Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 13, 2017 · 104 comments

  1. I drove over my nearest Dollar Tree store to pick up a new pair of reading glasses, as I’d dropped and broken mine while in New York. I’d stopped into a CVS while on the Upper East Side, but couldn’t pull the trigger at $10-$20. Instead I wore my wonky pair for a few days, (and yes, getting a few odd looks when out and about.) I also picked up hydrogen peroxide, dawn detergent, garlic powder, kosher salt and packing tape while at Dollar Tree.

  2. I packed up and mailed three eBay items that sold yesterday. I don’t currently have that many things up for sale, so three in a single day is pretty impressive. I used second hand shipping supplies, except for packing tape. I texted my next door neighbor asking if she had any manila envelopes for me, which prompted a delivery of a dozen or so put back into use instead of the garbage. Yesterday’s items sold for a total of $57, yet I spent just $3.20 to buy them. Sure, eBay takes their cut, (as does the IRS) but it’s free money in exchange for my time. It may seem odd for a “non-consumer” to sell things, but the way I see it is I’m helping consumers to source second hand items they’d otherwise buy brand new.

  3. I did pop into the Goodwill that’s next to Dollar Tree on my way home and bought a Queen Bee “Maximo wallet” for $3.99 that normally sells for $68. I also picked up a great quality $8 Banana Republic sweater for myself that was the half-off color tag. (I live in sweaters this time of year and only had two.) I’ll probably sell the wallet, as my thrifted one shows no signs of needing replacement. I also ran into Trader Joe’s for dishwasher detergent and bypassed all the temptingly delicious holiday items, which I think deserves an effing medal!

  4. Last night’s dinner was a mixed bean and barley soup made from a bulk purchased Bob’s Red Mill mix. We even had a few slices of bacon in the fridge which brought it to the next level. I thought I’d made too much, but it was all gone by the end of the evening.

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

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

My Money Adventures December 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Bacon really does take soups to the next level. I made potato-corn chowder with bacon, cheese and green onions. So tasty!

super glue the frame?


Ineke December 14, 2017 at 8:33 am

About the glasses, my thoughts were the same. 😀


Kathy December 13, 2017 at 2:07 pm

1. Grabbed a last minute hostess gift from my thrift store finds. It is a new in box Lenox picture frame. I quickly wrapped in tissue and a bag I had on hand.
2. I mailed two gifts in recycled boxes I had on hand.
3. Used Amazon points to get a gift card for my sister’s birthday next week and a baby gift. My out of pocket $8.65
4. Used coupons at ulta to pick up
Some new cosmetics total cost $21


Dee December 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm

1. Ordered some photo prints from Walgreens for a DIY Christmas gift and thought to look for a coupon before checking out. Saved 50% or nearly $5 and remembered to enter my rewards number for points.
2. Cooking at home and eating all leftovers.
3. Bought a GNC gift card for later use and was awarded the equivalent of $5 in points towards a future purchase.
4. Dropped off some new stuffed animals that were given to me but that I couldn’t use at the Children’s Advocacy Center. I reclaimed the space, and possibly they will brighten some child’s day when they need it the most.
5. I didn’t buy anything vulgar or gold-plated.


Taylor-Made Homestead December 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Humm, let’s see.

1) Hubby harvested a deer so I made a HUGE pot of venison chili. My first time to make or eat venison chili but I’m not gonna lie – delicious! We enjoyed it for lunches & leftovers & it’s now gone.

2) Comparison shopped for prescription meds & the price went way down with this refill.

3) Made a triple-batch of his favorite homemade sandwich bread. He’s quite a bread-lover!

4) Combined trip to nearby town for doctor visit / prescription refill / shopping

5) Shopped from the pantry for meals instead of buying more food.


~Taylor-Made Homestead~


Christine Joiner December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I recently had some venison chili too and it really is delicious. I had a fried venison chop years ago and I didn’t like it at all…tough and gamey. But our nephew brought a pot of venison chili to a family gathering in October and I was very pleasantly surprised.


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

I too enjoy venison whenever I can get it. And, given my recent run-in with the deer in my back garden that resulted in my ankle injuries, I’m thinking with increasing fondness of venison. (The ankles have mended nicely, but the memories linger on.)


Lisa December 15, 2017 at 4:21 am

Another super easy thing to do with venison:
throw into crockpot:
a tube/pkg/block of venison burger
some chopped onion
a can of rotel tomatoes OR a jar of salsa
a pkg of taco seasoning
cook on low for about 6 hours
then mix with a handmixer to break up and distribute
then toss in some cubed velveeta cheese & stir to melt
serve with tortilla chips – my teenage boys and their friends love this.


Bethany M December 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm

1. My daughter’s hair is getting so hard to comb through. I took a 1/2 tsp of avocado oil from the kitchen and worked it into her hair, gave her a 2 cm trim and put it up in a dew drop for the day. I’m hoping this will help it be easier to work with in the coming days. Forgo the expensive hair cut and hair products.

2. Still keeping up with my insurance company on a billing error. I will get them to pay that $109 bill. There’s nothing I did wrong, so I shouldn’t have to pay.

3. Tucking away valuables, since there have been robberies in the area.

4. Eating up leftovers. Lunch was interesting.

5. Cooked up some pinto beans this morning and now have a crock pot of yummy chili going. Family favorite! Uber frugal, even decided not to run out and get an extra onion, the granulated onion from my stockpile will do.


Su Mama December 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Bethany M., what’s a “dew drop” hairdo?


Bethany M December 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm

It’s a pony tail that you don’t pull all the way through on the last loop.


Jennifer December 14, 2017 at 7:46 am

Oh, I do that all the time. Didn’t know it had a name.


