Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 2, 2018 · 81 comments

  1. I worked at the hospital yesterday, for which I was paid a enjoyable time-and-a-half in wages. Management then asked if I could stay late to move my delivered patient to her postpartum room, to which I agreed. Especially since it was my only shift of the entire pay period. (I like to work less when my kids are home from college.) However, I arranged to do yet another eight hours of paid education, which I earned from working greater than 800 hours in 2017. With last week’s eight hours of education, I’ll end up with a perfectly acceptable pay check.

  2. I ran into an area Goodwill to return a groovy vintage lamp which turned out to be missing a chunk. I used my store credit to buy a $3.99 game which I quickly sold for $15. I came home and scooped up a large pile of clothing that my son had decluttered from his room and donated it to Goodwill right before the December 31st deadline. I took a quick loop through the store and bought a pair of like-new Sperry Top Siders for my son and a new-with-tags Hanna Anderssson infant jacket, which I’ll sell. I kind of hoped that my son wouldn’t want the Top Siders, as they’re my size as well.

  3. I held back on a few items that my son didn’t want for my Buy Nothing group, motivated to balance out having recently been on the receiving end of that spectrum.

  4. I received my AARP card in today mail, and am exciting to tuck this bad boy into my wallet and start enjoying the occasional senior discount! (Yup, you only have to be fifty.) I do realize that only a few companies offer a discount starting at 50, but you can be assured that I’ll start asking for one.

  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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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth January 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm

1. Treated DD to see Star Wars today the last day of holiday break. Saved $2 by signing up for the rewards program.
2. Brought our own candy to snack on from Christmas stockings.
3. Did several cat sits over the holiday break to augment no pay when I’m off from my school job for holiday break.
4. Took DD to Barnes and Noble to use her Christmas gift card, got a coupon for B1G1 cookie.
5. Frugal fail – planned on treating us to the cookies and hot cocoa using gift cards received for the holidays- Starbucks in Barnes and Noble will not accept Starbucks gift cards. 🙁


tonya parham January 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Neither will the ones in Target or Kroger. But, they will take the B&N loyalty discount card. I don’t know if they take B&N gift cards, though…


Denise B January 3, 2018 at 5:12 am

Our Market Street grocery store will take SB gift cards, but won’t honor the SB rewards system.


Koren January 3, 2018 at 9:21 am

The Target Starbucks near me honors both the gift cards and the rewards program. Maybe those are all franchise locations, and they get to decide individually.


Michelle Porter January 4, 2018 at 7:20 am

Our Starbucks in our Kroger in Kentucky takes Starbucks gift cards. Even E-Gift cards.


MW January 2, 2018 at 2:12 pm

– Worked with my husband to reach acceptance (his) that we will need to be a one-car family until our economic situation improves. I get free transit privileges through my work for the whole family.
– On that note, arranged for my older son to receive his free pass as he is now too old to ride for free. He LOVED getting a badge like mine.
– Cobbled together a salad from stuff we already had as my contribution for a party that I attended.
– Re-arranged the upstairs to unearth the record player and the oodles of inherited records. Free entertainment for the family!
– Talked my husband through roasting a whole chicken for dinner tonight and leftovers later thus avoiding having to rejigger my meal plan after a curve ball. He can follow instructions, but is always intimidated by cooking.


Jennifer January 2, 2018 at 2:20 pm

1. My kids and I have been at home, mostly, since getting out of school for the holidays. We have been eating simple homemade meals, which is always frugal.
2. I dropped a large corningware dish on my foot a few days ago. It looked really terrible but is actually a lot better. Now, it has caused my gout to flare up, in the same foot, which is truly torture. My daughter is bringing me over some crutches which I’m sure will help me get around better. Why is this frugal? Because I can’t do damn thing so I can’t spend any money. This gout flare is disheartening for me. I had planned to begin a workout routine at the first of the year so I am feeling defeated. My mind goes to Lindsey, who is frequently and suddenly in a wheelchair at times. I need to get over myself because I know there will be better days.
3. It’s pretty drafty in my older home. We are continuing to wear layers and use multiple blankets. I continue to throw free firewood on the fire.
-That’s about all I got today. I’m just too irritable and whiny to think about frugality.


tonya January 2, 2018 at 2:28 pm

I’m so sorry about the gout! I wonder if you can do some gentle, restorative yoga. Not the workout plan you were hoping for but might be awesome for you.


Jennifer January 2, 2018 at 3:40 pm

I will look into that. I have to get a little better before I can do anything. The vibration from my daughter walking across the floor even hurts. I know this will pass, I just have to get through it and try to stay positive.


A. Marie January 2, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Jennifer, your last line struck a chord with me, because I’m feeling pretty irritable and whiny today myself (it’s been a particularly rough day with DH’s cognitive problems and the polar vortex and so on). Anyway, my best wishes, and let’s all hope “there will be better days” soon.


Jennifer January 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Thanks, feels good to hear from you all. My kids are not very understanding and being like you, in the polar vortex, we are all stir crazy here.


tonya January 2, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Been there!! Hope you are better soon.


CarolineRSA January 3, 2018 at 3:52 am

Jennifer, I know you know your foot best, but please be cautious. I’d hate to think you suffered with an injury, because it was assumed to be gout. Take good care, please!


Jennifer January 3, 2018 at 11:46 am

Thank you all! I haven’t had a gout flare in quite some time but I immediately recognize the symptoms. The gout is in the same foot but it is in my ankle, where it always appears. The injury is my pinky toe and right below it. The injury actually doesn’t really hurt anymore. The ankle feels like it was hit with a hammer, stung by a bee, then stuck in a broiler. Which is classic for hellish gout. I have tried the cherry juice in the past, but it’s been quite a while since I had a flare. One thing that hasn’t helped is I have started back eating beans. This has caused gout flares for me in the past, so I guess my favorite frugal food is out.


