Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 12, 2018 · 120 comments

  1. One of my eBay listings actually sold! (A lightweight mug that I picked up at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet.) I’d be frustrated with how poor my sales have been in 2018, except I know that people take a break from buying in the month after Christmas. It doesn’t cost me anything to repeatedly renew my listings, so I’m not going to give it any worry.*

  2. My husband dug a couple dozen D-ring notebooks from the garbage at work and brought them home. I’ll donate them to our neighborhood elementary school. Today hopefully, as I’m not enjoying the three extra boxes in our living room, especially since I’d finally put away all the tree and holiday decorations. Sometimes frugality is about creating frugal opportunities for others.

  3. I listed a jump rope and a pair of outgrown winter gloves on my Buy Nothing Group and quickly found takers.

  4. I finished my library copy of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, and will start a new library book this evening. I would not actually recommend this book, as the book essentially tells you to go through your own stuff before you die, which is a single sentence. The rest is just rambly. I do recommend Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant for people needing inspiration to declutter before death. A wonderful and honest memoir from the amazing New Yorker cartoonist.

  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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*The eBay link is an affiliate link, which means that I receive a small commission on any purchases you make while on the site. This costs nothing extra to you and helps me to pay for dollar store dried beans and my kids’ college tuition. 

{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

One of God's January 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm

1. My coffeemaker died on Christmas afternoon when I was trying to serve company. Fortunately, the local grocery had the same kind at 30% off so I’m back in business.
2. Found a nice wallet from my list for $3.99 on senior discount day so only $2.79.
3. Used holey window screen to line a container before planting the free dwarf pomegranate bush.It was from a side window where it won’t be noticed until I can rescreen it. The undamaged parts cover the drain holes in the pot to keep the seemingly omnipresent ants from taking up residence.
4. Meant to purchase a large box of store brand oatmeal, but there was none available. Requested a price match for comparable Quaker oats, but got them for free.
5.Was blessed again by neighbors who were giving away more grapefruit than they could use.


Cindy in the South I January 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Love the cup! 1. I brought my lunch to work all week. It has not been very exciting, but it has saved a lot of money. I actually spent $13 on groceries last Saturday so I am happy about my grocery bill this week. I have eaten at home breakfast and dinner all week, so yay! I also made lima beans last weekend and have been eating on those all week.
2. It was 73 degrees yesterday afternoon, and I sat out on my front porch and enjoyed the sunset and crickets. Sadly, it will be horribly cold here, again, this next week. Oh well, I enjoyed the warm day while I could.
3. The antenna on my beloved radio broke. I simply propped it up, tapped it to the radio and was able to continue using it.
4. I attended church last Sunday near a beautiful river park, on a different river than the one I usually go visit. Afterwards, I went for a walk on the river dike and it was beautiful and peaceful.
5. I am planning on getting my free oil change tomorrow.


Leslie W January 12, 2018 at 12:29 pm

How do you do your lima beans? I used to love them when my grandmother made them. Sadly no one knows what she did to them and she’s no longer here to ask.


Cindy in the South I January 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I soak them, usually overnight. However, if I run out of time, I bring them to a boil for two minutes, then turn off the stove and let them sit for a couple of hours. I rinse and then put fresh water in pot and bring to a boil then turn on simmer till done. I put, usually, hamhock or hog jowls (remember, I am Southern….lol), or a ham bone in with the beans. I add garlic, a little red pepper and butter. I cook till done, and then add the salt. I find that adding salt beforehand makes them harder to cook. If you are still having difficult getting them done, I would add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. That will usually do the trick so you don’t have hard beans.


Cindy in the South I January 12, 2018 at 12:38 pm



Liz B. January 12, 2018 at 7:32 pm

I’ll have to try this. I have a bag of dry lima beans that I recently discovered in my kitchen cupboard….I bought them to use in a new recipe a few months ago, and then never made the recipe. Thanks!


Jennifer January 13, 2018 at 9:30 am

My family loves lima beans and I make them just like Cindy except I use a crock pot. I usually leave mine in all day or over night. I pretty much do any beans exactly the same. Yum!

Denise January 13, 2018 at 12:28 pm

I have vouchers for a big department store, and I’m going to buy a slow cooker. When you cook dried beans in them, of any sort, do you do any prep to the beans – e.g. any soaking or rinsing, please?

Also, is there a constant ratio of water to beans to use ( like long grain white rice which is always 2:1 water to rice)?

Thanks fo any guidance you can give me.



Leah January 13, 2018 at 12:47 pm

I do 1c dry beans to 4c water in the slow cooker. Just cook straight from dry, no soaking needed. 4 hours on high should do the trick. I have moved up to pressure cooking them from dry which is a little faster.

Jennifer January 13, 2018 at 8:02 pm

I wish I could say that I have a particular measurement, but I really just eyeball it. I have been putting a bag of beans in a large crockpot then filling it the rest of the way up with water, ham bone, and spices. Save the salt for after they have cooked for a few hours, or they can be too tough. I usually cook mine for 8 hours or overnight on low. Some beans cook a little faster than others, like limas, for instance. Basically, you have to put a lot of water, 2 to 3x more water than beans, to get the beans properly cooked. I separate my beans into meal-sized portions and freeze after cooking. When ready to serve a portion, if the liquid part is too thick, I just add some water when I warm them. This allows me to stretch each portion farther. I have done it this way for many years and it’s my favorite method.

Isitaneedorawant January 12, 2018 at 12:24 pm

(1) Have had a bit of a breather since the holidays. Birthday meal to celebrate FIL’s Birthday was postponed to tomorrow.
Was speaking to my husband about what I was planning on cooking now that we had a bit more time to plan,original idea When it was a weeknight celebration was to order in Chinese.
Friend was over and heard me mention to husband what we had in the freezer/ pantry to use for the birthday celebration. I said “what we had was a “sunk” cost and could free up space”. She asked, what was a sunk cost? Great teaching moment , even at 61.
We have everything for the meal at home.
(2) Went to the theatre with this friend with complimentary tickets. There is a preshow drinks/ appies event and post show Coffee/ snacks. Street parked.
This is a good friend who I would take without any idea of compensation. She does though,think of my family when looking to gift their NHL tickets:)
(3) Pulling together a prize for a close friends function. I have access to many fair trade groups (such as Ten Thousand Villages )in my city and frequent their sales for gifts.I’m making a “ Fair Trade Basket” with my product stash.
(4) Had to fill a prescription, asked and waited for confirmation that our health insurance would cover the total cost of this prescription. In addition I get store points for the “purchase”.
(5) Like others I have I am reviewing my 2018 budget and creating goals for spending, saving, giving. In some ways I see how little we can live on, in other ways I can’t believe what we have spent. A work in progress:)


Leslie W January 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

1. Used a $10 off purchase coupon to purchase the hubby a package of socks. He wears a size 14 shoe, so socks aren’t easy to find in regular stores. Free shipping to boot.
2. Wearing layers and have a blankie on my lap to ward off the chill today. Resisting the temptation to bump the heat up just a smidge.
3. Froze the remaining portion of a turkey breast received as a gift. Will use it later in the month for creamy turkey noodle soup or maybe turkey divan.
4. Trying to use up little bits of leftovers to keep the grocery bill down this month. Mashed potatoes with breakfast, anyone?
5. Now that college football season is officially over, we have cut the cable cord. I wouldn’t let the hubby make the switch until after the National Championship Game in case something didn’t go right with the streaming service we selected. Priorities, you know?