Lindsey December 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

1. Husband and I felt like having a date. We both love McDonalds fish fillets (don’t judge). We had a coupon and they also let us use an app deal, so the entire meal, including drinks, was $3.00. Then we drove to the river and parked, ate while enjoying the northern lights that came out unexpectedly this week. December is not usually the best month for them.
2. I needed more honey for baking, so traded pickles and jams I had put up from my garden, for a quart of locally produced honey.
3. Made a bread pudding for a pot luck, using leftover bread and muffin pieces I freeze when they start to get dry. Since I bake our bread, the bread for the pudding is even cheaper than store bought stale breads pieces.
4. Mended the hole that had developed in the top of husband’s sheep skin slippers.
5. Received a six pack of French milled soap as a gift. Unfortunately, it was in a scent I don’t like at all, lavender. Re-gifted it to a friend who goes out of her way to visit lavender farms in the San Juan Islands, in Washington state. I don’t re-gift things just to give a gift, in fact I don’t usually get the sorts of gifts that one would re-gift (like a dump truck of compos). But this soap for a perfect match for her and French milled soaps are over $5 a bar in this town, so she would never buy them for herself.

One not frugal thing. I really, really wanted a book that just came out, so I went ahead and bought it. I did use a 15% off coupon, but still…


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Chuckling over the side comment in your #5 about the dump truck of compost, Lindsey, since one of the Bestest Neighbors’ gifts to us for a few years now has been an annual pass to our local recycling agency’s composting site. (OK, I admit we’re weird. But I think everyone knows that by now anyway.)


tonya parham December 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

I have (had) a fondness for the filet o’fish too.

Funny story. When Leonard Cohen was at the Buddhist monastery he spent years at, he would occasionally leave, go get a filet o’fish go back to his place he still owned and eat it while watching Jerry Springer.

I kept this story in mind because it just illustrates 1.) we all have guilty pleasures that we like to and need to indulge and 2.) if the Filet o’Fish is good enough for Leonard Cohen, well…it’s good enough for anyone!



Lisa December 13, 2017 at 2:56 pm

My frugal five

1. Put up my fifteen year old tree complete with all homemade ornaments. My ornaments are family pictures from 1959 to 2017. The angel at the top was created in 1963 from a carnival doll and an old slip. Now the grandkids want to know when they are going to be able to take my ornaments.

2. Told the family no gift exchange but as a surprise I delivered homemade hot cocoa and cookies at the first really cold spell (I live in Florida) still no gift exchange but wanted them to know I was not a complete scrooge.

3. Doctor wanted a mammogram and I did my research and found a local program to pay for it.

4. I was able to stock pile some sugar and flour because of the seasonal lower prices.

5. Still only eating in.


janine December 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

1. Purchased two shirts for sons at deep discounts. Good for holiday giving.
2. Forum tomorrow canceled – $40 saved.
3. Joining book group to discuss author-economist’s view of how to cope with future climate change . Friend gifted me with an extra copy he owned so no out of pocket cost.
4, Chairing local indoor gardening workshop in February – fun winter evening activity at low cost.
5. No purchases of anything remotely resembling gold plate.


Vickey December 22, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Janine, what’s the title of the book in no.3, please? I’d be interested to read it. Thanks.


Bee December 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

I enjoyed this week’s unfrugal things. It was a reminder that life does happen to us all. Things are not always perfect, but I do the best that I can.
This week’s FFT:
1) I also sold three items on eBay. My margin was not as good as yours, Katy. However, money is money. I did make a special trip to the post office with the dog to mail my packages. My lovable mutt associates the sight of brown boxes and the sound of tape with car rides. Fortunately, it is a short ride and doesn’t use much gas.

2) I ordered the photo Christmas cards that I send to family and close friends from Snapfish and used a 25% off coupon code. I do not send these to everyone on my list just those near and dear.

3) I made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on a few specials and BOGOs. I am eating leftovers and using as much as I can that is on hand. We will be away for 10 days, so there is no need to fill the refrigerator.

4) I initiated and received a text message coupon on my phone and my husband’s that gives us each $25 off a $100 purchase of toys and games. We have 13 great nieces and nephews under the age of 7 to buy for. So this should come in handy.

5) I have done very little Christmas-ing this year. My immediate family has chosen to travel over the holidays. My husband and I along with our 3 adult children are not buying presents. Instead, we are all chipping in for the trip. Thus, I have not put up a tree nor have I gone overboard with decorations. I have done very little shopping except presents for the children in our lives. As a result, I have not felt at all stressed and will spend about 1/3 of the amount of money that I spent last year. I am hoping with less “stuff” that we will rediscover the meaning of the season.

Peace, Love and Joy to all!


Mand01 December 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I really should have commented on the unfrugal post! It feels like we have been spending like drunken sailors lately.
But I have a few things:
1. We are eating down the contents of our fridge before going away for a week, creating interesting salads and dinners.
2. My husband and I sat down and set some financial goals for 2018
3. My summer vegetable garden is on the cusp of being the most productive I have ever grown and I am very excited about the capsicums, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, corn, passion fruit, apricots, mulberries, strawberries, and boysenberries I am going to harvest in about six weeks.
4. I found Amy Goldman’s The Heirloom Tomato at the library. I’ve tried to find the Compleat Squash as someone here recommended but it’s not available and to buy it here in Australia will cost $170 AUD. So that might have to go on my Wishlist!! But I’m enjoying my free read of her tomato book. Thank you for the suggestion.
That’s it.


cathy December 13, 2017 at 11:58 pm

I’m the one who mentioned The Compleat Squash. Still ogling the photos. But I’ve never heard of The Heirloom Tomato. Now I’m off to check the library’s website to see if they have it!


Mand01 December 14, 2017 at 1:19 am

Thank you for your suggestion. She also wrote one on melons.


cathy December 13, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Found it and placed a hold!


Denise December 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm


For me, when I get to “interesting salads”, that translates into “bizarre and occasionally inedible combinations”. Same for you- or were they inventive and surprising?


Mand01 December 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Grilled haloumi, zucchini, black tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, vintage cheese. That’s a lot of cheese, now I think of it. Cider vinegar and olive oil. It was pretty good though.


That Other Jean December 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Five frugal things:

1. Eating out of the freezer and the pantry for dinner tonight.

2. Shopped at Dollar Tree for wrapping paper, shampoo, soap, and oven mitts.

3. Found a used car to replace my much loved VW beetle whose transmission had finally failed. With luck, I’ll have this beetle for a long time, too.

