Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 9, 2018 · 167 comments

  1. My husband and I drove our kids to their respective universities and slept a single night at our go-to Ashland motel. However, I did use my AARP senior discount, (woot woot!) and saved an extra $3 from the bill. Hey, I’ll take it!

  2. Our younger son realized that he’d brought his hangers home from school and somehow didn’t bring them back to his apartment. No fear though, as I am intimately familiar with southern Oregon’s thrift store scene. We grabbed 20 from the Medford’s St. Vincent DePaul for a budget and brag-worthy 50¢. Our plan was to stop back in Eugene to take him to dinner on our way back anyway, so Katy’s Hanger-Delivery-Service was zero extra effort. Dollar Tree hangers sell 8/$1, so we saved $2.50. However, I care more that we were able to buy used instead of new, meaning we didn’t participate in manufacturing/packaging/shipping from China to fill this need.

  3. We were away from the house for two full days, so I turned off the furnace, dialed the hot water heater to “low” and switched off the surge protector where all our TV-related appliances are plugged in. (I knew there wouldn’t be any freezing temperatures, so I wasn’t worried about frozen pipes.)

  4. I walked to Fred Meyer to buy eggs and bought nothing but eggs, I found a penny on the ground, I accepted a cookie sample which I brought home to my husband, (frugal generosity at its finest!) I’m cooking pinto beans in the slow cooker for a burrito night, I thrifted a Prius cargo cover to resell, I’m wearing a thrifted merino wool base layer instead of turning up the heat and I have The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning waiting for me at the library.

  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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{ 167 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie January 9, 2018 at 1:56 pm

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning? Is this an episode of The Extreme Housewives of Stockholm, or have our Scandinavian friends developed a new aspect of mortuary science??

Now, my FFT, January Clearance Edition (odds and ends from recent weeks that I haven’t previously mentioned):

(1) Couldn’t find any of the usual local greenhouse growers selling bagged mini-lettuce at the 12/23 Regional Market (I needed a more conventional green salad than my new favorite kale/carrot/apple to serve with my Christmas Eve dinner), so I picked up a huge bag of rather compressed greens for $3 from a vendor I don’t usually buy from. We are STILL eating lettuce from this bag! It’s paid for itself several times over at this point.

(2) The Christmas Eve dinner was the Two Fat Ladies’ A.N.’s Slow Shoulder of Lamb, for those of you (especially in the Commonwealth) who are TFL fans. I now make it with a boneless leg of lamb, bought Reduced for Quick Sale at Wegmans after a holiday and saved in the freezer. (This one was RFQS after last Easter.) It served 5 at dinner on the Eve, and DH and me for 4 meals thereafter, for a total of 13 servings.

(3) Many of our holiday gifts were consumables, including enough chocolate to sink the Bismarck. Some of our friends know us all too well!

(4) Last week’s blizzard here (19.5 inches in 66 straight hours of snow!) had the usual effect of keeping us from going out and spending $$$.

(5) And because I hunkered down and put in some overtime during the blizzard, I’m about to get out from under a work project I’ve been enduring since before Thanksgiving. Not particularly frugal, except that I feel I’m about to get handed a Get Out of Jail Free card.


Denise January 10, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Swedish Death Cleaning is basically older Swedes decluttering their crap well in advance of actually dying, so that their family doesn’t have to deal with so much detritus when they die.


A. Marie January 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Denise. I’m all in favor of the concept, having (with DH) had to clean out both my and his mother’s digs within a year of each other about 10 years ago. And from the comments below, it sounds as though a lot of NCA folks can get behind the idea. I may have to check out this book myself.


Taylor-Made Homestead January 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Those are an awesome frugal 5 Katy! Here are mine:

1) Invited my parents over for supper tomorrow instead of meeting at a restaurant & hanging out. We’ll be grilling out since it’ll be unseasonably warm tomorrow & I’ll roast some inexpensive (yet super healthy) fresh veggies with flavored olive oil. Dessert will be little apple pies made in small canning jars using my home-canned apple pie filling. Inexpensive yet delish!

2) A box of random stuff was dropped off for us to do whatever we wanted with. It seems to be mostly ammo reloading parts, etc that we have no need for. Ebay, baby!

3) I made 3 loaves of homemade bread today to fill our empty bread coffers.

4) I’ll be using my last garden pumpkin to make ‘Mexican Candy’. Wish me luck!

5) We stayed tucked inside today – no driving, no shopping. Win/win for me!

Have a fantabulous week, y’all!



Mia January 9, 2018 at 6:10 pm

What’s Mexican candy?


Taylor-Made Homestead January 9, 2018 at 6:44 pm

A friend of mine said it’s a candy common in Mexico that’s made of pumpkin. She said you simmer chunks of fresh pumpkin in a heavy syrup, then remove the pumpkin and continue simmering to reduce the syrup. Then pour thickened syrup onto the pumpkin chunks & dry 24-48 hours. (sometimes they roll them in sugar first) I’m intrigued, hope it turns out as good as it sounds! ~TMH~


Denise January 10, 2018 at 12:05 pm

I think my teeth just committed Hara-Kiri in protest at the sugar content!


Jackie January 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm

That sounds like the fruit slices I used to buy at the candy stores which are covered with some type of glaze and then sugar.

Emily January 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm

1. Tonight is taco night at my apartment complex! I do not eat meat, but my boyfriend does and I will eat a salsa lettuce taco if need be. Free dinner and drinks!

2. 2 of the last 3 days have been no spend. I aim to continue with another one tomorrow! Packing snacks, drinks, and a full lunch are always key.

3. Grabbed a few mustard and mayo packets from Chick fil A when I grabbed a biscuit the other morning. My boyfriend doesn’t like either, but every once in a while I like some, so I keep a few in the fridge.

4. Last night we made Ramen for dinner. We used the noodles but used miso broth instead, then added a myriad of frozen vegetables, and leftover fresh vegetable we needed to use up. Some siracha, soy sauce, and green onions made this meal pretty great! Leftovers for lunch today.

5. Plan to go to the farmers market on Friday with a friend. We get 1.00 bags of the “clearance” produce, then swap so we don’t get stuck with too much of one thing. I usually spend 10 dollars and get TONS of great produce.


Bethany M January 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm

Ramen and miso! Boom! Terrific idea!


Mary in VA January 10, 2018 at 9:46 am

Re: #3, whenever my office has a working lunch, the sandwich shop always delivers too many mustard and mayo packets. I refuse to throw them away (so wasteful!), so I take all the spares. I probably have a year’s worth of packets. I’m ready for the apocalypse!


Denise January 10, 2018 at 12:08 pm

As in “…ready for a well-flavoured apocalypse”??


Vickey January 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

Exactly! It’s important to keep ones spirits up when the zombies are at the door. 😉


Mand01 January 9, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Good morning all
1. I received a raise a few weeks ago and decided we could afford to increase our retirement contributions. Last night my husband and I looked at our current contributions, our balances and our projections and decided we can both do that.
2. I’m working from home for the next two days. Savings petrol and time in a long commute for me.
3. I say this every time, but my garden is producing so much right now that I don’t need to buy anything except avocados (one day I will grow those too and I will drive on by that produce store laughing maniacally). Last night we had a delicious stir fry with organic homegrown beans, zucchini and capsicum (peppers).
4. I’m back at work after holidays and have taken lunch every day and brought my own coffee every day except for a free coffee I got with points. All outfits have been thrifted.
5. I got a $30 gift card for doing surveys and I am going to use it for gardening supplies.


Sarah D January 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

So jealous of the garden! And SOOOOOO jealous you live in a place where avocados are possible to be grown! My garden this last summer produced nothing but pounds and pounds of carrots…everything else I planted was a bust and I don’t know why (I’m tempted to give up, but I really want to grow my own produce, so I’ll try again).


Mand01 January 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm

If you can grow carrots it probably means you have sandy soil that is not too rich. If you want to grow other things you probably need to add a lot of organic matter and manure or compost to your soil – which will reduce your carrot growing ability but increase your ability to grow other things.


Sarah D January 9, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I prepped the garden bed with compost last year but then never added any more through the growing season. Maybe not enough to start with. My compost bin is full now, so hopefully in a month or so I can get a big dose of it on there.


K D January 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

1. We have had E-ZPass through NJ since they started it, around 2000. However we don’t live there and I recently discovered that it is cheaper for tolls in our state to have E-ZPass administered locally. I stopped to buy them at the local grocery store and we should save money going forward.

2. It was finally warm enough to enjoy a warm and sunny walk. It was wonderful to not be wearing multiple layers.

3. My mother is not able to get out as much recently. She was dying for something good to read. I sent her some books I had picked up from Little Free Libraries (don’t worry, I have contributed many books to these libraries). She was so excited and with media mail it was not very expensive to send them.

4. I gave leftover holiday treats to a friend that doesn’t normally have such foods (but can afford the calories). I froze them until I knew I was going to see him.

5. Tomorrow I’ll have lunch at a friend’s house. I’ll bring something as will another friend (or two). Inexpensive, relaxing, and fun.


Roberta January 10, 2018 at 7:22 am

You should check your mother’s local public library. A friend’s mother used to receive books delivered from our public library (but I don’t remember if they came through the mail or direct from a delivery service).


Mary in VA January 12, 2018 at 9:36 am

KD, thanks for the reminder about Little Free Libraries. I go through a lot of books. Usually I’ll sell them online or trade them in at used book stores. Starting today, Little Free Libraries will be on my rotation!


Shelia January 9, 2018 at 2:56 pm

1. Dinner tonight is lentil soup using the last of the Christmas ham broth.
2. Am quite content staying in where it is warm. I planned on doing that for the rest of the week but a friend asked me to cover church nursery for her tomorrow night. I said “Sure. But wait, I have to get out of the house? In January?” Going nowhere means no money spent.
3. Wearing my warm thrifted clothes. I also went through the glove/scarf bin that I didn’t bother with last year when we moved because it was so warm. I found several matched pair of gloves and offered one to a daughter who was home for the holidays and mentioned her gloves weren’t warm.
4. We picked up that daughter from the airport after she returned from caring for a sick friend in Portland. On the way down, we ate free chicken at Chick-fil-a with our free senior citizen small drinks. My husband did cave and buy fries.
5. We stopped at Krogers on the way down to pick up the five bags/chunks of .99 Kroger cheese. We picked up the few other things we needed for the week. It came to a total of 24.00 but I realized one of the 1.00 off cheese coupons didn’t come off so I went to the service desk where they happily refunded it. January is a cheap food month for us which is good since our natural gas bill is likely to be a bit high this month!