Bee January 12, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I love mashed potato pancakes for breakfast with a little cheese or some chives. You may have already done this, but you can use those mashed potatoes and the leftover turkey to make shepherds pie. I am getting hungry!


avl January 12, 2018 at 1:12 pm

1) I’ve been eating my frugal winter breakfast of steel cut oats. I make a big pot once a week and reheat a small portion in the morning. I’ll toss in a chopped fresh apple and small handful of walnuts. Sometimes cinnamon, too.

2) Yesterday I cooked up a crockpot full of black beans. Thanks to this blog for finally getting me to learn how to cook dried beans. Thanks also to commenter WilliamB for mentioning Rancho Gordo beans, which I’ve been able to find locally and avoid shipping charges.

3) I’m a Goodwill newbie, also thanks to this blog. I stopped by my spacious
nearby Goodwill last week in search of warmer clothes, and found a great Patagonia fleece vest, made in USA, for $4.99.

4) Resisting the urge this week to go back to Goodwill to browse around. It’s pretty fun to treasure hunt there, but I really don’t legitimately need anything else right now. Plus I’m trying extremely hard to stop using shopping as a form of entertainment, a bad habit I’ve had for a long time.

5) Planning to cook a frugal, healthy vegetable frittata for dinner this Friday night instead of ordering a pizza. The kids will thank me when they’re older 😉


Roberta January 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Good for you, resisting the urge to shop Goodwill for recreation. It’s too easy to justify the trip because it’s cheap, but no money spent is better than cheap!


Lindsey January 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm

I want to commend you on #5. My mother and grandmother force fed us by never allowing us to serve ourselves but loading the plates, not letting you leave until you finished everything (no joke, more than once I or a sibling slept at the table in a chair and finally ate the cold dinner because we knew it would end up on another dinner plate that night), and the foods were packed with grease. All six of us have battled weight our entire lives; two with extreme weight problems. And I still find myself drawn to unhealthy things in excessive portions. Your kids WILL thank you, no matter how they whine now.


Sandra January 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm

1. Eating homemade cream of tomato soup for lunch. I made it with tomatoes from my summer garden that were house ripened in October.

2. Those same tomatoes have been providing salads, soups, and garnish for about four months now. I canned ripe tomatoes during the growing season and then before a hard frost I gathered in all of the green ones and let them ripen slowly on tables in our garage where it is cool and dark.

3. I have begun cleaning out a storage room. Some items will be sold, most will be given away. Buying back some real estate in my own home is priceless.

4. I had been tempted by some sale sweaters recently, but held off and went searching in my own closet for a cuddly chenille sweater from last year. I found it and two more, as well. I am now enjoying the “found” sweaters and celebrating fighting off temptation.

5. My husband wanted to go out for lunch today. I suggested clam chowder, one of his favorites, that I made two days ago. He agreed and we kept some money in our pockets.


A. Marie January 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm

FFT, The Warm Spell Before the Ice Storm Edition:

(1) Katy, it’s a happy coincidence that you should have mentioned the Roz Chast book–because one of my FTs was buying her newest one, Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York, at 50% off at our local Barnes & Noble today. Chast is one of the few people I’d gladly swap heads with if I got the chance, and I own and enjoy almost all of her books. (I got a $40 B&N gift card from my employers for Christmas; we were also gifted a book we already had, but the thoughtful giver enclosed the receipt just in case. So DH and I had a nice little frugal book-shopping spree. A big morale-booster for both of us.)

(2) Bit of a mess in our basement this morning, because the heavy rain and the huge snowmelt meant rising tides for us and a lot of other folks here. However, we just turned on our dehumidifier and a big fan, grabbed our push brooms and squeegees, and dealt with it.

(3) I decided to knock off work for the day at noon and run several errands, including necessary stops at Wegmans and our bank, in addition to the frivolity at B&N. In these parts, you have to plan your winter activities with close attention to the weather forecast–and the predictions for tonight and tomorrow are not pretty. I can always make up the work time tomorrow while it’s snowing or sleeting or both. (Provided the power doesn’t go out, that is.)

(4) And since there is a chance that we may lose power, I’m doing laundry to beat the band. Don’t want to get caught in a power outage with a basement full of dirty duds.

(5) Finally, after throwing in the last load of laundry, I went for a short ramble around the ‘hood, and came back with over $1 in NYS deposit bottles/cans and the first found 2 cents of 2018. Woot woot!


kathleen January 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm

I found 1¢ today and got so excited. I haven’t found any money on the ground in so long. I’ve been blaming the proliferation of debit cards.


Jill A January 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm

I’m not doing anything very exciting. Mostly I’m just not spending money on anything but necessities.

1. I took my car to the mechanic this morning for an alignment which should help prevent wear to my new tires. I also had the oil changed. Keeping up with car maintenance is frugal in the end.
2. I sold one of my daughters old textbooks on Ebay. I reused a padded envelope to ship it and dropped it off at the post office that I passed by on the way home from the mechanic, saving a trip and gas.
3. I’m reading a free library book on my kindle. I’m wearing a warm fleece jacket and sitting under a blanket. My heat is at 62 and I’m very comfortable.
4. I got up early this week in order to do a load of laundry before the rates went up at 7 am. I’ve hung my laundry to dry except for towels and sheets.
5. I passed up going to the thrift stores after my car appointment this morning. I don’t need anything. I’ll take advantage of garage sales this summer to stock my daughters apartment next fall. Garage sales are usually cheaper and I can drag her with me for a little mother/daughter bonding. I also didn’t stop at McDonald’s even though I was starving. I made toast and peanut butter when I got home.


Joanie January 12, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for giving your opinion on the Swedish death cleaning book. How disappointing. I’m looking for a cure for my clutter. Maybe I should look for books on procrastination instead. LOL.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm


May I suggest four sites, each of which helped me in different ways, to declutter about 70% of my possessions?

My favourite is the Becoming Minimalist one.

I’m a lazy procrastinator but I truly felt a weight lifting each time I cleared, donated, recycled or dumped stuff! Good luck for 2018.


Joanie January 13, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Wow, Denise! Thank you! I’ve heard of zen habits, but not the others. Think I’ll check out one of them now and save the others for Sunday afternoon. Really great of you to take the time to share this information!


Bethany January 12, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Yes, take care of your stuff. My grandpa left his stack of Playboy mags, and my Baptist flushed-faced mother had to take them to the recycling bin.

1. Made a batch of homemade bread this week. Super delicious and give a bit of extra flare to a bits and bobs soup we’re having tonight.

2. Postponing my grocery shopping for another day. The list is really adding up, but I’d rather do one big grocery run than get over there every day.

3. Took the kids to their PE class, free for us with charter funds, and then let them play at the park a bit longer.

4. Put my ugly planters in the garage and will add seeds to it again in the spring. They’ll root nicely without new soil. Love me some basil!!!

5. Gave my plumeria a sip of water. They usually don’t need any this time of year, but it’s stem is getting shriveled. Hopefully I saved it.