4. Bought two new-to-me camisoles from ebay to wear under sweaters and sweatshirts on really cold days indoors, instead of turning up the thermostat.

5. Got a nice scented candle as a thank-you gift that I will be re-gifting for Christmas.


Lauren December 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm

This will be a struggle as my mom was in town visiting and we ate out every day this weekend. My husband also got a speeding ticket and dropped his phone in one day, so overall this week was mostly a frugal fail :/

1. Bought a larger sized gas tank from a buy and sell app that was still mostly full of gas for heating our tiny home.
2. Sold two small things on a selling app and gave away one for free. Better than the items sitting in my house!
3. Packaging a gift in recycled mailing supplies- a great tip I learned from this group!
4. To make up for the overspending on the weekend I have chosen simple meals to keep the food spending to a minimum.
5. I saw fragrance free baby wipes on sale at Amazon but checked the other local stores before ordering. There is a fragrance free option that prices out at 0.01 per wipe from the usually costly grocery store which is pleasantly surprising. I may pick up a box this weekend to get our stash started and I’ll keep an eye out for sales or coupons to stock up.


avl December 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm

1) I extended a small portion of vegetable soup in my freezer by adding more broth along with leftover spinach, potatoes, black beans, and chopped tomatoes that were already in my refrigerator. The newly concocted soup lasted for four meals (although I wasn’t so enthusiastic about it by the fourth bowl).

2) I made a batch of homemade hummus in my food processor. It was so simple, I don’t know why I ever buy hummus from the store. Freshly made hummus has a wonderful light, fluffy texture.

3) I made from-scratch gingerbread cut-out cookies with my teen daughter for a fun weekend activity. This has become something of a yearly tradition for us. I use the recipe my mother always made when I was growing up.

4) All family orthodontic payments are completed as of this month, although my daughter will unfortunately require some bridge work with another specialist. Apparently our dental insurance only covers bridge work for people over 16; my daughter is 15 1/2 and we cannot delay the work for 6 months. I am going to do my best to appeal this restriction.

5) Frugal Fail: My husband bought an expensive 8 ft. fresh balsam tree as well as 4 packs of new outdoor icicle lights. He goes a little nuts with decorations every year, which we all chuckle about because he is Jewish and did not even want a tree in the house when we were first married.


Teresa December 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm

1. Low air in my tire was caused by a screw, but the tire was fixed free at the place I buy my tires. Yay!
2. Finally bit-the-bullet and listed some clothing on ebay… let’s see how that goes. In the past I had luck selling stuff but not clothes, but these were better items and some from my daughter. Hoping I listed the right things for the season at the right price. I don’t do the auction, just ‘buy it now’… is that ok?
3. Made fried rice with leftovers last night for dinner – it was delicious and quick.
4. Tuesday Morning didn’t have the advertised robe that I wanted for a gift so I walked out without buying anything. The NCA thing is really working on me!
5. Even though I’m feeling cranky and thought about picking up fast food, I am about to scrounge around in the fridge for dinner. We have plenty of good stuff here… including dessert! 🙂
Good night!


Em December 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Buy it now is fine too but adding the “or best offer” will get you higher in searches 🙂


Teresa December 14, 2017 at 10:04 am

Thank you!!! Will try that. :O)


Ava December 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm

1. Saved 70 cents a gallon on gas with fuel points.
2. Needed a mental health, cheer-us-up day, so husband and I sat by the fire, played a word game, watched a movie and ate popcorn, all at home. Very little work was done all day and no money was spent.
3. Found 5 lb bags of flour at the Dollar Tree. I had not seen that before. I bought a bag to test, then went back and got 2 more bags. It is not my preferred brand but it will be good enough. You can’t beat $1 a bag.
4. Bought two $20 gift certificates to a restaurant we like (one for us and one for a gift). They came with four $5 off coupons, no expiration date.
5. Attended a great free Christmas concert with friends. We paid for parking and friends paid for lunch.
6. Used a grocery coupon for $8 off $80 purchase.
7. Weather got very cold here and I got out my heaviest coat to wear for another year. I LOVE this coat. I bought it about twenty years ago and it was probably twenty years old at the time. I was thrift store shopping with my daughter who was in college then, majoring in fashion merchandising. She said “Mom, you have to get this. It has such style.” I really need another coat at the time and $12 was a lot of money to me then. She talked me into it and when the coat rang up, it was half off. I wore the $6 coat every winter until the lining started to disintegrate. Last fall I took it to an alterations shop to ask how much a new lining would be. I was horrified to hear $130, but I didn’t want to give up the coat. I bought $8 worth of lining fabric (with a coupon) , carefully removed the old lining to use for a pattern, and cut and sewed in a new lining. I did have to get a consult from an expert sewing friend when I got to an especially tricky part, but I was done in a day. It doesn’t look quite as new as it did 20 years ago, but it still has style and it will be around for some more winters.


Bee December 14, 2017 at 4:51 am

My heavy winter coat is 21 years old. I bought in 1996 when I went to New York to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I still love it. My daughter wears a red coat that My mother bought me in 1984 when I was in college. I would wear it myself, but sadly I am no longer a Size 4. Classic styles really do last forever.


Isitaneedorawant December 14, 2017 at 5:57 am

My youngest daughter (of 3) wears a 100% wool jacket ( made in England) that my mother purchased as a young woman in the 1930’s. I wore it during university and it hung it a closet in between ‘wearers’. It has a lovely plaid pattern and still some of the original leather wrapped buttons. My daughter understands the sentiments I have for this piece and she, I think ,shares them also:) When I went to university I was complimented on its beautiful texture, colours and cut. She also is frequently stopped when wearing it. Best of all is seeing photos of each of us wearing the jacket in our 20’s and how our hair and clothes are different but the jacket looks great in each presentation.


ouvickie December 14, 2017 at 8:58 am

What a wonderful story about your Mom’s coat. It sounds beautiful!!