Bee January 3, 2018 at 10:39 am

I hope you are feeling better soon. Gout is so painful. My husband has started drinking tart cherry juice evidently it naturally regulates Uric acid that causes gout. He believes this has helped. Take care!


tonya January 2, 2018 at 2:26 pm

1) Returned books to the library on time.
2) Ate leftover ham bone and bean soup again. Hubby helped out with the leftovers as well. Man, sometimes you just make way too many beans!
3) Deposited some cash that I had gotten as a reimbursement directly into savings.
4) Drinking coffee and reading library books at home on my last day of vacation. Tomorrow it’s back to work! Good thing I love my job.
5) I decluttered a couple of drawers and shelves over the holidays. Will take the items to Goodwill on another day and batch some errands in the area. The drop-off near me closed and it’s the closest drop-off is not on the way to anything.


JJ January 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm

1) Lucked out with markdown items at our favorite local grocery store, and stashed rolls, bacon and turkey sausage in the freezer. I cooked the bacon and sausage before freezing, and they’re are portioned out for easy meal prep in the future.

2) Shared shopping/cooking duties with friends for our annual New Year’s Eve celebration. We make cheese and chocolate fondues, along with all sorts of “dippers”. Other guests bring beverages or items to go with the fondue, so it ends up being a fairly frugal and very delicious dinner.

3) Renewed my library books online, since it is just too cold to walk to return them before the original due date.

4) Took inventory of my remaining holiday gift wrapping supplies. I do *not* need more ribbon, no matter how pretty it is. But I do need medium and large gift bags, so that’s on a note to refer back to when I’m out later this week.

5) Have a travel day for work this week, so I’m mapping out errands that I can knock out on my way to/from the train station. I have a gift card loaded onto my Starbucks app, so my coffee stop won’t be an extra expense.


Ruby January 2, 2018 at 3:36 pm

1. Yesterday I altered the neckline of a thermal undershirt to make it wearable under more tops. Wore it today under a pretty but somewhat thin sweater, and was very comfortable despite the cold.
2. Packed my breakfast, lunch and tea to work from home. Enjoyed the free coffee.
3. Cobbled together some pizza rolls from leftover dough, $1 a jar pizza sauce – way cheaper than I could make it from scratch, pepperoni, and some frozen shredded cheese that has an expiration date of last July. Because it has stayed frozen, it is perfectly good. They were a big hit with the menfolks.
4. Beans and rice made with leftover rice made a tasty supper tonight for Vegan Me.
5. Will wear today’s heavy jeans again tomorrow, as I was careful to keep them clean. It’s so cold I may be wearing them all week.


Linda January 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Love your #5, Ruby. I wore my heaviest jeans three days in a row to work last week due to the freezing temps. Different sweaters, each of the days, so I don’t think anyone noticed.


Lindsey January 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm

We packed up Christmas decorations and I culled the ornaments. They are in good shape, just not meaningful anymore. The box will be donated tomorrow.

Made a pot of chicken stock from holiday and freezer remains.

Two friends asked me out for lunch. I suggested we eat here. I made bread and provided cold sliced chicken and condiments. One woman brought muenster cheese she had left from a potluck, and the other bought lettuce and tomatoes. A fairly cheap lunch and no crush of people. They both left their leftover cheese and vegetables behind, saying chicken and bread cost more, so for dinner we are having the same sandwiches again. I don’t feel like cooking anyway.

Shortened and took in two pairs of dress pants.

Cleaned out and organized kitchen drawers. Why do we have two papaya slicers, when neither one of us likes that fruit?? For the donation box. Ditto one of three peelers and one of two ricers. Obviously I have not cleaned out this drawer in a long time…

Next door neighbor asked me to watch her daughter for two hours today; she watches our dogs sometimes so a good trade. I was shredding some papers and the youngster fell in love with the shredder (she is six). She spent the next two hours shredding all the newspaper I had stockpiled, so I have tons of hedgehog bedding now and some for composting. As they left, I heard her saying to her mother that she was sorry she had not asked Santa for a shredder for Christmas. I understand. I asked for a laminator one Christmas and spent months encasing anything that didn’t move in plastic.


Susie's Daughter January 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Lindsey – ‘LOL” doesn’t do it justice. I am sitting by myself in front of the fire laughing really hard at your laminating comment. 🙂


Nance January 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Enjoyed the last: the shredder and the laminator! I’m like that! Lol
Once I got a paper cutter.


WilliamB January 2, 2018 at 8:42 pm

That is really funny. I never enjoyed shredded newspaper for my compost pile – maybe your young neighbor would like to visit and help me out?


Canadian Girl January 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Oh my gosh your comment about encasing anything that didn’t move in plastic made me laugh out loud!!! 🙂


Kim from Philadelphia January 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Congrats on the AARP card. I was mailed a total of 5 last year?!
Katy-check it. I believe you need to pay for membership at this age. Pretty sure that’s why I chucked mine!


JennyS January 2, 2018 at 8:04 pm

AARP has always been free for us. We’ve had it for a long time.


Liz B. January 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Jenny S, how do you get AARP for free? I paid $16 for a year…which is very reasonable. But free?? How??


Odette January 5, 2018 at 8:15 am

I also would like to know how you get it free.


A. Marie January 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

I’m not having the greatest of days (see my comment to Jennifer above). Still, here’s my FFT, Wolf Moon Edition:

(1) I’m admiring the Wolf Moon from my recliner as I write this on my laptop. Awesome–and DH and I just gave ourselves a much-needed mood boost by howling at it: “AROOOOOO!!!” Thank goodness, laughter and the wonders of nature are still free.

