Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 28, 2017 · 127 comments

  1. I’m spending the day at home working my way through online educational modules for which I’ll receive eight hours of RN pay. I earned this benefit through working greater than 800 hours as a labor and delivery nurse in 2016. I also earned this benefit for 2018, as I worked waaaay more than 800 hours in 2017. However, since 2018 starts in a few days, I can actually piggyback two years of education sessions onto the same paycheck. This is great as I’m not working much while my kids are home from college, yet those college tuition payments are like a financial elephant on my chest.

  2. Today’s sweater, jeans and socks are all semi-recent finds from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet store, while my tank top is a long ago 25¢ garage sale item. I did receive new Keen slippers as a gift maybe five years ago, although they seem to be holding strong and should last another five years. I would hazard a guess to say that I spent two dollars on today’s outfit, but it’s only that high due to the Land’s End sweater being cotton and having some weight to it.

  3. I’m working on eating from the fridge and pantry as much as possible right now. I cobbled together a pizza for my sons last night, which I topped with frozen pepperoni. My husband noticed that his work refrigerator had a Costco sized bag of sliced pepperoni which was going to be tossed, so he brought it home. I froze what I can only guess was four pounds of pepperoni in small resealable bags, so we’re now set for the next couple of years. I also threw some dried black beans into our crockpot, which simmered throughout the afternoon and into the evening. I enjoyed a bowl for dinner, which I garnished with various random items, including the last of some organic salsa that someone had brought to a party last summer. (It didn’t get opened until last month.) There’s enough black beans left over that I can set out a “burrito bar” for the evening meal. I do need to pick up a few grocery items, (specifically fruit) but I’ll go to Trader Joe’s, as their bananas are 19¢ apiece and a bargain, especially if you take a moment to grab the biggest ones. I’m guessing they’re a loss leader, but I have no shame about walking past their aisles of impulse items to just buy bananas. After all, I am the “loss leader of the free world.”

  4. I was able to buy one of my son’s Christmas presents (Metallica Guitar Hero for our PS3) using store credit I earned from bringing in games from a long ago free box, I lined our kitchen garbage using plastic bags from the Chinese restaurant where we ate Christmas dinner, (a NYC Jewish tradition and my Bronx-raised step father’s treat) I’m using bandanas as my nose tends to get runny in cold weather, and I made one of my son’s college tuition payments early so I can avoid late fees if there are any issues with routing numbers or other such nonsense. (My payday’s not until Friday, so I’ll make the other son’s payment then.)

  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.

{ 127 comments… read them below or add one }

April December 28, 2017 at 1:10 pm

1. Baked 2 peach pies with peaches purchased in July. They were the ugly fruit, so bought a box for $2 along with corn onthe cob.
2. I was gifted 5 large trash bags of clothing 5 pairs of work pants and new to me jammies that were much needed were included.
3. Baked mac a roni for supper, made with home made sauce veggies from our garde.
4. Meeting a friend for much needed friend time and free wine .
5. Enjoying the tv antenna my son gave us for Christmas, 9 channels of public tv. No cable since 2008.


Michelle H. December 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm

That pizza looks delicious!

I hosted Christmas Eve and Day at my house, and still trying to work through all the leftovers. Lunch every day this week has been Christmas Eve appetizers, and dinners have included whatever I can.

I’m planning to work through my stuffed pantry and freezer for the next few weeks, and only budget enough for milk, bread, fruit, and a few loss leaders each week.

Declined an invitation to meet friends at a trampoline park today and took the kids to an indoor playground for some free entertainment instead.


MommaL December 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

This blog keeps me inspired and has great ideas, thank you Katy and friends!

Here’s my “week off, so I have time to catch up” frugal things:

1. Looked up a lot of recipes for soups with cabbage. I didn’t grow up eating it, so its new to me, but there are so many good soups I can try with the cheap cabbage on sale for 49 cents a head, combined with what I’ve got in my freezer and pantry inventory that I just completed (why do I have 6 ropes of kielbasa?).
2. Returned some tumblers that have a lifetime guarantee, they were fogging up. Used the coupon code the company sent me to buy a water bottle for me that is personalized, so I won’t lose it at work this time (last one went missing).
3. Went to Good will, bought nothing. Almost bought a cute black cardigan found in the men’s section that fit me perfectly, and it had pockets! (I love pockets) Then I realized I had something almost just like it at home. I’m always excited just to have something that fits, but I put it back. A friend taught me a while back to look in the men’s department for sweaters, flannel shirts, and sweatshirts.
4. Using some gift cards for a spa date with DH. He enjoys them even more than me, so I considered just sending him, but I have the week off, so I thought it would be nice to spend time with him while I can. He is older than I am, and I constantly remind myself to slow down and appreciate him while I can.
5. Contacted the government agency to get my husband’s discharge paperwork. This will entitle him to a VA card to get discounts at our local hardware store, and some restaurants. He was discharged a very long time ago, so he had misplaced the paper. It will take months, as there is a backlog of requests due to a new law in November.
After I applied, I realized that I might be doing me and my children a favor by getting this paperwork done now. There are burial benefits and death benefits that we might qualify for someday, as he is a veteran. I hate hate hate planning for that day, but I know its wise to think about it and prepare as much as possible.


Mand01 December 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

I love pockets too. There’s a brand here (maybe in US too) called Dangerfield that puts pockets in all their dresses.


Liz B. December 28, 2017 at 2:25 pm

My son loves athletic pants – the kind with the stripes down the outer sides of the legs. I bought him a few el cheapo pairs at a local store that were on clearance, and he really liked them, until one of my sisters bought him some Adidas athletic pants…..they instantly became his favorites. They have pockets! Lol!


MommaL December 30, 2017 at 5:38 am

I just looked up Dangerfield, so CUTE. Fortunately for my wallet, the shipping would be too high to ship to the US. 🙂


Mand01 December 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

I know, they are gorgeous. My daughter and I buy a dress each now and then plus I always keep my eyes peeled for them in thrift stores. I’ve found a few. Once I found a stash of them at a thrift store- just my size. Score of the year!


Lisa December 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I agree with you totally. Get those DD214 now. Is he a war veteran? I would start applying for his benefits now. Contact your mayor’s office and they can give you the name and number for your veteran expert in your area. Dad was a veteran of two foreign wars and I kept him at home. Strangers terrified him. He passed before I could get the help that was his due. Never too early to find out how it all works.


Nancy from mass December 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Also, he (and you) are eligible for long term, assisted living benefits and such. Look into that as well so you will be know other benefits available to you. I didn’t get my step fathers paperwork early enough to help pay for my mom. (We couldn’t use my dads discharge paperwork -which I had, because my mom remarried another veteran a few years after my dad died).


Linda December 29, 2017 at 4:34 am

I’m a recent convert to checking out the men’s dept. at our local thrift store. I found a Gap men’s black sweater, cotton, like new for $2. I only had 2 other sweaters, so this was a need.


Mary in VA December 29, 2017 at 6:03 am

Good tip about checking the men’s section–occasionally I’ll find a woman’s top or sweater in the men’s section. Also, when checking the women’s section I check sizes other than my own. Sometimes clothing is hung on the wrong rack. Score!


Jennifer December 29, 2017 at 6:45 am

The fact that you mentioned kielbasa and cabbage made me think of a delicious recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid. It is similar to this one:

The only difference is my mom never put potatoes in ours, like this recipe calls for. She also substituted polish sausages and they taste equally good.


MommaL December 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Yum, thank you for the recipe, Jennifer. 🙂


Jennifer December 29, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Your are welcome!


Nancy December 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Do you not do the traditional Christmas dinner Katy? Or do you have it another time?


Nancy December 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

ooops never mind! I just read your previous post that said you don’t follow any regular Christmas tradition. Wish I could get my family on board with that!