A. Marie January 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

I’m sorry your mother was so embarrassed over the Playboys. I understand that some of the older issues are worth some money these days. But the story is a reminder to all of us to dispose of what we don’t want the next generation to look at/be embarrassed by/have to get rid of. (In fact, it’s high time I started using my adolescent diaries for kindling…)


Lindsey January 12, 2018 at 7:02 pm

I had a single co-worker die one night, completely unexpectedly since he was pretty young and fit. His parents lived out of state and it cost too much to travel to Alaska so they asked if someone could empty his apartment and send them anything personal and give clothes and furniture to Good Will. As we were packing we found some porn of a pretty rough variety and all of us agreed that no one’s parents needed to see it so we threw it away. That is when I learned to get rid of youthful letters and diaries. Not just sexual comments but all those times I wrote in my diary, “I HATE MY PARENTS!!!” with death skulls all around the page.


Isabelle January 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Lindsey, I live by that rule! I’m only 37, but you never know what life has in store, so I don’t keep ANYTHING that I would not want someone to see or read.


Mary in Maryland January 13, 2018 at 3:28 pm

I recently shredded two Xerox boxes of journals. I tried to read them, but bored myself by how often I mentioned I was exhausted and peopled out. The journals made me realize that retiring early saved my life.


Crunchycon February 3, 2018 at 10:51 am

Lol at the diary comment. My little brother decided to hold a public reading of my eighth grade diary to all the boys in the neighborhood (at least one on whom I had a major-league crush). Never kept any kind of diary or journal again. My life shall remain unexamined.


Bee January 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

Often you hear of these embarrassing things, but sometimes good things are left behind too. Having cleaned out my in laws and my parents house, I have had both types of experiences.
My mother had a strong box that she kept in the bottom of her desk drawer. She told my sisters and me that it held her most important papers. Before she died, she made sure that we understood that we needed to go through the box. I really couldn’t imagine what was in it. We each had a copy of her will and account information — all the important stuff.
When we were cleaning out her home, I took the box out of the bottom drawer and opened it. The box was filled with letters and mementos including the letter my sister wrote her from camp, a letter my grandmother wrote her on the day I was born, love letters and newspaper clippings in which members of the family were featured. It was a little time capsule of her life. It was a wonderful gift.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm

How beautiful! I have a few old letters from relatives who have passed on too, and I love to pull them out every few years and indulge. It truly is like a window into their every day lives…like stepping back into their time and place. Nice that your mother kept that strong box for her kids. A true treasure.


Jennifer January 13, 2018 at 8:06 pm

I love this..


Christine Joiner January 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm

1. Gave my husband a haircut using our trusty old buzzer. It’s over ten years old now but stays efficient with the application of a few drops of Wahl oil every other time I use it. I also have one for our longed haired cat who tends to get mats when he’s shedding his coat in the spring. In appearance and efficiency, it’s much like the “human” buzzer. Every once in awhile my husband will ask, “Are you sure you got the right one?”
2. Batched some errands while returning home from babysitting grandkids one town over this afternoon. These included stopping by the consignment shop to pick up a check for selling eight items through them, cashing the check, stopping at the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and using points to get a free tube of toothpaste, going back to the consignment shop to purchase a never opened puzzle from my favorite puzzle company: White Mountain and lastly a swing by the library for three much anticipated books that I reserved. We may get a flash freeze tomorrow so I am ready to hibernate again.
3. I am making a chicken pot pie with the leftover roasted chicken from Tuesday night supper. We had it Wednesday night heated up in a frying pan with gravy over mashed potatoes, hubby’s favorite.
4. Holding off on buying gasoline until Sunday when we go by the cheap gas place on our way to church.
5. Enjoyed reading our town’s free newspaper which comes to me through mail here at home and caught up on subscription newspaper and magazine while at the library.


Julie January 12, 2018 at 3:08 pm

1-used up the sad looking apples and pears to make a lovely sauce for my ginormous batch of steel cut oatmeal. I freeze it in single servings and have a quick easy and cheap breakfast ready for my day.
2-DH is on board with the clear the pantry & freezer mission. Menu planned all week and stuck to expect today which is a leftover day.
3-kids are onboard with said challenge because I used up an aging brownie mix, made cookies with a Carmel stuffed chocolate chip, no idea where they came from but yummy. So now we are planning the weekend bake off. Given the return of nasty weather saying will be frugal.
4- worked at home two days this week, while it does not save me transit costs as my employer pays, it saves me valuable time and allowed me to get the above frugal stuff done.
5-received a mail in rebate check for dishwasher tab purchases before Christmas. I have not paid for dishwasher tabs in ages as there is always some offer available.


susanna d January 13, 2018 at 6:57 am

#1 – I’ve just been chopping up sad looking fruit (there seems to be a lot of it lately) as a topping for my daily oatmeal. I love your sauce idea. I’ll be trying that, thanks!


Jill A January 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

I’d love to know where you find these offers for dishwasher tabs.


Julie January 13, 2018 at 3:04 pm

I live in Canada and at least once every other month there is a MIR for finish dishwasher tabs. The last one was good on a package of 64 tabs. It’s one per address but it’s an offer I try not to let pass by.


JennyS January 14, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Julie, what’s an MIR


Diane C January 15, 2018 at 6:26 am

Mail In Rebate?

K D January 12, 2018 at 4:05 pm

1. I did go out for lunch on Monday. I ordered soup of the day ($3.50).

2. Yesterday a friend invited me to walk with her at a county park near where she needed to run an errand. There is a paved path around a lake that’s a good length for walking. Some of the lake was frozen and some was open water. There were hundreds of geese and ducks on/in the lake. It was quite a sight to see. Somebody we talked to said there was a rare goose somewhere in the crowd but we were at the end of our walk.

3. I walked outside this morning despite spitting rain. Using an umbrella is a help.

4. A friend suggested the TV show Poldark. I was able to borrow season one from the library. She also suggested a book that I just downloaded from the library.

5. I sent a memorial contribution to a friend’s church. I feel it is a better choice than flowers and I like that I won’t be put on a mailing list for future donation solicitations. It was also her family’s wish.


Susie's Daughter January 12, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I just LOVE Poldark. I hope you enjoy it!


Lindsey January 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm

If you have never watched Foyle’s War, you may enjoy it. Very PBS…set in Britain during WWII. Detective show.


Bee January 13, 2018 at 4:55 am

I also enjoyed Foyle’s War. There were many seasons available at my local library.


Tracy January 13, 2018 at 5:52 am

I am in the midst of watching Foyle’sWar (included at no charge with my Amazon Prime account) and loving it!


Denise January 13, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Not sure if it’s reached the US, but I’d also highly recommend “Endeavour”.

If you’ve ever watched “Morse” (a TV series based in modern Oxford about the eponymous Detective Chief Inspector Morse – lots set in and around the 14th -16th century colleges which make up the University of Oxford), Endeavour is about his early years as a detective in Oxford in the 1960s. Lovely and clever.

Never watched Poldark, although the amount of fuss women made over here about the lead actor taking his shirt off in one scene, was hilarious.


Julie January 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I only started watching Poldark because the lead actor was in the Hobbit movies and I love the Hobbit. Taking his shirt off well that was just a bonus because it’s a really good program.


Bee January 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm

I love Endeavour, too. This show was on Masterpiece Mystery in the States and is available on the PBS app.


cathy January 13, 2018 at 5:29 pm

32 minutes (and counting) until this weeks episode (rerun, of course) of Grantchester. It’s fun to get caught up on the earlier seasons. I’m also a huge fan of Foyle’s War and Inspector Morse. Haven’t spent the time on Endeavour yet, but I’m sure I should. Time to renew my donation to local PBS station.

Susie's Daughter January 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

1) I used our January thaw to do a few things that would have been too cold to think about last week (or in the week coming up). Did a quick contents review for our stand alone freezer, which is in our unheated mud room. I am amazed at the amount of zucchini I have already used. I also brought up a bottle of OJ bought on super sale which had started to thaw. It has been so cold in the mud room, I hadn’t even bothered to put in in the freezer when I bought it two weeks ago.

2) I found a good sized pyrex bowl with a cover at our local thrift store. It means I can recycle or repurpose a plastic one of similar size in our house. I also got two sets of sheets and two cool little lamps for a friend who is recently separated and trying to outfit her home for herself and her boys. It was buy one, get one free on everything in the store that day!

3) Have had very minimal food waste in the last week, except for the romaine which I composted today. Thanks to those folks who brought up the lettuce issue!

4) I updated our monthly bill pay sheet for 2018 to reflect as many of the year’s expenses as I could think of including annual insurance payments, memberships of all kinds, charitable giving, and entertainment costs. I work with a paper copy and pen – I am not much of a spreadsheet user – and the visual of the upcoming expenses helps me plan accordingly.

5) With the exception of the ‘pennies from Heaven’ discovery early this summer (.65 in pennies on the ground in one spot, which made me think of my ultra frugal Nana), most of my found money comes from bottle returns. I aspire to A. Marie’s impressive numbers, but I met my 2017 goal for the year of $52 or a dollar a week. This goes in the family movie fund for this year.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 12:59 pm


There’s a very helpful free spreadsheet for budgeting on a UK site called – I found its suggested categories immensely helpful to remind me of items I’d otherwise overlook.


Susie's Daughter January 13, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Denise –

Thank you for this reference! I just took a quick look and saved the link for further review.


Rosanne January 12, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Here are my five-
1. On the way home from picking our son at school, my husband noticed a tv on the curb. He has had very good luck repairing them- and this one was no different. Turns out it was nothing more than a loose connection. He looked up the serial number and it turns out it was less than two years old. The people throwing it away even taped the remote to it so no money spent for a 32 inch flat screen!
2. Gave both my son and my husband a home haircut.
3. Used coupons and digital coupons -got 4 boxes of Clairol hair color and 8 boxes of Special K red berries for free.
4. Made a yearly trip to a woman I met years ago through Craigslist. She has two boys a couple years older than my son, so I buy her son’s outgrown clothes. She sells me a huge bunch of stuff for $1-$5 each. Lots of Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger and the like. Some still with tags! She must spend a fortune. Last year, I spent $100 and got a years worth of clothes for my son, and then turned around and sold 2 ‘extra’ North Face jackets on ebay and got $100, so a years worth of clothes for free! The next year, I give the previous years to my grateful neighbor.
5. Tracked my daily spending, as a I have been doing for over a year now.


Ava January 12, 2018 at 5:11 pm

1. I really thought we needed a repairman for the dishwasher, but I examined the sprayer arm and found it clogged with gunk. I cleaned out the holes and ran the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda and it is working fine now.
2. We got a dog from a rescue group. We could have saved money by finding one at animal control but we got a good dog and contributed to a good cause. He has been worth his weight in gold today when we are iced in. Dog #1 will not go out alone. Dog #2 goes out with her and we don’t have to try to get down the treacherous icy steps.
3. Made some really bad bean soup. We ate as much as we could stand, then began feeding it to the dogs. New dog thinks it is truly gourmet cooking.
4. We kept getting a low tire reading when we were packed to go visit grandkids in another state. I persuaded my husband to get the tires checked one more time and the mechanic found a nail in one tire. The tires may have been still under warranty but the choices were to get it fixed on the spot for $10 (and void the warranty) or go home, unload the car, pack the other car and hope we didn’t have a flat when we got back to deal with it, or find the paperwork for the tire purchase and try to make it to the local office without getting a flat. The tires were purchased out of state in an emergency situation. We got a quick repair and made it to all the grandsons’ basketball games. Maybe we could have gotten the tire replaced by the seller but cheap and easy seemed like the best option at the time.
5. Nothing new: thrifted clothing, library use, cheap entertainments at home, no new purchases lately (except the dog).


Bettypants January 14, 2018 at 11:37 am

Aw, your little rescue dog buddies. When we had one dog, he would meander around the yard for 20 minutes. Upon arrival of second dog, first dog would closely follow him and pee on the exact same spots. Done in 5 minutes.


Ava January 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

I love the Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant book. I read it after I spent 1 1/2 yrs cleaning out my parents’ house.


KJD509 January 12, 2018 at 5:33 pm

FFT, January doldrums edition:
1) Really, really getting my money’s worth out of Netflix this week.
2) Our microwave gave up the ghost. It came from cleaning out a rental and is probably 20+ years old. There’s another one kicking around somewhere – belonged to one of the college students, but recently their apartments have all had built-in microwaves. So we’ve been reheating leftovers on the stove and in the oven until we can figure out where the other one is stored.
3) Eldest daughter and I both had cheap haircuts this week. My first in about 6 months, hers in more than a year, so the cost of hair care per month is extremely low. She has a couple of job interviews next week so it was time.
4) Saved almost a full tank of gas this week working from home. One day was planned, the other two were due to weather. Sometimes my job is exhausting, but it’s so convenient that I can work anywhere with an internet connection!
5) On those wfh days, kept the furnace on its usual schedule (e.g., off between 8-5), even though it meant piling up a LOT of blankets in the afternoon in order to keep from shivering on the couch.

Hey, I got to 5! That’s cheering, even if the weather isn’t.


kathleen January 12, 2018 at 5:58 pm

1. I worked the last two days, and got up early enough to make a protein smoothie before leaving the house. No stopping on the way for McToast.
2. I agreed to work four weeks for someone while they are out for surgery/recovery. It’s been so long since I’ve worked full-time hours that it will really test my stamina, but a month’s worth of full-time pay…cha-ching!
3. The hubs went out of town, and I immediately turned the thermostat down. He’s cold natured, but I have natural (ahem) insulation. 🙂
4. Baking a sweet potato for supper. I’m not starving, but want something, they’re good for you, and they’re in the pantry.
5. Reading a library book, driving a used car, my phone is over five years old, as are my shoes and clothes, my haircut is going on six months, and my dog is wearing a sweater I made out of the sleeve of a Goodwill sweatshirt. 🙂


Christine January 12, 2018 at 8:52 pm

I loved your #5(s)! I can relate to the six month haircut…the last time I went to the salon the hairdresser’s daughter took a look at the hair on the floor around the chair after her Mom cut my hair and announced loudly, “You REALLY needed a haircut!” lol


kathleen January 13, 2018 at 7:05 pm

My stylist always sweeps under the chair before I get up so I don’t have to walk through all the hair. There’s always some joke about it looking like a small animal got into the salon. 😉


Danielle January 12, 2018 at 7:02 pm

1. I was about to purchase tickets online for a theater movie the next day when my kids asked if there were any movies we could watch from the services we already subscribe to. Turns out there was a trilogy of movies they wanted to see so we canceled the ticket purchase and stayed in. That one move saved us over $100 because that movie was going to be the gateway to sushi.