My heavy Winter all-weather coat was used when it was given to me about 20 years ago. I wash it once or twice during the Winter, but we don’t get as much cold weather as the Northern U.S., so I just don’t feel the need to buy another one – not even a used one.
Sometimes what you have is good enough.


Mand01 December 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

My husband wears a heavy peacoat that belonged to my father in the late 60s. It looks brand new and is beautifully tailored. He looks very handsome in it and I love that he is wearing something that is over fifty years old. Tailoring like that just doesn’t exist anymore – at least not for the average person.


Ava December 13, 2017 at 7:17 pm

should read “I really DIDN’t need another coat at the time”


Em December 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I also love TJs dishwasher detergent.!

1. My apartment complex had their Xmas party this evening. Free dinner and drinks. I also met friends!

2. Had to do some marketing yesterday at my new job since I don’t have patients yet, got free lunch!

3. I used coupons and a gift card to get a cheap heated blanket from target. Came out to be 11 dollars. Now we don’t really use the heat at all!

4. Girl at GW gave me the senior discount yesterday when I went to buy eBay/Poshmark inventory, even though I’m in my 20s. I’m
Going to assume she was being nice and not that she thinks I’m 49 years older than I actually am ;).

5. Planning a no spend day for tomorrow


jodi December 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

I’m curious as to what is so good about TJ’s dishwasher detergent. I’m not brand loyal and would be willing to give it a try if the quality is good.


Jennifer December 13, 2017 at 7:32 pm

1. I have nothing in the house to send for my kids snack at school tomorrow. I whipped up a small batch of sugar cookies that somehow aren’t all that good. I’m sending them anyway, and hopefully by the time they get home from school I will have come up with something better.
2. I used my freebie from Kroger(uncle bens rice) to make a chicken/broccoli/rice casserole that was delicious.
3. I went to Kroger to pick up all my freebies from participating in the merry days of Christmas promation. I got some yummy frozen yogurt bars, a 20 ounce Dt. Mountain Dew, some pudding, and a box of Splenda packets. There was also a coupon for 50cents off a hot wheels car so I got one of those for my nephew for Christmas. I had an extra coupon for a 50 cent hot wheels so I picked up a Tessla for my husband’s stocking. He is obsessed with Tesla ideology so this seemed like a perfect little gift.
4. I picked up my kids free vitamins from the pharmacy. A local pharmacy in our town provides all school age kids with free vitamins with no strings attached. Multivitamins are contraversial but my kids don’t eat much so I figure they may help a little.
5. I have no number five. I’m struggling this week. Hopefully, I can get back on track soon.


Roberta December 14, 2017 at 7:19 am

Hang in there! There are certainly weeks when I can’t come up with a #5!


Jennifer December 14, 2017 at 7:57 am

Thanks for the encourageing words!


Carolyn S December 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

Love you #3. I got a Tesla Hot Wheels car for my husband’s stocking last year! He loved it. 🙂


Betty Winslow December 14, 2017 at 7:34 pm

My husband kiddingly told me a week or two ago that all he wanted for Xmas was a new car. I bought him a little red sports car….. Hot Wheels style! It was 50 cents. 😀


Jennifer December 15, 2017 at 5:13 am

Such fun!


rebecca December 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

1. I needed a new car battery and bought it at auto zone for about $70 less than the auto place I go to. They installed it for me as well. I gave the guy a $10 tip.
2. Went through some bottles of wine to find one to give as a gift.
3. Resisted take out after work and came home at 9 pm and quickly made something here.
4. It is 20 degrees here tonight but and keeping my heat at 64 degrees.
5. I got a free community calendar in the mail today. I clipped a few coupons for a car wash and 2-1 tickets to a community performance center.


Sarah D December 13, 2017 at 8:59 pm

1. My daughter’s classroom is having a party on Friday and the parents were asked to bring snacks. I wanted to contribute something other than a sugary baked good (there will already be plenty of those!) and I realized that I can make popcorn the kids will love – I don’t need to buy any new ingredients and saves time too!
2. When we got our Christmas tree, my daughter picked up a few branches the nursery had trimmed off the bottom, then they told her to take as many as she wanted. She and my mom made several truly beautiful holiday wreaths out of them, using just coat hangers and these branches! They look totally professional and would have cost in the double digits at a holiday store.
3. To keep with the theme of my daughter, she needs a holiday gift for her teacher. I bought a few selections of fancy chocolates at Trader Joes, one for 3.99 and one for 2.99, and she plans to make him a handmade Christmas ornament. Handmade gift and chocolate–sounds like a gift I’d want to get!
4. A week or so ago my daughter (there she is again!) wanted a mommy-daughter date to get manicures. Sure, it would have been cheaper to do it at home, but it was about the experience. Well, anyway, I got suckered into a “gel” manicure (they said it would last longer; I don’t think it did) which I now realize is because you need to soak it off with pure acetone for 20 minutes—meaning, usually, that you’d have to go back to the salon and pay them again! Instead, I used the internet to find a way to do it myself and even though it was a stinky mess and took too much effort, I saved the cost of the return trip and learned a valuable lesson–no gel polish!
5. Ok, one more to round out the theme of my daughter. I found a Starbucks gift card given to me by a student and used it to take her out for another date after school today. It’s nice to get these “dates” for free, but I’ll also keep doing it after the gift card runs out—she’s coming into the “tween” years and I want to establish strong lines of communication with her so that she knows she can trust me and talk to me about stuff as a teenager.


Mand01 December 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Taking that time is so important. One thing you can do that only costs time while she’s still in that tween stage is read aloud. I read the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series to my youngest and it was so special. Not only did it give us time together at a point that they were young enough to really want it, but when they were older they still wanted to do stuff with us. We graduated to Buffy and Stranger Things. As they grew up they were comfortable to talk about all kinds of things and when they came out last year it was very comfortable and safe. Investing time, even though it can be hard to find, pays huge dividends later.


Sarah D December 14, 2017 at 8:14 am

Awesome comment, Mand01, thank you! It’s interesting, this stage we’re in right now (just turned 8) where she reads so much to herself but we’re still trying to get in daily reading together too – I love how important you think that was for your relationship and reminds me to keep at it!