Jill A January 9, 2018 at 3:19 pm

1. My youngest daughter and I both did laundry over the weekend when electric rates are cheaper. The laundry was hung on hangers and on drying racks to air dry inside. We packed up my daughters laundry, bedding etc. and returned her to school on Sunday. We treated her to dinner out which was pretty inexpensive. Husband and I ordered water with our meals. We picked up one textbook and she will wait to see if she needs any of the others before she purchases them. She was able to pay for part of her book with a gift card she won.
2. Monday was a no spend day. I spent most of the day at home and only ventured out for a small errand. Husband, middle daughter and I had dinner at my Mom’s house.
3. This morning I walked with a friend. We found a free parking space downtown and walked on the outdoor mall. We are having a hard time finding a good place to walk with all the snow we’ve gotten. The exercise was free and we skipped getting a coffee as we both had other things we needed to do.
4. I picked my mother up and took her to Costco. I purchased a package of meat and filled my car up with gas. We also stopped at Trader Joe’s which is in the same area. We priced the face lotion and will pick that up next time we are there. It looks like it’s about $6 less per bottle than the Aveeno that we both use. We also stopped at Aldi and I picked up a few more groceries.
5. I baked a carrot cake for my daughter’s birthday dinner tomorrow night. We will have her boyfriend and grandparents for dinner. The menu will be Costco steaks, brats from the freezer, potatoes we purchased at Christmas, leftover Christmas dinner rolls from the freezer and veggies purchased inexpensively at Aldi.


Ney January 14, 2018 at 7:02 am

I use that Trader Joe’s face cream with SPF 15 and buy it for my mom. It’s awesome! Wish the spf was higher living in Fl but for $3.99 you can’t beat the price!!!!!


susanna d January 9, 2018 at 3:47 pm

1. Despite having updated the inventory of my VERY full freezers and pantry, I found myself making a grocery list last week when the sales ads came out. Fortunately I came to my senses and threw out the list. I need to get out of the “shopping once a week whether I need to or not” trap.
2. Stopped at Aldi when I was in the nearest town that had one, to do this week’s shopping. A few produce items, some organic eggs, lactose-free milk, and sriracha and soy sauce were all I needed.
3. Thought I needed hardwood floor cleaner, but found a 2 ounce bottle of “concentrated” cleaner that came with the last bottle I bought as a “free sample”. Added water to it in the almost-empty container, and I have enough cleaner to get me through several more months.
4. The subzero temperatures from earlier this week kept us home for several days, out of stores, and away from gas stations.
5. Eating completely out of the pantry/freezer has resulted in some interesting meal combinations, but the meals were filling. Healthy. And sometimes, quite good.


Alexandra @ January 10, 2018 at 4:36 am

That is exactly the trap I fall into. I get a little thrill going through the ad looking for sales. yet I need nothing (except fresh produce) this week. Sometimes I cave and “stock up” but nothing saves money like buying Nothing! That weekly trap IS a trap. Thanks for pointing it out.


Christine January 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm

I agree about the weekly trap. Before we retired, my husband and I worked at the same place and we both got paid every other week and on the same day. That got me into the habit of grocery shopping every two weeks. Now with both of us retired, I go to the grocery store(s) whenever the food gets too low. It’s usually 2 to 3 times a month and works out well.


Shevaun January 12, 2018 at 10:36 am

This is probably just a mind game, but we’ve started waiting til we actually run out of something before we put it on the grocery list. For example, instead of buying more cereal when the last box is half-full, I wait til the last box is g.o.n.e. to put “cereal” on the list, which then sits on the fridge door for another few days until shopping-day. The result has been really good: 1. The children learn that groceries don’t magically come from the pantry-fairy and that patience and flexibility are virtues, 2. We eat/use creative substitutes (no cereal? how about an oatmeal cookie, a banana, and a hardboiled egg instead?), 3. I can usually stretch my grocery trips to every 8 or 9 days instead of every 7. With a family of five people and two animals, those extra few days make a difference.


Betty Winslow January 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm

1. Dinner the last three nights has been leftovers – frugal, no real cooking, and few dishes!!
2. Took leftovers to work for lunch, too, and had the tea they stock at work. It’s Lipton’s, from 2012 (according to the coupon in the lid), but still not bad. And free….
3. Also had a small bowl of avocado and tomato salad with some tortilla chips that a fellow teacher brought in, left from a dinner.
4. Spent some time this week sorting out my yarn stash, to get some I know I’ll never use, to send to two fellow NCAers. Not so much frugal as stuff out of the house!!
5. Picked up our new glasses today, two prs each, from Walmart (I know, but they’re in our network), and they came with a mini bottle of spray cleaner (which I’ll refill when it runs out) and a really nice square of fabric to clean them with. My first thought was, wish they’d given me two, wonder if they sell them? Then I thought, oh wait, I can cut it in half! Score!


Linda January 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm

You folks always have some great frugal ideas, as well as, Katy’s, of course.
1. Managed to not do any online shopping, although I was tempted.
2. Cooking dinner at home, & taking lunch to work everyday.
3. Grocery shopping at Aldi’s today.
4. Continue to look at my local thrift store for items I need & I have been able to find what I need.
5. Mending a pair of older jeans that I wear around the house.


Liz B. January 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm

I have a friend at work who’s married to a Swede – I’ll have to ask her about Swedish death cleaning. Lol!
1. Filled out another profession-related survey, which means $10 coming my way for less than 5 minutes of my time.
2. Made a yummy over night cinnamon roll casserole for New Years Day, using up most of a leftover half-loaf of challah bread from my freezer. The other ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry.
3. Ate the rest of the challah (and a leftover slice of Italian bread) as breakfast toast.
4. Have been buying discounted gift cards on before making planned purchases online (through Example: bought a LLBean gift card, saving about 4% (plus, you get 1% back if you access through to buy the gift card); used this gift card to buy new LLBean slippers for myself that were on sale. My ancient LLBean slippers finally bit the dust after almosr 20 years, so this was a nice birthday present to myself. Every tiny bit saved helps.
5. Cleaned out kitchen cupboards and threw away mostly junk food that had expired and/or gone stale (not so frugal….most from when son went through a thankfully brief Cheeto phase). I hate throwing food out – but, I am now working on using up the odds and ends I found in there that are still edible, and now I know EXACTLY what I have to work with. I’m trying to eat mostly from the fridge, freezer and pantry thus month (not counting milk, fresh produce and anything I need to make using up my food stash possible). I made a list of pantry items to use up, so now I will hunt down recipes to try.

Big frugal fail: hubs and I had to replace our garage door last spring, due to what I was told (by hubby) was a problem with the garage door opener’s electric eye. Garage door was replaced, but we didn’t have the garage door opener checked, replaced, or repaired. I was told (by hubby) that it was not necessary. Except that the same damn thing happened again, right before the frigid weather started. A wayward board fell in the path of the closing garage door, which didn’t stop – and slammed itself down onto the concrete. Broken, dented garage door AGAIN. Yes, I blame hubby. This time, we WILL be getting the garage door opener checked, repaired, replaced – whatever it takes!

Whew. I feel better now. Thanks. I haven’t told anybody about this, because it feels like such a big, stupid, expensive fail.

Happy 2018!


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 4:09 am

Oh I hate it when things like that happen! I hope it is an easy fix for the garage door opener and that the garage door is repairable.


Liz B. January 11, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Maybe on the opener….not so much on the door. The last time this happened (less than a year ago), it damaged the middle section of our garage door -essentially twisted and dented it so badly it could not be repaired. They were able to add in the original upper panel with the windows, saving us some $$ that way. Hoping that will be the case this time! Thanks for your kind words.


Denise January 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

I do love venting on here as well! Your poor husband, bet he feels like a pillock! Show him some mercy: you may just reverse the car into a wall. Or a stationary car. Ahem!


Liz B. January 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Ah, poor hubby…..I think he felt as bad about it as I did. It’s just something to get fixed – again – and do it right this time.
I did almost hit him, when he was trying to get in his stationary car in our driveway…..not on purpose, i swear….lol!!


Christine January 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Liz B., Do you know about L.L.Bean’s replacement promise? They replace any clothing that wears out or doesn’t hold up with merchandise credit. I have used it many times. And don’t dwell on the garage door…most of us have been there with major frugal fails at one or more times. Sh___ happens!


Liz B. January 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Thanks, Christine – you’re right, s__t happens and frugal fails happen. I just hate having the same frugal fail happen twice in two years….sigh.
I do know about LL Bean’s replacement policy….my hubby said that, while they used to replace items with no questions asked, they now ask questions such as “how long have you had it”, etc….he had to get replacement slippers that had the stitching unravel after about 5 years of wear. They did replace them, but didn’t like all the questions, plus he did have to pay $12 with the credit for a new pair.
Maybe I should still see what they have to say about my old slippers….I could use store credit toward a pair of winter boots. Thanks for the suggestion!


Tracy January 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm

1. Packed lunch to take to DD’s all day volleyball tourney on Sunday in a town an hour away (we were gone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to avoid buying.
2. Avoiding the grocery store, making do with what we have on hand (which is plenty).
3. DD’s 14th b-day party was a big success, cost came out a little higher than hoped (was aiming for $150 and spent $175) but still MUCH less to host 15 girls than taking everyone to a party place or actual movie theater. We had use of a private ice cream parlor for pizza dinner, make your own ice cream sundaes and a fuzzy sock gift exchange (we just paid for one pair of fuzzy socks and asked each guest to bring 1 pair to exchange in lieu of both gifts and party favors), and a private movie theater with movie screening featuring boxes of candy and machine popped popcorn plus bottled water. We were able to get venue (ice cream parlor and movie theater) for $50 total, remaining $125 was for pizza (5 large pizzas from Costco food court for $50), ice cream sundae ingredients, pop, movie style boxes of candy, DVD of movie, bottled water and a few decorations. And felt good about NOT having everyone bring gifts, especially so soon after Christmas.
4. Been bringing own food to work.
5. Wearing thrifted professional clothes at work.
6. This one is a toughie, but working on setting limits for my young adult kids for their benefit as well as mine. My 23 year old son is very bright but has ADD issues, he has struggled in college and failed two classes last term (due to not keeping up/turning things in). I told him I wasn’t paying anymore for his college until he works for awhile and figures out how to handle his procrastination and avoidance. I don’t want to spend money for nothing and I want him to have skin in the game. He agrees and luckily is still able to be on my medical plan as he is finally willing to consider some medical help as well.


st January 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

The bday party sounds so fun!


