Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 14, 2018 · 132 comments

  1. My younger sister treated me to lunch to celebrate my belated birthday, which then expanded to include a trip to Goodwill and an evening visit to a comedy club as her friend had two extra tickets. (In case you hadn’t noticed, my plan is to milk my 50th birthday for as long as humanly possible!) It was very fun and certainly a departure from my normal evenings which feature flannel pajama pants and the fourth season of Orphan Black.

  2. I chipped 2017’s leftover Thanksgiving turkey from the basement freezer and simmered it on the stove all day. What I was thinking, I’m really not sure, as I’m now in possession of approximately 7423 gallons of turkey soup for just my husband and I. Anyone looking for either of us can just follow the wafting scent of turkey. Possibly into the month of March.

  3. I received an email from the New Seasons grocery store about a free drip coffee if I used my debit card that’s registered for paper-free email receipts. I carted in my own travel mug and received enough coffee to share with my sister after our lunch.

  4. I sold a pair of Lucky brand jeans through Facebook Marketplace. I received a mere $15, but since the jeans cost maybe a buck at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet it was still enough to cover the $13.77 that I’d just spent at Trader Joe’s. Speaking of which, can I get a what-what for spending so little at Trader Joe’s, which can be bizarrely expensive. (I bought 11 bananas, 1 butternut squash, 2 onions, 1 avocado, 2 boxes of Joe’s O’s cereal, 1 bag of mini carrots and 99¢ packet of peanut butter cups.) The key is to stay away from the booze and their myriad of impulse options.

  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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{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 January 15, 2018 at 12:03 am

Food seems to be so cheap in America. $13.77 for all of that is amazing. Avocados are $4 AUD each around here right now.

1. Our sweetcorn is ready for harvesting and it is delicious and plentiful. We are eating it every night this week. Tonight we are eating it with leftovers from last night.
2. My husband and I picked a kilogram of beans last night. I gave half to my sister. We also have zucchini ready to pick.
3. I took coffee, tea, and soda stream Soda to work today.
4. I wore a thrifted wrap dress I have owned for about 5 years and that probably cost me $5.
5. I have two paid days off in a row.


isabelle January 15, 2018 at 10:58 am

Same here Mandy, in Canada food is much more expensive than in the USA.


Nancy from mass January 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

At least you don’t have trump running your country!!


Isabelle January 16, 2018 at 2:44 am

You got that right!


Jenny January 15, 2018 at 7:03 pm

Intersting. I wonder how it all balances out- taxes-wise, what different nations pay for health care, food, rents, etc. I think many Americans think that we are being cheated by not have a national healthcare plan, but is it possible that it balances out for many? (Although I realize that many who have no health insurance have a terrible stress in that regard.)


Jenny January 15, 2018 at 7:04 pm

Should be “interesting”.


Mand01 January 16, 2018 at 12:51 am

My understanding is that the main cause of personal bankruptcy in America is medical debt. I’m not sure that’s a reasonable trade off for lower taxes because it’s inherently unfair. Health is often a lottery- people are born with or acquire disability. Income should not determine your access to quality healthcare. I realise though that this is a very difficult topic in the US and I’m speaking as someone from the outside who has had the privilege of public healthcare my whole life. That being said, I do pay for private health insurance as well. This is because I want some choice over certain things due to some specific health needs and because I have kids with extra needs and disability. And public health here isn’t perfect either. Our mental health system needs an overhaul and the health of our Indigenous people is very sadly some of the poorest in the world.


Lindsey January 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Besides the costs involved, the other huge difference that I became aware of when we lived in Scotland was that people there changed jobs without a care as to insurance coverage. It was a huge revelation to me!! I was born with a serious birth defect and have never taken a job without agonizing about the impact on my insurance. It prohibited me from ever working in the non-profit sector…

Vickey January 18, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Lindsey, your post reminds me of a friend who was unemployed for *two years* because none of the jobs offered had health coverage equal to her previous employer’s. She could have been back at work, paying taxes instead of collecting unemployment, if our country had a less predatory system.

Teresa January 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm

I wish it balanced out! The cost of healthcare varies wildly and differing policies make coverage really good or really bad. Example: Insurance for a young person can be $50 a month — the same policy for a 50+ year old can be $800 a month. Incomes vary widely too… At age 50, most people have passed their high earning days. Trying to pay $800 a month with money still left to live on would be impossible for about 1/4 of our population. The difference in food cost really doesn’t make up for those astronomical health care costs. And the example above doesn’t include the deductible or co-pay. And if a person was attempting to pay cash for anything more than a broken bone they could quickly amass a bill of $70,000 or more. It’s crazy.


Kathleen January 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm

A large part of the lower cost of food here in the states is because people who work in grocery stores and all along the production and supply chains get paid very little and often have very little in the way of work benefits (vacation, health insurance, maternity time, etc). It’s not a positive thing for our society.


Mand01 January 15, 2018 at 5:59 pm

No I’m sure it’s not overall. Because wages seem to be much lower across the board (our minimum wage is about $19 an hour) it makes sense that food is cheaper.
I notice that foods like chicken and eggs are extremely cheap. We only buy free range eggs, which cost about $5 AUD a dozen. I notice that prices quoted here for eggs seem to be about 70 cents a dozen which I assume is for cage eggs. Even so I have never seen eggs in Australia at that price.


Bee January 16, 2018 at 4:57 am

$4 AUD is a little more than $3 US dollars. In my city the cheapest that I can buy cage-free eggs is $2.79 which is comparable. In many stores they hit $5 a dozen. I cannot find food very often for the prices listed here where I live. We do have a Trader Joe’s, and I take advantage of their lower price items like bananas. BTW, TJs is one of the grocery companies that treats their employees well.


Gina in KY January 16, 2018 at 5:53 am

Yes, workers are paid miserable wages and a lot of it is done by immigrants (which is, as we all know, a whole other contentious topic in the US right now)Additionally food grown in the US is subsidized by taxes instead (instead of having, at least to me, a sensible healthcare system) or grown in large amounts in unethical situations, so in many ways Jennifer makes a strong point that there is a trade-off, although maybe this where we divert in opinions here in whether one should pay the real cost for food and have fair access to healthcare or pay less for food and have unaffordable or unbalanced access to healthcare. We are in a perilous time here in the USA.


Elizabeth January 15, 2018 at 3:46 am

1.Made homemade pizza and oatmeal candy for game night
2.Found some of our favorite children’s books at the thrift store in great condition, so I picked them up to give as gifts later in the year.
3.Found a new, Guinea pig house (more like a mansion!) at the thrift store for just $2, which is an awesome price! Our Guinea pig’s current house is so small she knocks it over unless we put a small hand weight on it…which might not end well if the weight fell on her….so we were happy to find a cheap upgrade:)
4.Found a great deal on underwear to buy for my $5 weekly challenge that benefits local charities. I hope to show that being generous doesn’t have to cost a lot!
5.Reduced my power bill by $50, simply by turning off wall heaters when we are not upstairs and only used a small space heater at night in my laundry room to keep the pipes from bursting…praise the Lord! Otherwise we heated with firewood to stay warm.


Edie January 16, 2018 at 10:54 am

Wow- what is oatmeal candy?


Jennifer January 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm

Ooh, do tell! That sounds great!


cc January 15, 2018 at 4:20 am

It’s taken me awhile to get used to cooking smaller meals for the two of us. I saved half the broth in my freezer and have used it twice in different soups. The meat that was left on the bone was used in, turkey and dumping, turkey enchiladas, turkey salad earlier this month. This was a small turkey since I don’t like it that much. Thank goodness it is now gone until next thanksgiving.


Jennifer January 15, 2018 at 4:24 am

1. Stretched a pound of sausage into 2 meals for 5 people. First spaghetti and next pizza.
2. It was a very expensive weekend as we got stuck out of town at a gymnastics meet due to bad weather. I had brought lots of snacks and water, but our only food option was convention center fast food or the hotel restaurant that was attached. We choose cheap dinner options and drank water. For breakfast we had to pay for the buffet. They did not charge me for my dd with a food allergy as there wasn’t much she could eat. My other dd and I stuffed ourselves and then we consumed our snacks and water bottles the rest of the day until we left at 7 pm.
3. Heading out of town (planned this time) again soon and I am already planning all the meals we can bring to eat in the hotel room.
4. Dh and I have both successfully avoided Starbucks this year unless we have a gift card.
5. Switched internet providers after ours that I was never happy with raised their rates by $10 a month. Going from $55 (would have been $65) down to $40 for the first year. Hoping that we at least have a better internet stream while also saving money.