(2) Took advantage of a brief break in the polar vortex Saturday to do some year-end thrifting. Broke a long dry spell at our Salvation Army superstore, and picked up a pair of brand-new Clarks flats in size 9W at our Rescue Mission boutique store in the university area.

(3) Took Dr. and Ms. Bestest Neighbor to the airport for their annual London theatre trip on Sunday. They gave me some perishables and an unfinished bottle of red wine. Used the wine and some of the veg in a beef stew Sunday evening.

(4) DH and I spent New Year’s Eve cuddled up in our Tempur-Pedic (not cheap 8 years ago, but worth every penny) and examining the backs of our eyelids. The only sensible place to be on a subzero night with drunks on the road.

(5) Finally, I did some closet-cleaning over the weekend, and found a thrifted like-new coat that didn’t work for me but will for a friend. She’s on a tight budget and just broke the zipper on her day-to-day winter coat, so this played out beautifully for us both.



Bee January 2, 2018 at 6:27 pm

In regards to your first frugal thing, I too enjoy the beauty of a full moon. Often I head down to the beach and watch the moon rise over the ocean. Nature is awe-inspiring. Sadly, however, the Wolf Moon is not visible here in Northern Florida tonight. There are strong winds, cold temperatures, and a heavy cloud layer. Oddly, we are expecting snow and icy rain tomorrow. The whole city will be shut down.


Jennifer January 3, 2018 at 11:50 am

That sounds heavenly! Not the last part, of course.


Christine Joiner January 3, 2018 at 7:33 pm

There is a ring around the moon tonight. I remember hearing that means snow. I think it’s true in light of our forecast for tomorrow! It is very beautiful though.


Patti January 2, 2018 at 4:04 pm

1) We have not raised the heat even though it is freezing cold in this house, but have added a fleeces, Smart Wool socks, polar fleece pants, undershirts, and when we can’t do any more, we get under blankets.
2) Cleaned out four dishes of leftovers for our special New Year’s dinner. Tonight I am cooking a mixture of Polish sausage, red beans, and rice to finish that up. I am eating what we have before I go shopping. Whoever suggested to finish all of one food type before you buy more – that was genius! We added “cutie” oranges to our salads today instead of buying cucumbers and tomatoes.
3). I cleaned out and took a box to Goodwill in time for the end of the year deadline. I saw something I actually was trying to find to buy (a storage ottoman) but I have to “wait until it is processed through the system” before I can buy it. I will haunt GW all week. Gives me an excuse to clean out more stuff.
4)Listened to a podcast and the person interviewed has written several books. I found one is at the library and two are audiobooks on Hoopla. I am thrilled to line up my reading for the month! Am currently reading a mystery from the book exchange at our church.
5)Pulled out a sweater I started knitting last year out of Icelandic yarn- it is almost finished but the wool is so “hot” I could not continue last spring. Now that the temps are so low, I am back at it and will surely enjoy wearing it when I finish. This is a sweater to last a lifetime.


Mamie January 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm

1. Batched errands, which included dropping off a huge bag of stuff at the thrift store. Already have a second bag half-filled. YAY for decluttering!
2. Dissuaded husband from going to Costco while we were out. He thought we needed TP and Kleenex. Between his gut issues and both our allergies, these ARE essential items. HOWEVER, I said “let’s double check supplies at home first.” Indeed, a whole brand-new package of TP and 6 boxes of facial tissues were on the storage shelves. (We’re not as awesome as Katy in using re-usable nose cloths….)
3. Birthday dinner for resident Grandma made from the last of the potatoes, green onions, and heavy cream we had on hand, plus part of the left-over Christmas ham out of the freezer. The recipe is for a casserole which I gleaned from the comments on a post here earlier this week.
4. Birthday cupcakes made from two ripe bananas scored from stepdad plus other ingredients on hand. Recipe is for “banana cupcakes with honey frosting” from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures site and is Grandma’s fave.
5. Didn’t eat lunch out while doing errands… came home and husband made us a nacho plate out of Costco tortilla chips, Costco shredded cheese, and canned chili bought in a case-lot sale. Yay for buying in bulk and having food on hand.

Bonus: Back to school (work) tomorrow, where I will bring my own packed lunch. There is nowhere within range of my school to go out to eat in our 30 minute lunch period, so it’s enforced frugality! 😉


Karen B. January 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Whoa boy, your number 2! Over Christmas, my husband and daughter had the flu while I battled a cold. I looked at the bags of discarded tissues and was thankful they were not handkerchiefs!


Mamie January 2, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Right??? We had the flu last March, and I think three people each went through a box of tissues a DAY. But there is no way we could keep up with handkerchief washing, plus… yuck. 😉


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 2, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Hey, congrats on the AARP membership! Time to score some nice discounts. 🙂

This week:

1. I just made a homemade banana cream pie using a free disc of pie dough from the grocery store. I also used up some old bananas that were about to spoil.

2. We decided to upgrade to Amazon Prime to take advantage of all the benefits from membership. We opted for the 30-day free trial, and then the one-time $99 fee to save $40 a year on the fees.

3. I’m regrowing green onions I bought from the store.

4. I picked up some new freelance work, which has been awesome for some extra income.

5. I plan on cleaning my car myself this week instead of paying to have it detailed.


Susie's Daughter January 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm

It has been as cold as I can ever remember around here lately. DS had an extra day off today since the diesel fuel in the school buses was freezing up. It is officially “wicked cold”…

1) Using up the firewood we liberated from my parents cellar to keep the living room reasonable warm and cut down on furnace use. I will restock tomorrow.

2) DS has a cold so between the cold and his cold, we kept very close to home today. Nothing spent, other than online bill paying.

3) I roasted the remaining parts of two butternut squashes that we had originally used for Christmas dinner – in part to ready them for butternut squash soup, but also so I could help heat the kitchen.