Lisa January 10, 2018 at 11:10 am

Same here. I do take the time to empty into baby food jars so nobody has to dig for them. It’s a great tv project


Lazyretirementgirl January 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm

On #6, I had similar issues with both mine — one finished and one didn’t. It is hard, but ultimately wise. And the one who didn’t finish is fine. Hang in there.


avl January 9, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Good luck with # 6. Parenting certainly doesn’t get any easier the older they get. I can commiserate.


Tracy January 10, 2018 at 6:21 am

Thank you both so much, it is great to know others have faced similar things!


Tracy January 10, 2018 at 6:22 am

Just reread my reply, “great’ wasn’t the right word, more like “comforting”


Vickey January 15, 2018 at 6:09 pm

It could be…greatly comforting? 😉

Juhli January 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm

I have 2 sons. One didn’t finish college and one has 2 masters degrees. Both are happy, productive adults. Finding the right path for the person is the tough part.


Christine January 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Someone once told me that he made his daughter pay for her first year of college so she could get an idea of the financial impact that paying for one year of college has and also to see if she was serious about succeeding. Apparently she was. He paid for the rest. I also think that college is not for everyone. And sometimes they graduate with a degree and never use it. One of mine went to a two year nursing program and works in the field. The other one got a bachelors degree and never used it. Both are doing well and I’m happy the bachelor’s degree child got an awesome education. In other words, one size does NOT fit all.


Mand01 January 10, 2018 at 5:19 pm

In Australia we have a different system of university loans, whereby the government pays half the costs and the student has the option of paying for the rest upfront or taking a subsidised no interest loan for the balance. The loan is repaid when the student starts earning $55K a year and is repaid automatically through the taxation system.
This is positive, in that most people can afford to go to university if they live in an area with access (bearing in mind that there are remote and regional areas of our country for which there is very little access).
However it also abrogates the responsibility of most parents to save or prepare for university education and puts it on the young person, who may be repaying loans (albeit low cost) for many years. Moreover it also has an effect of hiding the true cost of education and young people (myself included, at the time) may not appreciate the future cost of messing around at university. I know I have paid for several classes I never finished. I didn’t think about it then but I definitely wince about it now.
If you are paying for it then you should have a say in how that money is spent and help him to value that very expensive and wonderful gift.


Sarah D January 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

1. Today was my first day back at work for the semester (I’m a prof) and of course I took my own lunch and rode my bike to work. Realized that since I have a mini-fridge in my office I should fill it with packaged meals I can microwave in case there’s a day I don’t have lunch to take with me–planning for future savings!
2. We ended up buying my daughter a bike from an actual bike store instead of from Walmart, even though it was twice as much as the walmart bike (which was a piece of junk with non-functional brakes). BUT, since it was used, it was HALF as much as a new bike there and, since it was certified by the real bike shop, we know it’s something we can trust safety-wise (and it’s the next bigger size, so it’ll last twice as long–so it’s actually like buying two walmart bikes in one!).
3. After the holidays my fridge has been stuffed full of food, so we’re still eating leftovers. I think we may not have to buy groceries this whole week! I’m sort of turning this into an unofficial pantry/freezer challenge for myself.
4. I wear VERY little makeup, but on teaching days I do wear a little powder and mascara…I wear so little that I haven’t bought powder in years. It was time for a new bit, though, and I ended up finding a three-piece set of the organic brand I like for $7 (listed at $15 but when I asked to confirm the price, they said 7 so I went with it), when the one-piece was $10.88. Great deal!
5. There’s a nation-wide call to stop eating Romaine lettuce right now (because of e Coli), from all stores. I eat romaine every single day, so of course I had some in the fridge–one head left in a three-pack from Trader Joes. They gave me my money back on the whole pack, even though I’d eaten two heads. Still haven’t gotten sick, so hopefully I won’t!


Mary in Maryland January 9, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Back in the day when I biked to work, I took all five of the week’s lunches in on the day I worked late and had to drive.


Sarah D January 10, 2018 at 6:19 pm

Mary, that is a fab idea! I eat a big salad every day, so I probably should not do all five days (friday would be super sad and wilty) but I could do three days at a time!


Jenny January 9, 2018 at 4:42 pm

I was wondering about the romaine thing and I think you NCA-ers are trustworthy, so… my store is selling the Fresh Express bagged salads with romaine. They seemed to be out of other romaine. The sad little produce guy didn’t even know what I was asking about. So, what’s the scoop or where is a good source to find out?


cathy January 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

You can google Romaine recall 2018 to read about it. In the US, the CDC says they are still researching the source of the e coli outbreak, and are not pointing the finger at romaine. They have come under fire by both Consumer Reports and some politicians for not getting the word out to the American public and for taking too long to do something about it. There doesn’t appear to be a formal recall (yet), but CR and others are recommending people avoid ALL romaine for now. It sounds like part of the problem is that they don’t know if the problem was/is with a packer, distributor, or shipper, which is harder to track than individual farms. I’m still trying to decide what to do with the 2 heads of romaine I bought the day before I heard about it…..


avl January 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Thank you for this information- romaine was on my shopping list for tomorrow and I had not heard of this problem.


Sarah D January 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

As Cathy wrote, it’s a little unclear where this has come from and what stage of the process, but the advice is to get rid of all romaine, even if you bought it before this issue. My Trader Joes had also not heard of the issue, but they’ll take anything back so it wasn’t a problem. But still, the point is important: even if it’s on the shelf at your store, it should not be eaten until they figure this out. Cathy, I’d try to return it and if you need, go armed with the websites about the issue.

(This is all the more reason why I need a year-round lettuce garden somehow; the savings would be an added bonus!).

Teresa January 10, 2018 at 10:17 am

Thanks for the tip on the romaine! I just bought a whole bag yesterday and hadn’t heard anything about it…


Debbie January 9, 2018 at 4:27 pm

1. Stopped by Costco after a dr appt to refill a Rx, and avoided buying food in the food court. We enjoyed a few samples instead and ate leftovers for lunch when we returned home. Only bought one other item besides the Rx.


Mary in Maryland January 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm

1) I’ve had such a runny nose that I haven’t been out except to exercise since an open house on New Year’s Day. No money spent yet this year. Alas, as my congestion clears I’ve noticed that the dogs stink. They are going to the groomer tomorrow–I’ll wash all the things they lie on while they’re gone, so that the clean smell lasts.
2) Made peanut sauce tonight to jazz up some left-over stir fry. Served it with noodles. Pretty fabulous.
3) Someone gave me some overly sweet granola/muesli. I was thinking of free-cycling it, when I realized it only needs shortening to be topping for apple crisp.
4) The billfold I got for a dollar at a church bazaar in 1999 is falling apart. I sewed a new one out of some African fabric I bought at a yard sale. Third time’s charm–the first two I made weren’t quite the right fit for my day book. But I can sell the models at an upcoming craft show.
5) I’ve been taking lunch once a week to a friend who had a hip replaced on 12/6. She’s still not supposed to bend much at her hips and was thrilled when I offered to cut her toenails tomorrow. Cheap thrills.


Teresa January 10, 2018 at 10:18 am

You can also use muesli as the oats in oatmeal cookies. Works out great…


Debbie January 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm

2. Persuaded my husband to allow me to check inventory at home on an item before buying it while we were in Costco. My hunch was correct-we have a good supply still at home.

3. Eating down the fridge and freezer leftovers as well. Only needed spaghetti noodles and sauce for a baked spaghetti that has provided dinner for 4 and lunch for 2 so far.

4. Found a quarter and some pennies in or under the Coinstar machine.

5. Enjoyed an outing of Pickleball with my husband today. We have paddles so the only cost was gas and $2 for 3-4 hours of exercise and enjoying the company of other (mostly senior) players. Lots of fun and a frugal, healthy activity.


Mary in VA January 12, 2018 at 10:00 am

I always forget to check the coin return slot when I walk by a Coinstar machine. Gotta start doing that. Not to mention snack and drink machines, and also parking meters (the town where I work has the newfangled kind where you can use credit, debit, bills, or coins).


Mary in Maryland January 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm

6) I added up all my spending numbers for 2017 and found I only spent $1641 on food for the two of us, lots of dinner guests, and many, many potlucks. We spent $218 eating out.


Bee January 10, 2018 at 5:02 am

This is super impressive– less than $150 a month! Share your secrets, please!


Tracy January 10, 2018 at 6:26 am

All I can say is “wow.” I know I will never achieve that level of frugality but it is very inspiring to know it can be done. And I too would be interested in any tips/techniques you can share!


Christine January 10, 2018 at 5:11 pm

That’s great Mary! I’m open to any frugal ideas you might want to share concerning grocery purchases…or any frugal ideas. Thanks.


Mary in Maryland January 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

We’re vegan –my husband at home–myself everywhere.
1) I buy beans and grains at the Co-op and get a 10% member discount for buying the whole 25# bag. (50# for the oatmeal). I store them in my fabulous collection of old glass half gallon orange juice jars. I didn’t ever buy orange juice–I plucked them from other people’s trash in the 70s before recycling was invented. We do not have dozens of kinds of beans. I keep blacks, chickpeas, pintos, split peas, and lentils on hand. Sometimes I buy a small bag of another kind for a special occasion. I freeze beans for about 3 days to kill any bugs or eggs, and I leave all but one of the brown rice jars in the freezer, because it can get rancid before we finish 25#.
2) I cook a pressure cooker-full of beans and freeze them in one or two meal portions. Every morning I spend a couple minutes deciding what needs eating, what needs thawing, what’s the plan. I cook Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern from some great cookbooks.
3) I try to use up ALL the produce in the fridge before I go shopping. When I do a big shop, I buy things that store differentially–we eat the eggplant and mushrooms first, and wind up with the things that store best–cabbage, winter squash, spuds–for the meals at the end of the two or three weeks. I don’t mind having to pick up a bunch of parsley or an onion to make the end of the cycle palatable.
4) I feel like I have great impulse control. It is dangerous to send my husband shopping, but not because he has impulses. He has grocery store blindness–no idea where anything is, nor interest. He feels he should get full credit if he gets something from the right aisle. I do not send him shopping.
5) I plate dishes in the kitchen, and only put on as much as we need. My Mom encouraged competitive eating, and I love knowing that I don’t have to rush to get seconds. Even if there’s only half a cup extra, I store it for later rather than topping off our plates. I put leftovers in the fridge right after dinner and pack lunches if Bill needs them.
6) Divots of leftovers get saved for the occasional “tasting menu.” Usually on rice. Oh, I cook 4 cups of rice at once and microwave as needed.
7) I don’t waste food–if the cilantro is almost dead it gets turned into pesto. We have a tiny fridge, so I have to be careful not to overbuy or overcook.
8) We don’t eat any junk food.
9) We have hot cereal, a mix of oatmeal, kasha, and lentils with fruit for breakfast every morning. No decisions, no prep (instant pot).
9)We drink water (and wine, but that wasn’t included in the $1641.)
10) It may sound Spartan, but we enjoy our food a lot. Another indication of quality–although I bring a generous dish (cause who’s feeding the vegans?), my potluck offerings always go first. We both have cholesterol in the 160s. Except for the multi-vitamin with b12 that vegans need, we are on no meds…which feels like an accomplishment as we hit 70.