Deb in SD January 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm

It’s good to have choices with internet providers. Where I live there is only one provider, and they require a land line as well. I pay $91 per month for basic phone service and internet, and that’s not the extra fast internet. There is additional cost for that.


Kathleen January 15, 2018 at 4:29 am

Trader Joe’s is the land of impulse buys. Good for you getting out of there with just what you need.

1. I had a meeting after church that I knew was going to run long. I threw together a jar of oatmeal before I left the house and it held me together until I got home at 3:30.
2. Last week I had a dentist appointment. Because my husband works for a university our insurance really only works if we go to their dentists. It takes over an hour on the subway to get there. I added a trip to the Goodwill while down there ($32 for 5 practically brand new pieces of clothing can’t be beat) and managed to get myself home without spending money on coffee or lunch.
3. I’ve been super careful at the grocery store. We don’t have a car, so we’re limited in terms of comparison shopping. I’m just being more careful about what I buy.
4. We took the kids to the Museum of Science on Saturday. We have a membership which has more than paid for itself, and I brought lunch for me and the kids.
5. No Lear Jets for us.


Jill A January 15, 2018 at 4:32 am

1. We had a snafu with a large payment resulting in writing a second large check which we needed to stop payment on. The person at the bank suggested we upgrade our checking and savings to a premier account which saved us the $33 fee to stop payment on the check and will pay us more interest.
2. I thawed a couple containers of homemade chicken broth from my freezer, added the leftover veggies in my fridge along with some fresh veggies purchased on special at Aldi’s to make a large vat of delicious vegetable soup. We’ve had it for lunch two times already and gave a couple meals worth to my mother. My Husband and I will also be eating this soup until March.
3. My husband, youngest daughter and I went to see The Commuter with Liam Neeson yesterday at the cheap theater. We paid the extra 50 cents a ticket to order tickets online avoiding the long line. Due to the line my daughter skipped the soda she wanted which saved us exactly 1.50. Funny how things work out.
4. After the movie we went home and made my daughter some mac and cheese and pizza rolls purchased at Meijers 10 for 10 sale and my husband and I ate leftovers from the fridge along with some cheese and crackers.
5. I went to dinner with my Mom, daughters and a friend Saturday night. It was my husbands monthly poker tournament. My daughters shared a pizza, one daughter and I ordered water to drink. I drove my friend to the restaurant saving her gas and afterwards we went back to my house for a gin and tonic and conversation in a quieter atmosphere.


Shelia January 15, 2018 at 4:44 am

1. We live near the college Katy attended. There is a family owned dairy and ice cream restaurant that celebrates its birthday yearly. This year it is their 149th year of operation so they have food options for 1.49. We went two days and had a sandwich, fries and drinks for 1.49 and a one dip waffle cone for 1.49. We even used the remains of a gift card one of the two days!
2. It’s been really cold and snowy here. One day I used the oven to make bacon, cook a fall pumpkin and roast some vegetables. Heat and food to eat at the same time!
3. Dinner tonight is pizza with the roasted vegetables and some clearance pesto. My dough didn’t rise as much as I would like but I’ve had the pound of yeast for a long time. It was so much cheaper to buy a pound that if I’ve lost a little, I’m okay with that.
4. My van battery has been acting up. I really thought we had replaced it as the van is a 2010. Nope, original battery. And this is the first time it’s given me trouble. Staying home is definitely frugal!
5. I will do a small stock up this week at the grocery as they’re running a Buy 10 for 10.00 with the 11th free but we’ve been eating out of the freezer and pantry so our food bill has been insanely low. A big help when temps are this low and there’s a larger than average heating bill coming!
Stay warm and safe, folks!


Mary W January 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

I buy my yeast in 2# bricks and store all but a small amount in the freezer – it lasts forever frozen. The small amount I take out at a time is stored in the coldest part of my fridge until used. Hope this helps. 🙂


K D January 15, 2018 at 5:45 am

1. It was a cold weekend and we mostly stayed in. We did venture to Target to return overpriced wiper blades. I stopped at Safeway where they had $.19/# bananas and 2# containers of strawberries for $2.99. I also stopped at Michael’s and bought a couple skeins of yarn (on sale and with a coupon and a discounted gift card). I made sure the yarn was made in USA. It’s yarn I’ll use for charity knitting.

2. We walked to the library to do a few returns and pick-ups. On the way home there was a dollar bill in the street. That really upped my found “change” game.

3. A new friend is a retired librarian. The other day she mentioned a few of her favorite books. I was able to download a couple of them from the library. I’m also reading a book for a book club, courtesy of the library. As some of you say, your library card is your favorite card.

4. We had enough leftovers so that with a little cooking this weekend we were good to go on the meal front. I too have turkey in my freezer that came from a turkey breast carcass. Ugh!

5. Just hanging in there, trying to ignore the fact that it is cold out. Continuing to walk outside, drink hot beverages, etc. The days are getting longer so warmer weather has to follow (at some point).


Linda Gertig January 15, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Anybody who does a lot of knitting or crocheting might be interested in the offerings at I get a lot of yarn there at less than half price. I also check on Ebay and my local thrift stores and frequently do well there, too. Since it is charity knitting, I figure that even if it is not my favorite color, the recipient choosing there hat scarf or blanket might be getting their favorite color.


Michele January 15, 2018 at 5:54 am

1. Went away with friends for the weekend, which is not frugal, but ate every meal in the condo. Enjoyed staying in and not going anywhere!
2. Rented 2 movies from Netflix. Because there was a mix up with the online ordering, we got them for free.
3. Made another batch of my homemade laundry soap.
4. Running for exercise. Cheap. And good therapy.
5. Making my lunch and breakfast every day for work.


Jennifer January 15, 2018 at 6:17 am

1. Trying to stay home for the past few days to avoid the flu. Some people in my area have died with it and my husband has health issues already so we need to avoid it. Coincidentally, it keeps me from spending money.
2. I need to go to the grocery store so last night I was tempted to go to a drive-thru. We found some chicken fingers in the freezer and cooked those instead.
3. I found a Starbucks gift card in the parking lot of Kroger that had $10 left on it and wasn’t registered to anyone. Since I don’t drink coffee, I went there and got a nice water bottle with hearts on it to give my daughter for Valentines Day. I may have already mentioned this in a previous post. I am experiencing a frugal memory blur, I guess. It feels familiar as I am typing about it, lol.
4. My husband built a chicken feeder out of PVC pipe. It was inexpensive to make and will keep him from having to fill the feeders daily during the bitter cold.
5. I made my grandson’s birthday cake. It didn’t cost much to make as I alot of stuff I already have, like my chicken eggs. It was 3 tier and turned out so cute! It was a Mickey Mouse cake so I got Mickey Mouse Christmas ornaments on clearance at CVS to decorate the cake with. I will later use them for Christmas ornaments as a fun reminder of his first birthday. We served kool-aid tropical punch as an inexpensive drink and crockpot hotdogs. I feel like my frugal memory blur has kicked in again because I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this already. Maybe I just told the plan for the birthday in a previous post and this is now past tense. ***sigh


Bee January 16, 2018 at 5:17 am

I am glad the party was a success. Hooray for raising your own chickens and not having to buy eggs.


Jennifer January 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm



Cindy in the South I January 16, 2018 at 11:02 am

Well, I cannot remember reading it before, so we are in the same boat…lol


Tracy January 15, 2018 at 6:34 am

1. I enjoy peppermint tea in the evenings ( I mainline coffee from about 4:30-8:30 a.m. but then I’m done and I’m not a big water drinker during the day so try to hydrate some in the evenings). One of my DDs gave me a big batch of bulk organic peppermint tea and a tea ball for Christmas. I love the tea and the also fact that it’s cheaper and much lower on the packaging waste scale than the tea bags I was previously using.
2. It was a gorgeous weekend here so Saturday we went for a lovely shortish (3 miles or so) hike in the forest in the state park near our house, free and good for the soul.
3. Continuing to eat from freezer, trying a new slow cooker chicken recipe for this evening.
4. Went to Goodwill yesterday with two DDs and my Mom. Dropped off a large bag of stuff, bought three things with gift card from Christmas — for me, a thick , like new pair of Nike sweat pants. (I have to dress professionally for work but as soon as I get home I hang up my work clothes and put on comfy sweats and these will be perfect!), a really pretty dress for 14 year old DD (pale blue lace) that fits her like a glove and will be perfect for Easter and a cool retro t-shirt for 26 year old DD (a starving back-to college student living in my basement!). Total cost = $18.50, gift card was $20 so nothing out of pocket! We did go out for lunch at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant very close by the store, I paid for lunch, my Mom paid tip, so total for me $40, but since we haven’t been eating out it felt like a special treat and we all really enjoyed it. We also drank only water and the tea that came with the meal which helped keep cost reasonable. And an occasional three generation outing is worth a little splurge IMHO. And we were all full so last evening I didn’t cook dinner, everyone just fended for themselves eating whatever. (Hubs didn’t have the benefit of the outing but was feeling a bit punky so he wasn’t ravenous either.)
5. 14 year old DD and I went to yoga at the health club we belong to yesterday and then spent a “spa hour” enjoying the whirlpool, steam bath and recently remodeled locker room before aforementioned lunch/Goodwill outing. No cost (beyond monthly membership fee, which I feel better about paying if we actually utilize the health club!).
6. Cleaning my own house today with help of DDs. Yay for MLK Jr. day! Will also watch his “I have a Dream”speech today with hubs and DDs on youtube which we try to do every MLK Jr. day –seems especially important this year.
7. Went to library yesterday and checked out 8 books — hours and hours of free entertainment!