Jill A December 14, 2017 at 3:19 am

1. I stopped into the Salvation Army thrift store on my way home the other day and found a Pyrex glass pie pan for .50. They are normally priced at 2.00 so I’ve been holding off until I found one at a garage sale. I gave my other one to my daughter when she moved out.
2. I’m mailing an insurance claim to my health insurance. Most of an eye exam was covered by our eye insurance but since the exam was ordered by my husbands physician I’m hoping my health insurance will pay the remainder.
3. I stopped into Meijer and picked up the few things on my list. I also picked up a $50 gift card with a $5 off coupon. They didn’t say I had to give it away. I’ll use the gift card for 10% off my groceries.
4. I paid all the medical bills I could online in order to save a stamp. I’m also refilling as many prescription as I can before the end of the year since we’ve met our deductible for the year. I’ll also turn in any prescriptions paid out of pocket with GoodRx coupons instead of insurance discount to my insurance company to see if they’ll pay those also.
5. I arranged for a friend to ship a package for me. She works for a mailing company and gets a fedex discount.


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 11:48 am

Re: you #1, Jill: The beauty of the Pyrex pie plates is that they are so readily available secondhand. I’ve gotten two for small change at my SA superstore. And this fall when a friend from out of town brought a pie for lunch in a Pyrex plate and we didn’t quite finish it, we were able to just swap one of my clean ones for the one she’d brought. She was completely OK with that, and it saved some emergency dishwashing.


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 11:48 am

“you #1” = “your #1,” of course.


Jill A December 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm

LOL. I got it. Thanks.


Bee December 15, 2017 at 5:00 am

I buy Pyrex casserole dishes and pie plates whenever they are $1.00 or less and I always have more than I need. At this price they are cheaper than foil disposables and of course totally reusable. I always have a couple of more than I need. I use them at family potluck dinners and when I bring food to someone. If I don’t get my dish back, it isn’t the end of the world.


Diane December 14, 2017 at 4:14 am

I am creating a baby quilt entirely from supplies on hand. The piecing of the front is almost done and then I will sew together odd pieces of batting to fit and some fabric to make a color block backing. Using what I have to create something beautiful is very satisfying. The quilt is for Project Linus.


Bee December 14, 2017 at 5:08 am

This is lovely. I am always blown away by the things NCA readers do for others.


Jennifer December 14, 2017 at 8:03 am

I’ve said this before, but I just love looking at your beautiful quilts. I frequently go back and look again when someone mentions them. I have a quilt from a museum that my husband got me from the late 1800’s. They are just so special because of the detail and time that goes into making. Anyway, thought it was worth saying again.


Bettypants December 14, 2017 at 4:59 am

1. I bought three Hallmark ornaments at a yard sale this summer for a nickel each. Listed them on ebay this week and sold one for $10. Also sold a glass vase for $14, for which I had also paid a nickel. Isn’t five cents oddly low pricing even for a garage sale? We have had a quarter table and a free box, nothing in between.
2. Qdoba sent me a free entrée coupon. I redeemed it and it still counted as a purchase towards my rewards card, which was a nice surprise.
3. School cancelled two days in a row, but my son is now old enough to stay home alone and feels comfortable doing so.
4. I made a batch of fresh bread last night and sent a loaf straight out of the oven to my neighbor.
5. The resale store I like advertised 50% off all clothing. I bought a Brooks Brothers silk & cashmere cardigan for myself for $3. Also bought a Nike winter coat, merino wool sweater, and Eddie Bauer down vest to sell on ebay. Listed them all, and the vest sold.


Denise December 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Silk and cashmere – sounds absolutely marvellous! Well done, I’m very envious.


Bettypants December 15, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Thanks! It is a pretty soft cardigan.


Elizabeth December 14, 2017 at 5:42 am

1. Used my Amazon prime to ship presents to Colorado, otherwise the shipping would have cost as much as the presents!!
2. Used some Christmas money to buy things I have put off buying for myself this year (it’s always tough to spend money on myself, but gift money makes it a tad bit easier)
3. Bought 20-oz soda bottles on sale, then once they are empty, I refill them with soda from a 2-L to send in my husband’s lunch (otherwise my husband thinks it’s ok to buy 20-oz bottles at the gas station for more than twice what a 2-L costs…..)


Teddie December 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Elizabeth, I just joined Amazon Prime. Can I send things free which I ordered on Amazon to addresses other than mine? I thought the free Prime shipping was only to my address?


Norma December 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Nope. You can send to any address, not just your own.


Betty Winslow December 14, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Yep, I even used it to send a Bible to a prisoner, because the prison said they could only accept packages straight from a company, not from friends or family.


Tracy December 14, 2017 at 5:42 am

1. Had another LONG call with insurance company trying to get a medical claim sorted out. Ugh.
2. Eating food brought from home at work for breakfast and lunch.
3. Resisting urge to get takeout after work, dinner last night for me was cold cereal. (I know I could do better but didn’t want to make the effort!)
4. Keeping grocery shopping to one trip/week to avoid item creep (that’s when I go in for a gallon of milk and come out with a mostly full cart! 🙂
5. Continuing to make DD’s school lunches instead of having her buy since they raised prices to over$5/lunch this year at her school.


Cindy in the South I December 14, 2017 at 6:29 am

I am still in the midst of my epic $5,000 sewer line frugal fail but will try to come up with frugal wins:
1. I cut my hair. I have stretched out my coloring of my hair by two weeks. Roots are showing but I really do not care.
2. I made , for lack of a better word, a concoction, of leftover fried rice, collards, parm cheese, spices, and egg from leftovers. It. was ok. I am not picky. I just finished up the tomato/carrot soup I made last weekend. Will probably make another pot, since I like soup. I also made Vidalia (sp?) onion pie with a crack crust…except I did not have Vidalia onions and used what I had..shrug. I also subbed parm cheese because my cheddar cheese was in the work frig for lunch. It was fine.
3. I used a $5 off $25 coupon at Dollar General on Saturday to buy dog and cat food, and evap milk, etc. I still need backup dog and cat food so will probably buy some this weekend with the coupon I received Saturday. I always try to keep a backup bag.
4. I did my own nails at home.
5. I hid under the covers after the epic sewer fail, and cussed, screamed, cried, you know…drama queen stuff. But, hey, I did not go anywhere and spend unneeded gas money.


Jennifer December 14, 2017 at 8:07 am

Good grief! The sewer problem is horrendous and couldn’t come at a worse time, it seems. Our last sewer issue came when it was pouring rain for weeks. This too shall pass.


Cindy in the South I December 14, 2017 at 8:32 am

Lol Jennifer.


Cindy in the South I December 14, 2017 at 6:30 am

I used leftovers twice in the same sentence. I really need to proofread before I hit submit, but I also really do not care today…lol


Cindy in the South I December 14, 2017 at 9:20 am

…and that would be a “cracker crust”….not a “crack crust”….sigh


Jill A December 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Crack crust sounds addicting. We have a restaurant that calls their fries “crack fries” and they are amazing. “Crack Crust” sounds good to me.


Mand01 December 14, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Lol, imagine a crack crust. Not flaky at all but really, who cares?


Mand01 December 14, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Sorry. Some thoughts I should probably just keep to myself…


Jennifer December 15, 2017 at 5:17 am

Lol, Mande..

Cindy in the South I December 15, 2017 at 5:37 am



Denise December 15, 2017 at 1:18 pm


I smell your pain!

My insurer’s contractor is finally coming out next Thursday to determine cause of my very own Poo-Gate. I’m expecting that it will be uninsured so another big chunk of money.

But hey, I got thrown off my Master’s degree course today, because I haven’t found a clinical placement, so I’ll be saving my fees. Every poo pipe has a silver lining…Not.

Roberta December 14, 2017 at 7:36 am

1. My husband made fudge for the teachers. I bought the good chocolate chips a while back on sale; the marshmallow fluff and evap milk were on sale this week. I used some cereal box liners and wax paper to wrap the cut fudge.
2. I cut my Christmas card list to only people we never see. I finally got the cards out; only 10 cards, pics and letters. I figured it’s not necessary to send to my sisters-in-law, parents, etc, who I see regularly.
3. Finally sold something on ebay! It’s been a really long time! I sold an American Girls horse my daughter no longer wants, and will be packing it up in a used shipping box. (I have plenty of those this time of year.)
4. I repacked and sent a gift to a cousin. The initial shipping cost was $18! I took out the avocados, and replaced a candle in a glass jar with a set of candles in plastic, added a couple of lightweight things instead of the avocados. I ended up saving $7, and I did not spend any money on the new inclusions.
5. Not exactly frugal, but potentially frugal and I’m bragging: My son got his PSAT scores back. He’s only a sophomore, so his scores don’t count this year, but if he scores as well next year he will be in scholarship territory! I’m so thrilled, because his first-choice school is no something we could afford, at all. Four years at that school is more than our southern California house cost, so scholarships are necessary!


ouvickie December 14, 2017 at 8:08 am

Congrats to your son, that’s awesome!


Jennifer December 15, 2017 at 5:24 am

1. I decided to make fudge for the kids teachers and some cheese straws. The fudge recipe I use is a bag of chocolate chips( or butterscotch, PB, or whatever you prefer) mixed with sweetened condensed milk then melted in the microwave and poured in a pan to firm up. I dress them up a bit with pecans or sometimes a swirl of caramel. The latest one that I love has dried cherries and pistachios. I only buy just enough at the bulk in at Kroger so just a few cents for the pistachios and cherries. Great idea for the cereal liners, I’m gonna steal that one.


ouvickie December 14, 2017 at 7:41 am

1) Today is our Department Winter Break/Annual Meeting & dinner – free lunch – YAY!
2) Our Boss challenged us to an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest for the Christmas Dinner today. I don’t have one and couldn’t find one at the GW store, but they did have a cute Long-sleeved Christmas Theme T-shirt with a 50% tag. I paid $2.50 for it and it’s cute enough to wear again on Christmas Day. I also bought a very pretty red top and a pair of slip-on leather shoes. I spent a total of $7.68 for everything, since I had my GW discount card and caught the sales.
3) I went to dinner at The Mont last night with Hubby and ordered from the appetizer menu. Plenty of leftover black-bean nachos, so I put them in a to-go box and that will be dinner tonight.
4) The Department is having a Food Drive, so I bought $8 worth to donate when I went to the Dollar Tree yesterday. It’s surprising how much nutritious food you can buy there now.
5) My Vet said our little chihuahua, who has been having Grand Mal seizures the last 6 months, also has a low thyroid count. I found out dogs can have Cushing’s disease, which can cause both of those symptoms and many more. So I found an organic treatment by Omega Pet online at Amazon yesterday and used my gift-card to buy it, along with a coupon code, which lowered the price by $9. Since I chose the No-Rush shipping, I got a $10 bonus added to my account. Definitely cheaper than Vet visits and scripts.


Kristen December 14, 2017 at 8:02 am

Trader Joe’s has so many sampler kind of things this time of year, which always tempt me because I love to try all the flavors. Like, the pack of 4 different honeys. Or the pack of 8 different dark chocolates.

Also: Peppermint Joe-Joe’s. I try very hard not to buy them because I have ZERO self-control once those are in the house. Oy.


Jennifer December 14, 2017 at 8:09 am

Honey samples!? That would be a great gift!


Anne December 14, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Amen Kristen. I told my husband I wanted just one pack of those for the whole season. Well, we’ve had three so far and it’s only the 14th. Luckily Trader Joe’s is about 15 miles away with a really bad parking situation. But still…… 😀


Gina in KY December 14, 2017 at 10:36 am

Really, I should be sentenced to only posting on the non-frugal 5 until I get my act together; this has not been a great year for finances, but we can only go forward…

1. Used ingredients from the pantry to make very good gingerbread mini-cakes and magic bars. I did not have all the spices that the gingerbread recipe called for, however, the substitutes I had on hand did not make it any less tasty. I even used a bit of bourbon to make a glaze. I’ve had that bottle forever. It is pretty much sac-religious here in KY to hate Bourbon, but I am a transplant so we’ll blame it on that fact.