4) Inventoried the fridge and pantry (unsalted butter = who bought that? And who left a salami here?) and threw out some snack foods that were just not going to be eaten. I hate to do that, but most were now old and had been given to us. I thought of Mand’s comment about ‘gift baskets of death’ as I got rid of mysterious gifts with nuts. 🙂

5) Had DS draw a picture to use as the illustration for thank you notes for Christmas gifts, which I then photographed and copied to my computer. My mom gave me her supply of printable notecards several years ago and I have used them for the last three years. I figure a kid drawing has more “aww” factor than anything I could purchase.

Happy New Year and keep warm, good people!


Jennifer January 3, 2018 at 6:28 pm

5. Great idea! Love the Aww factor.


Elizabeth January 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm

1. In the past month I’ve sold about $1300 on eBay from stuff sitting around my house that I don’t use anymore or my kids have outgrown, etc. I worked hard to earn that amount and it’s hihger I think because it was right before Christmas but it’s awesome to have that in my Paypal account now!
2. Made traditional pork and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes for New Year’s Day dinner and ate leftovers of that tonight for dinner also.
3. Husband and I wanted to buy a new chair for the living room but in the end decided that the one that we have is just fine, saving us the $400 that chair that we were looking at was on sale for.
4. My son begged me to buy him and his friend Wendy’s when I picked them up after soccer camp today but I didn’t (although I may end up doing it tomorrow as a treat!).
5. The kids are still off of school this week but they haven’t been as “expensive” as I anticipated. They haven’t really wanted to do things like see movies or do much (other than soccer camp for my son and my daughter seeing her friends occasionally) so it’s been cheaper than I expected it would be. Teenagers are harder to entertain than little kids!


Bee January 4, 2018 at 4:24 am

$1300! What an accomplishment!


VanessaKC January 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I love ham in breakfast foods. A Denver style frittata will feed everyone with good leftovers. You could also get a pack of English muffins and prep a bunch of ham and egg breakfast sandwiches for the freezer. Great to grab for a quickie when on the fly. Ham and cheese “sliders” baked on a sheet pan with Dijon would be good with some baked sweet potato fries. BBQ ham pizza rocks too.


Emily January 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm

1. made some baked oatmeal cups for quick breakfasts this week. I am trying to have a no spend month and pantry clear out week or so. All ingredients I had on hand.

2. Using my heated blanket to stay nice and toasty. it was a cheap-o one from target but has been working well and keeping me warm.

3. Watching hockey on the NBC app using my parents login. Since they pay an arm and a leg for cable, they don’t mind me using their login info.

4. Requested an itemized list for a 1,485 dollar bill I got from the ER. I’m calling BS on some of these for sure.

Frugal Fails:

1. Had to get take out for lunch. A pipe in our apartment building froze, burst, and set the fire alarms off. They had to then turn off our water for hours. We did eat the left overs for dinner.

2. Because of said frozen pipe, we have to raise our heat a little more. UGH. Southerners don’t insulate their pipes as well I guess.


Gina in KY January 3, 2018 at 9:45 am

Oh, these Southern homes are not meant for these cold temps for sure! I had to turn off my water to save my pipes even with heat tape on them. I never had this problem when I actually lived in the northern Great Lakes area!


Jennifer January 3, 2018 at 6:38 pm

True, I live in Mississippi and have to leave a stream of water running in my home to keep pipes from freezing. Higher water bill is much less than pipe repair. A few years ago my outside spigot froze. I turned an old crockpot on low and placed over top of it. After an hour or so it was freely running again. Hey, heat is heat! Much better than my husband’s plan of standing out there in the freezing cold with a torch.


Sarah D January 2, 2018 at 7:14 pm

1. Gave my daughter a back-to-school haircut. No reason to pay for a second grader to get a salon cut.
2. Had a family fun-day to celebrate the last day of vacation: went out to lunch (the three of us split two entrees and paid only $23 total, and even brought home leftovers) and used a gift card to a board game library to sit and play games for a few hours.
3. Arranged for free pickup of our Christmas tree. We could have driven it to the tree recycling ourselves, but this saves time and gas too!
4. Took my daughter for her annual wellness checkup. No co-pay for this type of visit, and even though she’s a healthy kid I still think preventive care is a good practice in the long run.
5. Rounding up some clothes to donate, and I’m planning to look at the thrift stores for a bike for my daughter. She’s outgrown her old one (which I got on craigslist and will re-sell there too), and new ones her size are $$$! I found a few on craigslist her size, but they’re still between $75 and $100, which is still steep for a kid’s bike. Here’s hoping the thrift stores come through for me!


Chris January 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

1. Sub zero temps kept me home for 2 full days.
2. Watched an episode of The Crown and read library books.
3. Cooked great dinners from home – including Omaha steaks that came as a complete surprise Christmas gift.
4. I sell on Etsy but my husband asked if we can try Ebay too to start cleaning out – I’ll give it a try but this is something we are doing together!
5. Making my list of 18 things to commit to in 2018 (a la Gretchen Rubin/ Liz Craft’s Happier podcast) and realize there is no $$ to be spent except on experiences. And only 3 of those!