Isitaneedorawant January 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

(1) When putting away my Christmas decorations some needed padding to prevent breakage. I used worn out hand towels, vintage napkins and the receiving blankets I used when my children were babies.
(2) The Christmas pillow cases I made when my kids were young have been repurposed to cover decorations from dust in my basement and to hold seasonal linens. I found a unique Christmas object that has brought back memories for my oldest. It was wrapped for her in a tie dye pillow case from her childhood:)
(3)Had a couple of black pillowcases that I have used to cover pillows we know longer use in the dog’s kennel.
(4)I also have cut up dark sweatshirts that are worn out and put them under a the toilet tank in one of our bathrooms that produces condensation and a slow drip. I noticed it would puddle a bit on the floor and stain. This solution let’s me keep changing and throwing out the cloths. I struggled with what to do with a zippered hooded sweatshirts when the zipper breaks. I know my thrift shop does not need that kind of a donation, so now I use as disposable towels.
(5) Made a list of what I gifted this year. Sometimes I come up with a great idea that is homemade or purchased. Good to keep track of who I’ve gifted items to so as to avoid duplication:) ( I have a close friend who has gifted my family the same unique Christmas ornament a few years in a row. I’m not sure she remembers she already gave it to us)


MW January 15, 2018 at 7:04 am

Turkey broth. . . mmmmm. . . If you have the freezer space, you really can’t have too much!


Marybeth January 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm

I feel the same way. My husband does not.


Bettypants January 15, 2018 at 7:09 am

1. I made lentil soup to use up the end of the carrots. Also made two batches of cookies, just because.

2. Applied for a Kroger Mastercard to get a $75 statement credit, and was approved. I use my Discover card religiously and pay it off in full every month, but I can be swayed by $75.

3. Sold two items on ebay, both of which I bought from my favorite local thrift store. It’s a small store and the same two employees are always there and are starting to recognize me as a regular. I don’t want to go *too* often and be a weirdo, but they have such good items and low prices.

4. My upstairs shower was leaking into the downstairs closet. I took it apart and the drain assembly was solid. I redid the silicone around the drain and I think that was the problem, but I don’t feel confident enough to put the coats back in the closet yet.

5. Walked up to the library and checked out a big bag of books, plus a DVD to lure me onto the treadmill.


Linda Gertig January 15, 2018 at 6:20 pm

How often is too often to go to the thrift store?Even though the items for sale are donated, like any other store, thrift stores have fixed costs such as rent and utilities. They only make a profit for the charity that they are supporting if they sell enough to cover those costs and then some.


tonya parham January 15, 2018 at 9:25 pm

Also, why would going often make one a weirdo?
Further, who cares what anyone thinks? Screw ’em!


Bettypants January 16, 2018 at 4:17 am

I know the whole point is for them to sell stuff. I just feel conspicuous, like “Here’s that lady again.” The two men who run it are the nicest people, and always say thank you for stopping in.


Jennifer January 17, 2018 at 6:48 am

I personally like to go unnoticed so I can appreciate this. Doesn’t matter what others think but I choose to go to stores in the early mornings because I hate crowds. This often makes me the only shopper in store with the early morning employees. The early crew at Kroger recognizes me and I do get the feeling they know me as a problem couponer, which they dread. I don’t use many but it does seem to be a hassle sometimes. I would rather be a customer they don’t know at all, just how I feel.


Mary in VA January 17, 2018 at 8:15 am

Jennifer, I tend to agree with you. I generally like to go unnoticed. The other day the manager of a thrift store where I shop all the time commented very loudly “Boy, you sure do buy a lot of books! You must read a lot! How many do you read every week?” The only time I like to be recognized is when they offer me a discount because I’m a regular, which happened in the past with the previous manager. I’d never ask for a discount, but she would occasionally drop the price when ringing up the total, and I gave her a grateful smile and a “Thank you so much!” Now I’m just loudly noticed, LOL.

Vickey January 18, 2018 at 1:06 pm

I got a chuckle out of your term “problem couponer”. I tend towards this myself. But hey, if they’d carry the stock, and make the terms clear, most of those problems could be prevented.
WRT the loud books questioner: there ain’t no excuse for managers or employees being rude, especially when competition for retail dollars is so stiff. Maybe they meant to be friendly, but it sounds like a micro-aggression from here.

Mary in VA January 19, 2018 at 5:49 am

Vickey: I know, right? Micro-agression, I love it! As a result of that, I’ve avoided that particular thrift store for a few days. It’s not my favorite, just one of the shops on my rotation.

avl January 15, 2018 at 7:10 am

1) I sold a shopping bag full of books to Half-Priced Books for $21. Then, I took that money and got a much needed haircut for $20. I tried one of those chain no-frills walk-in salons for the first time. My $20 haircut looks no different than my usual $35 haircut, so I’ll be going back. Admittedly, my cut is so simple it is hard to mess up.

2) Used a $10 of $30 at Staples to buy a black ink cartridge for my printer at home. Sometimes frugality can be very dull. I did force myself not to touch any of the tempting items on the holiday clearance table by the register – like gingerbread cookie mixes and Yankee Candles.

3) I guess this one is frugal, but not really by choice. I’ve given up having a glass of wine or beer with dinner, and have abstained from all alcohol (even at parties or restaurants) for about 3 months now. After several years, I finally made the connection between my frequent severe headaches and alcohol consumption, even in small amounts. Maybe I developed a sulfite allergy? Who knows. At any rate, not waking up most mornings with a pounding headache is worth a lot to me. My sleep cycle is also a lot better.

4) I am finishing my morning coffee and girding myself to go outside and shovel my snow, instead of relying on a service as we have done in the past. I am still able to do it myself, and I have the time to do it. I will wear a second hand coat as I shovel away.


Mand01 January 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm

I started going to a chain store hairdresser as well about a year ago when I wasn’t able to get into my regular hairdresser for my cut and colour. They only do cuts. I started saving $50 a month (I have short hair and it needs to be cut regularly). I stopped colouring altogether. It saves so much time and money.
Also re alcohol- we gave it up six years ago. The savings to health and wallet are incredible.


Madeline Kasian January 15, 2018 at 7:20 am

1. Getting sick and having to stay home really cuts down on spending and gas!! I have been wtaching Netflix,reading library books and eating the fresh oranges and tangerines our neighbors gave us.No appetite.Husband fends for self out of refrig and freezer.

2. Using cotton handerkerchiefs not tissues.Have to do a load of laundry today– this will get me up off couch at least.

3. Meditation time is expanded;many insights.

4. Making new resolutions for the year ahead: no group trainings, more solitude, less comittments outside of my home and hobbies. Journalling=free.

5. Taking generic nyquil we had from last year. A good night’s sleep is golden just now. Lots of fluids.No doctor bills..we rarely use physician unless it’s absolutely necessary. Going to an urgent care center would CERTAINLY expose us to WAY MORE GERMS!!


Jennifer January 17, 2018 at 7:03 am

5. I agree with the way you are handling your illness and I am a nurse. We don’t go to the doctor unless we aren’t improving after a reasonable amount of time. Many illnesses will get better with proper rest and care at home.


Carolyn January 15, 2018 at 7:52 am

Did well between Christmas and New Years with our vacation rental on Airbnb. Had eight nights booked, downside was a frozen water filter housing broke. There was replacement costs and cleanup. Labor by hubby for plumbing and clean up.
Eating venison from a deer hubby got last fall. Yummy jerky and other tasty meals.
Cooking with blueberries from the freezer, had picked over 100 quarts from our garden and froze over half.
Holidays were local, no travel or hotel expense. Hubby gave me a haircut on my birthday as my ends really needed a trim. A friend said that was a nice present. Thought that was odd as I always have him do my hair, it just happened to be on my birthday that he trimmed it. I did get my glass of red wine which is our tradition. I joked a few years back when my husband asked if I wanted anything before he caped me to trim my locks and I said if he could get me a glass of wine, it would be appreciated. So ever since he sets out a glass of wine for me to sip as he does my hair.
Hubby cooked me baked potatoes and crab cakes for my birthday meal with cheesecake for dessert.


Jill A January 15, 2018 at 8:52 am

What a nice birthday and a sweet husband.


A. Marie January 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Great birthday dinner, Carolyn! Yum yum. Kudos to your talented DH.


kathleen January 15, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Plumber + cleanup + hunter + stylist + cook = KEEPER 🙂


Lindsey January 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm

100 quarts of blueberries!!??? I am happy with 10 quarts. You are a champ!


susanna d January 15, 2018 at 8:01 am

Five Boring Frugal Things, January Weather Edition:

1. On Thursday, rain turned to freezing rain which then turned to snow. Followed by temperatures dropping to well below 0 degrees F. As a result of our lovely weather, we are on day 5 of spending almost no money, which is the good part. Except for heating costs – the bad part. Sigh.

2. The only place we drove over the past 5 days was to the transfer station to drop of the recyclables, which were threatening to take over the garage. No charge to drop off recyclables. Only cost was for gasoline, which amounted to about 1/4 of a gallon.

3. The drive to the transfer station showed that the roads were ice covered crap, reinforcing our desire to stay off them until it’s warm enough for the road salt to work on melting that ice. Which probably means tomorrow at the earliest.

4. Finally made a big batch of beef broth with the bones that were hanging out in the freezer. Lots of soup meals in our future.

5. Getting our free outdoor exercise when the temperatures are above zero. Realized once again that our Yak Trax were a very good investment. We put them on over the soles of our hiking boots, and can get some much needed exercise and fresh air without too much of a risk of falling on our icy roads.


Cynthia Huntington January 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

Your weather sounds like ours. Are you in Vermont?


susanna d January 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Northern Wisconsin. The snow and cold aren’t all that unusual but rain followed by freezing rain added an ice factor that isn’t quite as common – at least, not for January.


Joyce January 16, 2018 at 6:44 am

I’m in VT and this is our first winter here, it has been a bear, but nice today


Cynthia Huntington January 16, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Joyce, I’m in Thetford Vermont. This winter has already been wild and strange. Last winter was easy. These days it’s hard to predict anything!


Kathy Hairston January 15, 2018 at 8:24 am

1. Stopped at goodwill after Bible study, picked up some NWT items including a sweater for daughter in law for Valentine’s Day
2. Helped a friend declutter and she paid me plus free food for 3 days. I also came home with several items of clothing. I’ll also be selling some things for her on eBay
3. Ate from the pantry and refrigerator over the last week
4. Cocktailing hair products
5. Found a pair of jeans at garage sale for great nephew


Cynthia Huntington January 15, 2018 at 11:45 am

What does “cocktailing hair products” mean? I’m so intrigued!


A. Marie January 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Well, my walk-on-the-wild-side aunt (the one with whom I once went into a sex toys shop in Miami) went through a period where she used to wash her hair in beer. But I don’t know what she would have used for cocktails–and, sadly, she’s no longer here to ask.


Diane C January 16, 2018 at 4:28 am

Hmmm, maybe it means mixing the last dribs and drabs of various but similar products together? i.e. dumping all the leftover conditioners into one bottle and shaking vigorously?


Lindsey January 16, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Your comment about the sex shop reminds me: I went to Catholic convent boarding school for grade school and then high school and then to Notre Dame for college. The first off campus trip I saw an adult bookstore. I was so innocent, I thought it was a bookstore with books for adults and no kids allowed in to bug you. You know, books like War and Peace or Doctor Zhivago. Was I surprised!


Rosanne January 15, 2018 at 8:28 am

1. We went to a Mongolian broth pot restaurant. My husband had a secret shop, so it was all paid for. Really different- a big pot of broth is put on the stove on the table and then you choose your uncooked ingredients and cook it yourself. Had noodles shrimp and mushrooms which was delicious. The shopping service even paid our tip.
2. Free energy efficient lightbulbs at Shop Rite this week with coupon- so got 8 in two transactions.
3. Had Sears shop your way points about to expire so ordered some end of season sweaters for a pittance.
4. Made our yearly contribution to my sons 529 account. The stock market is really cooperating in my goal of having college and Catholic high school paid for when he ends eighth grade.
5. Counted my blessings- I have a like minded husband who encourages and supports me in my frugal endeavors.


Teresa January 16, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Sears / Kmart keeps giving me online shopping “Free Points” which are different than (and can’t be used in conjunction with) Shop your Way points. They often offer “Save $X on $X in “(department name)”. With savings on all different price points in various departments. I’ve saved as much as $14 on $14, and on sale items too, so I really saved more!! Toys, clothing, automotive, appliances, household… they have various offers going at the same time. The trick is that you must spend at least $X to get the $X (spending more than “$X” is ok, but if your item is less than $X the discount won’t apply.) It doesn’t work on every item, so you have to spend a little time looking for what you want. To apply the points, you pass the first spot where you’d normally plug in your “Shop Your Way” points, and then on the next screen it shows you if your item qualifies for the “Free Points”, which you can then apply. Work slowly so you don’t accidentally purchase something without the discount. It took me a while to figure out how it works, but now that I understand it I have a running list of things that I need to buy. Instead of buying at will, I check my “Free Points” every few weeks and see if I can purchase with those. I also set up “free in-store pickup” so I don’t have to pay shipping. It’s a pretty good deal… I probably won’t need to spend money on household items all year because of the Free Points purchases I was awarded this month. It’s worth checking out if you are trying to save $$. Free is less expensive than a thrift store! Also, it may have something to do with my Sears CC, but the system doesn’t require it. It simply requires that setting up a Sears/Kmart online shopping account. Hope that made sense —


Teresa January 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Also, this keeps me out of the store so I don’t make any impulse purchases.


Rosanne January 17, 2018 at 6:42 am

Hi Teresa. I put the ‘win it’ app on my phone and my husbands. You spin a wheel for “bonus” points. I usually lose, but average winning about 12 dollars per week. Since points expire every 14 days, I have enough to order something on line every couple of weeks and can stack them with ‘freepoints’. Shipping is free at $25 Hope Sears and Kmart stay in business. I got a lot of Christmas presents this way.


tia January 15, 2018 at 8:54 am

With all the folks using the toilet it got clogged and wouldn’t budge with a plunger. I tried the baking soda and vinegar method and it worked. Even having to do it twice it was less than a dollar.

With eczema and rosacea linked to allergy and Im already gluten, dairy, soy, and citrus free Im giving up chocolate. I was allergic to it when I was a toddler so blahhhh. At least I will be saving money not buying the lovely traitorous food.

It’s cold and needing nonfood comfort I bought a soft cotton hoodie. Not frugal at 14 bucks from Target but better than being committed(that’s probably really expensive) and Im good.


JennyS January 16, 2018 at 9:27 pm

What’s the vinegar and baking soda trick?


Kristin January 15, 2018 at 9:00 am

It’s hard to think of five things, because I do a lot of things automatically. One big frugal thing I did was that I brought my own dinner to work a late shift, when I knew others would probably be getting delivery. I used the excuse that I really need to watch what I am eating (which is true). It’s more a social thing for me…I kinda felt awkward eating my almonds and crackers and cheese while they had ($9!) tacos. But it was fine, really, we all chatted while we ate. I am sure none of them has thought twice about it since.


Bee January 16, 2018 at 7:05 am

Being on frugal autopilot is a very cool thing!


Lisa January 15, 2018 at 9:07 am

My frugal life

1. Gleaned citrus, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines from some land in the city that they are going to develop and remove the trees. I have an electric juicer and canned the juice. The nicer pieces were for citrus salad that was canned.

2. Was gifted three cabbages and I have started a five gallon jar of sauerkraut. Yummy brats with kraut once the weather warms.

3. Was able to stack store coupons and manufacturer coupons for vitamins that are always on sale in january for buy one get one free. I load up with a six month supply.

4. Made enough laundry detergent to last six months.

5. Going to Orlando for a long week end the first weekend in March and used AAA discount and early reservation to get a good deal on the rental car.

I did have a fail. I went for a mammogram that I received for free with a charitable grant and they saw something. Long story short I am fine but was at the hospital for additional hours to have an ultrasound and consult with a doctor which put my day way behind. I stopped at a store deli and picked up lunch.

Still have not gone to a big box store.


Teresa January 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm

It can be scary when you get a call-back after a mammogram. Glad you are ok…


lee January 15, 2018 at 9:15 am

As others have mentioned, the simple act of staying home has helped me not spend money. That said, here are a few of my frugal wins in the past week or so:

1) After recently taking advantage of a sale for photo prints on Shutterfly (unlimited free prints, paying only shipping!), I had a huge stack of photos to scrapbook. Normally, when scrapbooking, I make the effort to find as perfect a match as possible in selecting papers and other supplies – which usually means purchasing new items. So I considered it a huge win that, in planning about 20 pages, I was able to think creatively and be content with “good enough” in selecting supplies from what I already had on hand – and that meant only purchasing six pieces of paper and a box of adhesive.

2) At the bookstore yesterday, I used my parents’ rewards code to save an additional 10% on the items I was purchasing (both of which were already on sale!).

3) I successfully avoided the temptation of buying clothes yesterday. I’m currently not working, so I have a collection of “comfy clothes” (i.e. yoga pants, long-sleeved shirts) on rotation from week to week. Truthfully, I’m a bit tired of wearing the same things day after day after day; but reminding myself that I’m not working/contributing to our current income was a good way to put that pretty pair of yoga pants back on the rack.


Mary in Maryland January 15, 2018 at 9:20 am

1) Last night I was planning on a pasta dish that called for one carrot. When I noticed that the carrot I pulled out of the 5#/$1 bag was squishy at one end, I looked over the rest and switched the supper menu to curried carrot soup.
2) I washed all the stinky dog laundry while they were at the groomer. Letting the good smells last.
3) I noticed a couple months ago that the older dog’s joint meds are for dogs “30-60 pounds.” Our two are thirty pounds each, so now I’m giving half the dose to each dog.
4) I ordered two huge bags of dogfood from Walmart. They were delivered for free which saved us gas, and an hour, some back pain, and 15 dollars.
5) I’m planning a party for my spouse’s 70th, which is this Saturday. Seven friends, soup, sandwiches, and dessert (apple crisp with the recently mentioned granola as part of the topping.
6) During this cold snap spouse reclaimed the wool socks I knit him in 1996. I’ve been wearing them for ten years, despite the fact that I knit them to fit his larger feet perfectly–another version of taking one for the team. Two color socks are much warmer, so I’ve started some for myself using 50 year old yarns of charcoal and blue that I was gifted by a down-sizing friend. I have two hundred grams of gorgeous self-striping yarn in blue, charcoal, cream, gold that I bought for a souvenir of Holland. I’ll use that for the cuffs. I figure I can get eight very warm matching socks out of the yarn I have.


Ruby January 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

1. Trimmed my bangs (fringe) again. I do this in tiny increments so as not to wind up with way too short hair. Still putting off visiting the hair dresser.
2. Coupon machine at the grocery store produced a $3.50 coupon for our preferred cat litter and I found a box of it with a $1 off coupon sticker. 14 pounds of kitty litter for $2.50 is nice!
3. Had to work Sunday evening and was delighted to find that there’s no charge for parking right outside the building on Sunday. So the $4 I would have spent on parking stayed snug in my wallet.
4. This sounds unfrugal, but I signed up for one of those clothing subscription services to improve my work wardrobe just a bit. I hate shopping and am a shorty-roundy person, so thrift shop options require lengthy, often fruitless searches. So far this is working out, due to setting a budget and being ruthless about only keeping what fits perfectly and is reasonably priced.
5. Had to order some printer ink at work, did a quick online search for a promo code and saved my employer $40.


tonya parham January 15, 2018 at 9:17 pm

When I was a full time professor, I used one of those clothes services and I found it was quite nice. It also cut WAY down on my laundry cost and time. I’m also short and round and hate to shop for clothes. So, by doing that, I could wear a time or two, send back, was only washing what I wore at home, and could spend laundry time making meals from scratch or making my own yogurt or bread!


Ruby January 16, 2018 at 2:51 pm

That’s good to know how well it worked for you. So far I am really liking it and received a lot of compliments on the clothes. I don’t have a good sense of style, so this is also broadening my view of what looks nice on me, which can be applied to future deep discount shopping.


NatalieC January 26, 2018 at 5:51 pm

What service are you using? Are the items reasonablely priced and well made? Do you pay shipping to send back what you don’t want. I’m meduim height but on the round side. I’ve been thinking of joining one for plus women but am unsure about it.


Hashichan January 15, 2018 at 9:57 am

1. I did a drop off at the thrift store and didn’t go inside, because I don’t need anything at the moment.
2. We’re mostly eating from the fridge, freezer and pantry this week. I went to the farmer’s market with a $20 limit, and left with enough change to get a dozen eggs at the supermarket. The veggies are the farmer’s market are more expensive than the supermarket, but I like to support the small farmers. If I only buy what’s seasonal and local, and what I know we can eat within the week, I end up spending less on produce overall.
3. I mended a pair of reading glasses and a pair of earrings.
4. I made almond milk. Ounce for ounce, it cost more than the supermarket stuff but I also dehydrated the almond meal and can use that for baking and breading, so I’m ahead. I used a piece of chiffon for straining the milk instead of buying a nut milk bag.
5. I collected oranges from a friend’s tree, so we have no need to buy juice this week.


Joyce January 15, 2018 at 11:14 am

1. Brought my thawed turkey soup for lunch
2. Made salads for hubby and me for the week for lunch. We find protein from leftovers or cook chicken to throw in
3. Curbed my Amazon impulse leftover from Christmas and reserved a book at the library instead.
4. Tweaked the recipes for the wine pairing I’m hosting so they are homemade rather than store bought items. My friends daughter started a new wine guide business so I thought I can get free wine (ha after cost of food), help out a friend, and host a gathering of friends all at the same time.
5. No Lear jets here either.


A. Marie January 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm

FFT, Justified Expenditure Edition. (Those of you old enough to remember Jeff Goldblum’s line from The Big Chill about “one good juicy rationalization a day” can relate, I’m sure.)

(1) An AAA membership is worth every penny, as we just proved yet again when DH’s Honda Element wouldn’t start again. Once again, the problem turned out to be battery drain due to human error–and once again, the nice young man who gave us a jump start was wonderfully patient with us old folks. (Note to self: I am going to supervise DH’s shutdown of the Element from now on, just to make absolutely sure that all exterior and interior lights are turned off.)

(2) Because today was a day off work for me, we took the Element out to warm it up further and ran several errands. First stop was Ollie’s (“Good Stuff Cheap!”), where we used a 15% off an entire purchase coupon on several things we needed. (The only purchase that was a complete frivolity was the Harry and David’s chocolate truffles.)

(3) Second stop was our local LL Bean store for the winter sale. DH and I got a pair of Wicked Good Slippers apiece (mine were on the special-markdowns rack, since I wear a men’s size 7 very nicely and the small men’s sizes tend to be marked down), and we also got DH a sorely needed pair of fleece-lined jeans. On the rare occasions when men’s lined jeans do turn up at thrift shops, they tend to be too tattered to consider.

(4) Last stop was our dentist’s, where I had a bit of touch-up work done on an old filling, and also had a chat with Dr. Goodtooth about the implant he wants to do on me later this year. I appreciated his honesty about cost and recovery time, and I now do see the advantage of an implant over a bridge–but I’m still hoping to kick this can down the road as long as possible.

(5) Now, back to extreme frugality: I’m making “Medieval Gourd Soup” tonight (the recipe is from a small cookbook called To the King’s Taste, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art over 40 years ago) from a quart of frozen chicken stock, some pork sausage from our 1/2 pig, a quart freezer bag of pumpkin dating from a pumpkin scavenged off the curb 2 years ago, two onions, and a whole bunch of warming spices. Medieval cookery was heavy on the spices, no doubt to disguise some off-flavors from the other ingredients!


avl January 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm

#5 sounds so interesting. You’ll have to let us know how it turns out.


A. Marie January 15, 2018 at 2:53 pm

We just finished dinner with the soup, and it was delicious–as it was 40 years ago when a professor of mine had an end-of-term banquet at her house and thus introduced me to the recipe. For those interested in following up, the cookbook’s author is Lorna J. Sass, and in addition to To the King’s Taste, she seems to have done several other small historical cookbooks for the Met–including To the Queen’s Taste (Elizabethan cookery) and Dinner with Tom Jones (18th-c. cookery).

And our Down Under friends may be interested to know that the pumpkin I saved from the curb two years ago was a Queensland Blue. I don’t get it how some folks can spend a small fortune on ornamental pumpkins and then toss them out once they’re done with them. (But then I’ve never quite understood this particular neighbor anyway–although I have certainly made quite a discreet profit off her over the years!)


cathy January 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm

RE your #4: I was just going to research implant vs bridge since I’m having a tooth removed this week and they’re planning to do the prep for the implant post. Can you share what you learned?


A. Marie January 15, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Very briefly: For a bridge, some work has to be done on the two teeth either side of the one to be removed (to provide “infrastructure” for the bridge) , and this is often not good for those teeth. Also, bridgework is harder to keep clean than an implant, they say. And an implant is supposed to be better for bone and jaw health.


Linda Gertig January 15, 2018 at 6:39 pm

I am quite pleased with my implant. Its post was put in as soon as the fractured tooth was extracted. It took about six months for the jaw bone to heal around the post but now that I have had the replacement tooth for a month.


Jenny January 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm

I’ve had an implant since about 1993 and it is still in great shape! I had a bridge before they were really doing implants, and it has been a pain in the (neck, butt, whatever) since I had it. Good luck- both are better than dentures, which my husband has!


cathy January 15, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the comments on implant vs bridge. I know there can sometimes be issues with getting the bone to grow where the post is going, but it sounds like an implant is still the best idea. I hate dental work though.

Karen January 15, 2018 at 8:53 pm

A. Marie, you may be the only other person I’ve heard if who has and uses this cookbook! I was given it as a gift many years ago because I love history and cooking. I was so nuts about it that I tracked down the companion volume, To The Queen’s Taste, and have enjoyed many of these recipes. Bon apètit!


Gina in KY January 16, 2018 at 6:26 am

This probably will never apply to you (and I certainly hope not!), but I was just reading about how thieves are stealing the catalytic convertors out of Honda Elements here in my city. There have been 16 or more cases! Anyway, I think it is due to the way they are built make it easy for the unscrupulous to get them off quietly and quickly. Here it is cars that have to park on streets. Anyway, just a heads up for security!


Sarah D January 16, 2018 at 8:16 pm

A. Marie, yes, medieval recipes were very heavy on spices but NOT AT ALL because they were covering rotten food/meat. It was high fashion based on expensive luxury imports and a cultural love for extreme displays of taste and wealth. (I’m a medieval historian and this falsehood really rankles me – sorry for the history lesson!)


A. Marie January 17, 2018 at 2:24 am

In terms of what’s in the historical record, I stand corrected. (In terms of what may sometimes have happened off the record, I still entertain some doubts.)


Sarah D January 17, 2018 at 4:16 pm

No, anyone who could afford meat (and that was really only the upper classes), had it freshly slaughtered.


Vickey January 19, 2018 at 8:12 am

Sarah, thank you for sharing your expertise with us. How people lived in other times is such a fascinating subject!

Crosby January 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm

– made chicken broth out of scraps in the freezer
– Shopped at Aldi before going to our normal grocery store to get as much off of our list as I could
– Declined attending an event which would have cost $50 a ticket and suggested an alternative hang out session instead
– 15 days into 2018 and I haven’t bought anything new!
– My best friend is due next month and I found 2 coupons for diapers, so I paired that with Target’s offer of a $10 gift card when you buy 2 boxes of diapers so that will made a nice gift for her.


Chris January 15, 2018 at 2:58 pm

1. My sister was here for 5 days and we sewed many projects – I bought no new materials and she brought most of what she needed from home.
2. We ate out only one meal and she paid for that – using a 50% off coupon for one of the meals.
3. She visited a friend overnight and brought us leftover fruit, cookies and a cinnamon roll.
4. Cold here so very little out and about.
5. But for walking the dog, spent the day at home after my sister left. Caught up on laundry, reading and sleeping on the couch with a book in my hand!


Juhli January 15, 2018 at 4:18 pm

My not every day frugal actions –
1. We changed health insurance plans and the 2018 one will refund $600 per person for Medicare Part B payments. We both completed the online sign up today and I filled out the forms to mail in.
2. I spent 15 minutes answering questions online with same health insurance to earn a $50 credit on a debit card. Signed up for 3 goals that if achieved will earn $20 each and make me healthier.
3. We are cleaning out the frig of leftovers tonight for dinner but adding more vegetables and fruit.


janine January 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

1. Still on vacation. Sunny, but colder than expected. “Glad I brought some fall and winter clothes with me, so no expenditure on stuff I already have in my closet at home.
2. Bought Xmas bags and tags at CVS for 90% off. Not too hard to pack. Still haven’t found souvenir gifts for family and friends but plan to mail them home – suitcase is pretty full. I am considering Florida mugs for everyone picked up at a thrift shop.
3. Purchased appetizers for lunch today and saved a few $$.
4. Residing in my freezer at the moment is a whole lot of stale buns and breads. Searched the net for recipes and came across the obvious cinnamon toast crunch. Plain or served with cream cheese, it makes an inexpensive snack.
5. Have often made vats of soup which languish because I keep forgetting our empty nest status. Finally bought a small slow cooker which reminds me that this is all we need for a satisfying dinner for two!


tonya parham January 15, 2018 at 9:11 pm

My slow cooker for two is a wonder! It keeps me from making 5 lbs of beans all at once! (and I won’t freeze them….)


KJD509 January 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm

For souvenirs, I often do reusable tote bags. They’re 99 cents to a couple of dollars each, grocery stores – even the big chains – often have local images on theirs, and they’re easy to pack (or to carry on with other goodies in them!) Plus the ones I bring home for myself, or that my adult children bring home to be from their travels around the world, give me a smile every time I use them at the store.


Jenser January 15, 2018 at 7:09 pm

11 bananas! That is a lot of bananas for 2 people! 😉

Thanks for your post about the Oreck vac you picked up at your pay-by-the -pound Goodwill. I never would have done so before I read that post, but I got one from my local Bins and made a nice profit. Only wish I had bought the other 2 that were there that day. Will have to go back soon….love the treasure hunting.


tonya parham January 15, 2018 at 8:50 pm

1. Been snowed in for days and finally had to brave the bad roads for a few grocery essentials. I went over my budget but not really since all the food stuff came to the amount budgeted but the overage was cat litter and a few other things I don’t normally get at the grocery but since the forecast was calling for another round of snow– I decided $25 there was better than several thousand if I crashed my car elsewhere! (We southerners don’t do snow well…)

2. Wanted to order pizza last night but they aren’t delivering. I made homemade pizza out of frozen naan and jarred marinara sauce. Even made a bonus “mexican pizza” with chunky salsa, Mexican blend cheese and put it on flour tortilla. Saved $25 and probably a lot of calories too!

3. Keeping house temp low.

4. Continuing to watch Filmstruck– it’s great! For $10 I’ve watched about three movies every day over my snow break! Watched one from Japan called Supermarket Woman tonight and LOVED it and learned so much about Japanese supermarkets (they aren’t SO different, really!)

5. My new glasses are in…but there’s new snow falling. Roads will be bad for the next two days at least. Of course they let me know too late today! I will wait until roads improve as there is NOTHING frugal about a car wreck!

6, I’ve decided that this snow in is teaching me something very valuable about eating at home and want to REALLY focus on that in this coming year. I spend a FORTUNE not eating at home! And I still buy and waste groceries! 2018 is the year that STOPS.


tonya parham January 15, 2018 at 8:53 pm

7. I also made pinto beans in the crock pot. I had them for two meals with cornbread and mashed the rest up for refried beans to put in bean and cheese burritos tomorrow!


Gina in KY January 16, 2018 at 6:13 am

Ha! You crack me up! I can second your statement about snow/southerners from up the highway from you (in Louisville)!


Gina in KY January 16, 2018 at 6:08 am

1. Spent a snowy weekend cleaning the pantry. I hoard food. I need to stop. I figure I am set if their is an apocalypse in the next few months, but I mainly just feed myself and am having trouble eating all that I store. So more “eat-from-the-pantry” days for me.

2. I canceled a vacation I was planning for this week. I am sad as it was to sunny Arizona and I really would have liked to leave this mid-states gloom, but I need to save money for a plumbing issue thanks to Polar Vortex crap.

3. I did go to the 50% off sale at the big thrift Sunday and Monday. I was very selective in my purchases. I found two Anthropologie coffee pour overs for around $1 each. They are currently still on their website, so I will hold off on reselling them for a bit. My friend that went with me found some interesting toys to resell. Other than that, I bought two blouses and spent around $5.

4. Due to above problem with plumbing (cracked pipe for shower 🙁 ), I have been going to the gym almost daily for a shower. I pay $10 monthly for this membership and didn’t go all of last year (yes, I know…). I have been making myself work out first to earn the shower and I hope to lose some weight in the process. I may continue this even after my shower is fixed, although I am sure it will be less incentive.

5. I can’t seem to think of a fifth one today…I will just include my continual purge of stuff from my house. I did start reading a library copy of ‘Everything that Remains’ by those minimalist guys. I don’t really feel like I have much in common with him (other than a divorce maybe), but the book is an easy read. Well, this one can be the library section of 5fts! I also am reading a book about plant based cheeses and The Crane Wife, both held and checked out from my city’s wonderful library!


Gina in KY January 16, 2018 at 6:10 am

UGH! Their as in There. My goodness!


tonya January 16, 2018 at 6:12 am

1) MLK was also a snow day (one of our first in Denver, we have had unseasonably warm temps). I made all our food from the pantry and we ate well-being grilled cheese, tomato soup, burrito bowls made with crockpot pintos, and brownies.
2) We took advantage of the holiday to go through a cabinet and make a pile to donate. It’s amazing how much stuff piles up in twenty one years together.
3) Daughter just got her license on Friday. She is interviewing for jobs, which is great because our insurance premium- ouch!! Hubby and I never had to contribute to our insurance payment as teens so I feel conflicted about asking her to contribute.

That’s all I have for now. Would love to hear how any of you have handled the insurance issue with your teen.


Dawnelle January 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

I have my teens pay for all the gas, and for all their entertainment, and also (this is huge for them) all their school clothes (I buy each of them 2 pairs of pants and 1 pair of shoes in the fall). They also contribute a small amount on auto-withdrawl each month for our cell phone bill. I pay the car insurance and the rest of the phone amount. I’m sure everyone has different ideas, but with 7 kids, and being single (and 4 of them driving this year) this works for me. I find that it’s easier to pay for the insurance than to try and “help” with any of those other items. They all work in the summer, this year FT, and use Christmas money from grandparents for these things. They also babysit, etc. and work during school breaks.


rebecca January 16, 2018 at 9:21 am

1. Making chili with ingredients on hand and am going to add some frozen spinach and grated carrots to up the vegetable factor.
3. Having friends over for dinner on Saturday and am going to use many ingredients on hand.
3. I have a few new clients at work.
4. Using a couple of gift cards I received for coffee for a treat.
5. That’s kind of it. I had to pay a huge insurance bill and a huge estimated tax bill. Feeling a bit broke at the moment.


Lauren January 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

1. The frugal bug has FINALLY fully bitten my husband. He’s much more proactive about saving money by eating in and reducing our food waste lately. It’s made things much easier for me as he’s more hands on with the shopping and food prep now.
2. I did the math and found that signing up for a newborn starter loan from the local cloth nappy library is cheaper than A. disposables and B. buying my own. I can try out different brands and styles to see what works best for baby (and learn about cloth diapering with less pressure!) I’ll search for secondhand ones or sales on cloth diapers in the styles we like as she grows.
3. I have been feeling super tired and sore lately as we approach D-Day, but when work asked me to pick up a few shifts I said yes anyway. I had to turn down one this weekend as I’m just not feeling well enough to be on my feet for long periods, but it was nice to have a little bit of unexpected income go into the budget.
4. Shopping on Amazon for some last minute baby items that we could not find secondhand and needed to just get already. I was able to get an Amazon baby box and a nappy bin for free for buying items off my own “registry” which were small mercies.
5. I have signed up for a couple transcription companies in the hopes that I will be able to earn a tiny bit of income while I am home on maternity leave. Fingers crossed that I am accepted!


Edie January 16, 2018 at 11:09 am

Hello all!

1) Spent MLK day doing a day of volunteering by helping caulk and insulate older homes for energy savings. It was a beautiful. sunny morning with wind, so there were good spirits and lots of help. Plus, I got to learn about insulation for my own home.

2) Am still using Tri-Met to get to work- it’s a long commute but just $25/week vs $100/week owning and maintaining a car.

3) Will oil and change brakes on my bike myself instead of going to the bike shop. Relatively simple jobs and I save a bit of money.

4) Am deluged with ads for buying training courses and classes. Have discovered that my workplace has a diverse set of training classes and books FOR FREE. Also, Multnomah County and Washington County library have training books FOR FREE.

5) Packed my lunch for the week at work, and am making a version of a dish I saw that a restaurant had the actual nerve to charge nearly $40/serving for: braised beef shank ragout with onions. My version is NOT sous vide; it is made in the Crockpot.


Cindy in the South I January 16, 2018 at 11:25 am

It has been a disastrous month…frugal wise. I had to take my car to the dealership, twice, to get it checked out, an overnight hospital stay (me), and the gas to get there, doctor visits and co-pays, high heating bills and water usage because of cold weather (had to leave faucets dripping to prevent being frozen), one child’s depression so I have eaten out with him at a Mexican restaurant of his choice (I know that eating out twice in one month is not bad, and the bills were $20 each time, and there was enough food for one more meal, but combined with everything else…..) , so I made a pot of beans, twice. Yup, that is the one lonely frugal thing I can say this month….AND the weather is about to hit the ice age again….


Bee January 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Prayers… Thinking of you.


Susie's Daughter January 16, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Sending strength and wishes for peace… Thank you for your ongoing honesty. I appreciate it!


Christine January 16, 2018 at 6:28 pm

Hang in there Cindy. Better days hopefully right around the corner.


KJD509 January 16, 2018 at 12:25 pm

1. Listing a rental house for sale today. We had put some feelers out to folks we knew were interested in trying their hands at investment property, and it would have probably saved some to sell by owner, but I’m so relieved not to be handling the pictures, showings, etc., that I’ll be happy to pay the 6% at the end of it all. Especially because it’s being listed at a higher price than I would have guessed.
2. Emptied enough out of the freezers to combine items and unplug one. It’s not a huge electricity savings, but every little bit helps. Littlest and some friends took one for the team and finished the ice cream dregs from 3 or 4 containers.
3. Not sure we get credit for this one: hubs and I had a long lunchtime date at a local brewpub. When the time came for the bill, our server apologized; she had given ours to another table that had been there just as long as we had, and they had paid without noticing. So she was giving us theirs, which was cheaper. We tipped on the higher amount, and she assured us the other party were regulars and she’d spot them a drink or two next time so it would all even out.
4. The dog and I walked over to return a Redbox movie the kids had forgotten about yesterday afternoon even though I really, really didn’t want to. Frugal for the kid who isn’t getting charged an extra day, frugal to leave the car in the driveway, and really exciting for the dog, who doesn’t get many walks when there’s snow and ice on the ground.
5. Hubs and three of the kids have worked out complicated cross-state carpooling arrangements for the next two weeks to make sure everybody who has a job gets to work, daughter who has job interviews in a couple of different cities is able to get to them on time, Littlest has rides to and from school every day without too much disruption, and nobody has to rent a car. Probably took three hours of talking it through to work it out, but as I’d likely have been the one in the rental, I’m grateful they took the time.


Emily January 16, 2018 at 12:41 pm

1. No spend day today. I have still been able to indulge in mid afternoon organic coffee from the Keurig (I try to avoid because I don’t like the use of plastic), a handful of peanut mnm’s, and a lovely pb&j for lunch.

2. I have not been washing my scrubs with every wear the past few weeks. Before you get disgusted, I work in an outpatient therapy clinic and currently have no patient contact until my clinic opens. So I literally sit. All. Day. Wasteful to was when sitting in a freezing cold office.

3. I will likely have a snow day tomorrow from work, as the south cant handle ANY snow (no proper equipment). Instead of following the craze of going to the grocery store and clearing shelves (for whatever reason, people actually do this), I will drive home this evening, and live off whatever is in my fridge, list stuff on ebay, and maybe do a free youtube workout video.

4. Have been saving scrap paper and mis-prints from work to take home and print shipping labels on.

5. Have been showering every other day unless I work out. Saves recourses and my poor dried out skin.


Mand01 January 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm

We had a ‘once in a century storm’ two years ago. We have never experienced something like that before. There was a massive blackout. Our fireplace was lit, we invited friends over, and made sure to eat the ice cream from the freezer so it didn’t melt. We all survived without clearing the supermarket shelves.


Tracy January 17, 2018 at 4:36 am

I also did not like using the Keurig because of the plastic pods so was delighted when I discovered reusable ones that you fill yourself. Much cheaper too. JUst google reusable Keurig cups if you’re interested!

Reply January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Finally, I found two bloggers whose sites are great! As a frugal person, it is hard to find more ideas of where to penny pinch. Thanks to The Non-Consumer Advocate and to the Frugalwoods, and to all of you who share your ideas. I have learned a lot!

Here are my most recent frugal five. I hope there is something new for you.

1) Turned DD’s worn out flannel pj’s into small finger napkins for everyday use. They go in the weekly laundry.

2) Used badly browned bananas in banana cake to serve to my book club. Normally, I have only used old bananas for muffins/banana bread.

3) Saved big time on car insurance. I was ‘invited’ by my insurance agent to a ‘review’. I expected it to be a sales pitch, but I discovered that since my daughter was out of town for university, we could take her off our car insurance. When she visits, she’s covered. Yeah! They insurance company even back-dated it to Sept. Another yeah! I also down-graded the insurance on my DH’s car since he is able to work from home and his car barely leaves the driveway now. And no, they didn’t try to up-sell me. Nice! My rebate cheque should arrive soon.

4) At the same insurance appt, I was reminded that my house insurance requires a daily house visit when we travel. That’s a note to each of you to understand your insurance. You don’t want to find that the flood damage isn’t covered because nobody was checking your house. A future savings I hope we never reap. 😉

5) This one was a kindness thing for my bro. I bought his huge amt of rewards points – In Canada, the Shoppers Drug Mart points program is merging with the PC Plus program (groceries) on Feb 1 and the new points program will only be redeemable at Loblaws grocery stores, which means an hour drive for him just to redeem his points. He transferred his points to me and I e-transferred $795 dollars to him. It will take me 2 mos to spend them all, but that’s ok. He’s done many nice things for me.

Looking forward to reading all your ideas. BTW, normally, I don’t read the blog until it is a few weeks old. That way, there are more replies from all of you!


avl January 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Thank you for tip #3. I’m going to see if my insurance offers any sort of reduction for away-from-home college students not using the family car.


gina January 17, 2018 at 5:08 am

I used to sell insurance for 13 years. Typically the student needs to be 100+ miles away from home with no car to receive the away-at-school discount. Other companies may have different stipulations. Worth checking into….

Reply January 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm

In our case, we are only 60 miles apart. Def worth looking at.


Isabelle January 16, 2018 at 4:28 pm

* The kids and I shower every second day, unless it’s really hot (summer) or I exercised.
* My hair and hubby’s hair are zero maintenance. I don’t color mine (no need anyways), keep them long (no trims needed), use 3$/bottle mousse to style them, use shampoo that is on sale. Nothing else. I cut hubby’s hair and he doesn’t use hair products.
* Doing entertainment on the cheap lately : Netflix, books from the library, 5$ improv nights, game nights, etc
* No plans for Valentine’s day. I’ll make a card for hubby with scrabooking stuff. No flowers, no chocolate, no fancy night out, etc. For the kids I’ll get a little something from the dollar store, that’s it.
*2004 Echo still going strong!


Christine January 16, 2018 at 6:40 pm

1. Had 5 friends over to share a crockpot of chili, homemade cake and lots of laughs. They all brought something: brownies with pecans, a giant whoopee pie, hummus and veggies and cornbread. Purchased a 12 pack of beer for the “crowd”. Lots of fun had by all.
2.Started my White Mountain puzzle purchased (new) at the consignment store for $3.00. Well worth it for hours of entertainment.
3.Reading my library books.
4.In the oven heating up now is the vegetable lasagna gifted to me from my SIL. He’s an excellent cook. My daughter got lucky.
5.Plan on staying home tomorrow as we are getting yet more snow. Retirement adds a whole new dimension to bad weather. No need to venture out. Staying home this winter has most certainly saved us a lot on gas money. Stay warm (as can frugally be) everyone!


susanna d January 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

#5 – I agree, retirement does change the way we look at bad weather. I used to dread snow and ice, because of having to drive into the city – and around the city, most days. Seemed like the worse the weather was, the more in a rush drivers seemed to be. Now, we just stay put, take the snow thrower to the driveway as needed, and usually don’t have to leave the house if we don’t want to. The latest stretch of bad weather had us staying home (except for one 10 mile round trip to the dump) from last Thursday through today. Used about 1/4 of one gallon of gasoline the whole time. What a change from having to be on the road for work. It took us almost no time to get used to this lifestyle – and love it!


Christine January 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Us too Susanna! We often remark how much we love the retired life. Like being on vacation all the time. Enjoy!


Nina January 17, 2018 at 1:49 am

1. The boyfriend and I were feeling a bit of a January blues, so we decided to have our planned Valentines weekend one month early. We will have enough other activities in February, so it seemed like a balanced solution.
2. For Christmas I gifted him a voucher to the restaurant were we met, so that expense was already covered.
3. We decided to book the hotel on a Sunday-Monday, as this was cheaper than a Saturday-Sunday ( we are lucky our weekend stretches from Saturday evening to Monday). This way we were able to book a pretty good hotel at a reasonable price.
4. Instead of going shopping, my boyfriend asked if we could please visit the local library. We spent a couple of hours flicking through books and magazines. I felt so lucky I have met this guy!
5. When we came home in the pouring rain we felt very tired, and it seemed like such a tempting idea to order take-out. Instead I took up some courage and cooked from scratch. Not the finest meal ever, but healthy and cheap.


Christine January 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm

The library instead of shopping? He’s a keeper! Sounds like you both had fun.


Tiffany January 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

1. After a bit over 8 years as a SAHD my husband is working nearly full time. He has been since October as seasonal but it appears he will get to stay on. Any extra prayers, vibes, woo, etc you have will be appreciated until we have said paper in hand.

2. I have been having great luck at our 99 cents only store for food. Today I scored 3 english cucmbers for 99cents, a box of celestial seasnings tea, a bottle of Marie’s Ranch, a bag of organic white cheddar popcorn and a gallon jug of tea. Normally I make my own but having some prepared stops any thought of a Starbucks run.

3. It was the begining of the semester so scored a coupon book and a couple BOGOs for a smoothie shop and coffee shop which make for cheap dates.

4. Took a class at the Library and they gave out free Pasion Plannera. They were Academic so half the year is over but it is a lovely planner that would have been trashed otherwise!

5. I love Vanilla Hazelnut coffee but so many brands gave me a stomach ache. Disovered that Einsteins does not so I bought a pound for my reusable K-cup. 9.00/lb is sooo much cheaper than my spurge of a *cough cough* 4.47 Starbucks and makes so many more cups!


MommaL January 17, 2018 at 11:31 am

Went on a trip, leaving DH at home, so ahead of time I:

1. Made a pot of soup, left 1/2 in the fridge for him.
2.Cooked a pot of black beans, mixed it with veggies and ground turkey and spices. Used 1/2 for a sort of enchilada/burrito dish, ate 1/2 for dinner, left 1/2 for him.
3. Got a free Redbox code, put it on our Redbox account. He used it while I was gone.
4. Called good friends to tell them he was alone for a few days, they invited him to dinner.
5. Called him while away, reminding him of the apple cobbler in the freezer. He was so happy! I had made 2 batches from old apples last month.


Mand01 January 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I’ve been thinking about the economics of this for a few days.
The US has a booming jobs market but stagnant wages growth overall (according to the Planet Money podcast, which is where I get most of my US economic news). One of the main reasons for this is that people aren’t yet quitting their jobs to find ‘better’ jobs. Maybe uncertainty over healthcare is one reason.
Also, by not moving to take a different job that is a better fit for your skills and experience because of a disability and fear of access to healthcare, you are reducing your productivity and the overall productivity of the labour market is also reduced. A job that would better fit another person is being held by someone else and your perfect job is being done by someone who may not be best to do it. Aside from the fact that it’s unfair, it’s also ultimately unproductive.
I have a disability and so does my child. Never once has access to healthcare factored into my job choice. Other things related to disability do, but not that.


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