Mand01 December 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm

1. I spent my day in the garden refreshing soil in my planter boxes and planting beetroot (free seeds from my garden club) and mini yellow capsicum (plants raised from seeds saved last summer). I noted down my plantings in the free gardening diary I received with my free Organic Gardening magazine subscription (for doing online surveys). Then we had a bout of unseasonable summer rain and my garden got a free drink.
2. We are hosting a BBQ tonight for our best friends that got engaged over Christmas. It’s extra special as same sex marriage has just been legalised here and now we can help celebrate their engagement with them. I have everything I need in my freezer and garden.
3. I’m taking my daughter and sister to see The Last Jedi on New Year’s Day and got cheap (for Australia, which is expensive) tickets through my movie club membership.
4. I downloaded a free copy of A Christmas Carol to my iPad for my annual Christmas reading of that story. I’ve read that story to myself every year for probably ten years. I do have it in a hard copy somewhere but we are between bookcases (it’s a thing) and I couldn’t find it.
5. I planned meals and a shopping list for the next week and we are basically living out of our garden and freezer which is pretty exciting. In the past when we have had good gardens we could exist out of the garden About twice a year for about six weeks. I’m hoping that with a bigger yard and more successful composting we can extend those periods. As gardening is my main hobby it’s not really work.


yvette from down under December 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Yes the vege garden makes a big impact on the budget when it’s salad weather, and fresher more convenient to pop out the back door and pick greens and herbs. The weather in Victoria is a bit hot and no rain so I am watering everyday, can’t even say it’s free as the garden tanks are empty too. There is a lot of free fruit hitting the ground in the neighbourhood, I go in and ask , mostly people are very happy to give it away and I try to drop off jam to those places later on as an act of goodwill in exchange.


tonya December 28, 2017 at 2:06 pm

your #2 makes me smile. ❤️❤️❤️


Christine Joiner December 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm

A kindred spirit! I read A Christmas Carol every year starting in early December too. I have an old hardcover book copy that’s been around for years and years. It’s been a part of my Christmas for all of my adult life, I think. Nice to know someone else is doing it along with me even though we’re on opposite sides of the Earth.


Mand01 December 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Wow, that’s so cool!
There’s something so wonderful and comforting about that story that appeals to even this old cynic.


Christine Joiner December 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

Hugs and Happy New Year to you!


Taylor-Made Homestead December 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm

1) We’re eating from the freezer this week. Tonight we’ll enjoy a pork roast main dish from the freezer and I’ll bake my favorite baked tortilla-rolls for dessert. Typically I use apple pie filling rolled in tortillas & topped with butter/sugar/cinnamon but instead this time I’ll use the last can of tart cherries & whip up a pie filling using only the can of cherries/sugar/cornstarch & vanilla extract. (it’s delicious!)

2) Declined an invite to meet up at a higher-priced (ie: out of our budget) brewery an hour away from home and opted instead to hang out with them afterward at a nearby family member’s residence.

3) While in a nearby town for a doctor’s appt today (with an exorbitant 1.5 hr waiting room stay) we resisted the urge to stop for lunch and instead waited until we got home to eat. We have lots of food in the house!

4) My outfit today is almost 100% thrifted from prior years, and it looks great! My cute chunky necklace was a $1 garage sale find a couple of years ago. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it.

5) Ordered the last refill of my prescriptions today, before the end of the year when next year’s rx coverage isn’t near as generous in covering meds.

~Taylor-Made Homestead~


Mary in VA December 29, 2017 at 6:10 am

Re #5, I did the same thing. I received notification from my insurance company that a couple of prescriptions would be significantly more expensive in 2018. I’m glad I was on the ball enough to think of refilling before 12/31!


cathy December 29, 2017 at 9:50 am

I just did the same. Called in refills for my kids’ Epipen prescriptions since I have a manufacturer’s coupon that makes them essentially free. Coupon expires 12/31.


A. Marie December 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm

FFT, Trying Not to Freeze in Upstate NY Edition:

(1) We went out to Sam’s Club for a few essentials Tuesday afternoon, and haven’t ventured out of the house since. Can’t go out = can’t spend $$$.

(2) We’re daily reaping the benefits of DH’s free firewood acquisitions back in the day. The wood-burning fireplace insert is providing much-needed heat, and we run the gas furnace only in the early morning to take the (extreme) chill off the house. Even at the rate we’re currently going through wood, I’d estimate that we still have a 2- to 3-year supply on hand.

(3) I harvested the last of our Tuscan kale, and most of my remaining leeks, before the Ice Age started. Will be using some of both, plus some of our 1/2 pig’s bacon, in a frittata tonight.

(4) We continue to hang all laundry (except sheets; no room for those) on our collection of vintage drying racks, situated wherever they fit on our second floor. The wet clothes provide welcome humidity at this time of year.

(5) And DH and I just gave each other high fives over our latest utility bill: “National Greed” just had to reduce our monthly budget payment from $148 to $130. Woo hoo!


Crosby December 29, 2017 at 7:05 am

Hehehe National Greed made me laugh. We’re on NG as well.


Mary in Maryland December 29, 2017 at 9:24 am

I drape the wet sheets over the sofa or over a couple of 1x2s stretched between two dining room chairs. No company on laundry day!


A. Marie December 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Crosby: Nobody in our town calls NG anything BUT National Greed!

Mary in MD: You win on sheet drying. But I bought a couple of sets a few years ago that take no more than 15 minutes in the dryer. (The dryer is an ancient Maytag that I’ll probably have to mention in my will.) And if DH had his way, we wouldn’t wash sheets as often as we do. He claims that as an undergraduate, he washed his sheets once a semester whether they needed it or not.


Karen December 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm

1. Christmas Eve dinner was a hit, thanks to a suggestion from my husband that we try beef stew in the crockpot. I had a recipe from the internet that I vaguely remembered making once, so I tried it. It was delicious (actually the website is called D@mn Delicious), and our formerly meat-hating child ate his whole serving and said the meat in particular was “awesome”! Since stew meat is usually pretty inexpensive, it was great to put a new, frugal recipe in my back pocket.

2. In past years I’ve slaved away at making my mom’s traditional Christmas cookies (you chill them, cut them out and decorate them) because well, they tasted like Christmas to me. This year I realized a) I really hate rolling out cookies and b) my kids prefer cookies with chocolate in them. So I made one kind of cookie: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Gingerbread, and froze some to give to our neighbors over the holidays, and I used my best chocolate chip cookie recipe to make some holiday M&M cookies. DONE. Easier and less stress on me, and cheaper than making multiple kinds of cookies.

3. We finally sold a horrible albatross of a house–a huge loss on paper, because we sold it for far less than we bought it, and had to spend lots of money to fix it up in order to sell it–BUT in reality we gained so much back. My husband no longer has to go over and work on the darn house, we are no longer making huge trips to the home improvement store, and we no longer have a mortgage! Huzzah! Our stress level just dropped by about 1000% and that is the best Christmas present ever.

4. Kids were all happy with their gifts–they get three on St Nicholas Day, stockings (and a few family presents, like board games) on Christmas, and Epiphany is three presents. Because of #3 DH and I did not get each other presents, so a rechargeable flashlight I had gotten with some Amazon rebate money went in my teenager’s stocking, and he was actually delighted. He’s finally reached the age where practical gifts are welcome!

5. Using up some odds and ends from the fridge tonight for crockpot fried rice to go with some fish. Used up broth from holiday cooking for my lunch.


Karen December 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Oh! I forgot. DH took one of the kids to the store to get a coat, and DH needed pants–i was able to find an online coupon and printed it off for them. DH found a great pair of work pants marked down to 10% of the original price! They were 60 bucks and he got them for 6 dollars, and got a pretty good deal on a coat for the kid as well.


Lindsey December 28, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Glad I am not the only one who hates rolling, cutting and applying tasteless frosting to cookies that are often already too sweet for my taste!


Ava December 29, 2017 at 5:13 am

Karen, I feel your joy. When we finally sold my husband’s out of state house, what a relief that was. We felt like the sun came out and the birds started to sing.


Karen January 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Isn’t it glorious? Of course now we are working to pay off the loans we had to take to FIX the dang thing, but we have a plan and it looks like it will work in time for us to start thinking about college for the kids…


Gina in KY December 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

I feel your pain on the Albatross house! I have one too that I am determined to get rid of this year even if I have to “give” it away. The saving in stress alone and the distance to keep it maintained will be worth it to me. Congrats on the freedom!


Karen January 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Gina, we pretty much did give it away. We ended up having to reduce the price so much to just get it to sell (our realtor was not well connected in that area of the real estate market, and realtors are notorious for only showing houses that are listed by agents who can bring buyers to THEM), that we took a huge loss. But the “good” news on that is that we will not have to pay any income tax in that city on that sale, since we made no money on it.


CatherinefromFrance December 31, 2017 at 5:44 am

Hello Karen .What is the meaning of a “Albatross house”? I didn’t find on the traductor! Have a nice day.Catherine.


Jennifer December 31, 2017 at 7:08 am

Hey Catherine, albatross just means “cursed, or bad luck” in this case. So in other words, the house is causing so many problems it feels like it’s cursed.