Christine Joiner January 11, 2018 at 9:32 am

Thank you Mary. You gave me a lot of great, frugal ideas. Nice to see that your good health is an extra bonus from your frugal and healthful diet.


avl January 11, 2018 at 10:55 am

Thank you for this great information


Bee January 11, 2018 at 11:27 am

Thank you for sharing. Your 4th pointer made me laugh. My hubby is not the best shopper -or cook– either You listed some really helpful things. I think that having a plant based diet is the key. I wish that I could get my husband to go this route. I have been working on that for years.


Tracy January 12, 2018 at 4:48 am

Thanks Mary, inspirational!


Vickey January 16, 2018 at 8:23 am

Mary, I’m so happy to meet another bulk-buying and bulk-cooking vegan on here!
Can you please share the proportions of grains to lentils that you use in the porridge? I currently use a 3 grain mix of quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, cooked in the woodstove (or “haybox” or solar oven cooked when the woodstove isn’t in season), but lentils would make it heartier and more satisfying.
Something we do that I rarely see mentioned here is buy onions, garlic, winter squash, and apples by the bushel (less for garlic) from local farmers in the fall. Currently we store them in a cold room in the basement, but before building the cold room, we kept them in an unheated bedroom. That being during harvest season investment keeps our overall produce costs lower. And means less trips to the grocery store during WNY winter weather.


Vickey January 16, 2018 at 8:25 am

Ack. *buying*, not “being”. DYAC!

Jenser January 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Cute haircut. You two lovebirds make empty nesting look/sound kinda fun. 🙂


Jennifer January 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

1. Cooked a ham I got for half off after Christmas , it will make multiple meals, including yummy ham & bean soup.
2. Didn’t leave the house,(no purchases!) for 4 days due to a lake effect snow ever that dropped 25+ inches on our area (we already had over a foot on the ground).
3. Bought several of my fave Burt’s bees lip balms for half off.
4. Refilled my 5 gallon water bottle instead of buying ridiculous single use water bottles. (Our well water is not very palatable although fine for all but drinking.)
5. Traded snow plowing for repairs the snow plow company owed us for damaging our mailbox when they were plowing the neighbors drive.


susanna d January 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

I hear you on #4. We have the same issue – safe well water, fine for everything else but to drink = ick. We could force ourselves to drink it I guess, but I have a feeling we wouldn’t be staying sufficiently hydrated if we did. We refill gallon jugs at the grocery store for 39 cents per gallon. Cheapest I’ve found. Yes, I miss the days of having yummy tap water to drink, but most everything else here makes up for it. Buying drinking water is still cheaper than quarterly water bills were when we lived in the city, though.


Madeline Kasian January 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

1. Did my monthly Walmart (sorry) stock up on canned items such as tomatoes,beans, hair color, cat food,pickles.

2.Cleaned up my pantry and reorganized so I can see what needs to be used up. And can find ingredients easily for home cooked meals.

3. Am vowing to stay away from thrift stores,too, this year, as I have enough clohtes to last for a long long time.i need NOTHING. Consignment stores bring out the unfrugal in me.. when I get the urge to “shop” (which is not often) I make a cup of coffee and start a new book!!

4. Am using up all my current arts and crafts supplies,paints, etc. No need to use the Michael’s coupons they keep sending!!

5. Made 4 freezer packages of clam sauce for linguini and froze it.Made 4 servings of regular Giada’s marinara sauce for freezing also.

6. Signed up for FREE TRIAL of audible,so I can listen to a book I REALLY wanna read, but it has 19 holds on it at the library! I have marked my calendar to UNSUBSCRIBE after my 2 free books are done within the month!


Kayleigh January 9, 2018 at 7:33 pm

I’m not sure why you feel the need to apologize for shopping at Walmart?


cathy January 9, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I was thinking the same thing. I’m not personally a big Walmart shopper, but for many people it’s either the best option or one of the only options. I love this blog, but I’ve noticed two things lately: 1) people apologizing for where they shop; and 2) a race to see who can keep their house the coldest (though having said that, I live where utilities are not too expensive. We choose to keep the house a bit warmer and economize in other areas. The colder I am, the achier I am, which means I don’t get much done!). Ultimately, I think it’s up to each person to find what’s best for their life and to glean as much inspiration as possible from Katy and her readers (and there’s A LOT of inspiration to be had).


Bethel January 10, 2018 at 7:08 am

The Facebook page might be contributing to this a little…the comments on the blog are generally very helpful and supportive, but on the Facebook page there’s a lot more judgement (I’m assuming based on the fact that there are so many more people on Facebook). And specifically, there was a post a couple days ago (I think?) where the discussion was on which companies people do and do not shop at and why, and the general feel of the comments was pretty brutal towards people who shopped at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or Chick Fil A…


janine January 10, 2018 at 9:01 am

I don;t like any of the companies you mentioned, Bethel. That said, I have occasionally shopped at Wal Mart – sometimes it is the only option. Some folks feel that we vote with our pocket books and I try to keep this in mind. Wal Mart is known for it’s poorly paid employees and Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil-A have strong right wing political views that I disagree with. On the other hand, everyone should be free to trade with whom they choose in this country.

Bee January 10, 2018 at 11:33 am

I try and purchase from companies reflect my values, but I don’t expect others to share the same beliefs. I find it sad that some feel it is necessary to attack others who think differently than they do. Coexist.

MommaL January 10, 2018 at 12:20 pm

I stopped going on the FB NCA site, it felt like an argument too much of the time. I agree, let’s support each other and do as well as we can. I love this blog because you all give me great ideas and are supportive!

Mand01 January 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm

That’s why I left the Facebook group and only comment here. The crankiness in that group was stressing me out.

Lazyretirementgirl January 10, 2018 at 3:13 pm

I am with those who avoid the FB group. The blog comments are so warm and supportive and thoughtful, but the FB feed, not so much.

deb January 10, 2018 at 8:40 pm

That’s exactly why I left the Facebook group. I, for instance, won’t set foot in a Target store (I vote with my feet and my dollar too) but this is not a place for rude remarks to others when we are all trying to be frugal in our own way and supportive of others’ efforts.

Vickey January 16, 2018 at 8:36 am

Cathy, I’m with ya on the warmer means getting more done! This year I have intentionally not been pushing the lower limits of thermostat setting, and have been less miserable, far healthier, happier, more productive.

But for those hardy souls who can manage it, kudos to them, and thanks for inspiring others to keep “seeking the minimum”, as Amy Dacyczyn said.

WalMart – I don’t like ‘em either, but here in small town land, it’s the only choice unless I drive 45 minutes to the city.


Cindy in the South I January 10, 2018 at 12:18 pm

I live 60 plus miles from Aldi, Target, etc. Walmart is 20 miles away, so, yes, I do shop there, a lot. It is also a major employer in a very poor area that has very few jobs. Folks here love to have a job. I comment here rather than the facebook page because some people just do not understand the reality of living way in the boonies.


Jennifer January 11, 2018 at 5:20 am

Agreed..people where I am are thankful for jobs, even if they don’t pay as well as others, since the choices are so few. I hate Walmart and avoid it as much as possible but sometimes I just have to go there. Also, I am not part of the Facebook group for many of the reasons mentioned above. Actually, I don’t really participate in Facebook at all.


Bee January 11, 2018 at 11:34 am

Food deserts are often considered to be an urban problem, but rural America is disportionally affected. As people have migrated to large population centers, it has been increasingly difficult for local grocery stores to stay afloat. They often just have two choices Walmart and increasingly Dollar Generals. When we travel, we have started taking the back roads not the interstate. It is amazing how differently I now see the world.


Susie's Daughter January 12, 2018 at 11:20 am

We lived for 18 months in rural Eastern North Carolina and Walmart was the ONLY supplier for organic produce. And the only place we could get “ethnic” foods – tortillas, indian spices etc. In our rural part of the Vermont, it – like Cindy says – is also an employer and an option for goods that folks couldn’t otherwise get here. We have the means (mainly transportation and time) and the money to shop elsewhere now and we do. But I totally get it.


Tracy January 11, 2018 at 4:34 am

Hear, hear to the civility of this group. IMHO what our world is sorely lacking right now is an atmosphere in which reasonable people can disagree respectfully and nonetheless work to find common ground. Which is not to say that there are not also a lot of UNREASONABLE (and downright scary) people in positions of power right now — but generally I believe that looking for what we share rather than what divides us is far more productive at a personal and a societal level.


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Great score with the hangers! It’s surprisingly hard for me to find used hangers. Our thrift stores hold onto those suckers for dear life.

This week:

1. Mr. Picky Pincher made super-concentrated bone broth from chicken scraps.

2. I used my gifted ice cream maker to make homemade froyo. Bonus – I used up my excess of homemade yogurt in the process.

3. I’m regrowing green onions I bought from the store. I’ll plant them in the garden tomorrow.

4. I rinsed my dishwasher with vinegar to remove hard water instead of buying cleaner from the store.

5. We cooked a good homemade meal for dinner. 🙂


Lynda January 10, 2018 at 3:37 am

Not only the thrift stores… All stores seem to keep their hangers these days. The free or cheap used hanger box is largely extinct.


Gina in KY January 11, 2018 at 8:38 am

Frozen yogurt! Thank you for adding this one. I have several Noosa yogurts hanging around the ‘fridge (bought on coupon/clearance) and I will make frozen yogurt with my thrifted ice cream maker.


Heather January 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Eeee! You’re standing in front of my Goodwill! If I had seen this celebrity sighting, there would have been a little fainting! Or at least some quality (free) fangirling! K W-S in the 541!


Kathleen January 9, 2018 at 6:02 pm

1. I’m repairing an old quilt a friend gave me. Most of the holes are small enough to be darned, but some will need patching. In the evenings I take it off the bed, fix a hole or two, and then put it back on the bed.
2. My older daughter’s duvet cover is getting threadbare. I’m sewing a new one using an old queen size sheet and leftover cotton fabric from other projects.
3. I have been very good about hanging laundry, and my husband has gotten over his inital reaction to scratchy towels.
4. My older daughter needed snow boots, and I wasn’t having luck finding them used. My husband was given an LLBean gift certificate for Christmas, and we used it to get her boots. Their boots really are great. Both of my girls will get a full winter’s use out of them, and I’ll still be able to pass them on.
5. No Lear Jets for us!


Linda Gertig January 10, 2018 at 4:26 am

You may find that your towels are less scratchy and more absorbent if you use less detergent and Calgon or other water softener in the wash water or vinegar in the rinse water. You may find that rinsing them a second time helps, too. What you are feeling as scratchy is detergent residue and minerals from your (hard) water. As a side note, do not use fabric softener on towels because it puts a waxy coating on the fabric fibers that reduces their absorbancy.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 5:12 am

I love scratchy towels! I consider it free exfoliation while drying off.


Jenny January 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Lol; me, too! I rinse well and all the great tips above, but I think it’s just our hard water and line-drying. Smell so good, though, and scratch my itches!


Deb in SD January 11, 2018 at 2:31 pm

5 to 10 mins in the dryer on the air/fluff cycle will soften them up a lot and also removes a surprising amount of lint. There’s no heat involved so shouldn’t use much electricity either. I too like scratchy, my guests, not so much.


Iris January 12, 2018 at 7:30 am

I have found that if you put two tablespoons Epson salt per wash cycle it helps to soften the water a lot. I live out in the country and have well water. Hope this helps.

avl January 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm

I don’t know exactly what Swedish death cleaning is, but last year I got rid of a lot of photos, letters, books and other “mementos” I was keeping that I wouldn’t want my kids or anyone else to see or read after I’m gone. In the same vein, last year I had a very small period of time to clean out my parents’ house of 40 years after my mother suddenly became totally disabled. She was incredibly frugal, grew up very poor, and had a hard time letting things go. The clean out was expensive, utterly exhausting and very sad. I don’t want to put my kids through that, which is an incentive for me to keep decluttering regularly.

1) I’ve sold a number of clothing items on eBay this past week after a dry spell: pants, leggings, a shirt, a necklace. One pair of sweatpants with a “designer” label sold within an hour of posting, which could mean that I priced them way too low. At least it’s money in my account and an unwanted item out of the house.

2) This week, I made homemade chicken noodle soup using a whole chicken (for me, it’s a two day process to make the broth). I saved half of the meat from the chicken and used that to make chicken enchiladas the following night.

3) This goes against current thinking, but I switched a number of my bills from paperless back to traditional billing. I found I just was not scrutinizing them them online, and ended up overpaying. For example, I recently discovered that I was still being charged a $10/month device fee from Verizon for an iPad that we’d disposed of a year ago! For some reason, this only became apparent to me when I looked carefully at a paper bill.

4) Frugal Fail: With the recent cold spell (and my resolve to keep our thermostat set below 70 degrees this winter) I realized I do not have enough really warm clothes (including outerwear, boots, etc). I’ve tried purchasing the needed items from Goodwill, or deeply discounted on eBay, yet have still managed to overbuy and spend too much money.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 5:09 am

3. I had to do the same thing. I had changed my banking to paperless receipts but had to change back. I just don’t look online as much and was missing too much.


Bee January 10, 2018 at 5:41 am

I am sorry about the situation with your mother. It is difficult to clear out the home of a loved one. There are many emotions that surface. My husband, older son and I spent every weekend for 6 months cleaning out my MIL’s 1400 square-foot home after she passed away. As a child of the depression, she held onto everything during the 50 years that she lived in the home. There was just so much stuff!
There was also a bit of drama. My husband’s 4 siblings were not ready to separate themselves from her things and argued. There was actually a heated discussion over an old honey jar. But worst of all, they also offered little or no help. It was extremely stressful.
So over the last year, I have also made an effort to clear my house of all excess and totally organize the things that I kept. DH and I will be updating our wills this year which will include the disposition of specific items and a household inventory. I love my children too much to leave a mess for them.


Isitaneedorawant January 10, 2018 at 6:46 am

I agree about having a paper bill.
I purchased the data plan on my first iPad in June 2011.
Almost immediately the company started suggesting alternatives, supposedly less expensive.
I checked my usage , nope the plan I started with has a lot of data for a reasonable cost.
Sigh. I did not open my electronic statement every month. It was always automatically billed to my credit card.
Last year on three different occasions I saw increased charges. Every time I phoned to see about this the rep talked about my increased usage. I had to remind them that I had never changed my contract and the data consumed was still with the parameters of the original contract.
It’s a pretty sweet contract so I won’t be changing carriers anytime soon.
Frugal Fail, I was able to electronically go back three years and look at the billing. I had missed other occasions when they mysteriously sent a higher bill. Moral of the story. Check my bills, especially ones automatically billed to a credit card.


MommaL January 10, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I did the same thing too. My DH is not very computer literate, so just in case something happens to me, I keep the bill files organized and have a small list of direct deposit payments in a file called “if I die”. Sounds gruesome, but I don’t want to leave my family in the dark.


Teri January 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm

1.Bought several items of clothing from Ross and resold to Plato’s Closet, almost doubling my money. I maybe could have made more on eBay or another resell site but this was immediate with little work and no listing or shipping and I could replace the tags and return what they didn’t buy.
2. I posted my found money for 2017, but need to post that I have already found$1.02 all in coins.
3. We ate leftovers and popcorn during the National Championship game last night, avoided temptation to get chips and ingredients for pico.
4. Took lunch to work and didn’t stop for any snacks or dinner while running errands. Really concentrating on zero food waste this year.
5. As others have mentioned we are eating from freezer and pantry. It does make for some interesting meals and my husband says we are “living a little to close to the edge”, (meaning we are about out of food)but I want to eat it down and save $ this month. December was an expensive month!


Linda January 10, 2018 at 4:48 am

I like your clothes selling hack. Have you done this before? I would have never thought of doing this, but it’s a great idea.


Mary in VA January 12, 2018 at 11:00 am

Re: #1, I tried that once when a new Plato’s Closet opened near me. I bought the clothing on clearance from a clothing store, then resold it to Plato’s at a profit. It worked the very first time (maybe because they were still beefing up inventory), but the next time I tried, I only got pennies on the dollar. And here I thought I had an exciting, profitable hobby! LOL. Nowadays I’ll buy clothing from thrift shops when they’re running super specials like dollar days (all clothing is $1, even new with tags), then I’ll send the clothes to thredUP. It’s kind of hit or miss, but it’s fun and occasionally profitable. And I’m supporting charitable thrift stores, win-win!


One of God's January 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm

1. Frequent thrift stores with a working list. Picked up an old, but well-made all wood bookshelf for $7.99. Paint is required. Got two cans of spray paint at local big box where I’m eligible for a discount.
2. Went thrifting on Tuesday when seniors get a discount. Had learned at Christmas that some TV trays would facilitate a gathering which includes food on plates. Found two today in dark brown (good for my decor) for $4.99 each minus 30%.
3. One has a small gouge out of the top which has been handily camouflaged by an on hand Sharpie marker.
4. In the interest of developing a food forest in my backyard, accepted two seedling dwarf pomegranate bushes and a seedling loquat tree at a local community center.
5. Got another thrifted rectangular basket today. Am using them and plastic bins such as milk crates to organize what I care to store on my many closet shelves in ways that I can still manage to put them up and take them down.


Isitaneedorawant January 9, 2018 at 7:38 pm

(1) Was at the drugstore picking up an item over 75% off. Young woman beside me was purchasing multiple containers of vitamins an$ supplements. I pointed out the $5.00 off coupon that was on the side of one type. Just happened I saw it at an angle that she , nor the checkout person could see. She said she’d pay it forward:)
(2) Gave one of my staff a toaster/ convection oven combo that had been given to us. She was ecstatic, her oven has not been working for awhile.
(3), (4) ,(5)Went to the Sally Ann, found thrifted vases my daughter is collecting for the tables at her wedding, found a round linen table cloth to use in place of plastic ( for a similar price) for this daughters shower/wedding,found a cricut and accessories, texted friend ( who uses this item when she creates cards that she gifts me every birthday as my gift)who would not take $$ after purchasing an item for me and asked if she could use it. She said yes, the price I paid was what I wanted to give her for the picked up item. Found an appliance that one of the refugee families had asked us to look out for, I rarely see this one in the shops. Sometimes you just think , wow everything aligned on today’s thrifting visit.


Tracy January 10, 2018 at 6:31 am

Totally agree with sometimes everything aligns at thrift store– my experience is I either find several great things or nothing; it’s rare that I find ONE good thing.


Joanie January 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm

Katy…I’ve been looking forward to getting the Swedish Death Cleaning book. Hope you let us know what you think of it, especially compared to Marie Kondo’s book.


Gina in KY January 11, 2018 at 8:46 am

I hope you do too tell us about it. I was turned off after reading a review by a 20 something-year old who basically shamed her 50 yo mother. I hope the book is kinder.


Vickey January 17, 2018 at 7:15 am

It’s written by a senior, iirc, so should have a better perspective. Hopefully that young woman will gain some compassion as she grows in wisdom and maturity.


Bethany M January 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm

Threw a chicken, some potatoes, and some carrots into the crockpot last night. Wasn’t feeling well, so I skipped dinner and husband offered to clean up. I was kicking myself that I didn’t ask him to save the broth, but sweet thing that he is, bottled it up in Ball jars for me.

Chopped up some of the leftovers, added rice and broth and a can of tomatoes for tonight’s dinner. It was fabulous!!!

I was noticing how much my daughters need to work on catching with a mitt, so I searched out and found them some for $2 a piece. That was after my mom asked what they needed for Christmas and then didn’t get it for them. Haha!

Staving off a dr visit with gargling salt water and eating some fresh minced garlic RAW!

Had a stay home day today. It was quite cozy feeling. It was raining here that hasn’t happened in like 6 months.


avl January 10, 2018 at 4:40 am

I read once that Dr. Andrew Weil advocates eating a raw clove of garlic daily for immunity. Also, a friend who grew up in Europe told me that her mother would often make a tonic when she was sick which consisted of the juice of raw onion and garlic, mixed with a little honey.


Bethel January 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

My doctor advised that we eat more garlic during cold/flu season, raw if possible, or also cooked in things or in pill form.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 4:16 am

1) I gave my ds $20 to buy perishables when he got back to college and other than that I let him shop from my pantry – from items bought on sale rather than full price. He had wanted $50 to restock up on food.
2) I have cooked big the past few nights and we have plenty of leftovers for lunches this week.
3) Making a vegetarian dish for dinner tonight.
4) I have been sending the dh to the grocery store for me. When I go I see/remember all the things we need. When he goes he sticks exactly to my list – which saves us money.
5) Renegotiated our gas rate from $4.77 per mCf to $2.67 per mCf.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 5:03 am

1. Helping my oldest daughter plan my grandson’s first birthday party this weekend. I will make the cupcakes and a small smash cake. The whole family is pitching in and bringing something to offset cost. Her husband is the only one working right now so we are all helping where we can. The birthday party is also a family gathering/meal. The food will be crockpot hotdogs and chips, my mom is bringing BBQ sliders and chicken salad sandwiches, I will make punch and cake, Nanna is bringing cups and plates(I don’t own enough to provide these), mother-in-law is bringing chips and dip. We are having finger foods to avoid plastic ware. My daughter is making homemade decorations so it all should be an inexpensive celebration with all our combined effort. I love family for this and so many other reasons. -including the fact that I borrowed crutches from Nanna last week.
2. My gout has improved so much, thanks for all of your previous thoughts and comments! I feel so much better and have a new respect for pain and immobility. I have to admit, this caused me a few frugal fails. I couldn’t bring myself to pack the kids lunches for a few days so I sent money. $2.75 per day for both kids. This week, I am back to packing lunches and am glad to do it.
3. I made a healthy chicken pesto pasta that was delicious with just things I had in the kitchen. My husband and kids didn’t like it so I have been eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t mind taking one for the team since it has a healthy amount of wilted spinach tossed in. This is in line with my goal of better health for the New Year.
4. I went to Walgreen’s to look for a couple treats for my younger girl’s to put up for Valentine’s Day. I always get them leftover Christmas treats when they mark them down to 70-90% off. I do the same thing at Valentine’s Day and put them up for Easter.
5. I found a Starbucks gift card in the parking lot at Kroger. I called to check the balance and the card wasn’t registered to anyone. Since I don’t drink coffee, I went to Starbucks and bought a nice water bottle to put up for an upcoming birthday gift. While I was at Kroger, I found my husband’s favorite shampoo(Pert)on clearance for 70cents. I grabbed all three bottles, as this brand is a non-negotiable for him. I can’t complain because he doesn’t have much hair so it lasts a long time. I also found 3 huge bottles of VO5 conditioner for 59 cents, which is great for my kids. They waste a lot in the shower, and have long hair, so cheap shampoo and conditioner is a must.


Cindy in the South I January 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I am so glad you are feeling better!


Jennifer January 11, 2018 at 5:24 am

Thank you, Cindy! Gout should be another word for hell in the dictionary.


nancy from mass January 10, 2018 at 5:06 am

1. won a month of free bagels from Panera so I have been taking advantage of those! DS has been enjoying his midnight (or 2am) snacks. He is, after all, 18 and never sleeps….
2. broke down and bought a snowshoe set with poles and a carrying bag over the weekend. Used them for as long as i could handle the below 0 temperatures over the weekend. (was able to get to my birdfeeders to fill them! happy birds now!)
3. made ‘refrigerator soup’ yesterday. leftover onions, peas, baby spinach, canned carrots, veggie broth and tomato juice – all from the fridge! mmm, good.
4. leftovers for lunch (see #3)
5. a lady at work has a friend with nerve damage to her arm and her arm is always cold. she had asked if anyone could knit her a long fingerless glove to wear and my co-worker thought of me. I finished one yesterday and started another one last night so she will have one to wear while washing the other. both will be made with gifted bulky yarn from a friend. the 2nd one will be completed tonight (probably) and i’ll give them to her when she comes in tomorrow. (she asked me on monday if i could do it). they work up fast and it helps someone in need.


Bee January 10, 2018 at 6:13 am

It is so kind of you to use your knitting talents yo help others. I noticed that you do this often. BTW, I did see the unimaginable -100 degree temperatures on Mt Washington recently. I guess that is why they suggest you finish the AT by October 15th if you are hiking the south-north route.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

Nice win on the bagels! They freeze pretty well, too, so even when you are all sick of bagels you can freeze them to have for some other month.


Elizabeth January 10, 2018 at 5:13 am

1. Made my own thieves oil blend to help my son get over a cold. The premixed versions are expensive!
2. Bought only groceries and nothing else during my low spend week
3. Sold a product on my teachers pay teachers account..yay
4. Found a lot of freebies and used a lot of coupons to buy many items to donate for my $5 weekly challenge.
5. Had a free date night with my husband using a Chili’s gift card and made brownies for dessert


Alexandra @ January 10, 2018 at 5:28 am

#4 BRILLIANT! I am stealing that. DH is doing grocery shopping for the rest of the month.
My Five:
1. Saving my tea bags from my morning tea. Depending on brand, 2-4 bags re-used makes a nice cup of tea. Then the bags go to compost.
2. Did sign up for Hello Fresh as had a big coupon. I find the inspiration from the meal kits helpful. I often look over their recipe cards on line regardless and sometimes copy them from scratch. Debateable if this is a FFT…just a coupon.
3. Planning leftover nights and eating at home.
4. Deep cold finally gone from the South. Opened windows yesterday at 68 Degrees and aired out house. Heat pump glad for a breather.
5. Had frozen pipes but not Burst pipes! hallelujah!. Put space heater pointed at open kitchen cabinet and thawed out/opened up. THAT saved some moola!


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 5:42 am

Love your blog. I am in the same boat as you.


Bettypants January 10, 2018 at 5:45 am

1. Qdoba sent me a free entree coupon, so I met my friend for dinner. The amount did not come off my total when I scanned my rewards card, but I had printed the coupon, so they honored it. I just received a Whoops! email from Qdoba, saying the offer was an error, and they gave me another free entree as an apology.

2. My favorite local resale store had all clothing $3. I rummaged around and found a men’s Eddie Bauer down vest and JCrew wool coat, both to be listed on ebay.

3. Sold 2 items on ebay and 2 items on the local FB boards. I forced myself to list a stack of women’s clothing on the local FB sites, which never sells well. I cleaned out my closet and this pile has been staring at me. Got it all ironed (unavoidable) and photographed, and listed at very low prices. Whatever doesn’t sell, I will donate to the local thrift store.

4. My upstairs shower started leaking into the downstairs closet. My first instinct was to call a plumber immediately, but I checked it out and it looks like something I can fix. I took it apart and think I can replace it myself.

5. I took my friend a tin of homemade biscotti and she gave me a tin of homemade peanut butter cookies. It was a nice trade.


Bethel January 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

1. I’ve eaten at home since Saturday morning. I’ve been cooking and eating our leftovers, making sure things don’t go to waste. So far, I’ve thrown away some leftovers from my toddler’s plate that someone *cough, DH, cough* left sitting out on the counter all day, one wilted carrot, and some chicken rice casserole that was underwhelming (I ate leftovers as much as I could, I just couldn’t force myself to get through them and the toddler wouldn’t touch it).
2. DH took the toddler to a rodeo yesterday, and it just so happened to be a free day. They spent $20 on food, but the whole experience was entirely worth it.
3. When DH offered to pick up food on the way home from the rodeo, I said no. We ate dinner at home (see #1).
4. Sold some clothing items that were sitting around my house.
5. When DH suggested we go back to the rodeo later this week when we’re both able to go, I said no because it won’t still be free, and they already went. We don’t need to go again until next year.


Bee January 10, 2018 at 7:21 am

A very frugal — and cold–January thus far. I am sad because my beautiful flowers were damaged. As soon as weather permits I will need to attend to my garden.
1) Like many of you, I have been curtailing my trips to the grocery store and trying to use the bounty on hand instead. I baked two loaves of GF banana nut bread and turned a batch of soft apples into cinnamon apples for my oatmeal. I made a nice mustard vingerette by adding apple cider vinegar to the squeeze bottle and shaking it really well. There was quite a bit of left in the bottle that I could not get out. This was used on a broccoli-apple slaw made of the broccoli stems and a carrot.

2) I have been busy listing things on eBay. I now have 30 items listed, and I have several more to put online. I have sold two items this week. Things are a little slow, but I am sure that I am not the only one experiencing the January pinch.

3) I had my annual physical yesterday. I really do not like going to the doctor, but I recognize there are long-term financial benefits in taking care of myself. My triglycerides were higher than normal, but then I realized that I had my blood work done the 3rd week of December after doing some Christmas baking. Hmmmm…probably to the best idea. I will wait and see what everything looks like mid-year before worrying too much.

4) I have listed my goals for 2018 – both financial and personal. I only hit about 60% of last year’s, but I had a major event knock me off track last July. I have now done a reset.

5) I have been entertaining myself during the deep freeze by watching Netflix and YouTube. I love all the British shows about antiques – “Bargain Hunt,” ” Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,” and “Antique Road Trip.” They keep me company when doing household chores. I finished reading a beautiful little book entitled Little Bee. Although it has been quite crowded, I also have been making the occasional trip to the gym. I know in a month or so things will get back to normal as resolutions fall by the wayside.


Joyce January 10, 2018 at 10:42 am

Oooh, check out Salvage Bargains. I am tired of the guy, but love looking at the stuff!


A. Marie January 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Bee, I made a mustard vinaigrette dressing this week, in much the same way you did. DH emptied out a jar of Grey Poupon, which I intercepted on the way to the sink. I added one part homemade basil vinegar (I’m using up a huge backlog of this vinegar that I made several years ago) to three parts olive oil, plus salt, pepper, and a little dried basil, and shook furiously. A nice dressing for the lettuce mentioned in my #1 above.


Gina in KY January 11, 2018 at 7:42 am

Ha! I noticed a much busier gym yesterday too. I am using them for a shower as I am without water until this weekend when a repair to frozen water lines can be made. I did force myself to workout first. I pay only $10 a month for the membership, but I hadn’t been in there in a year!


ouvickie January 10, 2018 at 8:05 am

1) I dropped off an audiobook at the Library, picked up another AB and regular book I’d put on hold.
2) I’ve been dealing with a sever respiratory infection for the past week. I finally found some saline nasal spray in my med cabinet and started using that, which definitely helped the sinus situation. It pays to shop your own home.
3) Dollar Tree has their own version of Dawn dish washing liquid, so I picked that up along with several other items we needed yesterday. Less than $10 for everything isn’t bad.
4) My local country convenience store has their gas priced 12 cents cheaper than the town where I work, so I stopped in an filled up last evening. I think they keep the price lower to attract locals there and it works. They do a brisk business and I like helping a local business owner.
5) The raisins in a box I was gifted ,over a year ago, are clumping together. I use them for my morning oatmeal so this morning I took a knife to break them up. I’m determined to power through the rest of that box and use them up.


Jennifer January 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

5. I had the same raisin issue. I put them in a cup of hot water to rehydrate them, then put them in a bread pudding.


Colleen January 10, 2018 at 8:47 am

1) I am a Shipt (personal grocery delivery) shopper and therefore get a free customer membership. I’ve never used it because the groceries have a small upcharge and I would feel obligated to tip the shopper. However, I was notified that my American Express card is offering a $50 statement credit if you spend $100 with Shipt. This will more than cover the upcharge and the tip, which equals savings on my groceries!

2) When I went into the basement to do laundry, I noticed a ton of water leaking through ceiling. Turns out the Delta faucet that we had bought about a year ago had sprung a leak in one of the water lines. I called the warranty number and it turns out they have a lifetime warranty. They wanted me to send pictures of the issue and wait for them to send me a new one, which would’ve left me without a kitchen sink for about 10 days! I made it clear that this was unacceptable and they agreed to let me buy a new faucet and reimburse me for the cost of it. 10 days without my kitchen sink would’ve meant us eating out to avoid dirty dishes.

3) I’ve been working really hard at using up everything in my pantry and freezer, but on Sunday my husband and I were both really in the mood for Chinese food. We ordered out and he got dinner rolls instead of an egg roll. On Monday, I used these dinner rolls as buns to make myself a melted ham and swiss sandwich and I threw together some pasta for him with chicken and veggies that we already had. No food thrown away!

4) I recently received a coupon for a $50 gift card to my grocery store if I transferred a prescription. I wasn’t 100% sure how to transfer a prescription but I called the pharmacy and they handled it for me. A five minute phone call for a $50 gift card!

5) This weekend we taking my parents to see a show downtown (it was their Christmas gift) and I convinced them to drive with us (along with my sister) so we will only pay for one car’s worth of gas and parking.


Rosanne January 10, 2018 at 9:16 am

Had a stressful couple of days. An older woman I knew used to say “Half of what we worry about never comes to pass” and that is certainly true. Turns out my 8 year old son’s head shaking that appeared out of nowhere is simply a ‘childhood tic’ common in boys his age and will go away on it’s own. It even seemed a little milder this morning. Whew! So my two days of worry and doctors appointments caused me to not care a speck and threw frugality out the window. Take out dinners both nights. On the way home when we got the good news, my son said “Wish I could get a minecraft lego set” , my husband said the car drove itself to the Toys r us parking lot. Ah, well, back on the wagon starting today.


Jill A January 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

So happy your son is OK. Sounds scary.


Rosanne January 10, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Thank you. Yes, it was scary. He will have to endure some stares and teasing for a while. He has a great deal of self confidence so I am positive this will soon blow over.


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 5:43 am

Thank you fro that saying! I needed it today!


janine January 10, 2018 at 9:42 am

1. Suffering from a winter cold. Went to the grocery store to pick up kleenex (don’t often use paper ) and of course bought a few other items. Needed to deposit a check and get some cash from my bank’s cash machine so I opted for the store that had a free ATM. This store often advertises prices in the aisles that don’t match up when it comes time to pay. However, yesterday they failed to charge me for fruit juice as the were over charging me for black beans! I made a few cents on the deal.
2. Expensive week ahead – vacation time. Dog to pets hotel, mix up in reservations cost extra $$. Plan to sit on the beach and absorb the free sun light without too many extras when I arrive.
3. Enjoyed a free fire in our fireplace last evening with our own chopped wood.
4. Love deli food – especially matzo ball soup. Mixed my own up from a mix and it wasn’t too bad and like all chicken soup, it helped me feel better.
5. Froze chicken carcass from Costco to use in crockpot when we return.


Teresa January 10, 2018 at 10:00 am

Happy to report that 2018 has started out well <3

1. Sold my 4th eBay item (shoes). Miscalculated the shipping cost but in researching lower costs, I learned that there is a less expensive flat rate shipping box option called "Region A" and "Region B". These special flat rate boxes have to be ordered, are free, and will be delivered by USPS. This method of shipping shaves a few dollars over the regular flat rate shipping fee. My mistake cost me money, but the discovery will save money. Will try to list more eBay items today.

2. A $5 off $15 coupon is available at Grocery Outlet today… Yay! My favorite store. If you haven't tried it and there is one in your area, please check it out!

3. Had a "samples" lunch at Costco yesterday which saved me from cooking, plus I got to taste all kinds of pre-packaged food that tastes delicious but that I rarely buy. Bought a Costco roasted chicken. One chicken (with a veggie, stuffing and potatoes) will make a nice quick dinner for my daughter and I. Will add chicken breast to Quesadillas for another meal and maybe make a small Waldorf salad with what's left. I also use some of it as an addition to dog and cat food. The bones normally go for broth but I was lazy yesterday so they got tossed.

4. My job of many years ended when the company moved to Texas at the end of October, but I got a new job yesterday! Yay! It is everything I wished for (except the money)… 8 mins from home on surface streets, easy going environment, has health insurance for $100 a month (that's nothing short of amazing), and I work 8:00 to 2:30 which leaves me time to pursue freelance work and make up the difference in dollars. Just waiting for the background check to be finalized. Happy dance!!! Thank you Universe!

5. Things seem to be going very well lately (knock on wood…) And to top it off, it rained for a couple days so we won't have to water for awhile! Yay! When it rains (which is rarely) our yards are so pretty, clean and green. The sun is out now and it is so beautiful. <3

Have a good day peeps!!! 🙂


Rosanne January 10, 2018 at 10:05 am

I use regional boxes all the time! Unless the item is going very far – say New Jersey to California or Hawaii it is usually much cheaper to use them instead of flat rate or by weight. Plus, no need to weigh the package. I always keep them on hand. They do need to be ordered as you said since they are not available at the post office


Jill A January 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

Congratulations on your new job!!


Ruby January 10, 2018 at 11:37 am

Congratulations on the job! Yay!


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 5:43 am

Yay on the new job!


Sandra January 11, 2018 at 6:59 am

Teresa – Great news about your new job. Regarding the roast chicken carcass, I save my chicken bones in the freezer until I am ready to make chicken broth. That way I never have to throw them out if I don’t have the time or the inclination to make broth the night we have on the bone chicken. I also have a bag of vegetable scraps in the freezer at all times – things like carrot tops, onion trimmings, parsley stems, and celery tops that I can throw in with the bones when I make stock.


Vickey January 17, 2018 at 7:47 am

Congratulations! Sounds almost perfect!


MommaL January 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

1. Made three different kinds of soups and froze 1/2 of each batch.
2. Cleaned out some closets, found a Visa Gift card with $20.00 balance on it.
3. Cleaned out some cupboards, and between those and the closets, filled 3 bags to take to GW. Went through all of my books, looked them up on Amazon buy back, and took what wasn’t listed there to the thrift store, making that a 4th bag.
4. Went into GW, got a turtleneck that was on my “wish list” for 3 dollars, used my found Visa gift card so no $ out of pocket.
5. Baked bacon in the oven twice, then froze it. It helped keep our main living area warm. Did the self-cleaning option on the oven another day, now I have a clean oven, warm house, and bacon whenever I want.
Bonus: Snow is finally melting, and DH and I are still speaking after days of being shut-in.


Katy in Africa January 10, 2018 at 1:46 pm

1. We picked mangoes from our tree in an effort to get them before the birds, plus a friend showed up with some mangoes from their place.
2. I mixed some water in with an almost empty bottle of conditioner, doing this I was able to get about 6 more uses with the last one.
3. I used my sons tea bag when he was finished, still had plenty of delicious peach flavor!
4. Searching Pinterest looking for kid craft ideas using things we already have.
5.Reading my favorite frugal blogs. 🙂


Ruby January 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

1. Although eating lunch out has been mighty tempting, I have stuck to the commitment to bring food and drinks from home to work. Still enjoying the free coffee with soy milk brought from home.
2. Also sticking to my resolve to read the accumulated books around the house.
3. Gave myself $7 in cash as pocket money the last week of 2017. Still have $2 and some change of it.
4. Avoided a vet visit for the puppy, who got a mild case of gastroenteritis on the weekend, by giving her chicken broth, rice, and pureed pumpkin, along with a lot of rest. By Monday morning, she was back to normal. Had home treatment not worked, I would have had her at the vet’s door as soon as he opened, but it’s nice that it did.
5. I get a true frugal nerd thrill out of packing my homemade lunch in reusable containers and carrying it to work in a totebag I sewed from fabric remnants bought fir a buck from the Salvation Army.


BW January 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm

1) The inner structure of the heel on my snow boot had failed. Was getting ready to order a new pair of snow boots when I remembered my kids had a pool noodle. Snipped a hunk off the end of the noodle and kept adding chunks of pool noodle to the heel of my boot until it felt good as new.
2) Had some pool noodle left from my project so used it to stuff some gaps letting in cold air in my 125 year old home. Nerdily looking forward to see if I was successful at stopping the leak when the temps drop again this weekend.
3) Today is day 10 of only eating foods with no sugar added. I am feeling better than I have in years. And what’s more frugal than only buying the food my body really needs?
4) Cancelled our sling tv as we only had cable for the holidays (Hallmark Christmas Movies!!!!).
5) With some scissors, a worn out bath towel and a few minutes I made a brand new stack of towels for cleaning.


avl January 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Now I’m regretting giving away my kids’ old pool noodles. I never realized they could be so versatile!


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 5:45 am

I use a pool noodle split open and taped with duct tape to cover my outdoor faucet and insulate my pipes!