2. My husband set up my son with all types of wood scraps so he can build his own little ramps for skateboarding, etc. This kept him and his friends busy for days! It almost became a frugal fail when he lost a nail/screw between the driveway and the horse pasture but his cousin saved the day with the loan of a metal detector. Nail found! We will also metal detect the inside of the horse pasture just in case. This time last year we had big vet bills when a horse did step on a nail that mysteriously arose from the mud.

3. Kept things simple at a large family dinner. My daughter wanted me to make a complicated vegan version of what everyone else was eating over pasta, but we just had marinara instead. Easy and cheap.

4. Fifteen years of our family photos are lined up neatly in the same size albums that I used to be able to find ‘2 for $10’ or less. I have not been able to find this deal for a few years now and wasn’t sure what to do. I could order the same size from amazon for $12 each…. thankfully today I remembered to check our local Goodwill and walked out with three perfectly good albums for under $9. They’re not the patterns I would have chosen but I can overlook that or switch out an older year. Yay for second hand!

5. Kids over-ate today and said they never want to see food again. Fine by me! Their stomachs are used to eating at home. 🙂 Took the opportunity to use up a freezer meal that they don’t like anyway.


Lee January 12, 2018 at 7:48 pm

We were tempted to go out to eat tonight, but I made broccoli beef instead. So, our family of 5 ate for around $10 and everyone was happy.

I found a nice compass at the pay-by-the-pound goodwill. This is something my son will eventually need for Boy Scouts, and it’s nice that I won’t have to pay real money!


Marcia January 12, 2018 at 8:43 pm

1. Staying at home because of the weather is quite frugal. Counted the cash in my wallet, and remembered it being the same amount last time I counted it–a couple weeks ago. (I use credit card for gas and groceries–cash for our “fun” spending/eating out/misc. purchases.

2. Filled the gas tank for the first time in 3 weeks. When you don’t go anywhere, you don’t use much gas. Husband went and picked up subs a couple nights during the holiday week when I was too tired or busy to want to cook. Otherwise I didn’t go much of anywhere.

3. Soup sounded good and I made some with all ingredients from the freezer or cupboard. Enough left for another night as well.

4. Actually managed to lose a couple pounds over the holidays, despite eating cookies, candy and such. The additional energy I have after having a stent put in just before Thanksgiving is what I credit the loss to. I’m doing more around the house than I could before and also not napping in the daytime–which I couldn’t help doing when I wasn’t getting all the oxygen I needed to the back of my brain and my left arm. Can’t believe how much better I feel. I knew the fatigue was due to the problem but didn’t dare hope for this much energy.

5. Returned gifts that did not fit and did not find anything I needed, to spend the extra money on. Took it on a gift card and am saving it until I need something else. I did break my garlic press today so need a new one of those. Not a huge expense, however! I still have several new items of clothing that DID fit.


avl January 13, 2018 at 5:48 am

How wonderful that you are feeling better and have your energy back!


Teri January 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm

1. Phoned grocery store when I got home and found they had charged me full price for items on sale. This is the third time this has happened to me and I expressed this to customer service. I will be getting the items for free.
2.Eating from freezer and pantry all week, along with taking breakfast and lunch to work each day. The problem is, I’ve been eating well and TOO much!
3. Having a luncheon for 6 friends using items from pantry for soup, rolls, muffins and a dessert.
4. Found a few needed items at goodwill along with a pair of shoes for son to resell on eBay for excellent prices.
5. Watching tv for entertainment instead of paying for movies (and popcorn).


Alison January 12, 2018 at 9:09 pm

My 82 year old dad said I “made him feel old” because I told him to get rid of all of his belongings for “when he goes”. He then said after thinking about this “but where am I going? ” I explained what I meant was the he should get rid of anything he wasn’t using, much like I try to do, as it makes your live easier. I dread the day he and my step mother go, as they both kind of hoard things. And I already dealt with this when my ex, who was a real hoarder, albeit an organized one, passed away, and I had to throw away and recycle a mountain of stuff.

Not too much frugal these days as we are in Puerto Vallarta on vacation for a week, but I’ll try :
1. Went on a city highlights tour, which really took us to certain shops, in hopes that we’d buy from them. Didn’t buy tequila, but did buy some inexpensive sterling silver earrings for my daughter, who is at home looking after the pets.
Didn’t buy anything at the “flea market” which sells a lot of touristy junk anyway.
2. Used out daily $50 extra credit we earned at the resort today to buy at nice bottle of win at dinner. The bottle definitely wasn’t worth $15, never mind $50, but we enjoyed it and had to use up the credit today anyway.
3. Will not buy any more tours or excursions.
4. Joined the airline for member reward points, and we will get many points from this trip, they told us.
5. Didn’t need to go whale watching, saw them breeching from our balcony window, DH was still in bed when he saw then. Priceless!

This may not be a frugal trip at all, but we took it because DH has some serious health challenges ahead of him, and treatment for these start soon. We had a week in between medical appointments free, so we booked it 5 days prior to departure. It’s worth it to relax and recharge for what comes ahead, he and I both believe.


Tracy January 13, 2018 at 5:57 am

Glad you are having a good trip in PV (love that town!) to recharge before challenges ahead. I for one try to live (relatively) frugally so I can do things that really matter to me — like travel.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm


I wish your husband and you all the strength you’ll need in the coming months. Good luck with his treatment.



Christine January 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Best wishes for good health for your husband and strength for you both as you go through these challenges together. Nice that you took a vacation too! Nothing calms and strengthens like a great getaway.


Alison January 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Thank you Denise.


Alison January 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Thank you Christine.


Alison January 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Thank you Christine.


Alexia January 12, 2018 at 10:31 pm

Interesting. I couldn’t even finish Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. I felt like she was making fun of her aging parents’ increasing cognitive impairment in a mean-spirited way.


Diane C January 15, 2018 at 6:48 am

I heard her interviewed about the book and thought she and the book sounded very interesting. I made a mental note of it, and was later thrilled to find a like-new copy for $1 at the Library Used Book Sale. Problem is, it’s still on the shelf, because I can’t find the time to read it. So many books, so little time!


Mand01 January 13, 2018 at 12:31 am

1. My husband and I are having an at home date night- movie on Netflix and homemade dinner of roasted chicken and a green bean casserole.
2. I got 1.5 kg of strawberries at a good price and froze some for smoothies, prepared some for jam, and used the rest to make strawberry ice cream. I got the cream cheap because it was short dated and used powdered milk so the ice cream probably cost about $2 for a good sized tub. Plus I know exactly what’s in it.
3. I also made peach muffins using discounted peaches.
4. I didn’t have to buy any vegetables at all – all coming out of our garden. Still buying fruit but got it on sale and in season.
5. My child and I each saw the doctor this morning and thanks to the wonder of our Public Health Service, it was free, free, free.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 7:59 am

I love home date nights! Sounds like yours was fun. We splurged and bought a 60″ flat screen television over a year ago on Black Friday when the price was slashed way down. Seems like now we very rarely go out to the movies. Instead we enjoy our date nights at home in front of our television!