Karen January 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Yep, Jennifer nailed it. This house was a bad, bad decision (mostly on my part) to buy. We paid too much, it started leaking the day we came home from closing, the neighborhood was already going downhill. But now it’s gone!


tonya December 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm

1) I volunteered to work yesterday as it was a week when many had vacation planned. It was nice to get out of the house for a day (I have the remainder of the week off). It’s frugal because I took on this extra weekly shift a few months ago and am really enjoying the extra pay in my check! Plus it’s a wonderful group of people.
2) Eating stove popped popcorn, drinking homemade coffee and reading library books today.
3) We are eating down the Christmas left overs.
4) Paid off the balance of one bill today. Thankful that we chose a Frugal Christmas and are still focused on paying off our debt.
5) Going to bake some homemade cookies later today.


Juhli December 28, 2017 at 2:31 pm

1. Making split pea soup for dinner as I am writing this.
2. Sticking to our per person budget for gifts again in 2018 starting with a January 3rd birthday. Now that we live close to family again we can either purchase something they want and/or provide cash.
4. Pulled a brand new sweater but sat down and did the best I could to fix it.
5. Did not buy a fancy anything at the after Christmas sales!


MommaL December 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Juhli, every time I make split pea soup the peas are really hard, even if I soak them. What am I doing wrong?


Christine Joiner December 30, 2017 at 8:40 am

MommaL, I hope this helps. I soak mine for 18 hours and they soften nicely. I also use Goya brand split peas. Also, my recipe says to simmer the soup on the stovetop for 1 hour 30 minutes. My husband and I are using up a pot of split pea soup I made from the Christmas Eve ham. I’ve had good luck with this method. Hope you do, too.


Jill A December 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm

You are on a roll.

1. My husband and I picked up a few groceries at Costco and Aldi. We did get sucked into the discounted cookies at Costco which we gave to our daughter. We filled our van up with gas while we were at Costco which saved us several dollars.
2. My Mother is not enjoying the winter and is home alone a lot. We picked her up today and took her for a nice ride in the country. We made sure the heat was blasting in the car and took some nice warm blankets. We all enjoyed the snowy scenery and my daughter enjoyed her nap.
3. I made a huge pot of chili for dinner and will freeze half for future dinners. I used some ground beef that I needed to get out of my freezer and some tomato juice I froze in small amounts for this purpose. The rest of the ingredients were from my fridge and freezer. We are trying to eat less meat so I’m using half the amount of beef than normal.
4. My daughter and I are enjoying a fire in the fireplace as well as our Christmas tree as we both read. My book is from the library and she’s reading manga on her computer. My husband’s off the casino – not so frugal….he told me to let you all know that he’s a wastrel. LOL
5. I’m taking one for the team and using up the whipping cream leftover from Christmas dinner in my coffee..poor little ol’ me.


Liz B. December 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Your #5 – lol! I do the same thing when we have leftover whipping cream in the house….last time was around Thanksgiving. Sometimes, taking one for the team is the most noble thing you can do. (Giggle)


Lisa December 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I also have two boys in college. We are only one semester into having both boys in school, and already it is stressful.

1) Christmas was very practical this year. My oldest received a fuzzy throw and thick comforter, both aimed at helping him keep the heat low in his off-campus housing

2) The younger son is still in a dorm room. His presents included a large (thrifted) container of homemade hot cocoa mix, paired with a thrifted mug with his initial on it. I will encourage him to take a couple of extra mugs so he can share. After all, my empty nest doesn’t doesn’t need as many mugs. He also received 2 thrifted sweaters and a belt from EBay. The belt was a bit of a splurge but has his college logo on it, for a fraction of the price the bookstore charges for the same belt, so I couldn’t pass it up.

3) Another gift for my younger was a subscription to MoviePass, which will grant him free access to movie theaters both at school and home. While not necessarily cheap, if he uses it more than 12 times this year, it will be a financial win. His university gives each student 2 taxi vouchers each weekend, meaning when combined with the MoviePass, he will be able to see a movie for $0.

4) We caught up with some of their high school friends. One family hosted a pot luck, which put less stress on the hostess but still allowed us to have a great time.

5) Both boys are pitching in while home. The oldest loves to split wood, which will be a plus since I’m keeping the thermostat at 55. We have a common mission!


Wendy Lewis December 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

1. My husband and I made gifts for our boys out of wood and cut trees that we already had. They were all big hits!
2. I am cooking a ham for tonight’s dinner that I bought for only $5 because I spent a certain amount on groceries (those of which we needed anyway). I will put the leftover ham and bone in black eyed peas for New Year’s day dinner.
3. I scavenged my bathroom cabinets for items I could use for an at home spa treatment for myself. The products and a warm bath, combined with a drink made from some gifted whiskey should help me unwind from from a very stressful few weeks.
4. We are eating from the pantry and fridge from now until we can no longer come up with healthy and delicious meals.
5. My In-laws send clothes to my children for the holiday and also included store coupons and rebates. I happily logged into both store’s websites and purchased $90 worth of items. After coupons were applied, I only had to pay $15 for the items and that was done using the remains of a gift card my husband received as a birthday gift earlier this month.


Lisa December 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I agree with you totally. Get those DD214 now. Is he a war veteran? I would start applying for his benefits now. Contact your mayor’s office and they can give you the name and number for your veteran expert in your area. Dad was a veteran of two foreign wars and I kept him at home. Strangers terrified him. He passed before I could get the help that was his due. Never too early to find out how it all works.


Diane December 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm

The most frugal thing of all…not going into stores except to grocery shop! Sure saves a lot of money.

I do have to go to the $1 store tomorrow for large brown envelopes and tea light candles which were too high at my grocery store. But, that will be only $2.00. I’m working on a baby quilt made almost entirely from pieces in my scrap basket. I will have to buy batting with 40% off coupon and backing fabric. My rent is very high, but home is my haven and if I want to stay here, I have to economize on everything else. Living large on little is my continuing mantra!


Vickey January 2, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Diane, I love your mantra! It reminds me that I can do a better job of taking advantage of free cultural events around here. Thanks. 🙂


Sarah D December 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Let’s see if I can get to 5….
1. Christmas dinner (of enchiladas, Mexican rice, mashed local pinto beans and calabacitas) made enough for the two days following.
2. My daughter got a small skillet of her own for a Christmas present, and she chose to use it to make breakfast burritos to pass out to some local homeless people, and included drinks and apples and a few chocolates too. Not necessarily frugal, but kind, and kindness wins. (We didn’t buy anything for this project, though – just used what we had on hand).
3. We went to see the Last Jedi at a matinee so it was cheaper. We had bought tickets for my mom and dad too, but my mom got sick and the theater refunded their tickets. I didn’t know they would do that, but I was glad not to waste that $16!
4. My mother’s present to me is a deep freezer, which I have been wanting for at least a decade. I can’t wait to frugal it up with this thing!
5. My husband wanted a pair of slippers (we’re keeping the heat pretty low and even though it’s not a super cold winter here, it’s still pretty chilly) and we magically found a pair on clearance at REI – they only had two pairs and they were both his (somewhat larger than average) size!


tonya December 28, 2017 at 5:07 pm

Your #1 is my dream meal!! Calabasitas…yummmm.


Sarah D December 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Yep – delish! I have lived in New Mexico for 6 years, but this is the first year I’ve done a New Mexican feast for Christmas dinner. Totally going to do this every year now! It was easy to make everything ahead of time and just put it in the oven after presents were opened!


tonya December 29, 2017 at 2:18 pm

I’m originally from Las Cruces!! We do Mexican on Christmas Eve. Tamales usually. Yummy!!


Sarah D December 29, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Some year I’ll be brave enough to tackle tamales!!

Nancy from mass December 28, 2017 at 8:01 pm

#2: what a wonderful thing your daughter did!!


susanna d December 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

I love #2 as well. So touching! Reading about your daughter’s incredibly thoughtful act made my day!


Sarah D December 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Thanks, Nancy and Susanna! We were pretty blown away by it too – all her plan and idea! She’s such a compassionate person!