2. I received a collections notice in the mail and I KNEW I had paid the bill 4 months ago when I initially was billed. I was able to find it easy on one of my bank statements and problem fixed. However, this did bring up the need to clean up my files and be a bit more organized. I guess this will be high on the goal list for 2018.

3. I also used old packing material I had around the house to pack up gifts to send. I do still need to pop into Dollar Tree for packing tape, but this will be done by tomorrow so I’ll include it. I also wrapped one of my friend’s gifts in newspaper I saved from a trip to Philadelphia Chinatown in June and I think it looks prettier than actual wrapping paper.

4. Working a rare third shift this week which pays shift differential, so I’ll be getting a tiny extra in the ol’ paycheck. Every little bit helps, right? I work in exports/imports regulations and this is a big month for both.

5. Picked up my free 2018 calendar at the Indian grocery store I frequent.


KJD509 December 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm

I feel the same way, Gina – unfrugals abound just now.


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

FFT, Have Yourself a Frugal Little Christmas Edition:

(1) Re: Sarah D’s comment above about the Christmas tree branches, I do something similar: I wait till someone nearby trims bottom branches off their tree and puts them on the curb, and then collect the branches. (Fortunately for me and my still-recuperating ankles, the new neighbors four doors down obliged this year.) I then use my garden pruners to shape what I’ve collected into an attractive bundle, and attach a large red weatherproof bow to the bundle. (I have two or three of these bows in graduated sizes, all trashpicked.) I hang this on the flagpole bracket on the front of the house–and there’s a lovely holiday decoration for $0.00.

(2) I’m still rocking the stash of Christmas wrapping paper we’ve accumulated over the years from DH’s rental properties (back in the day) and trashpicking. I never cease to be amazed at how people throw out/abandon gift wrap that’s still in its shrink wrap.

(3) Gift tags require a little more creativity–but I always save the previous year’s holiday cards that have gift tag potential and use those.

(4) Having like-minded friends to exchange gifts with is itself priceless. We and the Bestest Neighbors have been taking things to the NCA limit for years now. Ms. BN and I (who both love Chico’s clothes as long as we don’t have to pay Chico’s prices) have been passing a Chico’s box back and forth with appropriate contents for quite a while. The only things we scratch out/paste over are the “To/From” labels.

(5) And I offer up my yearly thanks to my oldest sister, who started the custom in my family-of-origin of exchanging charitable donations instead of gifts. Folks in the Third World, and the food banks in our respective cities, can use the love.


Linda Gertig December 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

What is NCA?


A. Marie December 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

NCA = the Non-Consumer Advocate (the blog where we are). Sorry for the confusion.


Christine Joiner December 14, 2017 at 5:55 pm

A.Marie, Nice about the charitable giving instead of gifts. A lot of us have so much more than we really need.


Jill December 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

1. Sold a “holiday” dress on ebay that I bought for an anniversary cruise several years ago. Used packaging that I already had and scheduled a pick-up from the post office.
2. My niece was in a nearby city for work from the West Coast so my sister and I drove up to meet her for lunch – split the gas money – and gave her all our Christmas gifts (I just had a baby gift for my new nephew – her son) which saved us shipping. Then we drove through a free Christmas light display that I had wanted to see which made the trip even more worth it.
3. Actually cooked dinner – bbq chicken in the crock pot – with planned ahead leftovers for the weekend.
4. Put a copy of Love Actually on hold at my library. Picked up my copy today to watch this weekend.
5. Looked up a recipe for banana bread using what ingredients I have on hand as I have four bananas rotting on my counter. Tomorrow will be a baking and cleaning day with Christmas music and candles. Clean house and holiday spirit.


janine December 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Loved our #5 – cleaning and baking with Christmas music and candles. Clean house and holiday spirit. I’ve decided this will also be my goal tomorrow.


tia December 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm

1. I canceled my Sam’s Club membership. They have great items and are probably frugal for large families, but my family is shrinking. I don’t need such huge items anymore and gas prices across the street from Sam’s are identical. 45 bucks back in my pocket.
2. I sold my first item online. I paid 2 dollars for a teacup and saucer and sold it for 50 dollars plus shipping. It was kinda fun and I learned some ninja packing and shipping skills, plus you meet some nice people.
3. I watched a video about all the plastic in our oceans and rivers and how it gets into our drinking water and food supply. I was surprised at how they think washing polyester, acrylic, and nylon clothing are major contributors to this. Bummer. So I’m rethinking how to transition back to natural fibers. Goodwill here has tons of cotton, linen, and silk, so that is easy. I just wonder what is the best thing to do with the plastic clothing I now have besides quit wearing and washing them. I wish there was a recycler who made them into flooring or furniture or multi use items.
4. Next on my list-totally cut out the internet/wifi bill. we shall see.


Roberta December 15, 2017 at 7:02 am

WOW! $50 for a teacup is great!


VanessaKC December 14, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Been trying to come up with things to sell for holiday gift cash. I have a large extended family, and although we’ve agreed to give only to the children…there are a lot of them. I stress on this every year. Reading tonight, your gold plated apartment line (which always makes me laugh) reminded me of a little gold plated something to sell! Found a gold Porsche emblem some time ago. Hung it with my VW emblems. We don’t restore Porsche vehicles, so I don’t need it. Researched it, found that it goes to the 356 which was made from 60-65, and listed it for a modest price. Could I get more if I held out? Sure. But I need cash and this baby could finish the list. Thank you for your gold plated reminder!


tonya December 14, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Four Frugal Things- Holiday Socializing Edition
1) Rode the train downtown to meet up with a friend. I have an $7/month Eco-pass through my employer, so it cost me pennies! Our traffic is horrible so it was a pleasure to skip the driving.
2) Read a free ebook on the train ride.
3) Ordered from the happy hour menu. Carnitas poutine and cheese curds….yum.
4) Left food for the family’s dinner cooking in the Crock-Pot.


Betty Winslow December 14, 2017 at 7:50 pm

1. Made a plate of Mexican dip to go with chips I already had, to take to a party. Brought the leftovers home, had most of it for lunch, and the rest will be part of tomorrow’s.
2. The hostess bought fruit for the party and sent the leftover pears (which they don’t like) home with me. Yum!
3. Got a $5 Starbucks gift card from a school parent as a thank you, so will treat myself to a coffee next time I’m at Kroger.
4. Packed up my out of town gifts, and was enjoying that so many were thrifted or bartered for, and the packaging was all recycled.
5. Won a lovely rosemary plant shaped like a Xmas tree at a women’s ministry party and also got one from my daughter’s BF’s mom, as a remembrance on my late daughter’s heavenly birthday, so now have free decorations for our Xmas eve party buffet table! Too bad I don’t cook with it… so after Xmas, I will be selling them.


Jenn from the Northwest December 15, 2017 at 8:13 am

Hi Katy! I just wanted to say I LOVE your blog, and the $1 garlic is a great deal. Recently though I found the bulk spices at Grocery Outlet to be a super buy since I get 11.2 ounces for around $3.50. I haven’t had to deal with all the little containers of garlic powder either…AND they have other good stuff like granulated garlic, onuon, powder, and curry for around the same price! 😀


Jenn from the Northwest December 15, 2017 at 8:14 am



Suzanne Kouns December 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

1. Stayed at home most of the week……keeping the fire going with homemade fire starters made from paper towel holders (from my mother n laws house…since we don’t buy them )& rolled up sale ads , or brown paper bags we receive from the groc store. We roll those up and push inside the holders. Free and WORK NICELY. Fire starters are so expensive.
2. Used up the leftover foods bought for Thanksgiving meal. Fresh sweet potatoes I baked in the oven (10). I then mashed up and used them on the top of a casserole made with corn bread dressing (boxed for 50cents) left over froz turkey, canned green beans, & cream of celery soup. While sweet potatoes were going I washed and then simmered a large amount of fresh cranberries and later froze contents for bread I will make for Christmas.
3. Looked through my old vintage patterns to make something extra for my daughter n law for Christmas. She loves pigs . I am making her a pig stuffed animal out a flannel shirt that still has a lot of life left… can double as a throw pillow really
4. I forgot to mention , while those POTATOES were baking, I also baked the rest of some bacon on hand before it spoiled . I used some of it this morning while making omelets for breakfast.
5. Date Night this weekend, will be a walk through our wonderful downtown to look at the lights. Ahhh, LIFE IS GOOD


Norma December 15, 2017 at 11:40 am

I don’t normally do the FFT but have had some great (for me) frugal experiences over the last week.

1. Had two $5 extra bucks coupons for CVS. Purchased two bags of Hershey’s kisses for baking and a tube of toothpaste for $1.03 after taking off my coupons. Then got $3 extra bucks for buying the kisses. So they paid me to shop there!!! (I realize I had to purchase 20 prescriptions to get the two $5 coupons but I would be purchasing them anyway.)

2. Thinking about replacing our heat pump before it decides to die in the middle of winter. Will save about $2,000 by going through Costco.

3. Purchased four $15 Krispy Kreme (my downfall – one of many) gift cards for $45, a 25% savings. Used my credit card for points. Will use my Krispy Kreme app when purchasing donuts and will get those point towards free items at Krispy Kreme. Will use my credit card for even more points. Win, win, win!!!

4. Purchased four $25 gift cards for Sticky Fingers. Again, used my credit card for points. Have BOGO coupons for Sticky Fingers and will use by credit card again to get points. Don’t eat out a lot but this is one of our favorites and gift cards should last us most of the year.

5. Have only purchased items for Christmas on Amazon which include free shipping with Amazon prime. Husband watches movies on Amazon for entertainment.


Linda Gertig December 17, 2017 at 10:05 am

My major frugal thing this week was reading the book “DOLLARS AND SENSE How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter” by Dan Ariely andJeff Kreisler (and getting it back to the library before a fine kicked in).


tonya parham December 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

1. Ate every meal at home today and didn’t go out. My plan is to not go out too very much the rest of the month. I’m done teaching my classes so I really don’t have to leave the house if I don’t want to for almost a month.

2. IKEA sent me a coupon for my birthday month and we went Friday and I got the $14.97 set of glass bakeware. I’ve been through so many plastic containers that I’ve just decided to slowly replace with glassware with lids. This is hard to find in our thrift stores (As are bookshelves!) so I am slowly phasing out the plastic containers and opting for the glass stuff. The coupon was for $15 off so it was free and will last FAR longer than the cheap gladware I used to get. With that, they also sent a coupon for a free meatball meal with dessert. I got veggie balls and almond cake as did my wife. When they rung it up, BOTH were free.

I am, however, staying OUT of Ikea until March because I do tend to overspend there.

3. Did grading for the state and made $1200. Will put that in savings. I really HAVE to work on savings this coming year. That will be a good start.

4. Got some suet for the bird feeder and put out yesterday. It’s cheap entertainment to watch the birds and to watch the cats (indoor) watching the birds.

5. Am reading books I already own, eating food that is stockpiled, keeping the heat low, not going out of town, making beans from scratch in my crockpot, and focusing on home and my loved one.


tonya parham December 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I forgot one!

A friend of mine from work dropped her iphone 6. I have a 5s which is fine but I asked her if she were interested in selling hers since she was just going to replace instead of repair. I thought, you know they are expensive and I tend to drop mine so having one I could use as back up if she doesn’t want too much would be good.

SHE GAVE IT TO ME! FREE! She said, “just keep feeding me yummy vegan food at our writing get togethers!” Ummmmm….so, yeah for the cost of the screen repair, a newer phone?! Sure thing!


janine December 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

Would love to have your #1 – I can think of warm fires in the fireplace (with our own wood), scratch baking, meals in the crockpot, etc. – frugal heaven!


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