Laur January 2, 2018 at 7:34 pm

1. I plan to keep our grocery bill under $80 per week this year. I planned out our first weekly shop of the New Year and the total shouldn’t be more than $67.
2. I picked up 2 extra shifts at work this week, earning me $115.
3. We have been eating down the pantry and freezer this school holidays. I’ve managed to put together some nice meal combinations and use up a lot of meat and desserts that were soon to go out of date.
4. I’ve been attempting to stick to free or cheap activities for my two kids for our 6 week school break. So far they have gone to a free splash zone, had a sleepover, gone to the movies with free vouchers they received for Christmas, had a play date at our local lake/ playground and had a sleepover at their grandparents. We have also baked, painted, played board games and visited grandparents. I’m planning a library trip this week also.
5. The department stores are having their back to school sales on so I’ve bought the kids school shorts. I will have to purchase 2 new shirts each with their school logo, however grandma kindly offered to pay for a shirt and jumper. My son will be able to have his sisters hand me down school jumper. Grandparents bought them socks and underwear as part of their Christmas present.


tonya parham January 2, 2018 at 7:36 pm

1. I’ve been making my own seitan at home but when I stopped in Kroger today I saw they had Field Roast marked down to $2.99 and the Field Roast sausages for $2.39. Since they go a long way, I got all of them and am freezing them for times when I haven’t got time to make seitan but want something “meaty.” This will keep me from eating out or going off my plan.

2. Had talked to my former employer about coming back for one semester. It was going to be A LOT of extra money to pay off debt with but they aren’t going to hire someone to cover for an injured employee. They just put the classes on other faculty. I’m glad on one hand because 1) I hate that place, 2) I would be stupid busy (teaching 7 classes at two colleges, 5 different preps, and 3) I was looking forward to the schedule I had already. BUT I am sad too because it would have wiped out my credit card debt. It’s okay– I will just continue to pay it off– it won’t be as fast but it will happen!

3. Made some yummy chili/soup for dinner and watched a movie. I’ve given up Netflix for Filmstruck and it’s the same price but it’s loads of foreign and old films that make me feel like it’s educational!

4. Didn’t go out New Year’s Eve but had a potluck with some friends. I did spend $28 on pizza but they brought chips and drinks and we watched movies so that was a pretty cheap party!

5. Was going to go to Memphis for Ethopian food before break ended but since it is so cold and I won’t get another check until February 28th (being an adjunct professor sucks in terms of pay) I’m just saying home!


Gina in KY January 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

I always buy the Field Roasts when I see them marked down too! I freeze them. If you haven’t already tried this with them, cut them up like gyro meat and sauté with spices, place on pita bread with veggies and hummus, they make excellent sandwiches!


Marilyn January 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

1. Found my favorite — but too expensive — yogurt on special for half the normal price. Bought 7 so I could have one every day this week.
2. Got a year-end bonus from work. Not a big one, but it will buy a couple weeks of groceries.
3. Like so many others, I am doing a New Year house cleaning and decluttering. I am finding so many things we no longer use. I have listed several items on Craigslist, put other things away for a yard sale in the spring and took 3 bags of stuff to GW.
4. Staying warm at home with fleece jacket, fleece blanket and new (Xmas gift) fleece socks. The all-fleece household.
5. Starting to collect items for 2017 tax year filing. I anticipate a small refund somInwant to file ASAP.


Debbie January 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm

1. Like Katy, worked an 8+ hour shift at the hospital yesterday, for time-and-a-half pay, which will go towards paying some unexpected expenses we incurred at the end of the year. Brought my lunch so I could type notes over my lunch break.
2. Batched doctor and PT appointments for my son today, with stops at the library to return/borrow books in between, a drop into Target to check out the 90% off Christmas clearance, and a stop for groceries. Paid the co-pays with my FSA card that just restarted (we had run out before the end of the year and all the PT visits added up!) and my son also got discharged from PT today, so no more visits! Bought a few Christmas candies for my kids for their patience in all the stops we had to make today, which was about $2.5o in all.
3. Used a free Redbox code to rent The Lego Ninjago movie for my kids to watch before returning to school tomorrow.
4. Hung my laundry to dry on the racks indoors. With the heat on, it takes about the same amount of time as it would outside when it is nice (we’re in Texas).
5. Made lunch for my kids to bring to school tomorrow. It was a nice 2 weeks off from that task, but I prefer to pack their lunches rather than them buying (and probably wasting) cafeteria food.


WilliamB January 2, 2018 at 8:39 pm

1. Made Turkey & Dumplings from mostly scraps and found food: turkey scraps from the office party carcass, turkey stock and drippings from same (drippings from the pan at work, stock from the picked-over carcass), celery from the veggie plate that I chopped and froze, canned corn bought on sale, flour bought on sale last year[1], butter ditto.

2. Made Cider-Braised Pork for later, using a half-leg that my friend gave me from his home-raised pigs, and the simmered-down liquid leftover from making applesauce.

3. Said applesauce was made from a $9 half-bushel of a wide assortment of apples, that I bought while on a road trip. It yielded 6 quarts, plus excess liquid.

4. After making and straining the applesauce, I simmered the liquid down to syrup. I’m going to try my hand at cider caramels. I’ve never made cooked candy before – wish me luck.

5. BIL helped me install a new-to-me/free-to-me dishwasher. My old one was a piece of junk practically from day one, and had turned into the world’s most expensive dish rack. New one works very nicely and was totally free. Sadly I have to throw away the old one – I’ve done the research; there’s no way to salvage anything and donating it will just screw someone else over – but my city will take the bulk trash for free.

6. Over Xmas weekend I did a big shop to take advantage of expiring coupons and sales. I spent $400 to get about $700 worth of goods. Scores included:
– 100 rolls of half-price TP,
– inexpensive dog food w coupons,
– shrimp on sale + coupon,
– not-as-unhealthy frozen pizza for $3/large pie (much less expensive than delivery),
– canned corn on rare sale,
– discounted ground lamb (a rare treat),
– roommate’s favorite soda on sale + coupon,
– brown sugar,
– half-price Xmas candy.
The volume of goods was so great that I needed two carts.

7. Continued to carefully track my medical insurance coverage. Doing so is the bane of my existence but it saves me hundreds of dollars per year.

[1] Between deep sale and coupon, the King Arthur flour was cheaper than Gold Medal. That’s something to celebrate.