Bee January 11, 2018 at 11:43 am

Pool noodles have a ton of uses. I use a cut piece of pool noodle in my boots so they will hold their shape when not being worn. My son uses them as bumpers on his surf racks.


Christine January 10, 2018 at 6:14 pm

1. Husband’s birthday was last Sunday. Went to a movie with a gift card we received for Christmas. Afterward went to Panera for dinner using the last of the gift card I received for taste testing some of their products. While at the mall we redeemed a $10 coupon for spending $10 or more at PetSmart. I received this for signing up for rewards program. Got the two cats canned food and treats totaling $11 plus change, so $1 plus change for 12 cans of cat food plus two bags of treats.
2. Received notification from the library that two out of three books I placed holds on are ready for pickup. The third book I am anxiously (in a happy way) waiting for: Prairie Fires, a book detailing the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a favorite author from my childhood.
3. Spent $21 on $47 dollars worth of canned goods due to a big sale at a nearby grocery store. Many of the canned goods are food I use in my chili recipe…pinto beans, corn and crushed tomatoes. We’re having friends over for chili on Sunday, neighbors over for chili next month and I’ll be making another pot of chili in Feb./Mar. for our church’s Lenten supper so I needed these items to make all the chili! I’d rather entertain friends, family and neighbors at home than to go out to eat. Less expensive and just as fun.
4. Been staying in a lot due to the frigid weather here in New England. Staying in = no spending needlessly. Bundling up with layers and keeping the heat at 65. We couldn’t tolerate 60 degrees with the cold weather and icy, fierce wind. It seemed to penetrate the walls and suck the warmth right out of the house. And we have a house with plenty of insulation.
5. I’m moving items/wall hangings/furniture around to get a different decorating effect without purchasing anything new. Husband and I figured out a way to get a long sought after king sized bed. We have two spare rooms each with a twin bed in it. We’re moving our queen sized bed into one of the spare rooms, moving the two twin beds into our room and pushing them together to get a king sized bed. King size bedding fits over two twins. My mother did this for years and I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. We won’t do this until we have the bedding which could be awhile.


Norma January 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm

1. Went to Aldi to get bread, milk and eggs. These items are so much cheaper than any of the other stores. Big sale on hams. Got two 8 lb. hams for a total of $6.00 and change. Also had turkeys for a great price but no room in freezer.
2. Got two tubes of Tom’s toothpaste at CVS (the only kind my husband can use and quite expensive) for $1.40. On sale 2/$4.00. Had a $3 bonus bucks coupon. Then got $4 in bonus bucks back for buying 2.
3. Have only eaten out once since the beginning of the year. This was a pre- planned lunch with friends.
4. Eating out of freezer and pantry and buying only the necessities.
5. Found much-needed picture frames at Goodwill today for 59 cents each.


Diane C January 11, 2018 at 3:11 am

FFT + 1 FF, Insomnia/Target Edition
1. Stopped by Target on the way home from a meeting. Noticed super cute Mason jars of gingerbread cookie mix on a 30% off clearance end cap, but they weren’t priced. Nearest (but still far away) scanner didn’t work. Even further away scanner said “item not found”, grrr. Put one in cart to further research at checkout. Of course it wouldn’t scan there either. Manager was called. Turns out it’s leftover from Christmas and 90% off, or $1.10. I bought all five.
2. I did so because we’re having a post-holiday dinner at our house this weekend with Sibs we couldn’t see over the holidays. I figured I’d add these cute jars to their bags of thrifted books.
3. Noticed when I brought them home that there’s nothing Christmas-y about the packaging and the expiration date’s not until August of 2018, so I think I’ll save some of the jars for future gifting. Score!
4. Found Quaker Oats on clearance, plus a couple of other staples on sale. This will let me push off a trek to Costco for another week.
5. DSD and grandbaby visited at Christmas. On a previous Target trip, her favorite super-premium ice cream was on sale for $2.98, which is nearly half price. I noticed it scanned for only $2.00, so I bought a few more. It comes in reusable jars, which are the perfect size for prepping her dad’s daily oatmeal. I recycled the mishmash of recycled containers I was using in favor of a uniform size. I noticed I could fit two more jars on the lazy susan, so I checked the freezer section again this trip. The ice cream is still scanning for $2.00, so I bought two more jars. Now I can prep three weeks of oatmeal at a time!

Frugal Fail: I paid $4.99 for 1.5 lbs of grapes, ack! Backstory: DH happily eats the same breakfast and lunch menu every single working day, which I pack for him. He really, really likes grapes in his lunchbox, so I buy them all year round. I was shocked at the Target price, but relented because it saved a trip to another store. Ouch!

One more thing: I don’t do the Red Card or Cartwheel. This cuts down on unnecessary trips to Target and forces my frugal soul to spend as little as possible there. I think this saves more money in the long run.


Sandra January 11, 2018 at 6:43 am

Reply to Diane C. – Do you serve your husband’s oatmeal with ice cream and other toppings?


Diane C January 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Ha! He doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. I use 1/2 cup Old Fashion Oats, to which I add coconut, dried fruit (usually Costco blueberries), then cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. At night, I dump it in a glass bowl, add a cup of water and a splash of homemade vanilla. I leave it in the microwave overnight. In the morning, I literally just have to press a button. I then stir, add a bit of Agave Syrup and toss in some fresh fruit. It’a a feast that fuels him until lunchtime.

As long as I’m here, I’ll add that the premium ice cream price is for a mere pint! There are four of us here, so a fourth of a pint doesn’t kill us calorie wise.


Gina in KY January 11, 2018 at 7:25 am

I’ve actually having a horrible start to NY2018 financially. I guess I will save all of that for the frugal fails series. I have some winners!

So, I will continue to try nonetheless…

1. Thrifted an original Good Luck Care Bear still in packaging to resell on eBay.
2. Made a pressure cooker full of black beans that became soup, Cuban beans and rice, and the remaining are now sitting in my refrigerator because I am sick of them. However, I will probably mash them and eat them on tostadas. This was only half a pound bag of beans bought for $1.
3. I have been requesting books regularly at the library. My lesson in patience as I am 50 something on some of them. I do have one waiting to be picked up called The Crane Wife (love, love, love the Decemberist song of the same title).
4. Went to the cheap theater last night to see The Florida Project (great movie, btw) and I was expecting to pay my own $3, but my friend bought it!
5. My neighbor gave me a $20 off $100 Lowes home improvement coupon. I had planned to use it as I am rehabbing an old Century + Shotgun house. I always have upcoming projects. Sadly, I had to use it to buy a submersible sump pump because my crawl space flooded after Arctic Storm Nightmare attacked us and our Southern bred water pipes (it’s a long, deplorable story, I even turned them off during the cold spell, but damage was done anyway). So, I saved $20 on a spend I didn’t want to make…and this begins the saga of my frugal fails so I will end here.


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 10:40 am

Yea, my start has been a series of fails…..both year end and the start to this year…sigh


Cindy in the South I January 11, 2018 at 10:42 am

Involving pipes also….yea


Jenny January 11, 2018 at 2:24 pm

I’m a Yankee but am curious about all the stories I’m hearing from Southerners about turning off their water. Maybe I’m not understanding the situation, but it seems the key is to leave cabinets open and faucets dripping, which keeps things fro freezing. Would you also have to pour warm water into your sump pump basin? It’s getting cold again here!


Rhonda January 12, 2018 at 8:11 am

Jenny, I live in the Texas Hill Country,a few miles out of San Antonio. When we are supposed to get in the low twenties or lower, we will drip water on the outside and on the inside. We also have a heat light in the well house.. Our house is on a lake, so the house is 10 feet off the ground(it floods)…so heating strips are on pipes going into the house. We have never turned the water off and drained the pipes.


Cynthia Huntington January 11, 2018 at 5:31 pm

1. Score: at the thrift store today I found a coverlet/quilt from Garnet Hill in pale yellow and white flower design, looking entirely new except for a dirt mark where it was folded. Marked $10 but I got it for $7 when we discovered the mark. I’m going to try to get the mark out without washing the item so I can sell as new-other on eBay (with full disclosure of course!)

2. My 20-year old Kombi winter gloves were losing their palm pads, though in good shape otherwise. I have to admit that a few years ago I would have said: they’re 20 years old, and they are purple and my heavy coat is orange, and they are going and I deserve something new or even “new.” Instead I got out the crazy glue and reattached the pads, and those damn purple gloves are good as new!

3. Been carrying lunch to work but tomorrow I’m going to a free lunch buffet for my division: the menu sounds delicious and I do need to stop lurking in my office between classes.

4. I’m starting to slowly clean out my office before my retirement next year. After thirty years in this job, I’ve accumulated things I don’t even remember having. Yesterday I found four books that have acquired value during these years and are each listing for over $100 on Amazon. They may not sell quickly, but I think I will make some $$$ from them. This makes cleaning out my office MUCH more interesting!

5. Feeding both of my wood stoves night and day to try to keep propane bills as low as possible during the recent cold snap.



cathy January 11, 2018 at 10:43 pm

1. I’m loosely following a couple of different decluttering challenges so I gathered up several magazines I’d finished (some were free, others from the thrift store) and took them to my sister. She gave me a $10 off $50 Smith’s (Kroger) coupon that doesn’t expired until the 20th.
2. Transferred a prescription to Smith’s and was rewarded with a $25 gift card. Since I didn’t need groceries that day, I’m waiting. Combined with the coupon, I’ll get $50 worth of groceries for $15. While at the store, I picked up a free latte at Starbucks where I’d earned a reward.
3. Both those errands were in the same neighborhood, and I batched them with a stop at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods (all are within a couple of blocks of each other). Bought only what was on my list. Also stopped at a friend’s house to pass along a mason jar chocolate chip cookie mix that was a gift to us. It was nice, but one of my kids is allergic to wheat so I never bake with wheat flour.
4. Roasted a chicken (bought on sale and frozen a couple months ago), used the meat in several meals, then turned the carcass into chicken noodle soup yesterday. Will freeze at least half for future meals.
5. Husband took a trip to visit his mom for her 92nd birthday. He used his free, work-provided public transit pass to take light rail to the airport. Flight was covered with a voucher earned a year ago for agreeing to be bumped off a full flight. While there, he’s staying with his sister and has access to a car (so no car rental). While he was waiting to board his flight, he said he was enjoying a free breakfast sandwich at Starbucks. Turns out he’s earned a few rewards and has been hoarding them to use on this trip. He buys a regular coffee when he’s at work, then uses the reward for a splurge item.


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