Teresa December 28, 2017 at 4:44 pm

1. Treated myself to lunch — I had a $10 coupon. The meal was $11. The waitress was pregnant — waaaay pregnant — so I left a $5 tip. It was a great meal for very little money. More than I normally spend on a meal but that’s ok — you have to splurge once in awhile.
2. Neighbor gifted me about 50 oranges!!! Holy Moly. I made juice with the soft ones and am now figuring out how to use and share the rest.
3. It was a weird holiday. Flip side is that people were very generous and I’m grateful. Will use some of that generosity to take my favorite ex-sis-in-law on a surrey ride. She has cerebral palsy and spoke of enjoying a neighborhood surrey when she was a kid (I remember that vehicle… it somehow made the rounds of our whole area… whoever it belonged to was one lucky kid.) We’ll be able to take her for a ride in a part of the city she could not walk to or see because she can’t walk that far. I’ve planned do it at sunset when things are really pretty. I’m excited to surprise her & her husband!
4. About to wash my own car. Saves me $10 every time, plus free exercise.
5. Followed Katy’s posts/suggestions about ebay selling and sold 2 things in just a few days. The key was pricing them low and being nice when answering the buyer inquiries. As suggested, I did ‘Buy it Now’ plus “OBO”. I’m really excited about this because I have 45 years of stuff around here that I was saving for my kids but they don’t want it and I guess there won’t be grandkids so someone else may as well use it. …I know, I know… backstory is that my wonderful Mom lived through war and then emigrated to America, so we saved and reused everything-forever because that is just what people did to get by in those days… It is a habit that got passed on to me and it works — but at some point you just have to say goodbye to old stuff and Hello Ebay! :- )
SEE YOU IN 2018! 🙂 <3


Lindsey December 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm

As someone who is frequently in a wheelchair, I want to thank you for #3. There are so many things I miss out on because it is too much trouble to do in a chair or I cannot afford the extra costs. It is such a joy when someone takes the trouble to drag me and my chair to something I could not get to on my own. (And I get tired of imposing on my husband, despite his protestations that he doesn’t mind…)


Teresa December 29, 2017 at 8:14 am

My sister-in-law is a real trooper. She always insisted on walking everywhere and must have fallen 5x a day for most of her life. When she was about 45 she was on a family trip to Chicago. Her brother (he has money) rented a motorized scooter (without her permission) and told her to use it. It opened up a whole new life for her! Suddenly she could look around instead of looking at her feet all the time. She really enjoyed the trip! Seeing her face light up when she talked about it made me want to share the simple things that I sometimes take for granted. I urge you to accept your husband’s help — he probably feels like I do… he just wants to help the person he cares about enjoy life to its fullest <3.


Mand01 December 28, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Maybe make marmalade (if you like it – some people really don’t).


Teresa December 29, 2017 at 8:15 am

Might just try that!! There are more oranges coming… I wonder if there is such a thing as lemon marmalade?


Mand01 December 29, 2017 at 9:47 am

Sure is! It’s great with a bit of whiskey stirred in at the end just before you bottle it


rebecca December 29, 2017 at 6:59 am

I like to grate the orange peel before I peel an orange. I save it in the freezer for baking.


Teresa December 29, 2017 at 8:16 am

I’m going to do that, especially since these are home grown oranges and have no wax coating or pesticides.


cathy December 29, 2017 at 10:00 am

I make chocolate chip orange biscotti. Uses both the zest (peel) and the juice.


Teresa December 29, 2017 at 2:48 pm

YUM! I love biscotti! I’d better stop being lazy and get cookin’!

Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary December 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Not particularly non-consumer, but my frugal win today was that I found two old but unused gift cards in my home office. My husband and I went to the mall (something we rarely do, which I suppose is how those gift cards got forgotten) and between the sales and the cards we spent less than $10 for a new coat for him, some makeup for me, a puzzle for next year’s Thanksgiving, and a special treat of new earrings too. It was amazing! While I don’t particularly care for shopping, it has been so unbearably cold here that we did enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house as well.
And in the same forgotten stash I found four movie tickets, too! Movies are also a good choice for frigid weather when you just have to get out of the house.


Susie's Daughter December 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm

1) As many folks have mentioned in their posts, it is also brutally cold in our neck of the woods. It is the kind of cold that makes the dog think she can hold it for two days rather than brave the icy wind and the crusty snow banks. It certainly does discourage the desire to be bopping in and out of stores in post Christmas browsing/shopping.

2) I have been liberating firewood from my parents cellar for our living room woodstove, which helps us run the furnace a bit less. Huge thanks to my parents and to the previous homeowners who put in the Vermont Castings stove of awesomeness. Aforementioned dog likes to lay as close as caninely possible to the stove for maximum effect.

3) We are celebrating Christmas tomorrow with my sibling. Each family member is getting something vintage (from my late aunt’s estate) and something new they can use – which means cash for the teenagers.

4) Since we are still celebrating Christmas (and will be until my in laws arrive for Epiphany), I have yet to do any hardcore financial assessments of the holiday. I will say it seems – especially for DS – that people were more restrained in their gift giving, which I absolutely appreciate.

5) I am thinking about New Years aspirations and one is to replace all plastic travel mugs with stainless steel, so that will go on my thrift store list. I am also thinking about phasing out our plastic containers for food storage as they wear out and are recycled. The book that Mand mentioned and the recollection of the story about Henderson Island in the South Pacific being covered in plastic trash haunts me. I would love advice on using stainless steel in the freezer and where I might start looking for good containers.

6) I am trying to figure out how to use my old clothing remnants since we do not have textile recycling available. I will make some rags for sure, but am wondering about some of the heavy duty fabrics. Suggestions for repurposing kids jeans, anyone?


g.g. December 29, 2017 at 9:47 pm

there are many rugs you can create from jeans. and scrap quilts are great too. I have been collecting large jeans and sweatshirts or sweat pants. there are large squares cut of each back one with the other sew together and make an already backed quilt when you are done, better than a regular quilt, heavy and keeps ya warm plus protects you from elements if you take it on a picnic to sit upon the ground or to beach to sunbathe. i bet there are pictures of denim/sweatshirt scrap quilts you could find easily.

also you could cut strips braid up a rug. make many things from denim – pot holders/ hot pads that never seem to wear out. aprons, actual work aprons are heavy like denim anyhow, so making your own will be great, many ideas around to make those too. etsy, pinterest.


Susie's Daughter December 30, 2017 at 5:00 am

Thank you for these suggestions!


Liz B. December 31, 2017 at 6:53 am

I remember seeing a denim patchwork throw in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens maybe a year or two ago. It was “casually” tossed onto the back of a couch….the patches were all different sizes (I believe the shapes were all rectangular, but different sizes, and an irregular arrangement) and in different shades of blue, with an occasional brown rectangle. It was so cool! It was from an etsy store – I wish I could remember the name – and it was expensive. I remember thinking, you could save or thrift denim and make something like this yourself….assuming you have the sewing skills and time.


Ruby December 31, 2017 at 9:20 am

I think people were also more restrained in their giving. There was only one house in the neighborhood that had an overflowing trash cart after Christmas, which is how I determine lavish gifting, and no one at my job or the Mister’s talked about getting a lot of stuff.

I heard a report on NPR that sales of furniture and mattresses shot through the roof this Christmas. Guess people are putting their money toward what they need?


Julie December 28, 2017 at 6:10 pm

1-just had a yummy dinner of chicken with roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes were roasted in the summer when my garden had an abundance of tomatoes and rosemary. In this polar vortex it was delish to have a taste of summer.
2-picked up Real Simple magazine from the library. I love this magazine but I no longer buy magazines due to cost and the environment so this makes me happy. It’s also a current issue.
3- used a year old gift card to treat my self to a new blouse. Having lost weight not much fits. (FWP).
4- realized my snow pants are too big and with a polar vortex one needs snow pants. Found a pair my teen sons no longer wear and they fit. Added bonus. Sold mine on Facebook for 10.00.
5- is my family gets me. My mom gave me a bracelet she already owned, my father had given to her but she can’t manage the clasp now that she is older It will make her happy when I wear it and I know it was a loved gift. She gave all the girls in our Family a gift of her jewelry. This all came about when my brother asked her for a ring as he wanted to propose to his gf. Mom realized she had far too much and she wants us to have it now. Best part is my sister in love (I always called her that, cause I really like her) said yes.
6- my brother has had a tough year financially and we advised our boys gifts would not be forthcoming. Well he and his gf made them each a gift and they were absolutely brilliant, so perfect for each child.


Mrs. Stookey December 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

1) Got 75% off Christmas items from Savers plus used my discount of 30% card for bringing in donations plus got members discount so my total was only 6.29 for what would have been 16.00 full price at Savers.
2) Just baked my husbands birthday cake for December 31st, yes he is a NYE birthday.
3) Earlier this week I made a quart and a half of homemade cream cheese icing for his birthday cake.
4) Have a bag of winter clothes ready to leave my home to take to a local free rack.
5) Today hubby wanted cheeseburgers for lunch, we had everything on hand to have this wonderful lunch.


Tonya Parham December 28, 2017 at 10:14 pm

1. Stayed in grocery budget, focusing on loss leaders (spaghetti sauce and noodles, avocados, mangoes, herbal tea) and a few essentials. My goal in 2018 is $60 a week (for two) and vegan. Came in at $55 this week!