Jennifer January 13, 2018 at 8:23 pm

5. I’m so glad you have such a great Public Health Service there. The cost of care in the U.S. is crippling for so many. We have a thriving business and can afford it but the cost of healthcare coupled with the costs of my husband’s medications, is jarring. I’m hoping we will get something like you have there so when my kids grow up they won’t have to work just to pay for insurance like so many people I know currently do.


Vickey January 18, 2018 at 8:32 am

Wouldn’t that be great?! I, too, hope one day we join other affluent nations in supporting the right to health care.


Tracy January 13, 2018 at 6:04 am

1. Didn’t buy breakfast, lunch or dinner out all week (this is an accomplishment for me!). Have to confess to a couple Starbucks coffees though…
2. Only spent $58 for groceries for the week, trying to eat mostly what we have (we feed 3 adults and 1 teen).
3. We were considering going away for the long MLK weekend to my in-laws’
vacation home in central Oregon but decided to stay put. Although accommodations would have been free, we would have spent money on gas and inevitably on activities/meals/treats. Also we have been really busy last few weeks and I need some down time without having to pack up and travel.
4. Hubs tried to throw away three Greek yogurts because they were out of date by a couple of weeks, I stopped him and said I”d eat them. Had one yesterday and it was perfectly good. Will eat the other two this weekend. Really trying to avoid food waste.
5. My mom and I are going to Goodwill tomorrow. I will take a bunch of things to donate (I just don’t have the time and energy to sell things right now, perhaps in a few years post retirement). I don’t ‘need’ anything but love to browse as does my mom, it’s a fun way to spend time together and I do have a Goodwill gift card fromChristmas!


Isabelle January 13, 2018 at 6:21 am

* Only spent 2,50$ on an improv show. 2 hours of fun on the cheap!
* Used coupons to get 2 free DVD rental
* SIL got a new car and all of the sudden it made me feel crappy about my 2004 car. But that quickly subsided when she informed me about the 31000$ price tag!
* I don’t take the “upgrades” at the daycare on pd days. Why would I pay an extra 10$ for my kids to “have the privilege to watch a movie”? I mean, you are trying to charge me extra to put my kids in front of the tv, really?!? So I stick to the basic service, whatever that means (play in the gymnasium, do crafts, etc)
* Took advantage of an offer to spend 75$ and get 2 free theater tickets at the pharmacy. I choose items on sale and items that will be used throughout the year like shampoo, soap, etc.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 8:05 am

Good for you for seeing through the “upgrade” movie offer. My husband has an old saying: Don’t feed me chicken sh*t and call it chicken salad! Sounds very applicable here.


Bee January 13, 2018 at 11:07 am

President Lyndon Johnson was also know to be fond of that saying.


Bee January 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm

He was known. I really should proofread more carefully. Spell check does not always appropriately correct things.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

I had never heard it before I met my husband. He is originally from Georgia and LBJ from Texas, so maybe it’s a Southern thing!


ouvickie January 13, 2018 at 7:38 am

I agree with you about frugality that helps others. I work in I.T. at a University and we are always receiving bags and/or t-shirts of some type from Vendors, at workshops and conferences. I’ve told my coworkers to bring them to me. I donate them to our local Shelter. Their clients love it and it’s less stuff that ends up in the landfill.
1) I’ve spent a lot of time at home lately due to illness. At least I’m saving fuel. .
2) I made spaghetti for dinner Thursday evening, which gave us leftovers. I’ve been using the bread that’s going stale to make garlic bread to go with it.
3) The Tribal grocers is having a $1 sale weekend, so I’m headed that way this afternoon to pickup what we’ll need for the next week.
4) I save all the meat grease from cooking and mix it with dog food for our old farm dog. He’s 17 now and it helps keep him healthy, especially during Winter.
5) I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, a yacht or a gold-plated apartment in the sky. Saving a bundle here!


Katy in Africa January 13, 2018 at 8:16 am

1.I was trying to come up with a family craft using supplies we already had and settled on boats. We used empty plastic bottles, wooden skewers and a 2017 calendar for sails. Once we made them we tried them out in a basin of water…and later used the water to water plants.
2. I just ordered 2 collages from shutterfly for my son’s birth mom and birth Grandma. Shutterfly seems so expensive to me so I try to only use them with a promo, this time it was 40% off.
3. I made a bday card for my nephew using some cool designed cupcake liners cut into triangles to make a banner on the card, kinda like this one, but I just drew a strong on instead of using a real one:
4. I’m starting to get water from the tap for the plants, its just so dry, but I’m supplementing with laundry and dish rinse water.
5. Fed leftovers to the pets instead of tossing them in the trash.


Katy in Africa January 13, 2018 at 11:46 am

*string not strong


Bee January 13, 2018 at 11:22 am

1) My husband and I took my nephew to breakfast for his birthday this morning. I had a $6 coupon. This savings covered the tip.

2) I am having a house guest this coming week, so I am doing some deep cleaning. I hate to clean but love a clean house. No need to redecorate to make a home welcoming.

3) After making a meal plan, I made a trip to the grocery store. I saved $7.50 using digital coupons.

4) I paid the car insurance in full for six months. Although I moved money from my savings account to do this, it saved $350.

5) I have sold a few items on eBay and listed many more. I bought 8 new lucite
Bar stools at Goodwill for $20 or $2.50 each. They sell for $100+ each, so I will list them on swip swap. I picked up s little side work week after next.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 4:01 pm

I love your honesty on #2! I love to cook and entertain but hate cleaning the house to get it ready for the guests to come and be entertained. Oh well, a necessary part of life… Your other four FFTs are great, too.


Mia January 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm

I’m curious. What’s swip swap? Thanks.


Bee January 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm

It’s a local Facebook sale board. Craigslist has very little traction where I live.


Deb January 13, 2018 at 11:55 am

1. Used my Walgreens rewards on a tube of aloe gel – free!
2. Received a $10 off $40 in groceries from my local grocery store
3. Used a holiday gift card to purchase a new pair of jeans after receiving $20 off the jeans.
4. Picked up two big huge beautiful bagels at work left over from a meeting. Froze one to use later and ate one for breakfast. Free breakfast.
5. Received two beautiful new cashmere sweaters from a friend who received them as a gift and the they did not fit!


Denise January 13, 2018 at 1:18 pm

#5 – didn’t fit her, hence the gift to you (woot, woot), or didn’t fit you when you tried them on (boo hiss)?


Deb January 17, 2018 at 3:52 am

Did not fit her but DID fit me! Definitely WOOT WOOT!!!


tia January 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm

The cold keepin me home does save money. Put on an extra sweater and eat what I can find.
One fugal tip though, when it’s cold and dry my eczema and rosacea flare up terribly. Doctors prescribe expensive things that rarely work and store shelves are full of lotions, soaps, shampoos, and medicines that rarely work. I read blogs and forums and googled articles and tried 2 frugal things that worked, raw unfiltered honey on the eczema and washing my face with just water and then applying cheap petroleum jelly for the rosacea. So very cheap and such wonderful relief. Now I just need to find a gentle shampoo, honey or vaseline in my hair? No. ; )


Denise January 13, 2018 at 1:22 pm

I don’t like baths, but when my eczema flares up, I put some porridge oats into a net/muslin bag and chuck it in the water, as the beta glucans from the oats helps the eczema.

Also, no hot, hot water in showers or baths.

How about store-branded baby shampoo?


tia January 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for the tips. I found a California Baby shampoo and lotion set at a good price. I’m going to try it. I hope the lotion makes a good hair conditioner. Someone told me you can wash and condition your hair with apple cider vinegar. ???? If this doesn’t work I may try the stinky vinegar.


Cheri January 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Tia and Denise, I had eczema for years and it was difficult. Finally figured out that for me it’s caused by eating gluten. Often skin conditions are food related. Eczema is so hard. Just wanted to share this. I encourage you to experiment with eliminating various food groups. Could be gluten, or dairy and soy are common irritants also. The creams and potions never solved the root issue for me. For an emollient though I found Aquafor to be helpful, like petroleum jelly but not petroleum.


cathy January 14, 2018 at 1:06 am

Cheri, I agree that eczema can be food-related, but sometimes it’s not. One of my kids is actually allergic to all the grains with gluten and to dairy (anaphylactic). He had horrendous eczema as a baby and it turned out he was getting proteins from the allergens through breast milk. When I gave up everything he was allergic to, the eczema improved, but didn’t go away; as a teen, he still has eczema and rosacea. Unfortunately, some people just have skin issues no matter what they eat.


Diane C January 15, 2018 at 7:33 am

Rosacea girl here, too. I use two prescription meds on my face (good insurance + FSA makes it affordable, and they work for me), but I’ve always had problems with my scalp. I finally decided to try the “No ‘Poo” method. I HATED it at first, but I finally adjusted to it, after at least a month. Now, my hair feels amazing and stays clean for so much longer! Most of the itchy, flakiness is gone, too. A recycled plastic parmesan shaker jar keeps the baking soda dry and safe to use in the shower and a dollar store condiment squeeze bottle that I had on hand works for the 50/50 apple cider vinegar+water rinse. The ac vinegar smells a bit, but it completely disappears when your hair dries. I love running my hand through my hair now! I’ve even come up with a travel kit, because I never want to use regular shampoo again.

Lene' January 13, 2018 at 1:14 pm

1) I’m knitting a blanket for a toddler Christmas gift. One branch of the family is a day’s drive from the rest of us, and we’ll be having a late holiday celebration this coming weekend. Which is a relief, because it gave me just a little more time in which to knit. Heh.
2) I had colon resection surgery back in October, a week before my 57th birthday, and never did get around to having a birthday cake. So, today I’m baking my own birthday cake. And I’m looking forward to it! I’ve been working to lose weight for almost three years now, and am down about 80 pounds, with another 40 or 50 I’d like to lose, so cake isn’t something I allow myself every day. It’ll be nice to have a treat.
3) I decided that I really want to push myself to try new things, so i don’t stagnate and becoming inflexible as I age. I’ve never had any artistic talent *at all*, but have always felt the desire to create. I figured what the heck, I can just relax and do it for fun, because who’s gonna see it but me and my husband and son? I chose to start with sketching and watercolors, and didn’t need to buy any supplies, because I still had the stuff I bought 20 years ago when I experienced a similar urge (but never had the nerve to follow through.) Rooted around in the basement, and asked the guys if they knew where stuff was, and sure enough, I have plenty of starter supplies to be going on with, without spending money. Glad I remembered I had this stuff, so I didn’t feel compelled to shop.
4) Picked up a bag filled with cool clothing items at Goodwill — I chose things that had wonderful fabrics or nifty buttons and trims. I am learning how to hand sew and piece quilts, and also have a couple of patterns for simple fabric gift bags I want to make, so I chose clothing with an eye for fabrics that will look amazing as gift wrap, basically. Got a couple that had some lovely organza and tulle, for the “tissue paper” component.
5) And while I was at Goodwill, I found a gorgeous leather jacket in great condition for a little over $3. It *almost* fits me right now, so close I could actually wear it comfortably if I didn’t button it closed. I love it, and figure that by the time I get rid of another 10-15 pounds, it’ll be perfect, so it should be great this fall. I like having one piece of clothing that I’m “working toward” as I work at making good choices with food, so this is my new “goalpost piece.”


avl January 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm

I like your #3. I worry too about stagnation as I get older. I have a few new things in mind this year that I’d like to try as well.


Lene' January 14, 2018 at 4:31 pm

I watched my grandma slowly shrink into herself, mentally and emotionally, and I worry my mom, who is in her eighties, is doing the same thing. I don’t want to do that.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Brilliant idea of having a “goalpost piece”: I was just thinking about my brother’s wedding at the end of March and that I’d like to wear one of two dresses which don’t currently fit me. They shall be my “goalpost pieces” to aim for by the end of March!


Lene' January 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm

I’ve got mine hanging on a hook on the outside of my closet, so I look at it every morning when I’m hobbling around the bedroom. Heh. I could probably take a photo of it and stick it on my fridge, too, if my worst snacking involved the fridge, but alas, my main problem is simply taking a little too much of the main dish at suppertime, and not eating it slowly enough to notice that I’m full before I finish it. Having a reminder on the fridge doesn’t help with that, I just need to pay more attention. LOL I’m better than I was, but as with all my faults, I still have a good way to go yet.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Your post is so positive and inspiring. Thank you.


tia January 13, 2018 at 6:13 pm

I like to paint but canvases are so expensive. I buy marked down art on canvas at Goodwill or at a local auction. Next I take my can of gesso and paint them white. Let it dry and I have big, blank canvases to paint on.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

I spent last Sunday afternoon and evening doing my YNAB budget. Even though I earn a decent salary, I had too much month, and not enough money, according to YNAB.

I’m currently doing a part-time course to retrain as a psychotherapist. One part of the training requirements is that you have to be in long term therapy yourself, to ensure that you deal with your own emotional issues and understand how you might be affected by issues raised by clients – sort of a quality control thing, if you like.

I decided to bring my attitudes to money to my session this week. I was shocked as we talked about my emotional responses to money by how powerfully I operate from a mindset of deprivation most of the time. This in turn leads me to splurges as “rewards” for suffering from punishingly tight budgets. I know that there are many people who have to work within those constraints out of necessity, and I truly hope that I don’t sound insensitive to those problems. But I saw that what I read on this site and on the Frugalwoods’ site is really about shifting to a mindset of abundance, by recalibration of what is “enough”.

Despite everyone’s mutual encouragement and support on this site (which I truly value and enjoy), I haven’t allowed myself to really move beyond the cognitive recognition around the ethos of “enough”, to challenge my emotional blockages which stop me from feeling of what that could be for me.

When I looked back at my budget later in the week, I realised that I had set myself incredibly demanding and self-defeating targets on savings, overpayments on this bloody mortgage I’ve had to take out unexpectedly, pensions etc., etc.

And I forgot (no word of a lie) to budget for food. In trying to control my insecurities and sense of not being enough and not having enough, I forgot about budgeting for feeding myself. I know what else I’ll be talking about at this week’s session! Has anyone else struggled with this sort of transition in their emotional engagement with money?

Anyway, I do have a few frugal things for once!
1. I have a stinking cold, so was off work yesterday, tucked up in bed (as I have been for most of today as well). Hard to spend money when you can’t face lifting head from pillow!
2. In one of my aforementioned “splurges”, I had ordered skincare last Sunday morning online that I don’t need or even want. Faced this head-on and will be returning it to store unopened, for a full refund.
3. I started HRT last Autumn, as I hoped that it would help with my two main menopausal symptoms: memory loss and hair loss (am balding at the front). It didn’t help, really suppressed my mood and made my appetite go haywire. I gained seven pounds in as many weeks. Just couldn’t stop eating, I was so hungry all the time. I stopped taking the HRT before Christmas and have lost four of the seven pounds – buying no biscuits (cookies), no chocolate and cooking fresh food at home from scratch. Just another 28lbs to go!
3. Since I now only have one prescription to collect each month, and the NHS prescriptions are now £8.60 per item, I have decided not to renew my annual prepay certificate as it’s cheaper now to just pay as I go. I’ll save a whopping £11 over the course of this year. (I do worry that this sort of thing may be “penny-wise and pound-foolish”, though!)
4. Spent a lot of time working out how to commute to work more cheaply, while I continue to stay at my sister’s home for the next couple of months. Can’t buy an annual ticket, which is where the savings are, as I’ll only be here for another two months. Have worked out how to park, go by train and then by tube four days per week into Central London and save £25pcm.
5. I got a pay rise in December – below the level of consumer inflation, but when so many people aren’t getting any rise, I’m grateful. I’m putting the extra I’ll be getting each month towards my mortgage overpayment each month. I was 52 on Christmas Day and I want to retire in three years’ time, and I have decided that I’ll make that my focus for any extras.


Christine January 13, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Interesting…I never thought of frugality and psychology together. Lately I have realized I live much like my parents lived when we were kids…putting the bulk of my money into property and living frugally in most other areas. I guess we really do take on a lot of our parents ways. And yes, I have budgeted and not included food! I mean, I want to lose weight but that’s ridiculous! LOL


Tracy January 14, 2018 at 6:45 am

I think so much of the way we deal with money and react to money is psychological and much of it is subconscious — good for you for taking this on! I know that my coninuing challenges to develop a healthy relationship with money stem from trying to use money to get things money can’t buy — affirmation of worth, “rewards,” a sense generosity, an antidote to boredom, a stress alleviator… I’m not getting any younger (I’m 57) and I want to live more consciously and clearly in all areas of my life, including my relationship with money.


Vickey January 18, 2018 at 8:56 am

Denise, I appreciate your clarity in articulating the emotional issues. You’re very insightful and compassionate (and funny!). You’re going to make a terrific psychotherapist!
Re menopause – I hear good things about plant-based diets being very helpful. An excellent (and free!) evidence-based site is nutrition I expect you’ll find lots of useful gems there.


Denise January 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Sorry, on item 2 – it’s frugal because my grocery spend has gone down by about £10pw.


Juhli January 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Thank you for sharing your insights about your attitudes towards money, deprivation and the related emotions. I’m sure your thoughts will be helpful to someone else.


janine January 14, 2018 at 3:51 pm

I liked your comment on shifting to a “mindset of abundance.” That says it all.


Juhli January 13, 2018 at 3:56 pm

We are in our first year of retirement and interested to see if our cash flow and budget are on target. Recently though we did the following in addition to usual frugal everyday actions.
1. The first rain in our new to us S. Cal home splattered dirt on the front walk. Hubby cut up a black plastic bag into strips, poked holes in it and put it over the dirt but under the bark mulch. Hopefully this almost no cost solution will work.
2. I inventoried my closet and purchased on sale precisely one short sleeve knit top and replacement underwear. Unfortunately I can’t find clothes to fit at our local Goodwill or consignment stores.
3. I took a walk and also paid the reduced senior price for today’s yoga class – $10. Low cost exercise.
4. Our local newspaper suddenly raised the monthly cost by almost 30%. We are cancelling.
5. Did not buy a gold plated anything.


Rebecca January 14, 2018 at 8:52 am

I LOVED Roz Chast’s book – – – very funny take on a difficult topic.


Sarah D January 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

1. I went to a student hair salon for a haircut that turned out really lovely for $17. I used to go to a different hair academy and the cuts got really bad. I think this new school is going to work out for me.
2. Had a coupon for redbox, so we’ve rented a movie for only 54 cents.
3. Turning my unofficial pantry/freezer challenge into a real one.
4. Cleaned my own house while listening to an audiobook rented from the library.
5. My husband is in the kitchen right now making bread. He makes all our bread and has done for so long I almost forget to think about how much money it saves us (and how much healthier and tastier it is than store-bought).


janine January 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm

We are on vacation – frugal fails everywhere, but a few bright spots.
1, Coffee provided in room but no tea, so I bought a box and made it in the the microwave – much cheaper.
2. Our hotel room overlooks the gulf and I saw the most spectacular sunset dip into the ocean from my balcony. Folks all over the beach gathered together to watch this free and spectacular natural phenomenon.
3. Using this time to reconsider my plans for the new year and how to purposefully spend my funds. Have decided to skip a lunch next week that will feature a ‘Super Bowl Update’ and give the $$ to an organization that is working to control human trafficking at the event.
4. We visited a favorite expensive touristy restaurant for lunch today so tonight plan to visit a local grocery deli for supplies for in-room picnic supplies. Much cheaper than an expensive restaurant meal.
5. Have not purchased any special clothes or supplies for this vacation. On the other hand, needed to purchase OTC medications for cough and cold which won’t disappear on command.


christina January 14, 2018 at 5:16 pm

I read an advanced copy of the ” the gentle art of Swedish Death Cleaning’ ( not sure that’s the exact title) It was as, Katy said, dribble. But a really great decluttering one I read ( advanced copy too) was ‘ Decluttering at the speed of LIfe’. It was amazing and loads of fun to read.


Em January 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm

1. Boyfriend used his student discount to get us tickets to see phantom of the opera. Killer deal, but snow is likely in the south on that day so, hope we will be able to make it!

2. Took a last minute house sitting job for a friend this weekend (still get some extra cash though).

3. We were going to go out to dinner last night but I was very congested and couldn’t taste anything, so we stayed in and watched a netflix movie and made some popcorn #fofree

4. Made another huge extra student loan payment! About 3,800 left. I can’t believe it.

5. Grabbed only what I needed from Aldi for groceries this week. 23.00 dollars. No one ever died from eating pb&j for lunch 4 days in a row!


Vickey January 18, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Congrats on paying down that student loan! Go, you!
Re pb&j: sadly, eating the same thing very often can, in fact, incite allergies. Maybe alternate days with a bean mash filling? ‘Banzos and relish make a fast, cheap, decent-tasting sandwich filling,


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