Mand01 January 2, 2018 at 10:53 pm

1. We have been entertaining a lot these holidays. Today we had my old friend from high school and her two kids over for a BBQ. We have been cutting the costs of this by bulk purchasing whole porterhouse steaks which my ex-chef husband cuts into steaks. This makes them half the price. He set aside the off cuts to make stock. I make salads from our garden and dessert from scratch (this time a banana and nectarine loaf served with summer berries) and I always make ice ahead of time as I hate buying bagged ice. This way we can host parties and get togethers at our place with low cost and stress.
2. My friend and her kids are small eaters so we have lots of leftovers for dinner.
3. Last night we ate fresh whiting caught by my FIL and sides from our garden. Free dinner.
4. We have hardly driven anywhere since Christmas, meaning we have not had to fill our tanks in about two weeks. So great! Back to work next week though so we will have to refill this weekend.
5. My plan to eat down the freezer is slowly working. We too have a ham that we are eating our way through. That plus the garden and the freezer is keeping us going quite well.


Jill A January 3, 2018 at 3:46 am

1. Went for a short walk through the snow yesterday with a friend. It took us the same amount of time as walking three miles. It was a beautiful walk through a forest covered in snow. Afterwards we had coffee and chatted at my house. I didn’t have to apologize for my cold house as she sets her heat as low as mine. I did turn on the fireplace while we enjoyed our coffee.
2. Monday night my family had dinner with my Mother and then my kids spent the night. They are adults (18 & 21) but still enjoy going to Nana’s house and she loves having them there. It was a nice dinner and great company.
3. Tonight we will go to dinner with my Mother and kids using a gift card given to us by a neighbor as a thank you for many years of Christmas treats.
4. I went to Barnes & Noble with my mom and daughters yesterday. The girls used their gift cards to get some Manga books (buy 2 get 1 free). I looked around but didn’t purchase any books. Afterwards we had an inexpensive lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup at my mother’s house.
5. I washed a load of laundry early this morning before the electric rate goes up. I will dry them on the drying rack. I have my heat set at 62 and I’m bundled up in warm pajamas, slippers and a sweatshirt with a homemade fleece blanket on my lap. I’m drinking my coffee with the last of the leftover whipping cream from Christmas day.


avl January 3, 2018 at 11:46 am

Love #1 – perfect way to spend time with a friend!


Christine Joiner January 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Jill A, do you know if the electric rates go up everywhere during “prime” hours or just in your area? I have never heard of this and wonder if it applies to my area as well.


K D January 3, 2018 at 4:23 am

1. It’s still quite cold in the Mid-Atlantic region. So no hair cut for me. I’m bundling up and walking outside. I have leather mittens purchased on clearance at Target in 1990 (they have the date commemorating an event stamped on them). Back then they were made in the USA and they are wonderful in this weather.

2. I walked at the mall with a friend yesterday (she doesn’t like the cold and was willing to drive). It was a good time to catch up with her. I bought nothing, just marveled at how much change there is in tenants and how much stuff they are attempting to sell.

3. I discovered that combining two different cans of soup make them more palatable. I will stick to homemade most of the time but I have a bit of a stash I’m working through.

4. My daughter saw a picture of me at a fund raising event last summer. She commented on how nice my outfit looked. Score one for the Planet Aid thrift store. It was a black & gold event and I didn’t have anything to fit the theme.

5. I’m getting through backed up parer work. Good for the new year and a cold weather activity.


Tracy January 3, 2018 at 5:10 am

1. Made a big pot of Hoppin John on 1/1, ate for a frugal dinner that evening, took for lunch to work yesteray, will eat for lunches all week, hubby ate for dinner last night.
2. Bought nothing yesterday.
3. Planning DD’s 14th birthday party this weekend, venue will only be $50 (unique and rented through hub’s work), trying to keep other expenses (mostly pizza, ice cream sundaes, beverages and snacks for movie) reasonable so whole party isn’t more than $150 including venue. I realize that’s not super cheap but it’s a whole lot cheaper than many of the parties she attends… and will work out to only about $10 pp.
4. Returned a couple of Christmas gifts, and exchanged a couple of others for similar things I will really use.
5. Did a fairly frugal grocery shop, eating down pantry.


avl January 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

I’m eating the last of my New Years Hoppin John as I’m reading this !


Juhli January 3, 2018 at 6:29 am

Happy New Year everyone!
1. We were given a dozen tangerines and they are delicious. My son & DIL had been given more than they could eat before they went bad.
2. Cooked at home for visiting other son and DIL. Or rather, Hubby cooked!
3. Free entertainment. Six adults from 3 generations spent the afternoon being entertained by the actions of one grandbaby. One year olds are pretty great.
That’s all I have for now.


Bethel January 3, 2018 at 6:55 am

FFT-Tuesday Edition:

1. Did not swipe my debit card at all.
2. Ate leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drank free water/gifted coffee
3. Planned cheap meals for the week to use up odds and ends

I did just do one of these yesterday, so I’m struggling a little to come up with five new things! Overall, I’m hoping to have a frugal, more purposeful year. I want to enjoy the simple things, spend less, and be happy.


Gina in KY January 3, 2018 at 10:00 am

The Too Dang Cold to Spend Money Edition:

1. As it was mentioned above, Southern homes, especially 120 year old Shotgun houses, are not insulated to meet the demands of Arctic hell. I had to turn my water off to save my pipes, but roughing it like a pioneer is better than the repairs it takes to fix cracked pipes. I do have them insulated and wrapped in heat tape, but I wasn’t taking any chances (this has been learned the hard way). We refilled our jugs of water at a friend’s house. We are grateful. I have also kept my furnace on 60 and am cringing at how long it sounds like it is running. I am not looking forward to the gas/electric bill. I will have to be frugal for many weeks more just to pay the extra. I am looking forward to temps in the 40s come weekend.

2. I am officially participating in No Spend January (maybe longer), Eat from the Pantry January (maybe longer) and Compact (year long). I am determined to get my bills paid off. I budgeted for 2018 and I have marked two debts for complete payoff and several others that will be significantly reduced if I just stay on track.

3. My sons and I took a box of books and DVDs to Half-Price Books and received some money. I have many other boxes packed and ready to go. This was part of my big purge of clutter in my house.

4. Speaking of books I heard an NPR interview with an author by the name of Erica McAlister. She has a book called _The Secret Life of Flies_. A biologist that works with insects, the book was calling my name. I tried my library and they do not have it (sad face), so I put it in my cart with Amazon. Then, I looked around my room and saw all the stacks of “to be read” books and canceled it. I put in on my wishlist (so I won’t forget it) and started reading _Finding the Plot_ which was a gift and is really good.

5. Making black beans in the pressure cooker today and these will see me through the rest of the week in meals (Cuban black beans and rice, tacos and soup).


kathleen January 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm

I heard that same interview on NPR with Dr. McAlister. It was very interesting! I always want to buy the books when I hear the authors interviewed on NPR. 🙂 But who would have thought I’d want to buy one about flies?! LOL


Lazyretirementgirl January 3, 2018 at 9:30 pm

You might check to see whether your library can get the book for you through an inter library loan. Where I live they are free and generally available once the book has been out for six months.


KJD509 January 3, 2018 at 10:31 am

Really feels like I got nuthin today, but let’s see:

1) Rented a storage unit to put stuff in so we can empty and “stage” the house to sell (not frugal), but chose the one with half off the first months’ rent with a bag of donated food. Easy to pull that together as we’re cleaning out the pantry, and with luck we’ll only be in there a month or two.
2) Taking leftovers for lunch
3) Budgeted every single penny for the first six months of 2018 (things change a lot for each of us every summer), which would be frugal if I could stick with it, but blew the grocery budget already. Sigh. I think it isn’t useful for me to think of groceries in terms of a per-week amount because we so often buy in bulk, but if I think of per-month, I spend the whole damn thing on the first trip. It wasn’t quite that bad yesterday, but it sure felt like it. Plus we skipped a stop and then backtracked, and the extra time and gas spent added insult to injury.
4) But – once my daughter and I FINALLY got home, she cooked a lovely dinner while I took a nap. Even though we drove past Panda Express 4 times while backtracking. She is awesome.
5) Nope, there’s not a 5).


Bee January 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

1) I live in Florida and our home is definitely not designed for cold weather. It really is cold! There is ice in my bird bath at 2:00 in the afternoon and roads have been closed because of ice. To stay warm, I am wearing long underwear inside. I also have a small ceramic space heater that is traveling with me from room to room, so I do not have to turn the central heat and air up too high. I purchased this little heater for 90% off at the end of last winter. $8.00 well spent.

2) I am working on my budget for the year and paying bills.I keep telling myself that it is not just how much you have, but what you do with it.

3) I am also setting up my files, notebooks, and organizing our household business for 2018. I have not had to buy any office supplies. I purchased most of the items that I needed at an estate sale last year for $6. These supplies would be 10x that at an office supply store. I am glad that I didn’t overlook them at the time. I find one of the challenges when living a frugal lifestyle is anticipating your needs ahead of time.

4) We finished up the hoppin’ John today. The ham is in the freezer for a later date. I took some chicken carcasses out of the freezer to make chicken and rice soup for dinner. Like many of you, I am trying to use up all the odds and ends left from the holidays.

5) I went to the eye doctor yesterday and picked up a prescription. I used my limited use FSA and my HSA to pay for my healthcare services. I love using pre-tax dollars. It save so much money!


Bettypants January 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm

1. I never have much luck at Salvation Army. However, I went on Monday for the 50% clothing sale and found Underarmour shorts for my son for $2.50, an Underarmour shirt to sell for $2.50, and a boy scout shirt (to sell in the fall) for $3. And I found $2 in a pocket!

2. For motivation/decluttering, I am listing five items a day. Can be FB, ebay, or freecycle, but I must identify five items and post them. Sold one item today and one item yesterday, and another is awaiting pickup. Also sold a Nike pullover running shirt on ebay for $18 that I had bought at the resale store for $2.

3. I considered buying a snow blower, but instead bought a second shovel and we’re going to see how that goes. I keep telling myself it’s good exercise, but I’ll probably be kicking myself if (when!) we get a monster storm.

4. Tried a new recipe for granola that included chia seeds and coconut oil and mostly like how it came out. I am baking a loaf of bread every couple days for snacking/toast.

5. Encouraged by my Salvation Army finds, I stopped at another location today. Found a pair of Frye boots for $10, and a pair of kids Sorel cub boots for $7. I was still overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of stuff, but I kept poking around. I literally did a double take when I spotted the Frye emblem on those boots. Also bought a pair of Columbia Minx Omni kid boots for $5 on FB. I will be listing all my boots on ebay this week.


Gina in KY January 3, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Nice score on the Frye boots. They are a weakness of mine!


Bettypants January 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Thanks! They aren’t even close to my size, but should be good for selling! I bought saddle soap to clean them up.


Ruby January 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

Saddle soap is great for cleaning all kinds of leather shoes and handbags, as well as leather furniture. And a tin lasts forever!


Katy in Africa January 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

1. My kids start back to school tomorrow. My son needed to replace a couple of school supplies, thankfully we had to look no further than his sister who had some extras she didn’t need and willingly gave him.
2. I had a bottle of oil with just a little oil left. I usually put those in a pot upsidedown to get the last bit out, but this one was bent around the lid and so the oil pooled there instead. So I pulled out a knife and scissors and cut it open to get the rest of the oil.
3. I usually use TP to clean the toilet, but I felt like it needed a good scrub, so today I got a rag from my rag stash of old clothes and used that then just tossed it. I haven’t purchased paper towels in over 2 years.
4. We bought another 25 kilo sack of rice today, it’s our frugal staple.
5. And now I’m laying in bed enjoying reading my favorite frugal blogs for inspiration!