2. Got a free trial of Netflix DVD so I can watch a few old movies that aren’t streaming.

3. Keeping the heat on 62.

4. Am planning to have friends over for New Years and just have pizza and watch a movie. Cheaper than going out!

5. Someone left a quarter in their Aldi buggy! Found money!



janine December 29, 2017 at 5:50 am

Congratulations on your grocery budget efforts – my New Year’s resolution also is to rein my tendency to over buy in this area – love those fresh, beautiful, but expensive fruits and vegetables!


Gina in KY December 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

I’m also going vegan (long-time vegetarian now) and I am going to try to keep to budget. Good luck (you can do it!!)


SueKB December 31, 2017 at 10:16 am

On one of the PBS stations I listen to, ( had internet radio for years) someone told a story of acts of simple kindness that involved the Aldi cart and the .25 cents to “rent’ it. She said that 20 years ago, she was on food stamps and did not have even a quarter to put in the Aldi cart. She now, though she said not a big amount, every week leaves her cart with the quarter in it.. because for her 20 years ago that was a huge huge difference to her, to find a cart like that, and have a cart to use! To not even have any money to put in a cart. Pay it forward! It is the small things you do for people that do matter.


janine December 29, 2017 at 6:35 am

Admire everyone’s frugal efforts during this holiday season! Living in the frigid north country meant car trouble for us. New battery for one car plus replacement of broken hood apparatus and towing expense.

1. Because I loaned my car to my husband for work, I stayed home and cleaned up Christmas debris and cooked from scratch. Using up pantry items and leftovers is frugal.
2. Our son requested tires for Christmas – a good practical request – got a $50 coupon to reduce the cost to a more reasonable sum.
3. Spent very little on wrapping paper and ribbon; however used up large part of my stash so will look for after Xmas sale items. I noticed that one supermarket had wrapping paper for $1 per roll.
4. Taking advantage of 99c# pork roast loss leader at a sale today. Trying to cut grocery budget to a reasonable amount for next year.
5. Giving thanks for the community spirit which I have observed in the last year. There are overwhelming local, state and national problems, but the human spirit seems to rise to the challenge. Happy New Year!


Christine Joiner December 30, 2017 at 9:15 am

Similar battery story here in Mass. too. Woke up Wednesday morning to find a dead car battery. The car had been coughing while starting for weeks and it was the original battery on an eight year old car…add to that the near record low temps here in the Northeast…all added up to the dead battery. Not too happy but grateful for AAA who jumped it for us less than an hour after we called and our local mechanic who popped a new battery in pronto. He was so quick the labor charge was minimal.
I love your #5 and feel the same way. Happy New Year to you too!


janine December 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

Thanks Christine! Lucy you with AAA. The car in question didn’t start again this morning so we have decided that it needs to be tuned up with new spark plugs etc. Glad we have one vehicle that runs! We do have a friend who runs a small repair shop and is always very helpful when emergencies happen.


Katy in Africa December 29, 2017 at 7:09 am

1. I couldn’t find my metal scrubber while washing dishes so I improvised with a wadded up piece of used aluminum. Of course, just like the metal scrubber you can’t use it on all types of pots.
2. My husband ate leftovers for lunch, but there wasn’t enough for all of us, so I whipped up rice with a sauce using ingredients I had on hand.
3. I used up a make up powder, but I’m saving the container. I already have one just like it I use to keep hair ties in. If I don’t find a use for this one, I can always pass it on to my kids who will make it a treasure box or secret agent gadget. 🙂
4. A friend brought bananas from her plant.
5. We’re enjoying mangoes from our tree right now and I used basil from the garden in today’s sauce.


Katy in Africa December 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm

#1 I meant aluminum foil


Susie's Daughter December 30, 2017 at 5:03 am

Katy – I am amazed at the number of things that become secret agent gadgets in our household! 🙂


rebecca December 29, 2017 at 7:12 am

1. I made chicken soup from a chicken made earlier this week and used frozen vegetables and brown rice I had in the cupboard.
2. I haven’t been to the stores this week but might pop by cvs and target to see about holiday items on sale.
3. Am going to make new years dinner from a bunch of ingredients I have on hand.
4. Staying in and watching things on netflix and dvr’d Alfred Hitchcock movies from tcm.
5. wearing my uggs everywhere I go for extra warmth.


Crosby December 29, 2017 at 7:36 am

– The week before Christmas is usually filled with lunches out with coworkers who want to celebrate. This year I had 3 to attend – but one was on my friend as her husband had done some work for the restaurant we went to and they had given him a huge gift card, and the other (which would have been $22/person even when ordering the cheapest thing) was only $8 because our food was so late. When the waitress came over with the checks, she said that they had drastically reduced each bill, and given each of us a $15 gift card since we were so patient!
– DH & I booked our NOLA vacation! Why is this frugal? We used points, which covered both flights, we’re staying in an AirBnB (with a kitchen so we can cook!), and at least one friend, maybe two more, will be staying with us and splitting the cost. We also made sure to stay somewhere near public transit so we wouldn’t need to rent a car
– For the first time in over 10 years, I’m staying in for NYE. I’m incredibly social and love celebrations and parties, but this year, I need a break. This will save money because we won’t have to either A) buy a ticket/drinks/food or B)contribute food/alcohol to a potluck party. DH and I are going to stay in, cook, and catch up on all of the TV shows we’ve missed in the past few months.
– I’ve decided to get back in shape. But instead of buying a gym membership or yoga or dance pass like I normally do, I’ve started running outside (despite the 0 degree F temps) and my husband has started training me in muay thai boxing in our house. He already has the pads and gloves, so no cost!
– For 2018, I am officially joining The Compact. I never have committed before, always figuring I’d just “do better and buy less”. But this year, I am committing. I will come up with my exemption list and see how it goes!


Linda December 30, 2017 at 2:06 am

I’m with you on joining The Compact in 2018. I’ve been thinking about this for years, so it’s time for me.


Crosby January 2, 2018 at 5:59 am

Yay!! I’m happy to know when others join in, sometimes I feel a bit behind the ball.


Tracy December 29, 2017 at 8:20 am

1. Got gas at Fred Meyer discount station — had enough points for extra .50/gallon off. Enough to get to coast (and back). Parked car on arrival Tues and haven’t driven since – easy walk into town.
2. Stocked up on goodies during pre-Christmas sales (crackers, pop, baking mixes, cookies etc.) so everyone is enjoying vacation treats for cheap. Made a huge pineapple upside down cake yesterday. And no, we don’t usually eat all this junk!
3. Skipping yoga this am since it’s not my favorite teacher — will wait til she teaches next two mornings and will do a free beach walk with hubs and dp (dear pup) instead.
4. Made a big pot of vegetarian butternut squash and coconut milk curry over rice for dinner last night. Added bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, regular potatoes and onions. Yummy, healthy and cheap!
5. Used miles to get free flights to/from NYC for a long weekend in April for hubs and I to celebrate our birthdays. Usually stay in another borough to economize but found a great rate at an upper East side hotel 5 minutes from 5th Ave in Manhattan so grabbed that. Hubs will LOVE being in the heart of it all and we’re only staying 3 nights. Now I have a frugal planning project for activities and restaurants (planning is half the fun of travel for me!). We’ve done all the ‘usual’ stuff so can be a bit off the beaten path…


Jill A December 30, 2017 at 5:10 am

I agree with #5. Sometimes planning a trip is more fun than going. I should have been a travel agent.


rebecca December 30, 2017 at 6:21 pm

If you are interested in architecture and art deco, taking a tour of the Woolworth building is interesting. Unfortunately, unless you work there, you won’t be let in. The tour was quite interesting. I also love the tenement museum.


Gina in KY December 29, 2017 at 8:29 am

1. All but one of the holiday get-togethers are done. My siblings and mother are last and we do not give adult gifts anymore. We play a gift game instead and the white elephant gifts are cheap or free. I do still give the younger nieces gifts, but I found cheap things coupled with vintage classics from my own book collection (I have been doing this for years and most are thrifted ). This year I am purging (aka gifting) beautiful editions of Little Women and Alice and Wonderland.

2. I just made banana muffins from four black bananas. They smell heavenly!

3. We have a cold spell in my Southern city right now and our houses are just not built for this type of temperatures. All my years spent in Chicagoland I never once had to turn off my water or deal with burst pipes, but every darn year here it is a challenge. I have heat taped them, put space heaters on them and prayed to the Sun God to return to the warmth to no avail. So, this year, I turned the water off at the street. Roughing it with jugged water beats fixing pipes any day.

4. My boys and I are attending a free concert tonight. We are lucky to live next door to a very talented concert pianist.

5. I wrote out New Year’s goals which include many budgetary items. I am really going to make an effort to see the goals through to the best of my ability. This includes participating in The Compact and a whole lot of No Spend periods. I am determined to get the last of my debts paid (just in time probably for my oldest to go to college).

Happy New Year, Y’all!


Gina in KY December 29, 2017 at 8:31 am

Honestly, I should just disclaimer my posts with “ignore the typos” Alice IN Wonderland for starters.


K D December 29, 2017 at 11:58 am

Katy, congratulations on paying the double tuition bill. That is quite an accomplishment and I can imagine how it exciting it is to be so close to finishing that huge, audacious goal.

1. We are back home after a trip to the Midwest. It was so cold it kept us in my relative’s house most of the time. We cooked Christmas dinner and had leftovers the next day. We also packed snacks for the air travel.

2. I did not pick up any day-after-Christmas bargains although I did see some at the grocery store. Items were priced to move. We don’t need anything and most of it was “junky”/poor quality.

3. I stopped at SAM’S Club for a few staples and picked up the new sale book. There are a few items I will stock up on during the sale, but I’ll wait until January, when I can earn 5% cash back using my Discover card.

4. I finished reading Dollars & Sense. It was a worthwhile read but seemed to be better at exploring the problem of people discounting the future than it was at detailing solutions. I’d recommend it, and of course I borrowed the Over Drive version from the library.

5. I will make additional charitable contributions before the end of the year. I have no idea what the tax law changes hold in store for us for 2018, but I know we’ll be able to deduct these in 2017.


Lorraine December 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm

1 – Like so many others, we’re eating the abundance of Christmas leftovers. And since we have an over-abundance of sweets, I froze a lot of cookies, etc for later; 2 – we’re staying home more in this cold weather and eating what’s available in pantry and freezer. So far, so good..; 3 – keeping the heat low and the layers on; 4- keeping amused while it’s cold and snowing by reading library books, watching library movies, and putting together puzzles that were free from a friend – although our dog likes to play outside a lot, so we venture out frequently to play Frisbee with her – which helps keep us warm; 5 – just had a new zipper put in my favorite winter coat, which I’ve had for years. Replacing a zipper is beyond my sewing skills. The zipper repair was $17.75 but it works like new, is less than a new coat, and it should last for many more years.


Cindy in the South I December 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm

1. Ok, I think I win the Scrooge award for Christmas. Long story short, one kid did not want other sibling at my house for Christmas dinner and said he was not coming if other kid was there. Sibling was not coming anyway, but because I will not let any of my children dictate what I do in my own house, I cancelled Christmas dinner for everyone. NO KIDDING! I chewed him out royally. So, I delivered Christmas dinner to three different places, instead, to my three sons (daughter had sent me a text that she was not driving home 2,000 miles, which is understandable, but she sent no explanation and did not tell me in advance, so I was already in a bad mood about this when the son issued his ultimatum…) I threw the hissy fit of all hissy fits at my son…lol. However, on the bright side, this all made my youngest son, the one who is ill, very happy because all he wanted to do was stay home and play video games. School is stressful for him because of his illness, and he also has to work part time, so this was a great break for him. So, I gave NO ONE a Christmas present.None. Nada. No money, no socks, NOTHING….lol Instead, after I delivered the food, to very quiet sons because they knew momma was batsh@# crazy and mad, I took flowers to my mother’s grave, which is a 3 and a half hour drive from where I live, and I then drove back home. Not my finest parenting moment, but one they all will not forget! So, that is my frugal, 2,3,4, and 5!


Jennifer December 29, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Christmas can be so stressful. I’m sure this will make them all think twice about how they handle future holidays. Maybe after everybody gets over this battle, you all could get together for a visit in the future. Spending time with family is good anytime!…. And I think you should make those kids fix the meal this time!


Liz B. December 29, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Cindy, ! Awesome!


Liz B. December 29, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I had a bunch of clapping emojis in there!


Teresa December 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm

I’m sure they loved seeing you, mad or not, and eating your delicious dinner! 🙂 You handled the situation with aplomb. I was thinking of going to the cemetery yesterday. It has been years since I went. It is only 2o mins away. Last time I went they had moved my aunt to a different place. I don’t really understand that. Thanks for reminding me to go. A belated Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018!


MommaL December 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

Teresa, they moved your Aunt??


Bee December 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

It is difficult when adult children squabble. Unfortunately, I too had a similar experience last Christmas. My husband and I did not plan any family gatherings, holiday meals or trips over the course of the year. The kids finally figured out that they missed eachother and us. Hang in there! I hope that the kids get the message.


Cindy in the South I December 30, 2017 at 6:32 am

Thanks y’all. Squabble was between Son #1 and Son #2, except Son #2, has no idea that son#1 issued the ultimatum to me. The wild thing is that son#2 was not coming anyway, he was ill, and did not want to pass germs on to his sickly, youngest brother (son #3). I did not want to make things worse between the two oldest sons by informing son#2 of the ultimatum issued by son #1. I do not think I will be getting any ultimatums anymore. As with most things in life, both kids are in the wrong, and in the right, about their squabble. I stay out of it, and they need to not bring it to my dinner table. Son #1’s girlfriend/ ex wife, contributes greatly to their issues.


Ellie December 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Cindy, a genuine hissy fit can solve sibling squabbles for a long time (or at least make them keep quiet about them while they solve their own problems.) Good for you!


Ruby December 30, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Cindy, good for you. There is a lot of truth in the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” So this ought to teach them to behave more like adults.


Vickey January 3, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Cindy, you were more generous than I would have been, taking the time to deliver a holiday meal. I’d have let the ultimatum issuer in particular go without the special foods that accompany the holiday get-togethers. Life, it’s a package deal. 😉


Cynthia Huntington December 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Call this one Good Intentions at Year’s End:

Some big bills coming up this January: I have an outstanding medical bill from an audiology exam, and TWO hearing aids. Though insurance covered a lot, I still owe them $900 straight out of the paycheck Jan 1. I’ll also be visiting the dentist and the dermatologist (repeat screening for skin cancer, can’t be skipped) this month. I owe one colleague a congratulatory drink (he sold his TV series!) and owe lunch to another (I really owe him a dinner at home but that will have to wait.)

After allowing for all the above, and a bill from my publisher (hey, whatever happened to royalties?) I’m going for extreme thrift in January. No non-essential spending.* Though I’ve been eating down the fridge, pantry, and freezer I still have a way to go, which is good. It’s amazing how much I had stored away! And how long it takes to eat it! As I’ve been cooking big batches of soup, stew, etc., I’ve been freezing half of each recipe in single portions to have lunches to carry to work, plus a few meals for too-tired-to-cook nights.

I don’t regret my Christmas spending, which consisted 100% of donations to charity, tips to service people, and cash gifts to friends and family who need a boost. (Correct that: I spent $7.95 to buy my brother a green pencil box because he’s has a stupid ongoing joke about a green pencil box and this gave him a laugh.)


1. I still need some pull-on boots for shoveling, garbage runs, etc, and if I see a good thrifted pair I will buy them but otherwise I’ll make do. I’ve mended a disintegrating pair with super glue and hope for the best.

2. I’m going through my bookshelves and pulling out books I haven’t read or want to read again. The instant-Kindle-book-at-12am is a terrible habit of mine, so I’m keeping the stack ready. My tastes in reading are so oddball I don’t have much luck with my town library most weeks.

3. I listed my dancing shoes on eBay. Three-inch heels and I have parted company. (Two pairs of fancy shoes from a once-in-a lifetime event in 2012. Now if I could only bear to give up the gold dress… The blue velvet evening gown is going next I think.)

4. Continuing to go through the house, storage spaces, everywhere to get rid of anything I’m not using or haven’t used for a while. Sell it, gift it, repurpose or throw out… I do believe that frugality is blessed by making more space for the things you have and for the things you want to do.

5. Sold my old faux fur on eBay. Gorgeous coat, but, as in #3, I’m not going to many (any) formal events in the foreseeable future. (If the Noble Committee calls, I’ll buy an outfit. Secondhand of course.

*I’m afraid wine is essential spending but I’m biting the bullet and drinking the boxed stuff. It’s not bad, and yet it’s not great enough to tempt me to excess.


cathy December 30, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Do you ever read the Frugalwoods blog? She’s doing a thing she calls Uber Frugal Month in January. Even for confirmed tightwads there are a few ideas to be gleaned.


Janine December 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I am so impressed with what some of you list as your frugal week. Mine isn’t as amazing, but I am happy with my small contribution.

1. Made my meatless noodle soup for lunch today. Very cheap and easy to make, and we like it. Yesterday was a cornbread chili casserole. About the only expense was the hamburger. So delicious and used up some old ingredients from my stock.

2. I have kept my furnace set at 62 degrees all winter. Today I am noticing the chill in the air, but can overlook it. I am always dressed in long sleeves anyway.

3. Christmas presents for my two grown daughters were about 90% from our local Goodwill store and a few gifts from a 90% off clearance rack from earlier in the year. I have been collecting gifts all year. My youngest was thrilled with her gifts. Over and over she told me how excited she was this year with her gifts and would just sit and look at them. Aww, she made my holiday.

4. Gifts outside the family: Helped my daughter’s secret-santa gift exchange at work with a few regifted items that I had and didn’t need as well as a few super cheap clearance items that I had bought throughout the year. Also gifted several free items that I had from a $10 off coupon for any item over $10! Love those coupons.

5. I haven’t purchased any retail clothes for my husband or myself for several years. I have been purchasing all our clothes at Goodwill. Hard to find, but eventually something comes through, like new, in our sizes.


Caroline December 31, 2017 at 7:50 am

Could you please share the recipe for the meatless noodle soup?


Kim in Maryland December 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm

1. I shipped another item that I sold on Amazon today, in fact I’ve sold and shipped something every day since Christmas. We also have DS#2s university tuition due in 10 days so glad for the sales! I also sold 2 Pottery Barn snowflake plates through FB yard sale group 2 days before Christmas for $6. I’d gotten them for free when someone I knew moved out of state and I was “gifted” a bunch of things so glad they went to a new home.
2. Did 5 merchandising jobs on Tuesday in different grocery stores and 1 today. College fund! Found 5 pennies at 3 of the grocery stores.

3. Did 2 days of resets, for one of the merchandising companies I do work for, on Wed. and Thurs. The work was at a national drugstore chain’s distribution center putting new barcodes on a national cosmetic brand’s eyeshadow compacts. Sat at a table, chatting with someone I had met at some previous retail resets so we had a great time while doing easy work. Pay was good and I negotiated for mileage and toll reimbursement since it was quite a distance from me. They were short workers for Thurs so DS#2 worked to make some money on his college break. I also made 10% more for referring him.
4. It turns out Veronica, my fellow UPC code stickerer, is also a thrifter and online reseller. She sells primarily vintage clothing and accessories so I learned quite a bit from her and I shared my knowledge from 5½ years of Amazon selling.
5. DS#2 and I stopped at a thrift that was in the area where we worked. I had only been to it once before since it is over 40 miles from us. It is like being in a time warp to the late 50’s to early 60’s. Original vintage sign, turquoise and pink painted walls and reasonable prices. DS found 2 Brooks Brothers ties $2.25 each, Nautica polo, Ravens Reebok shirt and a Super Mario 3 baseball hat. I found a small Vera Bradley handbag for resale. All for $18!


KJD509 December 29, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Kids are home from college here, too, and we have two looming (but much reduced due to scholarships, thank goodness for good grades!) tuition payments next week as well. Wow, I’d forgotten how much they eat! So most of my FFT are food-related.

1) Littlest has moved to the new city but is home for two weeks and wanted to see ALL her friends. Managed to feed 12 6th graders snacks and dinner plus provide cookie baking and decorating as one of the activities at the world’s longest middle-school party (I somehow overlooked the start and end times when I previewed the invitations she sent out) for the cost of only a few cookie decorating items, like marshmallows and mini MnMs.
2) Have eaten entirely out of the freezer and pantry since Christmas. True, this is only possible because last week I bought double the amount of milk I thought we’d need and several of us gave each other pounds of coffee for gifts. But hey, we’re not shopping!
3) No credit to me, but hubs has spent the last two days carefully categorizing and reconciling the past 6 months of expenses so we can look accurately at next year’s budget. With gigantic changes in both income and expenses over that time period, it really would have been a bad idea to eyeball it.
4) Hubs asked for a hearty breakfast this morning while attacking a humongous pile of receipts. I had read a few of these comments just before bed last night and must have been inspired by MommaL’s cabbage and kielbasa dilemma, because breakfast ended up kielbasa from the freezer, onions, leftover carrots with the spice no one liked washed off, half a sad cabbage from the back of the fridge, and a big pile of leftover mashed potatoes mixed together and fried up, served with fried eggs on top and home canned applesauce on the side. Hearty and got everybody out of bed, it smelled so good.
5) Older kids – who were pressed into service helping with the world’s longest middle-school party yesterday – are having friends over tonight for dinner and board games. Aside from hamburger buns, everything is on hand. If freezing rain continues to build up on the roads, we’ll have burgers without buns and everyone will survive just fine.
6) Bonus: tomorrow is our 28th anniversary. We have a restaurant tradition that generally winds up being pretty expensive. But truthfully, we’ve been to every qualifying restaurant in the region in the 15 years we’ve lived here, and none of them is really worth going back to. So we’ll bundle up, hike from brewpub to brewpub in the afternoon, and hit a charming local place at dinnertime – its prices that are just a bit too high to visit it as often as we’d like. It won’t be an inexpensive day, but it will be things we like to do instead of sticking with a tradition we’ve maybe outlasted. Only 27 years to learn that lesson . . .


g.g. December 29, 2017 at 10:07 pm

1. have sliced turnips in the crockpot, blanching them to put on dehydrator trays. will make some of the rest of the fresh turnips into kraut a fermented type, i already made 1 gallon using cabbage, a few turnips, a bit of ginger, jalapeno peppers, onions, cilantro in a salt brine and its been sitting for a month brewing. it is so good i am eating a little each day to start back on my ferments slowly. with some of the fresh ones will make a crockpot potato/turnip soup, second one from this bunch of turnips. then with the really nice turnips we will just slice and grill them with bits of sausage over them put in the foreman grill til soft – we love them that way and also we eat them sliced thin and eaten fresh like an apple slice. this is healthy as well as frugal cause my brother planted these to improve field soil and allowed us to pick some we picked 2 feed sacks full, one for my elderly parents and one for us, the fresh greens that have grown in as they’ve been in storage i have nipped off and treated like a salad green. bits and pieces roots and tough tops were microwaved in pyrex bowl to go to the hens. they will even eat potato peels if i cook em first in the microwave to soften them and gives them a better flavor that they seem to like.

2. the dehydrator is on drying anything during these single digit temps as our wall heater does not really heat this old house so i also have 5 pomegranates i got from bargain bin at the grocer yesterday that i plan to wash well, slice up and put on dehydrator trays. the read up says they are great for heart health. peels and pith are actually more potent than the seeds so i will dry these, put in sealed bags and if shtf prepping becomes real – and i run out of BP meds, i will put one in my coffee mill and grind to a powder and encapsulate with my 00 capsule maker device i bought off ebay to create our own herbal meds. these were 6 for a dollar in the markdown rack yesterday, they still look good, i opened one up and ate the seeds out of it last night as a dessert for myself but after reading up decided to do this with the rest of them
3. also did the laundry today have 3 wet loads waiting to put in dryer when the temps drop tonight and tomorrow as our dryer is vented under our house and so it will also help keep our pipes from freezin up, or so we hope. but at least got the dirty laundry done today while the temps were up above freezing.
4. a friend posts her new consignments on my facebook group that she puts out in her second hand consignment shop so i also have a list she maintains of my needs. she let me know she got a colander in and she had held two old guitars for me to repair for my grandkids so i made the trip over to her shop yesterday and found her having a bag sale so i picked up several nice blouses for my daughter and granddaughter a pair of pants for myself and several cotton sweaters that i will serge into dishrags or washclothes, something i have done for years. all that for a dollar. i think she can actually fit about 20 pcs in a sack for her customers what doesn’t sell goes to the indian reservation in AZ via another lady that has made that her annual mission to gather up unwanted clothing and other items for off grid living natives and taking it out to their reservation and offering it up for their use free of charge. they are just getting accustomed to receiving things from her as they are a proud people and i am grateful for them doing this because i have sent all my typewriters, books, and furniture plus about 2000 pounds of clothing out of our storage when we moved 2 years ago. anyhow the colanders and guitars were less than $20 i have luthier experience so i plan to get those done and give to the youngest grandson and granddaughter for late christmas presents.
5. going to go pickup some bananas tomorrow a whole case i am known as the woman who will pick up your unwanted pumpkins, this year people have called to offer us all sorts of produce that is going south to feed our hens. i started the pumpkin collection drive in our area 7 years ago when we lived in another county and i have to say now people tend to call myself or other people who have started collecting since to offer their pumpkins after halloween i do a pickup and again after thanksgiving we get them for free to pick them up. course the bananas are a treat i think that came home with the cooks from the local school and of course did not get eaten so they were offered as “banana bread making supplies” i will save a few, but mostly i will sit, unpeel them, put peels in a bucket to spread on our huge compost pile we have going that will fill our new raised beds we are making for this years gardening. the peels will add phosporus and potassium to the mix for healthy garden plants. and the hens will eat the mushy fruit – they love them!

i am “more-than-frugal” according to my kids. sorry, i hope i didn’t give you too many ideas……….ha ha ha


g.g. December 29, 2017 at 10:24 pm

forgot to mention i dumpster dived for some books at the library a few days ago, i made folded and glittered stars for christmas tree decor for all our loved ones, i was looking for file folders or paperback books to use the tagboards off the books that might be in dumpster and i scored several good kids encyclopedias (3) not the full set, a few spiral bound info manuals and some other books and cardboards i pulled from some office manuals for their old computer equipment plus i got 3 old cds in cases for crafting and of course the books i will use in my mixed media journals and in other crafts so since the library was closed and these were dumped fresh in the dumpster they were not dirty and it hadn’t stormed on them, being as they would be closed thru the holiday and a day or so after. gathered up some tissue paper from a clothing store dumpster downtown to use to wrap up my large stars to box them to gift them.
after all that i did pay for glitter, and glue, but from dollar tree so not bad at all. people have insisted they liked them that we gave to, but i also have enough i can create valentines decor for their all season trees as well so with the red christmas paper i plan in the next single digit weather thats coming in here, i will be sitting, again, making glitter ornaments.
got a new instant pot for my christmas present from my kids. i was wanting a seal up your meals machine that has the vacuum thingy with it, but they didn’t ask me what i wanted so guessing i will be joining the instant pot groups on facebook too. learning to use it will be as fun as using the dehydrator, according to some of my family who already have one.
i got on and purchased 96 different types of clif bars for hubs for christmas, he said that was all he wanted as he thinks he can quit chewing his tobacco if he has those. with free shipping i got those for less than $65 what a steal of a deal and since clifbar supplied the bars and shipped them after purchase, they were very fresh. he loves the stupid things, i like the blueberry and the apricot ones but one will fill me up for about all day long, he can eat several a day, i don’t think he is gonna quit chewing though, he’s done been to town for a can of chew yesterday. oh well, he’s a good man and being frugal is the reason for saving money to do things we do enjoy, like eating the $5 special at Carls Jr – have any of you tried it yet? great deal and they give a senior citizen discount too!!


Christine Joiner December 30, 2017 at 9:42 am

g.g. I don’t think your ideas are too frugal like your kids suggest. My kids still tease me about reading The Tightwad Gazette newsletter when they were little so you have company in that department. I don’t care as they were well fed and always had what they needed and grew up into hardworking, honest people.


g.g. December 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

the complete tightwad gazette – one of my most tabbed and sticky noted books on my shelf. love that book. i was frugal before it was cool. lol remember the frugal gourmet Jeff Smith? i was listening to him one saturday on PBS back in the 1990s and he was explaining how to keep the onion skins and add to other scraps and make a broth base and how being frugal with food was a very good practice. I hear my son tell him dad, “Mom is more than frugal, isn’t she?”


Christine Joiner December 30, 2017 at 6:41 pm

My son, now 31, gave me The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Christmas this year! I think he meant it as a joke but I jumped into it with renewed vigor fortified by the NCA and all the posts I read on it. It is on my bedside table and I have to read a least a couple of pages each night before sleep. I remember Jeff Smith too. I love your son’s statement. Too sweet and funny! Lol

Vickey January 6, 2018 at 12:39 pm

G.g., great tips on the turnips and pomegranates, thanks! I’m trying to develop an appreciation for turnips, since they’re easy to grow, store well, and, as you said, improve soil tilth. I hadn’t known that about pomegranate peel and pith, will have to see if I can find a way to incorporate those.


Linda December 30, 2017 at 2:19 am

You folks all have such great frugal ideas! I love to read through the comments.
1. I volunteer at our local thrift shop, just the 5th Friday’s of the month, (so it’s only 5 times a year). Last evening I volunteered and found 2 lightweight sweaters/shrugs for spring/summer for $2 each. Also, a tea towel $1 & an apron $1.50 which I am keeping for a gift basket for a friend either for her birthday or 2018 Christmas.
2. Taking lunch to work.
3. Wearing warmest jeans & soft star boots to keep warm.
4. Hanging some laundry on drying racks.
5. While at Christmas eve family gathering at brothers & SIL’s house, everyone decided for 2018 to just purchase gifts for the kids. (I always do experience gifts with my great nephews) Our family gift purchases are not expensive, but will be even cheaper this coming Christmas.


ouvickie December 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

Katy – For some reason I thought your oldest son was graduating this December (?) Double tuition definitely makes it tougher when the payment come around!

1) I used a Walmart gift-card I won at our annual Winter Meeting Dinner at work to give my brother as a Christmas gift.
2) I had several items in my gift closet – mostly thrifted – to give as gifts to my youngest granddaughter: a cute Hello Kitty jewelry box that only needed a handle replaced on the little drawer (I used a fake pearl from a costume jewelry necklace, that had no chain, to make the drawer pull) and a Minnie Mouse jewelry set I thrifted back in the Summer. I’d won some jewelry last year, that I never wear, so I gifted one to my daughter and gave the other necklace to my grandkids to give her for Christmas.
3) I bought tickets to see Mannheim Steamroller for my husband as a gift. We used my reward card credit to stay at a nice hotel near the venue. It was a fun night and no “stuff” to deal with.
4) I had bought the wrong race car set for my youngest granddaughter, but I needed a gift appropriate for my 5 year old nephew. So I gave him the Magic Tracks race set for Christmas and found the one my granddaughter wanted on sale. It all worked out.
5) We are home for the weekend do to freezing rain and slick roads, so we’re eating up the leftovers. I bought the groceries we needed at Aldi on Thursday, ahead of the storm. Much cheaper than the grocers just north of us.


Kim in Maryland December 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm

I’m not Katy but Oregon, and I believe Washington state universities, are on a trimester system not a 2 semester system like most post-secondary schools adhere to.


Vickey January 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Yes, but….they had a fall term that ended in December, so even with a trimester academic calendar, it would be possible for a student to graduate in December.


Ruby December 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

1. Went grocery shopping today with the Mister and a list. We stuck to the list! And I found two coupons left on the coupon printer for stuff on the list.
2. I have a pile of mending to do and am setting aside New Year’s Day to do it. That’s a day that I like to do something I enjoy, and I actually like mending.
3. Been eyeing a simple knitted sock pattern that I might be able to convert to a crocheted pattern. (I can knit, but am slow and it hurts my hands. Am much better at crocheting.) Pattern was a free download and I already have the materials.
4. Giving a lot of thought to frugality in 2018 and having a more frugal lifestyle mesh with being healthier and less stressed.
5. Sometimes four is all you got.


Joyce December 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm

1. Fashioned window quilts from extra bath towels . Hope this keeps some of the wind out!
2. The neighbor we had over for a shared Christmas dinner left us with 4 meals worth of sliced ham. I froze it.
3. Dinner tonight for son and his wife was cheezy scalloped potatoes and ham, the ham from Christmas!
4. Batched our trips to town yesterday, first time out of the house since last Saturday.
5 New Year’s Eve will be spent at a free community dinner. No alcohol, no drama


cathy December 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm

1. A neighbor posted on our list serve that she was looking for Hot Wheels items. I had a few from the Garage Sale That Wasn’t (aka I didn’t get around to it) I was able to sell her. We also sold an outgrown boys’ bike through local online classifieds two days before Christmas.
2. We hosted family Christmas Eve open house. Bought some of the groceries with a $10 off $50 coupon from Smith’s.
3. Son didn’t want lasagna for Christmas so I roasted a chicken, bought on sale and frozen a few months ago. Cooked down the carcass and turned it into chicken black bean chili last night. Plenty to eat for several meals and to freeze.
4. Gifts for family and friends all included homemade biscotti and pizzelles.
5. Free entertainment: Watching PBS (including Grantchester–local station began rebroadcasting from season 1. Since I didn’t start watching until halfway through the series, all the old ones are new to me!). Also reading library books, both hard copies and e-books. We’re (re)watching all the Harry Potter movies (which we own). It’s a December tradition in our household. Tonight: Prisoner of Azkaban.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: