of lake effect snow here in my part of Upstate NY yesterday. Very thankful to have a garage to put my car into, to avoid having to sweep/scrape it off (plus all the other benefits Lindsey mentions). Building the garage in 2008 with my bequest from my mother instead of investing the money didn’t seem frugal to some folks at the time–but we felt a lot better about it after the stock market crashed that year.

(2) We also contracted this year, for the first time, to have our snowplowing/snowblowing done for us. This is a matter of being frugal in most things so we can put our money where we need it: It’s going to be a lot easier on DH both mentally and physically not to have to wrestle with our aging snowblower.

(3) And I too played “evening at the improv” in the kitchen last night to use up leftovers, although not quite as creatively as Lindsey. In my case, the six last full-size tomatoes from the garden (which, like end-of-season tomatoes generally, were a bit sour and needed some flavor disguise) went into a Sloppy Joe with a pound of hamburger from our 1/4 cow. I seasoned it with garam masala instead of chili powder, just for a change of pace.

(4) More use of late produce and leftovers: I’ll be using Tuscan kale and carrots from the garden, plus some surplus apples, to make a kale, carrot, and apple salad for my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner with the Bestest Neighbors.

(5) Finally, congratulations to everyone on their achievements: Katy on her son’s upcoming graduation, Barbara on paying off the mortgage, and Ava and others on raising hard-working kids. And thanks also to Mand for being the Guilt Fairy (I too am planning to reuse that line) and to Mand and Lindsey for the underwear stories. (I once went to visit my BFF and forgot underpants; thank goodness we wear the same size and I did remember to bring panty liners…)


KJD509 November 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Wow, great news on the end of double tuition! That’s years in the future for us. ..

1) Pitched a bit of a fit last week about someone at work not keeping commitments – I can put up with a lot of tomfoolery, but straight up lying about whether or not you’ve completed a task really gets under my skin – but logged on from home today and my user name and password still work, so I guess I’m not fired yet. Whew.
2) Planning all the pre-Thanksgiving meals with items out of the freezer. Hoped to stay out of the stores entirely this week (a cousin is hosting), but alas, forgot some ingredients for my assigned dishes and will have to go shopping. I’m thinking 11 pm or so the stores ought to be less frenetic.
3) Needed a new fitness tracker for work. Our insurance premiums are tied to how active we are (plus non-smoking, etc.) and mine broke about 4 months ago. Now I’m below the step level needed to avoid the surcharge, and because I’ve been using “fitness points” to purchase discount movie tickets for gifts, I don’t have enough points to buy one through the site. Found one in the stores Saturday for more than I was willing to spend, so ordered on line – a fancier, newer model plus overnight shipping through Prime and it was still less than half price. Still a bit of a ridiculous expenditure, but hitting 10,000 steps a day for most of the next 45 days saves a lot of $$ over the next year.
4) And getting back on the exercise wagon will keep me from needing to buy yet more new clothes. Those extra pounds are really insistent this year.
5) No Lear jet, no vulgar real estate 🙂


Patti November 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Wow! Time flies – so happy you are almost there with the tuition payments.
1. Today I have on a pair of gray wool dress pants I have owned almost 20 years. They are still in style and good shape. I also have on a too short turtleneck with a layered cowl neck sweater over it – both I have owned for many years. I do get tired of these clothes during the season, but when I pull them back out after a hiatus, I am ready to wear them again.
2. Our heating bill is lower but only because the new unit upstairs is not working. I will be calling the company again for service while it is under warranty (and demanding to know if it is tripping off due to a safety issue).
3. My son came home this week for a night and complained about how cold we keep the house. I handed him another blanket. LOL
4. We continue to eat out of the freezer and garden. I am so happy I planted lettuce for the first time and we are eagerly awaiting our other cold weather crops.
5. Looking forward to a low key Thanksgiving although we are traveling.


KJD509 November 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

#3 LOL!


Mand01 November 20, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Congratulations on getting one kid through college debt free!
I’ve been very impressed by all your wheeling and dealing to achieve that.
It has been a pretty unfrugal few days around here as I’ve been spoiling my youngest with events and outings just because.
But a frugal lifestyle in other areas enables fun when it counts.
1. Traveling for work again, choosing to bring food in my bag rather than eating in the hotel restaurant. Saving big dollars doing that.
2. Used free hotel wifi
3. Listening to free audiobooks and podcasts on the plane
4. Was hungry at the airport and tempted by airport food and coffee but remembered I had a protein bar in my bag and that I could wait for the plane coffee. Avoided spending $15 on junk food. I did buy a magazine but it was one I regularly buy and had pre-planned to buy.

There were multiple frugal fails due to being too tired to pack properly. I actually forgot to pack underwear and a toothbrush. So I had to buy these things as I’m not going commando or facilitating meetings with fuzzy teeth. But I’m irritated with myself as buying these things I already have and on the run is just a waste of money. Usually I’m very organised but this time I spent my weekend having a good time!