Christine Joiner January 3, 2018 at 4:16 pm

1. Hubby and I continue to enjoy our one car status. We started this years ago when we worked together and one day it hit us: Why are we supporting two cars when one mostly sits in the driveway? So we gave our older car to our daughter and continued to ride in together. We had different days off so one would drive the other the four miles to work if the car was needed that day. Now that we are retired we are still plugging away with our 2009 Dodge Journey, picking up two different sets of grandkids from two different towns on most days Monday through Friday. It can be done with some planning.
2.I went to K Mart today and purchased laundry detergent, 5 cans of cat food and an eight pack of D batteries (which we needed for our camping lantern as we are expecting The Great Snow Hurricane here in the Northeast tomorrow and may lose power). Using points from my Sears CC which we pay off monthly and a $6 off coupon, I spent a dollar and change.
3. Hubby’s birthday is coming up on Sunday and as he doesn’t want a party I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. He asked me to make him cheeseburgers, his favorite! I will also make him a coconut cake like his mother used to make as a surprise.
4. Filled up the tank with gas from a station near our church on Sunday and used our 10 cents off per gallon Rewards points. The gas is already the cheapest around…$2.41 per gallon and with our Rewards points it came down to $2.31…what a cheap thrill! In our town it’s been averaging $2.59 a gallon.
5. Rounding up items to take to the consignment shop as I clean out closets. Something about the new year and closet clean outs…good for the cabin-fevered mind!


F January 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm

I’ve been reading lots of NCA here and in the FB group and am super inspired to get back into the frugal game.
1) Had the flu the week before Christmas and am still very fatigued so Xmas gift shopping fell by the wayside. A nonconsumer blessing in disguise?!
2) Working on meal prep with the free time I have until classes start. I’ve made seitan, vegan chocolate cupcakes, and perfect rice (for once) thanks to my new Insant Pot. The IP is a dream for oatmeal as well, easier to clean than a pot in my small sink.
3) Started work from home a day a week and was able to cook jackfruit carnitas ahead of time for tomorrow’s dinner. Postmates orders have become too frequent and I realized $50 for dinner for 2- food, delivery and a decent tip -was insane when that same amount equals a decent amount of groceries.
4) Enjoying the library’s Overdrive app for reading on my kindle. For me, it is much more frugal than checking out books in person as I always seem to return books only after receiving overdue notices.
5) Stopped by Macys to grab a nice blanket for my grandma for a belated Xmas gift. Took a second to look through the clearance section of Kitchen dept and found some marked down stainless steel measuring spoons, exactly what I’ve been meaning to buy for months. The cashier was nice enough to offer up a coupon which saved 15% more!


Jenser January 3, 2018 at 11:38 pm

OMG, Katy! I got a chuckle about you being happy about your AARP card tucked into your wallet. I am turning 50 this month and was bummed out to find my card in the mail….Did you pay the $16 annual fee? Or can you just use the card? I don’t have a lot of places nearby to use it but might save a couple of bucks on movies and UPS but don’t know if it is worth the cost? Or if I really have to pay to use the pre-printed card….


Ruby January 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

I used to get the AARP magazine, but it started skeeving me out a bit because there would be articles about having a healthy sex life in one’s 70s, 80s, 90s, heck, until death, and the small print ads in the back would all be for erectile dysfunction aids. And it was giving me mental whiplash to see hot actors of my youth featured as cover models! 😀


janine January 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

1. Occasionally get a discount on AARP – husband pays but they keep sending reminders and additional cards asking for $$. Not sure how good their bookkeeping skills are.
2. Keeping News Years resolution to use up leftovers, I made a large pot of “weekend soup” and a loaf of banana-apple bread with fruit that wouldn’t make the cut if eaten fresh. I’m especially proud of the bread – added a bit of leftover cranberry juice and somehow it was the best quick bread I ever made. Could never duplicate it because I used ingredients that were lurking the refrigerator and pantry, and no known recipe.
3. Worked on 2018 budget and did some cutting of expenses. Not sure how this will all work, but we will try it out.
4. Am supplying one meal a week to both unmarried sons to help with their grocery budgets. They don’t always like to cook at home, but love home-cooking. Fortunately, one likes potato based dishes, the other likes pasta.
5. Determined to keep resolution of cleaning out, donating, and perhaps selling a few things that might have some value.


Jenny January 5, 2018 at 9:16 pm

RE: the AARP comment- it seems like EVERYTHING and EVERY ORGANIZATION can no longer keep track of things! And in this day of computer-automated everything, you would think it would be better instead of worse. All the clubs and organizations we belong to or charities we support, every magazine we subscribe to, doctors offices, etc. send constant mail reminders even if we just renewed. It drives me crazy! And if I call, they act like I AM crazy! Lol, but I have stopped some things based on how annoying they are.


Vickey January 11, 2018 at 7:58 pm

I’m afraid that often it’s a marketing ploy, to get people to give them more money sooner. That said, if anytime we drop services for annoying marketing practices we let them know that, perhaps we could help effect a culture change.


Cari January 23, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Hi Katy!! I didn’t read the other comments so I hope this isn’t a duplicate but anyone can get an AARP card and use the discount. I’ve had one, and an AARP credit card because the rewards are AWESOME, since I was 22. 🙂


Odette January 24, 2018 at 4:53 am

You can only be an AARP *member* if you are 50 or older. I know — I work for them. You can join AARP if you are under 50 but are not entitled to the same member benefits.


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