Nicola November 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Most hotels will supply you with a toothbrush, if you request it.


Mand01 November 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm

I’m in a remote part of Australia. I’m happy I’ve got hot water tbh


Lindsey November 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

My husband accompanied me on a work trip once. I arrived to realize that I had forgotten to pack underpants. I could not wear the penguin leggings I’d worn under my skirt to fly (small planes are cold in the winter!) with a dress suit, so I wore his shorts, held up with a giant safety pin. The entire presentation I worried that they would fall down or I would fall down and my skirt would fly up and reveal my underpants to the world. If this happened again, I would buy new underpants…


JennyS November 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm



ouvickie November 21, 2017 at 2:25 pm

ROFL, Lindsey – the mental image of your descriptive paragraph has me giggling!


nancy from mass November 22, 2017 at 6:27 am

That’s a great story Lindsey! It reminds me of a ‘tip’ my oldest sister used to tell me.
“buy enough underwear to get you through your lifetime because after the kids arrive and you have a mortgage, underwear for yourself is the last thing you buy. I don’t think i’ve had elastic in my underwear for years now! I keep wearing pants so at least if the underwear falls down, it’ll only go as far as the crotch of my pants!”.
I miss my sister.


Lisa November 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Congrats on your son’s achievement


1. Continue to help my mom use her fabric stash. Donated 25 quilts to homeless high school students.

2. Family has agreed no Christmas gifts this year. We will still get together.

3. Brother doing radiation at hospital an hour and a half away in a college town. Found him a place to stay for free (all the college kids go home for the holidays). This will save on gas and him and his wife can rest between treatments.

4. Mom received a turkey from the church with sides. We kept the sides but lasted the bird to a niece who is struggling.

5. Keeping the promise to myself to stay out of the stores til January 5th


HeatherS November 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm

I have an uncle who will soon begin cancer treatments in a college town, can I ask, is it dorms that the colleges let them use? How did you find about about the place to stay? I would love to be able to help out my uncle and aunt if I could find them something like this also.


Lindsey November 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm

Did you ask the hospital cancer folks about cheaper places to stay? A lot of hospitals have deals with nearby hospitals that give really good rates to patients. Or call nearby hotels yourself. When we were in Seattle for treatment once, we mentioned to the hotel why we were there and it turned out they had a special, unadvertised rate for hospital patients and also gave us a handicapped tag good for priority parking in their lot. It was a lifesaver.


HeatherS November 23, 2017 at 5:53 am

Good ideas, I will have to check with my aunt and make a few inquiries myself. I know that right now, any hotel would be out of reach financially for them. I know their church has helped out with gas cards for their drives to and from. I am also hoping to be able to help out.


Jennifer November 20, 2017 at 3:05 pm

1. My husband and I went to the auction for a date night. We got a few small appliances for only $3 per item for Christmas gifts. That’s better than Black Friday prices for new in the box items.
2. I am starting to put up a few Christmas decorations. I keep my house decorated with mostly Fall decor until after Thanksgiving while gradually adding in the Christmas stuff. We aren’t home a lot so I have to do what I can when I am here. I pulled my crippled, old tree from upstairs to get set up then wait a little longer to decorate. So many of the branches are severely bent and falling off, I was doubtful I could make it work another year. With the help of ALOT of zipties and a book propped under one of the legs, the tree is standing tall.
3. Today we ate chicken and dumplings. These are leftovers I put in the freezer a few weeks ago. Nice gift from my past self to my present self.
4. I grouted my tile with an old flip-flop cut in-half lengthwise. It really worked just as well as the special tool that can be bought for the same purpose. I used to have one of those, but lost it. My tile job looks like a professional did it. My aching back proves otherwise.
5. I’m not feeling that great so I am going to try to get some much needed rest. Getting run-down leading to illness is not frugal.


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life November 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Feel better soon!


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 12:25 am

Thank you!


Cindy in the South I November 21, 2017 at 8:34 am

Get well soon! Glad to hear the flipflop worked!


Kayleigh November 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I would love to close off air vents in summer and winter in unused rooms, but then I stuggle with mildew on window sills, baseboards, bedding, etc. I have to use a/c and heat the place. How do you do it?


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life November 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

We have a problem with dampness in our house now and had to get rid of a lot of black mold before moving in so we’re using small buckets of Damprid as a preventative, maybe that would help with yours?


Tracy November 20, 2017 at 4:23 pm

I am struggling to stay frugal at this time of the year. And I am jealous about the end of double tuition payments, I have under-performing college students who are taking their time getting through… Sigh. But at least they are going to state schools and are non-materialistic and don’t mind living on little money.
1. I have really been working on reducing food waste and it is helping our food bill. I made a Chinese chicken salad yesterday using up a bunch of odds and ends and am making chicken and dumplings tonight, third meal from a Costco rotisserie chicken.
2. I am continuing to stock pile food/treats for our trip to the beach right after Christmas, bough 4 half cases of soda for $10, and wheat thin crackers on sale with coupon for $1/box.
3. I did low key things around the house this weekend — cooking, running, reading library books, watching Netflix. Frugal weekend.
4. I am working hard to get best bang for buck for Christmas gifts — getting practical things at lowest prices.
5. I am working to pay off credit card by next month (don’t usually carry any balance but put spring break plane tickets on card last week) and then am going to bump up savings. Easier to save when it comes off the top…


Caroline November 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Well done on the tuition and the perseverance it entails to you and your family.
1. Bought ugly Christmas sweaters at Goodwill for husband’s themed office party.
2. Ate leftovers we weren’t excited about and they were ‘better than they needed to be.’
3. Wearing leggings under shorts instead of buying more sweatpants. Only wear these around the house, I’d like to clarify!
4. Convinced our semi-feral cat the heated outdoor kitty house was not a trick. This took longer than it should have for the cat to crack, but now means we can go away for the weekend during the winter–priceless! Since our neighbor and I trade pet feeding duties when we travel, this is a game changer. (At one point during the process the cat lay shivering *next* to the heated pod thingie. Sheesh.)
5. Husband fixed gas fireplace pilot light with YouTube video and a can of compressed air, woot!


Robin November 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

I especially love your #4. We too have a semi-feral cat that we consider a volunteer pet. He shows up twice a day to be fed and meows at us through the window if we are slow to feed him. Unfortunately, we’ve had no luck catching him (even with well-baited traps from the animal shelter) to get him to the vet and the only visitor to the cat house we set up for him was a rather unfortunate looking possum. He sleeps in our barn, so at least he has some shelter.


Caroline November 21, 2017 at 5:21 pm

That possum won the lottery, though, eh? I’m sure your cat is perfectly content in the barn but I empathize with the frustration you must feel. If only they could understand English. Or Mandarin, or ASL. Hang in there you are doing your best!!


Barbara November 20, 2017 at 5:08 pm

1-5. I finished paying off my mortgage this month, 10 years ahead of schedule.


Mand01 November 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

That’s the frugal mic drop.
Well done you!


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 12:28 am

Wow! Congrats! I feel like I am never going to be able to post those words.


Bee November 21, 2017 at 3:44 am

Pop the champagne! What an accomplishment! Congratulations!


Tracy November 21, 2017 at 4:45 am

Wow! Inspiring… Congrats!


SheilaS November 21, 2017 at 7:39 am

Awesome! You should be so proud of yourself. That is an amazing accomplishment.


Christine Joiner November 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

My dream! Congratulations! 10 years ahead is very inspiring. Thank you.


Michelle H. November 21, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Boom! That’s awesome.


ouvickie November 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm



Caroline November 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm



Caroline November 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm



nancy from mass November 22, 2017 at 6:32 am

YAYYYYYY!!!! Paying off the mortgage early is such a wonderful feeling! That’s one big bill off your mind! 🙂



Aunty Penny November 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Woo hoo! Congratulations.


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life November 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

I increased our auto-deposits to our kiddo’s 529 plan in hopes that by the time ze gets to college, we’ll be able to handle the tuition payments with as much grace as you have.


Ava November 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm

No dramatic frugality here right now, just the usual.
1. Had a very successful craft show, the last for the year, and vowed to be more prepared next year. I have started the long process of cleaning up the mess from craft show frenzy that takes over the house this time of year. It is truly horrific right now.
2. Started organizing paints and found several colors I thought I was out of and was preparing to buy.
3. Made macaroni and cheese from the last of several bits of different cheeses.
4. Having Thanksgiving with daughter’s family and taking several dishes to help her out. I am supplying some items that she does not keep in the house but that I always keep stocked. There is no point in her buying a whole box of an item that might not get used again after the holiday.
4. Mended a pair of socks. I have several more items to repair. They piled up when craft show frenzy took over.
Katie, I so admire your gift to your children of no college debt . I wish I could have done the same for mine. Unfortunately, when they were in school, I didn’t have the good husband I have now. I was working 2 jobs just to keep up with normal expenses. The kids worked full time all the time they were in school. The experience left them with a great work ethic but I wish it had been easier for them,.


Mand01 November 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I worked my way through school. In Australia we have a different university system, but my parents could not afford to support me (I had to move to study). To be honest even though it was hard at the time I don’t regret it one bit. I grew up really fast and was a very mature young person much more quickly than peers. When I had my kids – also younger than my peers – and one of them turned out to have a disability, I was ready to cope with it at a young age.
So I am the Guilt Fairy and I absolve you 🙂


Ava November 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Oh, thanks Mand01. I appreciate it. Both kids turned out well and are still very hard workers. I hope they pass it on to the grandkids.


Lindsey November 20, 2017 at 7:23 pm

What a great thing to say, that you are the guilt fairy and absolve her. I am going to borrow that line. Thanks.


Bee November 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm

1) Saturday was s picture perfect day. We took a ferry ride to a barrier island north of where my husband and I live, and then took a hike at one of my favorite spots along the water. Blue sky, fresh air and sunshine lift the spirit and are absolutely free!

2) We are going out of town for the holiday, so I had my car serviced today. I forgot my coupon, but the dealership honored it when I asked them to. This saved quite a bit on my 120,000 service.

3) I made egg roll in a bowl to use up bits and bobs before leaving town. We have been eating what’s on hand for days.

4) My hubs and I are watching a British crime drama, Hinterland, on Netflix . Moody,unsettling and suspenseful

5) I am trying to count my blessings.even though I Have hit a rough patch. Gratitude makes the simplest things seem grand.

Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings to all


Tracy November 21, 2017 at 4:47 am

Happy Thanksgiving to you Bee. Very sorry re rough patch, I so enjoy your posts…


Susie's Daughter November 21, 2017 at 5:20 am

Bee – I woke up with the song “Count Your Blessings” in my head this morning. Sending warm thoughts from chilly VT.


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 5:41 am

5. I am thinking of you. This is a good time of year for me to reflect on blessings. I’m sorry you are struggling. When my daughter almost died when she was 9 months old due to surgery complications, we lived in the hospital for a couple months. I was extremely anxious and depressed. I just couldn’t seem to see a silver lining. Also, the lack of sleep and crappy pull-out bed were killing my aching back. I went to the parents lounge and met a woman in there who was washing clothes. Making small talk, I began to complain about the terrible pull out bed. She proceeded to tell me that in a couple days she would have been in the hospital with her child for one year! I was in awe of her positive outlook treating it like it was an anniversary party. She was just glad things were ok for that moment, as often times, they weren’t. I always think about those families that are still in the hospital with their sick children to this day. I hope things begin to look up for you soon. Momma always said life has lots of peaks and valleys so I hope you are on your way back up. … I ,too, love your posts!


Beth November 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

1. Received/used $20.00 in coupons from PetSmart for our dog getting a dog tag and antler to chew on. Still have a $5 coupon to be used, Love their rewards program!
2. Used my $10 JC Penney rewards for socks, gold toe brand, I feel pampered.
3. Picked up free Kroger 2 liter to take to my brothers for thanksgiving and went to Meijer and redeemed $9 in rewards, picked up free chicken broth with a store coupon and saved $5 with coupons. Went to Aldi to get items for pie and sweet potatoes we will be bringing.
4. Co-worker needed to take time off so picked up 32 hours at my part-time job which will help cover the days I won’t be working/paid for when school is closed over the holidays. Also picked up three pet sits for the coming weekend.
5. Finished an audiobook on Hoopla and downloaded the new Kelly Clarkston cd. Also been listening to great playlists on Amazon Prime music, teenage daughter even approved.
6. Bought pizza at Little Caesar’s and because of the long wait received a free bread and sauce.
7. Trash picked a box of all white plastic hangers and a three drawer organizer, all in great condition.
8. Giving thanks for all of our blessings.


karen November 21, 2017 at 7:13 am

Beth, I am in awe of how much you work side jobs. Between your cat and dog jobs, your part time library job and then your school job you always seem to be on the go. And your posts always seem like you make these jobs enjoyable for your daughter and you. Just wanted to let you know this. Hope you have a great and restful Thanksgiving.


janine November 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

1. Going out to a free dinner tomorrow evening with a friend – will have to endure sales pitch for retirement funding but am told that you can learn something at these events.
2. Gifted son with cold cuts and bread so he can make sandwiches for his lunch instead of eating out.
3. Proposed to husband that we curtail drastically going out for dinner – at some time I hope he will see my point of view. (I am usually the one who likes to go out and avoid cooking.) Also Costco and other stores now carry a lot of pre-cooked food which saves on food costs as well as gas and tips. A compromise – more expensive than cooking from scratch but also a savings.
4. Visited over-stock store and scored soda (6/1.00) which is a treat in our household. Then they added BOGO.
5. We are replacing some windows. Home Depot installer asked if we would like our fire alarms replaced for free. Yes!


tonya parham November 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Way to go on the first son graduating! Time flies!

1. I made lunch and took to work. Didn’t stop at Sonic for a drink on the way home.

2. I made chicken and dumplings from scratch yesterday, using a chicken I got on sale. I HATE to make it but my wife LOVES it and it’s one of the ways which I show her I love her, is to make it. As I ate it last night, I thought, “I really can taste all the love I put in this!”

3. I have plastic on the bathroom windows to stop the draft from them and am keeping the heat turned low.

4. Renewed my library books.

5. Have beeen watching a lot of youtube videos on vegan eating. I am not entirely plant based because I think putting that label on myself makes me rebel against it. So, I’m doing more plant based without denying myself anything. To that end, I let my wife have the left over Chicken and dumplings (since she loves them more than I do) and I made myself a refried bean and cheese quesadilla. I’d never made one before and while it did have some cheese, it was largely fat free beans. It was cheap, yummy, and satisfying as well.


Susie's Daughter November 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

Tonya – I was thinking about your #5 while I was making lunch. At various times in my adult life I have been predominantly vegetarian, with the inclusion of a number of vegan favorite meals. This was partially for health reasons and mostly for financial reasons. I resonated with your increase in a plant based diet with out necessarily calling it something particular. DS’s food allergies (several legumes) makes this less appealing these days since I want to fix one meal for dinner, but he does like black beans so that increases our meatless options. Happy eating – whatever your meal may be!


ouvickie November 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Your #2 – I love that you cook something you hate, because you love her so much. That just melted my heart!!


Sandy November 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Congratulations, Katy! Getting first son to his last semester is wonderful!
-Our two grown children, spouse and four grandsons join us for Thanksgiving. Feeding nine people three meals a day takes some planning, but I’ve done the menu plan and grocery shopped! The frozen turkey breasts are thawing now.
-The garage door opener stopped working, so my husband replaced it!
-I made quilted placemats to use for Thanksgiving day using fabric and batting I already had in my sewing room!
-I’m gifting a pottery crock, I use for utensils next to the stove, to our daughter in law for Christmas. She’s admired it in the past as it will look great in her kitchen.
-Bought some new, warm pants for around the house, so we can keep temperature down a little. Tossed two old pair of pants that had to be 20 years old, they were worn out and falling off me as I’ve lost some weight.
-Looking forward to staying home for the next week to enjoy family and avoid the shopping frenzy.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Bethany M November 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm

1. Sold a ripped bounce house someone handed down to us. We used it once for a birthday party and someone held together the rip, but we weren’t all that committed to this thing so on to someone who would value it enough to fix it. One bounce house saved from the dump.

2. Putting up with this extra long hair, as I’m ready for a haircut but allowing the holidays to come and go before I shell out for another one.

3. Dialed back our cable plan and saving $60/month.

4. Asked birthday girl if she wanted a store bought card or a special homemade card. She picked the homemade card. Be still my heart.

5. Husband and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary. Gma/Gpa babysat for us to go out a few days early. Spent a lot of time together in the car, because there was an event near the movies, and then went out for a semi-frugal dinner.


Laur November 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm

1. I signed up for an online course at a very very reduced rate. This will help me enormously in my business with advertising.
2. Signed up for a week free gym trial which includes an all access pass to classes.
3. I used up some sad looking bananas to make banana bread and cooked a double batch of fried rice to freeze for busy nights.
4. My beautiful friend is treating me to a special day out this weekend.
5. Free lunches and coffee at work this week as per usual


Tricia M November 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Haven’t posted in quite a while, but lots of changes to share:
1. Sold our house in Midwest, and moved to Colorado. No more mortgage debt or property taxes.
2. Moved into our RV Motorhome, hubby volunteers at the campground we found, so our stay is FREE. No utilities, only pay for our cell phone bill. This will allow us to see what areas are nice to move to, or where is good to buy land.
3. Meal planning like a boss, as our fridge, storage, kitchen is small. Still have to reign hubby in from buying too many sweets/baked goods. Baby steps.
4. Selling off some small items we moved with us, bought kids and myself waterproof winter boots at thrift stores. Will sell ones I had that are too big, online for a profit, as mine cost just less than $5 today at a goodwill outlet.
5. We have already made many, many trips to donation places here, to minimalize our footprint even further. I don’t miss anything we got rid of!


Susie's Daughter November 21, 2017 at 5:19 am

#5 – Congratulations on all your big changes! And I agree (with the exception of one shirt) I don’t miss anything I have re-dispersed to the world.


Tricia M November 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Thank you! ~its surreal to not have a house or a payment(!) after 21 years with. Still adjusting, and working on enjoying the free time! 😉


tonya November 21, 2017 at 10:49 am

Welcome to Colorado! Hopefully you will enjoy it.


Tricia M November 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Thanks! We absolutely love it!


Alexandra November 21, 2017 at 4:13 am

1. Had a ton of veggies that needed to be cooked. Did two cookie sheets of chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, summer squash, and sweet potatoes. Tossed with olive oil and salt. Roasted 400 degrees about 25 minutes, stirring in between (cabbage and squash I threw in after 10 minutes). Delicious!
2. Ate 1/3 of veggies with dinner. Used another 1/3 in an impromptu soup. Sauteed onion in leftover bacon grease. Added veggies, i can cream of chicken soup, chicken stock. Simmered 30 min. Hit it with the immersion blender for 15 seconds. Keeping lots of chunks. Great easy soup.
3. Thawing my $.49 lb turkey for thanksgiving in fridge. Had to buy $40 worth of groceries at Harris Teeter to get that price. Was very careful about what I bought. Very proud of careful shopping.
4. Making turkey stock with turkey wings in crock pot today. Will add turkey drippings to it for good gravy. Will make lots of gravy. Add to turkey soup later and folks go wild for soup that has gravy in it. I don’t mention the ingredients though.
5. Made a stew from leftover pot roast. Mostly gravy, little meat left. Also had a bit of mashed potatoes. Added frozen veggies (spinach and peas), carrots, cubed potatoes, red wine, chicken stock. Really good stew.


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 4:18 am

1. Went through my Christmas stash and figured out where I was at on gifts. Have a good bit for half the kids and virtually nothing for the other half. Oops! But now I know and can look for gifts accordingly.
2. While going through my stash I found a nice candle I had received last year (we don’t burn candles) and I regifted it to my secret pal at work.
3. Going to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. I will bring a couple of side dishes, but it is much cheaper to not cook the main meal. The turkey I ordered will go in the freezer for Christmas.
4. Cashed in my Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Starbucks. I will cash that in for 5 $5 gift cards to give out to the kids teachers and coaches. I really need to simplify this year as I am in charge of the boy scout Christmas Tree sales and have exactly zero extra time.
5. I hit up Bath & Body Works last weekend when they had their nice hand soap for $2.50. I bought a bunch to give to the teachers I work with for Christmas as we all hate the school soap.


Susie's Daughter November 21, 2017 at 5:34 am

1) While buying specials at the local grocery store yesterday, I noticed spotty bananas in the marked down produce bin. Bought 8 bananas for .67 and then promptly stuck them in the freezer. Most bananas in our house get used for smoothies – spotty really doesn’t matter.

2) Wanted badly to bail on cooking last night. Made a yummy chili instead with leftover pot roast, gravy, spices, a can of tomatoes and a can of black beans.

3) Bought 10 mason jars at a church sale over the weekend for $2. total. Since we gift homemade pickles each year, this brings the cost down even further.

4) We are hosting Thanksgiving and wanted a new tablecloth for the table I inherited this year. First choice was on a big name housewares site for more than $100 dollars. Second choice was from Wayfair and was $35. Second choice looks lovely on the table!

5) Dear Wife and I are discussing some major furniture rearranging. About half of our furniture came with our house (previous owners used it as a second home and left excess furniture and goods behind) and like Mand, we are not planning to change much until DS and dear dog are both older. New slipcovers and new placement will freshen things up plenty.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating!


Katy in Africa November 21, 2017 at 6:01 am

1. I made chicken noodle soup using some leftover rotisserie chicken that had been in the freezer a long time. Not only did I I get lots of broth off of it, but there was quite a bit of meat still. I also threw in a can of chicken broth a friend gave me when she moved.
2. I used laundry rinse water to water plants.
3. Our son’s sneakers started to break, so my husband glued the part of the sole that was breaking. We’ll see his long it lasts, but it at least buys us some time to find new ones.
4. We are going to a Thanksgiving celebration instead of doing our own at home. This means less work for me! I’m contributing green beans and corn.
5. When we went away for the weekend, not only did I make sure inside lights and fans were off, but I went ahead and unplugged the power strip behind the TV. Why pay to keep that little light on?


K D November 21, 2017 at 6:16 am

Wow, congratulation on your upcoming last double tuition payment. You have given your son(s) a tremendous gift.

1. My husband has decided to go vegan so I checked out some books from the library and also checked out a website recommended by a friend. It will probably save money in the long run.

2. I have been stocking up on sale items at the grocery store: butter, flour, etc.

3. I continue to read ebooks borrowed from the library. If we watch a show it’s either on Netflix or streamed (for free) from a network website.

4. We’ll drive to our destination for Thanksgiving and stay overnight with a relative. It will be much cheaper than flying and staying in a hotel. By timing our drives we should miss bad traffic, saving time, money, and aggregation.

5. There was a big yarn sale at a national craft chain. I ordered yarn, which enabled me to use a better value coupon and save time and money over having to drive to the store. I ordered just enough to score free shipping. The yarn will be used for charity knitting/crocheting.


nancy from mass November 22, 2017 at 6:45 am

Check out I pulled a lot of recipes from that site! (especially the Vegan Banana Bread. OMG i will not make a regular banana bread ever again. always so moist and flavorful! even hard carnivores at work devour this bread when i bring it in! Sorry, got a little caught up there!
yes, is a great recipe resource!


Tricia M November 26, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Thanks for the recommendation! I have a yummy vegan pumpkin muffin recipe, but this one sounds like I gotta try it too! 😉


Jill A November 21, 2017 at 6:19 am

1. Took a long weekend trip with my husband. I had reserved our room with coupons, expedia member points and swagbucks to get a good price. We ate the free breakfast each day. We had snacks of apples and almonds we had brought along. Lunch each day was light and inexpensive. Dinner not so much. We took our hybrid to save on gas. We read free library books, watched free cable and took long drives to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
2. I picked up a nice skirt suit at Goodwill and used my 20% coupon I had received for donating. I made sure to save it for when it would get the best use. The cashier commented on how old my coupon was.
3. I got the oil changed and free tire rotation on one car. It’s frugal to maintain your vehicle.
4. I had a four and half hour wait to get my tires rotated at Costco. My mother picked me up and brought me back. During my wait I helped her with her outdoor christmas lights. She fed me lunch and then fed husband, daughter and I dinner. We’ll return the favor another night.
5. I am waking up early to get a load of laundry washed before the electric price goes up….I then hang it all to dry.


Anne V. November 21, 2017 at 7:06 am

1. I’ve had a difficult time with frugality in November due to a bad bout of flu and the grisly aftermath. I was unable to shop or cook for over two weeks, so I relied heavily on prepared meals, takeout and delivery to feed two teenagers. In my fever delirium, I also managed to spend a crazy amount of money downloading (and then watching) five seasons of Gilmore Girls from Amazon. Feeling better now, so hopefully I can get back on track quickly.

2. I’m helping/prodding my son to sell excess video games and gaming systems on eBay in order to pay for his new custom trombone. We loaned him the money ahead of time for the purchase in exchange for his promise to quickly sell some of his other possessions to reimburse us. BIG mistake not making him earn the money up front.

3. I’m selling my father’s vintage pipe collection from the 1960’s on eBay. Surprisingly, there is a brisk market for vintage handmade pipes. Everything has sold so far, although the prices have not been as high as I’d hoped.

4. Reading library books, avoiding watching the news and mindless internet surfing, staying out of stores, eating leftovers and constantly thinking of ways to reduce unnecessary expenses. I plan on tackling next my cell phone service and insurance policies (home, care, umbrella) to see if I can get better deals.


ouvickie November 21, 2017 at 7:42 am

1) Wearing a beautiful, multi-colored, long sleeve top I thrifted back in the Summer. It’s so comfy and is a great match for all my slacks and my jeans.
2) I received my SANS training materials yesterday (paid for by my employer) and they included the coolest coffee/drink container I’ve ever seen. The bottom has a suction type grip that makes it more difficult to knock over on a desk/table area and it’s the perfect size to fit in my cup holder in the car. FREE!
3) I’m having lunch with close friends at a local Mexican restaurant today. Fortunately they have a great lunch menu, so I can get something great to eat for less than $10.
4) I registered for a free Google Conference in December in downtown OKC, so the only thing I may have to pay for is parking.
5) I’m finishing up another Sophie Kinsella novel on audiobook. She writes the most hilarious novels. Get them for FREE with my favorite shopping card at the Library.


Emily November 21, 2017 at 9:19 am

1. I have been wearing my daily contacts 2 days in a row to make them last longer. My eye doctor actually suggested it, and said as long as I clean them off and they don’t bother my eyes on day 2 I am good to go.

2. Made a huge pot of white bean vegetarian chili last night. The last one we ruined by leaving it out on the counter all night. Sad face. Finally cooling off in the south, and soups/chilis are cheap and easy.

3. Boyfriend and I are not eating out for the rest of November. I do, however, reserve the right to buy Trader Joes frozen pizza in a pinch. 4.49 is better than 20+ dollars for delivery!

4. Even though I am back to work full time, I have been keeping up with Poshmark and Ebay for side income. As soon as I get my first paycheck, I will be setting a date for student loan payoff.

5. Trying to find a frugal idea for secret santa at my work. I don’t like these social norms of buying things for people you hardly know because “its fun” and “its Christmas”, but oh well. I just started and don’t want to be THAT jerk It also irritates me that everyone is putting gift cards on their wish list… Seems silly to buy different gift cards for each other. Any ideas friends for a frugal gift idea?


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

5. Places like Lowe’s and Home Depot have potted poinsettia plants for around $1 or 2 on Black Friday. Sounds like you have a price limit. If I knew that I may could help more. For teachers gifts this year, I am making homemade fudge and putting them in some holiday tins that I got on clearance last year after Christmas. I have a simple recipe that uses only sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. My mom has a secret pal at work and since she will be working the same place for a few more years, she goes ahead and buys things when they go on clearance right after each holiday. For instance she picked up a glass pumpkin at Big lots the other day for next years Fall gift, HTH!


Jennifer November 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

Just found the ad for 6″ poinsettias at Home Depot for 99 cents Black Friday only if anyone was curious.


Karen. November 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

Nothing to add really, just being normal over here. But a big high five for the Tony Hillerman.


tonya November 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm

1) I worked a short day today. Came home and caught up on bill paying and paperwork before the kids get home from school. Being organized with finances is usually important to me, but even more so before the holidays.
2) I ate leftovers for lunch and made stovetop popped corn from scratch for a snack.
3) Washing my sheets and towels while doing all these other things. For some reason I just feel like being organized before Thanksgiving day will help me approach the day with calm and gratitude.
4) Ordered a restaurant gift card for my in laws with our reward points.
5) Reading library magazines and books as usual.


cathy November 22, 2017 at 11:09 am

Did you know that Tony Hillerman’s daughter Anne has released three books continuing the Lt. Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernadette Manuelito characters? The characters aren’t quite as well-written as her father’s, but the stories are compelling and I love that I get to keep reading mysteries with those characters.


Christine Joiner November 23, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Good to know Cathy! Thank you. I never thought I’d read another new book with those characters in it.


Lazyretirementgirl November 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

Another treat for Hillerman lovers is his memoir: Seldom Disappointed. I believe he reads it on the audio version, for a double delight.


Michelle H. November 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading the comments today. Everyone is supportive and kind, love the way your cheering for each other!


Christine Joiner November 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

1. Went to the library to pick up three books I requested through our interlibrary loan service. Our library gives a printout of the books that were borrowed, author, due date, etc. At the bottom is printed how much you have saved by borrowing. My savings today: $81.00.
2. I read the local paper while at the library. No need to pay for a subscription.
3. I volunteered my shift at our local cat shelter thus reducing my longing for yet one more cat! I have two of my own and want to keep it that way due to price of vet visits, medicine, food and treats.
4. Received word via Facebook that the Salvation Army Stores are putting everything on sale at 50% off on Black Friday. If anyone is looking for me that day I will be at the one in my town…
5. The gears in my head have been turning lately with thoughts of homemade Christmas gifts. Will be searching for large, beautiful platters on which to arrange my homemade Swedish cookies, Almond Cake and fudge for gifts while at the Salvation Army Store on Black Friday.


Christine Joiner November 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm

The 50% off sale at The Salvation Army Stores was actually today. I misread the ad. So sorry if I messed up anyone’s plans for big savings on Friday. Sad face.


Mary W November 21, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Congratulations, Katy! I hope your son knows what a gift a good education without debt is. I worked my way through nursing school, as my dad could barely meet the daily expenses, much less save for my college education. I am in no way saying this in a negative way, as he was a great dad, and my sole parent after my mom died when I was 15. It was just a fact of life that on his salary, raising 5 kids was quite an accomplishment, in and of itself.

1. When I was asking my nephew how his kitties were doing after their spay/neuter last Friday, one of the other ladies in our hand bell choir overheard (we were at bell practice). She wrote me a check for $100 to cover part of what I spent at the vet! I accepted with gratitude, as I am living on a limited income.
2. I’ve eaten small bowls of leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey and gravy mixed together into a beautiful mushy mess for 5 meals since Sunday (all but breakfasts) and just finished the last of the potatoes and stuffing. I’m still not tired of it, so we’ll make more of both and have it for Thanksgiving dinner (and many more meals). My budget is happy with my thrifty meals, but I’m not so sure my waistline is as thrilled – I’ll find out when I weigh in tomorrow morning.
3. I had planned to replace my toilet seat since it was looking pretty shabby, but a little sanding and some white spray paint, and it looks like new. Did the same thing for the one in the guest bath, and now I can return the new seat I purchased.
4. While I had the spray paint out, I also grabbed more register covers from the forced air furnace we don’t use ( we heat with free wood instead) and gave a couple of them a fresh coat, too. Note to self – don’t buy the .97 cans of cheap spray paint from WM – stick with the good brands. Krylon covers in a couple coats – the cheap stuff took probably 10 coats on the toilet seat and 15 coats on the register covers and will still need a little sanding and a final coat on everything. I’ll return the rest of the cheap stuff I bought next time I’m in town. A cheap bargain isn’t always the same as a frugal buy. 🙁
5. After getting most of my home in order before having an early Thanksgiving and game night with friends and neighbors on Sunday, I was inspired to continue working on the remaining clutter in the den and pantry yesterday. The den (really it’s the library, sewing room and grandkids’ toy room) is done and looks ever so much better, and the pantry is well underway. I found a number of things to list for sale in the process – just need to get it done!


Christine Joiner November 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Thanks for the great idea about spray painting the toilet seat. Mine is chipping and looks generally beat up. I never thought of spray painting it. I will also go with the Krylon.


Liz B. November 23, 2017 at 6:21 pm

OMG, mine too. I painted our half-bath this summer, which made it even more obvious how shabby the toilet seat is. Will give Krylon a try. I agree – Krylon gets the job done. Used some earlier this year to revive a black metal outdoor table. Good stuff.


FrugalStrong December 10, 2017 at 1:28 pm

My husband did this to our toilet seat earlier this year and it made a huge difference.


Darcy December 4, 2017 at 10:43 am

Wow! Your son is graduating? Did he finish up in less than 4 years? I feel like he just went! Congrats on the last double payment. That must feel amazing. I’d be so interested to hear what you guys have planned for your “side gig income” when your youngest graduates as I feel the bulk of your posts’ focus has centered on raising additional money for school activities and/ or college funds. The end is in sight- just wonderful.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: