Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 21, 2018 · 156 comments

  1. I offered to stay an extra four hours at the hospital for a 16-1/2 hour shift. (I had a lovely patient assignment, which I was more than happy to extend. Especially at time-and-a-half plus night shift differential!) I put in a request for a meal voucher, which means that I’ll now be able to spend $5 in the cafeteria when I work next. I’ll still bring food from home, but will be able to enjoy a treat as well.

  2. I went to my husband’s fancy workplace banquet last night, enjoying a free delicious meal, but did not indulge in anything from the no-host bar. I made do from my minimal wardrobe and avoided any temptation to purchase fancy clothing or footwear. I ended up chatting with another wife all evening and look forward to having her as a buddy for future work related events.

  3. I started listening to a friend’s new personal finance podcast. It’s called Pour Not Poor, and each episode intertwines a financial topic with a specific craft beer. I know one of the podcasters (Joel Larsgaard) through my work with Clark Howard, as he was my first editor there. Great guy who I hope to meet in person some day. I’m not a craft beer fan, (I rarely drink alcohol) but enjoy personal finance enough to let that one go.

  4. I sold a thrifted suitcase, put together a couple new eBay and Craigslist listings, walked to the store for grocery staples, am arranging a thrifting date with my friend Sarah from Portland Sampler, am eating down a fresh batch of red lentil soup with ham, and I Facetimed with my son for a couple hours instead of driving the four hours to hang out with him.

  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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{ 156 comments… read them below or add one }

MommaL January 21, 2018 at 2:57 pm

I LOVE Facetime! My whole family lives far away, and now my granddaughter even knows how to call me this way. Almost as good as being there. Almost.
My five, snowed in again version:
1. Did a big grocery shop because there were so many of our staples on sale for less than 1/2 off at Harris Teeter, and a discount on top of that if I spent a certain amount. Am going to try to not shop at all for two more weeks now.
2. Cooked all weekend and froze: spinach and turkey lasagna (2 big batches), 2 batches of soup and 2 batches of chili. Made sure I labeled them so no more mystery meals.
3. Received some no waste gifts from my DD: a silicone popcorn maker for the microwave. Won’t have to use paper bags anymore, it works great! I’m scared of the paper bags after the microwave caught on fire once using them.
4. Another no waste gift: silicone mats that take the place of tin foil or parchment paper when baking.
5. DH was down in the dumps, so I thawed out some gifted banana bread. That always always cheers him up, its his favorite. Its hard to hide treats from him, but when I do, I can surprise him.
Stayed in most days, watching the snow, catching up on Netflix, drinking tea. I realize that while I was a little bored, I will not have that much rest for a long long time again, so I let myself relax.


Bee January 22, 2018 at 4:30 am

Your second frugal thing made me smile. I am trying to remember to always label what I put in the freezer. I have had a few mystery meals too. Some things are obvious, but yesterday I stood in front of the freezer trying to guess if it was enchilada sauce or spaghetti sauce.


MommaL January 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Bee, once I thawed out some “bacon”, it turned out to be trout!


Bee January 23, 2018 at 4:17 am

Oh no! That surely threw a wrench into your meal plan.


Hector January 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

You Facetimed with your college aged son for a couple HOURS? Issues much?


Melissa January 21, 2018 at 3:48 pm

That is a bit rude Hector. If she had gone to visit, Katy would have spent a few hours hanging out & talking with her son. It doesn’t really make a difference that it wasn’t in person, I’m sure they still had loads to talk about. From what I’ve read of her blog Katy has a close relationship with her sons & as a fellow Mom of a college kid a few hours away I can completely understand a long phone call.


cathy January 21, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Wow! Why would you assume that they have “issues” as opposed to them enjoying chatting?! When my husband used to travel for work, he’d often Skype with me and the kids, but often the call was going while we were still doing what we needed to do (at both ends) so we weren’t always sitting and staring at each other. Even if Katy and her son were, so the eff what?


jody britz January 21, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Yeah Hector…issues with wasting gas and time driving when one can do the chat online.
Have a great day!


Diane C January 21, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Is that your real name or your assumed name, Hector? You surely should know you can’t hector our Katy without repercussion!! Usually comments like these say more about the person writing them than the object of their derision. Kindly take your nastiness elsewhere.


Katy January 21, 2018 at 10:38 pm

Yes, for hours. I feel no need to defend this.


Elizabeth January 22, 2018 at 4:54 am

I know from experience that ugly comments made from some people about healthy mother/child relationships stem from their own unsatisfactory mother/child relationship…so we feel sorry for you Hector! I am glad that your son cares enough about you Katy to have a nice visit no matter the time involved:) I myself talk to my mom 30 minutes a day on the phone and I only live 6 miles away.


Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 7:12 am

I have seen comments on here from Hector before like this. Must be jealous.


Christine January 22, 2018 at 8:19 am

That was my first thought too when I saw his comment. Jealousy will often lead to bad behavior and atrocious manners.

MommaL January 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Katy, one of the things I am so grateful for in this time of my life is that my adult children like spending time with me. When they Facetime me, my husband is always amazed at how long we talk. I love it and so do they.


Cynthia Huntington January 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm

1. I don’t think I will need to buy any groceries, supplies for the house, or pet food for the rest of the month. (Well, a fresh vegetable here and there perhaps but not much.) It’s been amazing trying to eat down the freezer and pantry, and I’m not there yet. Only a few shelves and it all goes so far!

2. Slowly I am selling a few things on eBay. Thrifting a bit and also cleaning out rooms, shelves, boxes. I didn’t make any big sales this week but I moved some stuff out: two separate orders of old books (one set was antique) sold for decor. Very cheap. A computer cord. A dental flosser to attach to a shower head, still in the box because I chickened out on installing it. And I sold a book on Amazon!

3. Though I am retiring from teaching at the end of 2018, I accepted a request from a grad student who wants to work privately (I teach writing) starting in spring or summer. Though the money is good I’ve mostly phased out this kind of work but I like this person so much I can look forward to work with her.

4. I stayed home all weekend, nursing the tail end of a cold, and spending nothing. My only trip out was to the recycling center. We have a book exchange and a place where people leave “stuff” for others to take. I brought home four good books that I immediately listed on Amazon.

5. I am watching Dirty Dancing for the umpteenth time. I could care less about the story by now but I never get tired of watching the dancing. LOVE the scenes of all the “help” dancing. It makes me feel young again. Both Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey are gorgeous.


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 7:37 am

I totally agree with #1. We’re doing the same – trying to eat down all the surplus – it’s been a great experience and a huge money saver!


Melanie January 22, 2018 at 9:49 am

Totally agree with #5 – I watched it yesterday too. My favorite.


Cynthia Huntington January 21, 2018 at 3:35 pm

#3 I meant to write “look forward to WORKING with her.” duh


Tracy January 21, 2018 at 3:42 pm

1. Finished up leftovers in fridge even though I was sick of them. Ate the last out of date yogurt — it was 3 weeks past date and completely fine!
2. Am meal planning for this week, which will allow us to eat frugally and should make the week a little easier since I have prepped things for tomorrow’s dinner and have made chorizo lentil soup to take for work lunches this week (and to eat one night for dinner with cornbread).
3. Found a square glass pyrex baking dish at Goodwill — and it was the half off color tag! Now we can make brownies in a square pan instead of making do with the round cake pan! Also DIDN’T buy a couple of cute clothing items that were good deals but that I didn’t need (I really think I could get into buying things for resale when I retire in a few years as the hunt is at least 75% of the fun for me!)
4. Hubs and I went to The Post yesterday. Excellent movie. Frugal because we took sandwiches to eat and diet cokes to drink — we always want something to eat while watching the movie, but buying popcorn and sodas there doubles the cost of going to the movies (and is unhealthy)!
5. As usual, did my own laundry and cleaned my own house. Also, as added benefit found my diamond engagement ring which I knew was somewhere in the house but which I hadn’t actually laid eyes on for months — frugal only because it would have been extremely UNfrugal to lose a diamond ring…


Tracy January 21, 2018 at 3:45 pm

And to Katy, I am AMAZED re face timing with son for two hours. I have a son away at college and I am lucky if I can get him to text me brief updates on how he’s doing in response to my inquiries!


Tracy January 22, 2018 at 4:54 am

Should probably have said “jealous” rather than “amazed,” this was in no way intended to be a dig, more of a “wow, what could I do to get my kid to want to talk to me for two hours!”


avl January 22, 2018 at 5:37 am

Same here


Mand01 January 21, 2018 at 3:47 pm

1. I harvested 30 ears of fresh corn and 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of green beans from my garden, as well as several zucchini. I blanched a kilogram of beans and eight ears of corn kernels for the freezer.
2. I needed jars for preserving so I asked my Mum and she came through.
3. I made a zucchini and corn relish using all homegrown vegetables.
4. We had date night at home – quesadillas and Gotham on Netflix.
That’s all


Lisa January 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm

I love using zuchini, yellow squash, and onions to make a relish. I even put it in my potato salad.


A. Marie January 22, 2018 at 1:03 pm

So good to read the continuing reports of Down Under gardening, Mand. They cheer me up in the dead of winter here in Upstate NY. (Yeah, yeah, I’m reading seed catalogs and so on, but that’s no substitute for dirt under the fingernails.)


Mand01 January 23, 2018 at 2:59 am

I just picked a 2.8 kg zucchini today. It was quite hilarious


Liz B. January 24, 2018 at 7:20 pm

I make a “mock apple” crisp dessert with baseball bat sized zucchini like that…not very healthful, but deelish!


Helen Ee January 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm

FFT Government shut down edition down the pantry and freezer, found some sour cream and was debating what type of dip to make with it and some cream cheese I had. Instead I made potato soup with the last bit of sour cream, enough for 3 family meals. Pulled some frozen bagels from the freezer to use the cream cheese. Snacks zero, meals 3.

2. Dug out the drying rack and hung the laundry.

3. Kept the woodstove going. Yesterday was so nice out I opened the windows and needed no heat for a few hours.

4. Returned a christmas gift and spent as much grocery shopping. Our stores seem to have overbought on Christmas hams at 69c a pound, and Butterball turkeys for 29c. I guess ours was not the only family in the DC metro area scaling back for the Holidays, anticipating the government shutdown.

5. Went to Habitat Restore looking for a second drying rack. No luck, so I spent nothing. But they were giving away bags of fresh bagels. Score!


Gina in KY January 22, 2018 at 5:08 am

I will be having the same edition, Helen! Take care!


Susie's Daughter January 21, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Last week had a few painful and unfrugal surprises: I will need new brakes this week for the car to pass state inspection, I forgot to return a duplicate book to Powells from Christmas for credit and one DS gift cannot be returned, even for credit. Ugh. Hopefully we can regift it to a niece or nephew at some point…

1) Eating from the freezer – cheeseburgers and fries tonight, tortellini and meat/veggie sauce tomorrow (with the other half pound of thawed beef).

2) Paying for above brakes in part in cash as I was paid today for an occasional job. The balance will go on credit card for now.

3) I was inspired this weekend to pull books out of the bookcase (and adjoining book piles). I now have a ‘read yearly’ pile (84 Charring Cross Road, Expecting Adam, Guernsey Literary…) , a ‘read again and evaluate’ pile (Happiness Project is one of these) and a ‘read for the first time’ pile (lots of interesting ones related to my field). And a pile of ‘get rid of’ – sell to Powell’s, to our local bookstore , or give to library book sale. Less books = more physical and mental space, but this is a hard one for me.

4) Checking the coupon circulars my mom saves for me from their newspapers for items I buy matched against sales at our local drug and grocery stores.

5) Using as many photo site freebies as possible for future gifts and for
my professional stationery . I have two freebies from Shutterfly and one $20 credit for Snapfish still to use.


Roberta January 22, 2018 at 7:10 am

As a librarian, I want to encourage you on your #3. Clearing out the books that are not high-demand is good for the books (they don’t get crushed on the shelves) and good for you (you can find your favorites quickly, because they are not behind other books, or otherwise lost).


cathy January 22, 2018 at 8:00 pm

I’m with you on 84 Charing Cross Road. One of my favorites for decades! I haven’t re-read Guernsey Literary, but loved it the first time. Would love to know what else is in your “read yearly” pile.


Susie's Daughter January 23, 2018 at 5:03 am

Roberta, thank you for the encouragement. I appreciate your professional insights especially. 🙂

Cathy – for years and years one of the other books was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” which was a topic of conversation on FFT at one point. Anne Lamott’s nonfiction – one or another – also often make the yearly pile (“Plan B”, “Operating Instructions”, “Help, Thanks, Wow”). And something from the Little House series. And you??


cathy January 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Well, I have to admit I’m not a fan of Lamott, though I know lots of people love her writing. I loved the Little House series, but haven’t tried reading them as an adult. I like that idea. For yearly reads? Dharma Bums (Kerouac), 84 Charing Cross Rd, Common People (Alison Light), and at least something by Sue Grafton, Dana Stabenow (Kate Shugak series), Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini and Tony Hillerman; all are mysteries. I also like the fact that Hillerman’s daughter, Anne, took up where he left off and has written three books featuring his characters Lt. Leaphorn, Sergeant Jim Chee, and Bernadette Manuelito. But I’m a crazy lady. I always have a stack of at least half a dozen books I’m somewhere in the middle of. I never know what I’ll be in the mood for!


Lindsey January 23, 2018 at 9:42 am

Ditto for Charing Cross and Guernsey!


Erin B January 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm

I used to work with Joel’s sister and interacted with Joel at her wedding….she is AWESOME and he seems like a pretty great guy!


Bethany January 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Had a flat tire when we were all loading up for church. My husband used the bike tire and got some exercise in. I was able to take it a half mile down the road to our closest tire place. We bought a tire from them about 6 months ago. It happened to be the same tire and they repaired it for free.

Friends invited us over for lunch. It was a lovely pot pie. We even had a small chat about budgets and so forth. Lovely to have like-minded friends.

Making some kombucha this afternoon. Free probiotics! My dad bought me the kit a while ago. I’m not super fond of the flavor, but I can drink it.

Reheating some leftovers for dinner.

Getting xeriscape installed this weekend. Will save us on our dastardly expensive water bill. Had them place the fill dirt in a hole the previous owners left because of a failed koi pond.


avl January 22, 2018 at 4:54 am

That’s so great you make your own kombucha as it is incredibly expensive to buy at the store – $2-3 dollars per small bottle where I live. I’ve thought about learning to make it myself but there is something about the skoby that is a little terrifying.


Roberta January 22, 2018 at 7:13 am

I made kombucha for quite a while, but the acid was hard on my stomach. I grant that it looks weird, but it’s super easy! If I didn’t manage to mess it up, you can do it! Just make sure your tea is cool before you add it to the scoby.


One of God's January 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

In cooking from pantry discovered that I can make oatmeal muffins using ground up dehydrated veggies in place of flour. Savory muffins, no flour, lots of veggie nutrition.

Foraged henbit from backyard. Added to homemade yogurt with chopped apple for lunch with added nutrition.

Foraged tender dandelion leaves to use as greens on pork chop (from freezer stash) sandwich.

Foraged chickweed to add to omelet.

Decided against the Lunch Bunch choice of Red Lobster on Sunday. Lowest priced menu items there insufficient for dividing for take home and I certainly don’t need cheesy biscuits.


Laura January 22, 2018 at 9:48 am

Impressive foraging! I always keep a dandelion or two in the garden for salad purposes.


A. Marie January 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Lovely to read about your foraging! I’m dreaming of it here in snowbound Upstate NY. (In fact, one of my recent purchases with a Barnes & Noble holiday gift card was a book titled Foraging New York.) Not a fan of raw (or cooked, for that matter) dandelion, but haven’t tried henbit or chickweed and will have to do so. Lamb’s quarters, purslane, and redroot pigweed are at the top of my hit parade–so much so that I let them go to seed in my garden!


Vickey January 23, 2018 at 10:09 am

3 cheers for the foragers! We *love* verdolagas so much that we make sure to reserve a few jars of DH’s Salsa Verde so we can make it when purslane is in season.

For those who aren’t familiar with purslane, it’s been identified as the most nutritious plant known to man, by…FAO? WHO? One of those, I think. And it grows almost anywhere.

Dreaming of spring…

Reply January 28, 2018 at 6:10 pm

We ‘forage’ solomon’s seal from our garden as a meal and also to thin it out. It’s a bit like asparagus, only with a bitter note. Harvest when it’s tender at about 6″ high before the leaves start to unfurl. Great sauteed with butter and garlic!


KJD509 January 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Still in the January doldrums, but turns out being depressed is kinda frugal as it keeps me at home:

1) Didn’t shop this week or weekend. Eldest daughter and I are eating some weird stuff, but dinners have been fabulous – steak and cheddar mashed pots (to use up a chunk of peppered cheddar plus meat from the freezer), nachos with homemade tortilla chips, red curry with beef and sweet potatoes. Mmmm.
2) Running low on the right sizes of boxes as we’re (still!) packing up the house, but realized we have decades’ worth of no-longer-airplane worthy suitcases sitting around in a storage closet. Packed several closets using them.
3) Daughter is home to pack her things ahead of starting a new job – woohoo! We’ll be able to keep her well equipped for couch surfing for a month or two and then furnish an apartment after she gets a couple of paychecks without buying anything.
4) Accidentally added too big a glug of oil to the pan while frying up stale tortillas into chips. Instead of throwing it out, just kept it sitting in the cast iron pan and cooked a few more meals in it until it was all used up.
5) Hubs and Littlest needed to be out of the house where they’re staying for the weekend. Our beach place didn’t have renters – only weekend between Christmas and Valentine’s Day it’s empty – so they’ve had a lovely, free weekend checking out the detritus from the big wave event on the Coast. Must admit to a little jealousy as I run load after load of laundry, cook, clean, pack, etc. Sigh.

Question for this group: I’ve been saving torn jeans for years, imagining that someday I might make one of those memory quilts for each of my kids, using old team tshirts and the like with denim edging. But it doesn’t make sense to pack and move a zillion pairs of old jeans, especially since we tend to rip them on a regular basis. Do I throw them away? Seems so wasteful. Any other suggestions?


Ruby January 21, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Some thrift stores do textile recycling. They would be able to use those old jeans.


Marcia January 21, 2018 at 8:46 pm

I always save some old jeans for patching newer ones. Patched jeans work perfectly well for doing housework. Lots of other things to do with them, but if you really don’t have the time to do them, get rid of most of them anyhow. Or cut some pieces that can be saved in a smaller amount of space, at least.


Melanie January 22, 2018 at 12:18 am

I agree, jeans are bulky to store ‘as is’. The best solution I have found, for patchwork/quilting, is to cut each of the four leg sections (left, right, front, back) into a long strip and then fold or roll the strips together. That does leave the pockets though which are so interesting….and the tops that can be used to make bags….and the zips…..also the labels…..(My name is Melanie and I admit I am a fabric hoarder!)


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 7:54 am

Marcia, I save a few pairs of jeans – the legs, at least – to patch other jeans, too. I call them my sacrificial jeans.

I agree with Ruby about checking into textile recycling, especially if you have a lot of old jeans. Some cities and towns have textile recycling as well. Among other things, denim can be recycled into insulation, which is then sold commercially (and is my husband’s preferred type of insulation for projects around the home due to the lack of the itch factor found in more traditional insulation).


Marybeth January 22, 2018 at 8:46 am

H&M takes used and ripped textiles. You even get a coupon with the donation.


Mary in VA January 26, 2018 at 5:45 am

Marybeth, I had no idea that H&M takes used clothing and textiles to recycle. Thanks for the tip! I donate everything I possibly can–but sometimes the clothing is in such bad shape that I’d be embarrassed to donate it, but I hate to put it in the trash.


Mand01 January 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm

You can still donate it. Most of the larger thrift stores have textile recycling programs.


Bettypants January 21, 2018 at 5:06 pm

1. Found an almost complete set of Lemony Snicket books at the library sale, and two Hallmark recordable books to sell on ebay.

2. Weaseled in on my friend’s Costco trip and bought myself a gift card so I can go back in a couple months. I don’t buy enough to justify having my own membership card. We both bought hummus, and I made her a batch of pita dough to take home when we got back to my house.

3. The drain was backing up the basement when I ran a load of laundry, so I rented a snake from Home Depot and snaked the main drain myself. It was a good learning experience, but I am sore today. The access cap was totally rusted, and I replaced that when I returned the snake.

4. Visited a friend today and she served a really good dip with chips, along with hummus and chips, and cookies. Was very nice of her.

5. I bought a Fit Bit Charge 2 second hand for $45, which I thought was a good find. Works great and looks new. I do find it motivates me to walk more.


Jill A January 22, 2018 at 11:53 am

So can you go back to Costco without a membership and buy because you bought a gift card?


KJD509 January 22, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Yep. We gave all our adult kids – none of whom have Costco memberships at the moment – gift cards. We intended them for gas, but three of the four of them opted to use them for food instead, with no problem. (Then the two college students hit us up for gas . . . go figure).


Bettypants January 23, 2018 at 4:07 am

Yes. It is included in their rules on their website, and I did it last year with no issues. Here’s the link on their site:


Jill A January 23, 2018 at 4:59 am

Thanks good to know.


Mary in VA January 26, 2018 at 5:47 am

Library book sales are my favorite! Not only do they support a great cause, I can find amazing stuff for 50 cents or a dollar (or even less if they’re having a bag sale). I will always find time for a library sale.


Lisa January 21, 2018 at 5:08 pm

My frugal five:

1. Went to a free work shop a couple hours away from home and was able to car pool with two other people at no cost to me. I did offer gas money but the driver just appreciated the company.

2. Packed my own lunch and snacks for the work shop and had no guilt at saying no at the drive thru.

3. Local grocery stores were having a lot of in-store specials because our NFL football team was in the play off and was able to stock up on things like cheese that will last for quite awhile. Ps we stayed in to watch the game and decided to have chili during the game instead of snacks.

4. Finally starting to warm up so the heat has been turned off.

5. No so frugal but I found out my niece and her husband and child were struggling because of car repairs. They only have one car. I was able to help out with groceries and house hold staples like clothes detergent and tp because I am doing a no spend month and eating my pantry down and used that saved money. I am also a more experience shopped and was able to advise her on meal planning and were the best prices are.

I did spend money this month but it was on other and warms my heart.


Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 3:58 am

That was so nice of you to help out your niece’s family.


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 8:04 am

Your #5 warms my heart, too.


Christine January 22, 2018 at 8:40 am

So nice to read your #5. Most of us have hit on hard times at some point in our lives and many of us have been lucky enough to have someone like you there to catch us. Mine came when I was a young woman and had small children. My angel was my father.


Susie's Daughter January 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm

I shudder to think where I would be without my family’s help at various times, especially a beloved aunt and uncle. When I offered to pay it back at some point, their response was ‘help someone else when you can’. Every time I am able to do that, I am grateful all over again. Good on you, Lisa!


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Thanks for the podcast suggestion! Hubs loves podcasts AND craft beer, so I’m sure he’ll enjoy it. 🙂

This week:

1. I made a bulk batch of pulled pork in the crock pot. I froze it for later in our vacuum sealer so we’ll have pulled pork on hand.

2. We recycled an old bourbon bottle and used it to toss cooking fat.

3. I bottled homemade apple wine and blackberry wine this weekend. Yum!

4. I made a DIY dryer ball to help our clothes dry more quickly.

5. We did a deep cleaning of the house and it feels awesome. 🙂


Sarah D January 21, 2018 at 8:47 pm

How do you make a dryer ball? I hate using my dryer, but if something I can make at home will lessen drying time I’ll be happy!


JennyS January 23, 2018 at 7:11 pm

What’s H & M? Or an Illinois equivalent?


Liz B. January 25, 2018 at 7:44 am

H & M is a clothing retailer….not sure if they have any stores in Illinois. I’ll definitely be checking about their policy of taking used and ripped textiles…
seems we always have some of those clothing items that need to disposed of, if we can’t reuse them somehow.

Reply January 28, 2018 at 6:22 pm

Ball up some old holey sox and tie off at both ends. or use old tennis balls.


cathy January 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

1. Went to Smith’s (Kroger) to return a wallet and exchange some socks. Turned out socks were buy-one-get-one-half-off, so I got two. I had earned a $25 gift card about a week ago from transferring a prescription, and my sister gave me a $10 off $50 purchase. Once I had done my shopping, I applied the gc, the coupon, and some additional coupons the cashier had, and brought a $150 bill down to $90 and $60 of that was a gift card (for a combo late Christmas/early birthday gift). And since the original total was over $100, I was also able to use a 4x gas points coupon. Drove around the corner to fill my nearly-empty gas tank and was able to get 50 cents off per gallon!
2. Made black bean chicken chili. I’d purchased the chicken for something else, changed my mind and only needed half for the chili. Had all other ingredients. Will freeze half for future meals.
3. Husband was delayed two days coming home from FL due to cancelled flights through the south and east. Even though it had started snowing when his plane landed, he still took light rail and the bus home. He gets a free public transit pass from work.
4. We hung out and watched it snow all day yesterday (~14″ between Friday night and Saturday night), so no money spent. Keeping the bird feeders filled because I can’t get enough of watching bird antics. Today was cold, but sunny and beautiful. I took a lovely walk around the neighborhood. Nothing like the look of fresh snow on houses, yards, and the mountains.
5. Reading through yet another huge stack of library books and ebooks, watching favorite shows on PBS (Grantchester, Foyle’s War, Finding Your Roots), and watching Harry Potter movies. We own the set and it’s our tradition to watch the entire series every December. We’re usually done by Christmas, but a bit behind this time. Half-Blood Prince was Last Night. Deathly Hallows pt 1 tonight! I NEVER get tired of Harry Potter!


Sarah January 23, 2018 at 8:28 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one that can NEVER tire of Harry Potter. I watched the movies every time they played them on Freeform last month – my husband would want to watch something else on tv and I was like “….but Harry Potter is on….” I’ve only seen all the movies a hundred times each but I still love them!


cathy January 23, 2018 at 11:28 am

I’m finding this go ’round that I’m noticing all sorts of details I’ve missed before (and I’ve seen the movies MANY times!). I also love Fantastic Beasts. We don’t own it, so I’ve only seen it twice. Again, more details emerge with each viewing, so I can’t wait to see it again.


Ruby January 21, 2018 at 6:27 pm

1. Weather finally warmed up. I spent the weekend cleaning the house and puttering productively.
2. Have managed to cut $30 a week in grocery expenditures.
3. Needed cat litter and cleaning stuff. Used a $5 off $25 coupon and a $1.50 cat litter coupon.
4. Had a store coupon for 75 cents off store brand pasta and used it to buy a 66 cent box of macaroni. Free macaroni with 9 cents overage!
5. Finally broke down and got a haircut, but saved $10 by washing my hair at home before going. Love my hairdresser, so gave her the same tip as usual.


Hashichan January 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm

1. I asked my 5yo granddaughter what she’d like me to make her for her birthday, and she said a bag for her lego ‘with a dragon on it.’ I made her a lovely purple tote from material I had on hand, and borrowed a friend’s embroidery machine to embroider a dragon on the outside pocket. The only cost was $3 for the embroidery pattern on Etsy.
2. Went by train to the Women’s March yesterday, and dug out a TAP card from last year’s march that still had money on it. So, no cost for transportation or parking. I took snacks and water, and happily partook of the free curry and rice that the Sikh community provided.
3. Still drinking orange juice from my friend’s tree.
4. Harvested a big bowl of lemon guavas from our tree today; I have my fruit for the week.
5. Made my own coconut milk; way cheaper than cans from the supermarket. I’m making a list of thing to get from the Indian store next time I’m in the vicinity — coconut is on it.


Gina in KY January 22, 2018 at 5:29 am

First, thanks for marching! And, I would love to make my own coconut milk. I use it regularly. I need to look up how to do it. Thanks for the inspiration!


Canadian girl January 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm

1) Took transit to work last week instead of driving. Parking at work went up to $6.00 a day free parking can be found but it’s a long walk and with road construction it’s been taking longer to get to work if I drive. I can get to work by taking just one bus but it takes longer than driving but it’s less stressful than trying to find a parking spot
2) Went out for dinner last night and used a gift card to cover the entire cost of the meal
3) Went to see Lady Bird at the cheaper movie theatre… It was okay but not sure I would recommend it
4) Didn’t leave the house today so no money spent.. very very windy and rained off and on.
5) Hoping to cut expenses for the next while so trying our best to meal plan and only pick up what we know we will use


Gina in KY January 22, 2018 at 5:27 am

I saw Lady Bird at our cheap theater as well and had a similar take on it. I think I was expecting something more to the plot.


Julia Park Tracey January 21, 2018 at 7:38 pm

I have clamped down on spending this year after a year with a home renovation that (of course) went over budget and a Christmas engagement for our eldest daughter. This year = save every penny and figure out how to get our money’s worth for the wedding.
1. I picked up sticks and kindling this afternoon for our wood stove, which we use in the evening to cut down on heating bill.
2. Went shopping and stuck to my very short list, at two different stores, and got oranges and grapefruit 5lb bags on sale. We got enough that I think I might make a mixed batch of marmalade.
3. We’re eating out of the freezer and looking to empty it by the end of the month. I made a list of all the freezer items and have been crossing them off as I go.
4. I bought a new Soda Stream (with BB&B coupons) to ease the burden of bringing home sparkling water for my husband. He’s disabled and likes to drink bubbles all day but dragging bottles home from the store was killing me (moving bottles of any kind of water is a scourge on the planet for many reasons). Buying our own unit seemed to be the best answer. In this case, I felt that the purchase outweighed the expense and waste of buying bottles, carrying them home, and recycling the empties.
5. We’ve been using the drying rack to finish drying clothes; the texture of my sheets and towels is softer when tumbled but they take too long in my all-in-one machine. It’s been raining so I can’t hang them outside.
6. Also did not buy anything gold plated!


Laura January 22, 2018 at 9:59 am

I love my soda stream – I hated the waste of those 1 use sparkling water bottles.


JennyS January 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm

Frugalwoods site tells about ways to do the carbonation soda thing for cheaper!


kathleen January 22, 2018 at 9:02 pm

My daughter was married mid-December over ten years ago. I knew that traditionally our church decorated the sanctuary for Christmas with potted poinsettias, and we were able to book the church for the weekend of their delivery. It was FILLED with fresh flowers, but the only ones I had to order and pay for were the bouquets/boutonnieres for the bridal party. I’ve always thought that was a huge frugal win, so think about booking someplace that is traditionally highly decorated for a particular season/event and work your colors around them. 🙂


Jennifer January 23, 2018 at 7:27 am

I made my daughter’s wedding cake. It was 4 tiers and it really wasn’t that hard. There are tons of YouTube videos on them. It really was beautiful and I have been making fancy birthday cakes for my family for special occasions ever since, just for fun. You can decorate the whole thing with plain white frosting then add a few flowers and embellishments. I used a big “D” initial ornament that I found on Christmas clearance for the cake topper since their last name started with D. Also, use lots of natural elements such as ivy or pine cones surrounding Mason jars with candles are always beautiful and can be found in most people’s yards. So many people have beautiful vases, bowls, etc. that stay hid in a cabinet that would be perfect to use for a beautiful wedding.


Linda January 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm

1. Had to buy a new sewing machine – bit of an outlay, but the old one was a star for 35 years and didn’t owe me a thing. Took the metal components to the scrap dealer and made $3!
2. Picking loads of fresh veges from the garden daily.
3. We do our own pruning of trees and shrubs, and mulch most of the trimmings to go into the compost.
4. Absolutely no clothing purchases for summer this year. We have plenty of mostly casual clothes for our retired lifestyle.
5. Sewed a cushion cover from leftover fabric scraps.


Marilyn January 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm

1. Cleaned out kitchen cupboards. I found a number of dishes, coffee mugs and utensils that I forgot we owned! Listed 3 items on Craigslist and one sold almost immediately.
2. My son’s birthday was 01/18. He has a job and an apartment, but he’s still in the living-paycheck-to-paycheck-stage of life. I sent him a card and some money which I know he appreciates more than any gift I could have chosen.
3. I have continued to walk several miles every morning. So far, this year, I have found a penny or 2 every day on my walk. (This almost never happened last year).
4. Working almost full-time lately to cover for a co-worker who is on an extended leave. This will give me some extra money which I intend add to my IRA.
5. All of the library books I put on reserve came in at once. I now have a pile of 5 books on my coffee table waiting to be read. I will not be lacking for reading material for the next month.


Sarah D January 21, 2018 at 8:40 pm

Today was an expensive day, since I needed groceries, coffee, gas, and took my daughter on a date. Still, we had chances to save even while spending:
1. Groceries at Trader Joes. I don’t understand people who think it’s a spendy store–I save at least $25 a week here versus at regular grocery stores. Got all my veggies, grains, tofu, and snacks for the week (nuts, raisins, sparkling water, and a box of granola bars) but no booze or pre-prepared foods. Just regular foods for all our meals for three people for a week, all for less than $100.
2. Saved a few cents per gallon on gas by using the rewards card from a grocery store that I don’t shop at, but just using the card gets 3cents off per gallon. We don’t drive a lot, so it’s been quite a few weeks since we filled the tank.
3. Bought my fancy locally-roasted coffee beans from a local cafe that also gives me a free fill-up of my travel mug whenever I buy beans. Excellent coffee is something that’s important to me, and worth spending a little more on – but I definitely take advantage of the free cup and also their rewards program that nets me a free bag for every 10 I buy. Daughter got a sparkling juice and we enjoyed spending time together.
4. My daughter wanted origami paper so we went to Michaels. I signed up for their rewards program even though I don’t shop there often, just because they had a 40% off coupon that saved us several dollars.
5. Another part of our date was a trip to the used bookstore. Books are another thing that’s important to me, and though much of what we read is from the library, we also love buying books. But we pretty much always buy used, so we’re paying $5-7 for a book. Worth it to me.


avl January 22, 2018 at 5:15 am

Totally agree with you on #3 and 5. Books and good coffee are important to my daily happiness, so I willingly spend for those things. Like you, I will try to find a desired book in good used condition (or at the library) before even considering buying new.


Sarah D January 22, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Especially together, right! A great cup of coffee and a book are a dream team!


Mand01 January 22, 2018 at 6:36 pm

I’ll admit to spending big on organic fairtrade coffee beans and expensive leaf tea. Maybe we need a Five Unfrugal Extravagances post!


Jennifer January 23, 2018 at 7:35 am

1. A luxury car which causes me to use 2. Premium gas 3. Good honey 4. Occasional steak dinner 5. That Disney Cruise from last year

This list sounds terribly speedy but everything else is purchased second hand or from the grocery clearance bin.

Sarah D January 28, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Love this idea! We all make choices with our money that work for our own lives – it’d be fun to hear what everyone else thinks is worth a bit of extravagance!

denise January 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm



Bee January 22, 2018 at 5:33 am

I also shop at Trader Joe’s quite a bit. I suppose it could become spendy if I gave into temptation. However, I use a price book and find many things are less expensive than the other stores nearby. We are somewhat limited. There aren’t any Grocery Outlets or Wincos where I live. The closest Aldi is 15 miles or at least 40 minutes from the house in harrowing traffic as is Costco. I will stop if I am going to be in that part of the city anyway. Sometimes frugal choices aren’t that clear. I would love to reduce my food costs, but I would spend more on gas and a lot more time in the car. I have calculated it , but I think it is a break even proposition.


Sarah D January 22, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Yes, I suppose if it were all the frozen burritos and a bunch of snacky things it might add up. But once I learned how to do my regular shopping there, it’s made a huge diff in my budget! (Plus, they take anything back with no questions so if you open something and think it’s yucky, you get your $ back!).


Marcia January 21, 2018 at 9:29 pm

1. My biggest thrill this week was keeping my grocery bill to under $40. I bought everything I needed and a couple of bargains besides.
2. Everything else was pretty much the same stuff I do every week. Using foil as many times as possible before tossing, using cereal bags opened up to roll my pie crust out (between 2 sheets), making granola at home once a week, cooking mostly from scratch, etc.
3. While not formally doing a pantry challenge, I have been eating from the pantry and freezer a lot this month, as it’s cold, windy and snowy and there is nothing fresh growing around here to do otherwise. I’m not keen on frozen vegetables in general, but I do use some during the winter. In summer I buy at the farm stands mostly.
4. Still using December’s “pocket money” and it looks like we’ll make it through the whole month of January unless some problem pops up in the next week or so.
5. Made all but one meal at home for the week, and the one we ate out was paid for using a gift card from Christmas.


Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 7:39 am

3. I like to use frozen veggies some. I have read that sometimes frozen veggies are better than fresh because they are frozen immediately after picking whereas our produce has to sit on the the shelf for a bit where it’s nutritional content declines. Of course, in the summer farm stands are the obvious delicious choice since they are straight from garden to table.


Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 3:50 am

We were traveling this weekend and I had planned things out to be more frugal than they ended up but I did still find some positives.

1) I bought nothing from the vendors at the gymnastics meet.
2) We packed all our own drinks and snacks and even 2 meals. Breakfast was free in the hotel both days.
3) We enjoyed walking around the mall with friends after the meet and found a new bra for my dd for only $6 – such a great price!
4) We received a $40 Visa gift card as a rebate from our tire purchase in December. And a $73 Costco rebate. So my grocery spending should be fairly low the next week or so which helps in preparation of paying college rent February 1st.
5) Dh and ds built shelves for our basement storage area out of scrap wood we had on hand – cost was $0 plus it occupied them all weekend while my dd’s and I were out of town.


Jill A January 22, 2018 at 4:20 am

1. I took our second car in for a realignment and oil change. It was quite out of alignments so fixing it should help with the wear on my tires saving us money in the end.
2. I’m reading free library and Amazon Prime first pick books on my kindle.
3. We took take out fried chicken to my Mom’s house for dinner with the family Saturday night instead of going for dinner. This saved us money even though it would have been more frugal to eat at home. It’s easier for my Mom if we go to her. She was very tired and driving at night is hard for her.
4. I did laundry over the weekend (when electric rates are lower) and used my drying racks. I purchased groceries and used a $3 reward at Meijer. My husband and I ate leftovers and cleaned more items out of the refridgerator and freezer making our grocery bill lower.
5. My husband and I returned our daughter to her dorm. We drove our hybrid to save on gas. We had dinner with her in the fancy dining hall using her free visitor passes.
6. My husband helped a coworker fix a wall in his house. His coworker learned a new skill and we returned a favor he had done for us.
7. It’s raining outside right now. My husband backed my car out of the garage this morning so that it could get a free wash.


Elizabeth January 22, 2018 at 4:47 am

1. Found nice pajama pants for my son for just $1 at the thrift store and Captain Underpants books for 2/$1.
2. Stayed home for 3 days and enjoyed the rare snow by making miniature snowmen and snow slushies
3. My dad fixed our light switch that was occasionally shocking us…thank goodness:)
4. Used Pinterest and the library to plan out a fun homeschool lesson on winter topics
5. Picked up some freebies at Kroger and $.99/lb Boston butts


Gina in KY January 22, 2018 at 5:19 am

Like Helen above, this is a GOV shutdown edition for me as well:

1. I have saved both a EF and a paycheck for anticipated shutdown. I am excepted which means I will be working, but who knows when I will be paid. This changes the budget a bit.

2. I was gifted a bunch of free veggies/fruits: yellow squash, fresh green beans, peppers, potatoes, apples, pears, strawberries. These will get me through a couple of weeks (mentioned previously I am a vegetarian).

3. Library, library, library…I checked out a bunch of books to read and study. I had a dream about a novel and it is pouring out of me at the moment. I needed some books for research and the library did not disappoint.

4. Made food at home this weekend (I am always tempted to eat out on weekends), including a lasagna with veggie bits from the refrigerator. This used up most of my vegetables, so nothing wasted this week. We had a small road trip and I packed our lunch. I also took my 10 yo to see Justice League at the cheap theater. I did purchase a $5 popcorn, but they give free refills and my son and friend polished off one bucket in no time, I refilled it twice (three buckets total) and the last one (full) I took home and put in Ziploc bags to make caramel corn (probably today).

5. While in a nearby city, we visited the Goodwill Outlet and found many items to resell. Hopefully I will get them listed on eBay this week.



Shelia January 22, 2018 at 6:07 am

I had a frugal fail I’ll add at the end.
1. I’m part of a team that decorates for special events at our church. The Valentine’s Day banquet is coming up and I had the team over for brunch. I made a really low cost quiche and cranberry bread from a marked down mix. The others brought fruit and juice. We had a great time and using things we already had and that the venue provides, we’ll be decorating 24-26 really elegant tables for 68.00.
2. Our middle adult daughter came home for her birthday. She had lunch with friends and brought home leftovers that we ate for dinner. We watched a dvd we had and a couple of episodes of her favorite Korean drama with home popped popcorn and cake. Her gifts were a small piece of local art and a check. Lovely, inexpensive birthday.
3. I’m meeting my sister for lunch today before her doctor’s appointment. She’ll buy a sandwich, I’ll use my free coupon for the month, we both get free drinks because we’re seniors and I’ll spring for an order of fries and use a gift card.
4. My husband sold a chain link fence that was here when we moved in last year. He had it listed previously and it didn’t sell but got two responses yesterday.
5. I spent more at Kroger yesterday than usual because of really good sales including Folgers for 5.99. Our grocery bill has been really low the last few months so this was a bit of a stock up. Which was fine until I remembered the coupon at home that would have given me 10.00 off a 50.00 order! We never spend that much so I hadn’t taken it. Does Kroger refund for stupid frugal fails????


CK January 22, 2018 at 8:07 am

Sheila, if you take your receipt and coupon back to Kroger, they should refund the coupon difference. I have done this many times at my local Kroger chain


Robin January 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

It never hurts to ask! I’d take your receipt and coupon to the Kroger customer service desk and ask very nicely if they can help you? Good luck.


Shelia January 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Thank you!


Marybeth January 22, 2018 at 11:16 am

Go to customer service with the coupon and your receipt before the coupon expires. It shouldn’t be any problem. I’ve done it too.


Shelia January 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Thank you!


Bee January 22, 2018 at 6:35 am

I always try to see the bright side in everything. However, I have decided that I really do not like the month of January. It is a month that is usually defined by short days, extremely cold weather, post-holiday let down, and a stack of annual bills. I keep reminding myself that brighter, longer and warmer days are not far off. Here are my FFT :
1) My husband has been having trouble with his car- a 2006 Acura. We thought it was on its last legs. There was an electrical short that was draining the battery even when it sat for a short period of time. We were told that shorts like this were difficult to track down and sometimes costly to fix. Not swayed, DH googled it and found that this particular make and model had issues with the hands free/Bluetooth device. Disconnecting it would solve the problem. He followed the directions and brought his battery to be recharged. The cost was $0. So far, so good. He has been driving it without any problems.

2) I bought an annual State Park Pass for $53. We use several of the nearby parks often especially the oceanfront park. The cost of a visit is normally $3. This will be a money saver in the long run.

3) I had a house guest that visited for a week. Thank goodness she is also a thrifty soul. I planned inexpensive activities. Although it was cold and windy, we used the park pass mentioned above. I took her thrifting, and she found several pieces of clothing. I planned meals, so we only ate out for lunch one day and for dinner one evening.

4) I sold 5 items on eBay this week which surprised me greatly. I find that my sales are clustered around the 15th and 30th –paydays. I have a stack of things to list this week. Some were purchased with this in mind. Others are from my decluttering efforts.

5) Like many of you, I am trying to use up the contents of the refrigerator and freezer. Although I aim for zero food waste, every once and a while something gets pushed to the back of the refrigerator. This week, I froze a bit of pork roast to use in pork fried rice at a later date. I also froze some single servings of things for meals when DH travels. I made chicken broth with leftover carcasses. I also made olive tapenade with several jars and varieties of olives that were lingering. I currently have some pinto beans soaking, so I can make enchiladas. I will soon know if I am defrosting enchilada or spaghetti sauce.


Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 7:46 am

I feel you on the month of January, I continue to slog through the best I can.


Mia January 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

Enchilada sauce or spaghetti sauce. That made me laugh out loud!


Susie's Daughter January 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Bee – even though it is dark as a tomb when we get up in the morning (DS is an early riser) I keep telling myself the days are getting longer, the days are getting longer…


KJD509 January 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Yep, me too on the January doldrums. Thank goodness we’re more than halfway through.


Liz B. January 23, 2018 at 9:32 am

Ugh, January in Ohio is generally gray and overcast. I dread it every year! I’ve made up my mind, though, that I’m going to try and plan some fun winter time weekend activities to make winter here less dreary….winter hikes at local (free) parks, ice skating (if I can find any deals), etc. Plus hot chocolate afterwards, which makes everything better.


Bee January 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Susie Daughter is right — the days are getting longer. Spring is just around the corner, but it feels as though we will never get out of the month of January. Thank you for the commiserations.


K D January 22, 2018 at 6:57 am

1. We had a quiet weekend. All meals were at home. We did stop at COSTCO to buy frozen berries and chia seeds. We then stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond to return place mats I didn’t like. I looked through the food they had on clearance (my how the store has changed, I rarely go there but what a make-over). and bought 6-7-1/2 ounce bags of organic tortilla chips for $.59/bag and a few other items that were greatly marked down. Their regular prices for food are outrageous.

2. It was nice weather so we enjoyed walks outside and di some work around the yard. Free exercise.

3. I joined a new crafting for charity group. We’ll focus on premmies and full-term newborns. Projects use just a little yarn and many members have a surplus to share. It like meeting new people in a setting where there is purpose.

4. I have added a few exercises to my at home workout. It started with PT for a shoulder injury about three years ago but I have also added core exercises, at the urging of my Pilates teacher and one of my yoga teachers. I think that I approach age 60 I am in good shape to weather a few more decades.

5. A friend had bunion surgery last week. She lives alone so I spent a couple hours visiting her on Friday. I brought her a few “healthy” cookies but mostly she was just glad for company. She is trending towards minimalism so I didn’t want to bring her anything that would be “clutter”. She is recovering well and I see her again this week.


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 7:33 am

1. Picked up the two freebies from the grocery store when I was in town last week – popcorn and coconut water. The only popcorn variety left was black pepper, which I didn’t particularly care for but it served as several snacks for my husband, who did like that flavor.

2. The other freebie was coconut water – I picked it up the last time it was free and learned that I’m not a fan. However, I read somewhere online about using it in place of tap water to make oatmeal so I’ll give that a try this week. Since I don’t normally buy coconut water it won’t be a money saver – plain water is still the cheapest option for making oatmeal. But I love experimenting with food, so it’s free entertainment for me.

3. We’ve continued to stay close to home, even when we had unseasonably-warm-for-January temperatures this past weekend. The world championship snowmobile derby – and the nice weather – brought hundreds upon thousands of people to the area, and I’d just as soon not deal with crowds. Staying home is super frugal.

4. Speaking of staying home, the streak of at-home days continues due to 8 inches (or more) of heavy wet snow in the forecast for today. Whether we get that much…or more…of less… we’re not planning on going anywhere that requires driving. Living in a rural area with a walkability score of zero assures that regardless of where we may walk, we won’t have an opportunity to spend money.

5. Continuing to try and eat down the overstocked food supply makes for some strange but yummy meal combinations – and the lowest grocery spending I’ve seen in years.


Bethel January 22, 2018 at 7:34 am

1. Mostly ate at home this weekend, including eating leftovers
2. Brought food to work today for breakfast and lunch, and am drinking free coffee/water at the office
3. Began carpooling with my coworker again this week to save on gas
4. Returned an item to Wal-Mart after the 90 day time limit. The kind customer service representative gave me the full price I’d paid in store credit. I would have preferred cash or money back into my checking account, but she didn’t have to do anything so I gratefully accepted her offer and will use the store credit for necessities.
5. Have been doing a no-spend January, and have stayed out of stores other than to buy groceries/household necessities. I have not even thrifted!


Lisa January 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

I too have had to get walmart cards for return gifts. I turn around and use the card at their gas station and get three cents off per gallon.


rebecca January 22, 2018 at 8:14 am

1.Had friends over for dinner and used up a bunch of carrots from $1 2lb bag and roasted them. yum!
2. Bought coffee on sale and stocked up.
3. Classes started last week so more $$ coming in 2 weeks.
4. Brought some dinner party leftovers to my sister
5. Frugal fail-I turned down the opportunity to co-teach a class this summer. I decided, even though I love my friend who i would be teaching with and the $ is always welcome, it was exhausting to think about the logistics and planning of it with her. She’s not as organized as to make it easy and is frequently late for meetings ect.


Betty Winslow January 22, 2018 at 8:17 am

1. Had a mini stroke a week ago, so have been either i hospital or sleeping since, so no spending money on unneeded stuff.
2. Also, my SIL set up a mealtrain for me, so we have had a week of meals delivered, saving us both work and money on groceries, which has been awesome, since all I want to do is sleep (Apparently, how your brain heals).
3. Got to catch up on a stack of library movies while I’ve been out of commission.
4. Breakfast doay – a bagel I bought home from a school breakfast spread, with spreadable cream cheese I got free from Kroger.
5. Since I haven’t been able to really go anywhere, saving on gas.


Alison January 22, 2018 at 8:30 am

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Betty!


Tracy January 22, 2018 at 8:36 am

Betty sorry to hear about your mini stroke. Very scary I am sure. I hope you recover quickly and fully.


ouvickie January 22, 2018 at 8:53 am

I’m sorry to hear you had a stroke, Betty. Blessings for healing & strength for you!!


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 9:00 am

I’m very sorry to hear about your mini stroke, and I wish you a fast recovery.


Christine January 22, 2018 at 9:02 am

Best wishes sent your way for a quick recovery. Sleep (and for me, walking) seems to be a cure-all for many things. Glad you’re using your time to rest and sleep, apparently what your body is telling you it wants. Positive thoughts coming at ya!


janine January 22, 2018 at 10:35 am

Loved you upbeat attitude despite health problems. Take it easy and eat
those yummy bagels!


Lisa January 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

Sorry to hear about your health. Sending you thoughts on a speedy recovery


Su Mama January 22, 2018 at 10:31 am

Sending you good wishes and virtual hugs for a quick and pleasant recovery, Betty! I always look forward to reading about your frugal life!


rebecca January 22, 2018 at 10:47 am

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!


Jill A January 22, 2018 at 12:04 pm

So sorry. Feel better.


Mand01 January 22, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Betty, that is truly finding the frugal lining in the clouds. I hope you recover quickly.


A. Marie January 22, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Adding my best wishes to all the others for a speedy recovery, Betty. Hang in there. (My cat Betty sends purrs as well!)


Bee January 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Sending positive thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. I missed you.


Caroline January 22, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Good vibes, Betty Winslow! I’m a rare commenter but faithful reader and your FFTs have made me fond of you from afar! Hugs and speedy recovery.


kathleen January 22, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Wishing you the best, Betty!


Debbie from Delaware January 22, 2018 at 11:13 pm

Praying for a full and speedy recovery for you!!!!


Jennifer January 23, 2018 at 7:40 am

Oh, so sorry to hear. I am keeping you in my thoughts from afar.


Liz B. January 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Betty, glad you are getting the rest you need to recover. I hope you have a quick and uneventful recovery!


Vickey January 24, 2018 at 11:20 am

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!


Alison January 22, 2018 at 8:29 am

1. Spent $30 of airmiles cash to bring a bag of groceries (yes, just one bag) down to $5.
2. Went walking in rainy weather with a friend to chat and release stress. We didn’t stop for coffee.
3. Got my hair cut super short to cut off almost all the remaining colour. I’m going all grey. Hair cut half of what I would normally pay for a cut and colour. I’ve received several compliments, but maybe they’re just being nice! Ha ha
4. Sold our rental property, and got slightly more than our asking price. More funds to retirement savings, and no more dealing with maintenance and tenants. Simplicity in retirement is my motto.
5. Nothing gold plated for me either!


Vickey January 24, 2018 at 11:23 am

Allison, another woman once thanked me for not coloring my grey – she said it gave her the courage to do the same. Who knows, maybe you’re similarly encouraging someone else by your independent model.
Wear that evidence of your hard-won life wisdom proudly!


ouvickie January 22, 2018 at 8:50 am

1) I thawed out the hamburger meat we had in the freezer and fixed meatloaf, potatoes, mixed veggies and salad from our pantry & fridge. Hubby loves meatloaf sandwiches, so the leftovers will do us for a few more meals.
2) I picked up oatmeal, blueberries, creamer and 5 entrees that were on sale at Smart Saver this morning. I spent a total of $17 and that will do me for lunch this week and breakfast for at least 3 weeks or more.
3) I took a gaming chair ( I bought at Goodwill months ago), a bean bag chair, a pair of nice adjustable roller skates – size 1-4 (I bought at Goodwill a few weeks ago for my youngest granddaughter) and a Kitchen Knife set w/the storage block over to my daughters new house on Saturday – less clutter for me, useful for them.
4) I’m excited that the weather is going to be warmer for the rest of the month. Anything to cut the heating bill is much appreciated.
5) I was helping my daughter by paying for 1/2 of her internet connection each month (she was a single Mom going to college), but now that she’s getting married and they’ve moved in together I won’t need to do that anymore. YAY! That’s a savings of $40 per month for me.


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 9:04 am

#1 – Meatloaf sandwiches are one of my favorite sandwiches. I always make big enough meatloaves to plan for several rounds of meatloaf sandwiches.


susanna d January 22, 2018 at 9:07 am

Oops – my comment above was in reply to Ouvickie’s five frugal things.


Melanie January 22, 2018 at 9:55 am

1. Saved $79.02 at the grocery store combination of sales and coupons. Final bill was $125.00. Stocked up on a lot of staples.
2. Submitted a $7.00 Sentinel heartworm rebate
3. Read library books, walked the dog, watched Sling TV and did crosswords all weekend
4. Saturday night dinner – ziti defrosted from the freezer
5. Brought coffee and lunch from home with me to work every day


Chris January 22, 2018 at 10:46 am

1. Finally straightened out my account on ThredUp only to find out that I have an account balance of $12.15 for an enormous bag of clothes. Really, .65 for a like new Hannah Andersson child’s dress??? Well, I gave it a try and now I don’t need to do it again.
2. Big snow today but rather than starting in the early AM hours, it didn’t start until I was leaving my 8AM dentist appointment thus saving me the worry of driving in snow or cancelling an appointment. Home inside for the rest of the day.
3.I made a large batch of tuna salad for lunch for the next 3 days when I am working (free lunch at work) but my husband is at home. He won’t be tempted to go to Subway or to buy deli meat.
4. Drying bread for croutons – bread that my sister brought over a week ago and we didn’t use for the dinner – or for anything else til now.
5. Made a big batch of granola yesterday using some honey given to us by a friend who keeps bees – yum!


janine January 22, 2018 at 11:34 am

Heavy winter storms coming in today so got my Monday shopping done early this morning.
1. Found coconut oil spray in dollar store. DH uses this on dog’s food in the morning – easier to use than regular coconut oil and helps dog’s health – particularly his skin issues. However, also found several hard cover books for just $1 so bought them – will donate or sell if they don’t meet expectations. Not very expensive but not necessities either.
2. Shopped my cupboard and found a bottle of molasses needed for the gingerbread I plan to make for dessert tonight.
3. We are not on a no-spend January, but trying a severely limited grocery budget and spent just $19.17 at grocery store.
4. Continuing to read two gifted books -‘What Happened’ by Hillary Clinton, and ‘Surviving the Future’ edited by Shaun Chamberlin. Sitting by the fire with a good book=free entertainment even though their subjects are for serious consideration.
5. Staying home this week except for a governor candidate forum on Wednesday evening. Democracy is not a spectator sport these days.


A. Marie January 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Loud cheers for your #5, Janine. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.


Katy in Africa January 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm

1. This is kinda a sad frugal thing, but the old and rather sickly dog is gone. He came with the house we rent, but we asked our landlords family if they could take him. While this wasn’t the main reason, we will no longer have his vet bills or feeding him.
2. Leftovers for supper.
3. I let some neighbor kids come pick mangoes today, but said they had to rake up the leaves when they were done…they got some mangoes, I got a cleaner yard.
4. Because my daughter and I opted for rice pudding made from leftover rice, we didn’t need to buy as much bread for breakfast as usual.
5. We received a small package in one of those padded envelopes, so I’m saving it. It can be used to mail something, pack fragiles or for organization.


Christine January 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm

1.Having leftovers for supper.
2.Have not gone to the grocery store in almost two weeks. Using our freezer and cupboards as the grocery store and are still eating very well.
3.Feeling good about shopping in my own closet for outfits. Today I discovered a pretty blue fleece jacket in a spare room’s closet that I forgot I owned. Today being rainy and cold it came in handy while keeping my heat set at 60. Kind of like wearing a blanket.
4.Will shop on Wednesday at PetSmart. I have a $5 off $12 purchase store coupon, plus I have a manufacture’s coupon for $2 off the canned cat food my cats seem to love (for now) so I will get a savings of $7 off 24 cans of cat food.
5.Spent Saturday afternoon at my cousin’s house looking at old family photographs and sharing family stories. His father and mine were brothers, both gone now, so lots of memories to share. Both were WWII Vets so interesting and sometimes humorous tales of their experiences shared. My Dad in the Pacific Theater, his in Europe including Omaha Beach during the invasion. Brave guys.


Bee January 22, 2018 at 6:57 pm

My dad and his 3 brothers all fought in WWII along with many others of their generation. Their young adult lives were shaped by these events that occurred far from home. The sacrifices made by them – and those on the homefront —should never be forgotten. So glad your family shares these stories and keep their memories alive.


Christine January 22, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Thanks for sharing Bee. I’m glad you mentioned the home front. My husband and I traveled to Washington D.C. several years ago and went to the WWII monument. I cried like a baby at the gate at the thought of what my grandmother went through having her two boys both in battle. War forces so many sacrifices on all touched by it.


Beth Anne January 22, 2018 at 3:38 pm

1. Said no to teen queen about going to Culvers tonight and yes to breakfast dinner! 🙂 Tried chocolate waffles for the first time and they turned out delish!

2. Saturday did a last minute dog walk which then paid for teen queen’s allowance, and bought us banana’s and ice cream (pirorities, lol) with change left over.

3. Took car in Sunday for an oil change on sale for $18.75 and took advantage of the free battery and alignment checks – both are great.

4. Worked a half day at the library Sunday which paid for the oil change and the burned out bulb taillight I had them replace.

5. Did Swagbuckas all weekend and earned enough for a $25 Walmart gift card, :checked out Atomic Blonde and Killers of the Flower Moon (book) from the library, ate a free bagel and coffee for lunch & the two clementines I brought saving me $2 I brought for the vending machine peanuts I was going to buy for lunch at work; received flowers at work for my great welcome to the school from an interview candidate- loved getting those! ; made daughter leave for school/work early Friday morning so could return movies to library before opened so wouldn’t get $1 late fee; been trimming dog’s hair around her eyes to extend her haircut/next trip to the groomer.


Mary in Maryland January 22, 2018 at 5:42 pm

1) Saturday was DH’s birthday. I threw a dinner party for nine. Served my pasta fagioli which gets raves. Dirty secret–I don’t much like it but I used up seven cups of the 25# of navy beans which I don’t like. I felt I was getting a larger team to use them up.
2) Sent DH with another seven quarts of the soup to a fund-raiser for scholarships for public school students in DC on Sunday morning. It all got eaten…and not by me! What a win.
3) Yesterday I offered a workshop on tending and mending winter knits at our Timebank skill swap. I took several things I had mended as examples. Attenders seemed to have fun and learn new skills.
4) I knit my DH wool socks in 1996. Five pair. He never seemed to like them, so I’ve been wearing them the last twelve winters–taking one for the team. However, I offered him a pair last week when he was complaining about cold feet. This morning he asked if he could take them back. You bet.
5) Peeled garlic runs 4.99/pound or 19.99/5 pounds. 5 pounds were reduced to 9.99 when I got groceries last week. I bought it. I gave a pound to a garlic-loving friend, put a pound in the fridge, and minced three pounds tin the food processor and froze it in eight clove increments (a heaping tablespoon). It seems very convenient, but I’m a little worried that I may have garlic-flavored blueberries.


kathleen January 22, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Knitting wasn’t enough, you had to break them in for him too. LOL


Ava January 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm

1.) A large bowl of tomatoes from the holidays was just sitting…I finally tossed them in a slow cooker with some sauteed onion and a LOT of basil and oregano from the back yard garden. I ended up with some quite good sauce, and as a bonus, the pasta was part of a holiday gift basket from friends.

2.) Next to the tomatoes were a dozen apples that weren’t getting eaten. After the marinara was done, the apples went in the slow cooker, and once they they were mushy a tossed in a carton of blueberries before they could start going bad. Apple-blueberry sauce now residing in the freezer.

3.) A family member from out of state was sent here for a work project and at the end of her project she spent the weekend with us. It was wonderful to see her, except that the poor woman got horribly ill with the flu. (We feel incredibly lucky we didn’t catch it, and she was mortified – called me every day for a week saying, “Are you guys okay?!?”) I had everything in the house for chicken soup so I made her a big batch (which lasted us three more meals, after she flew home). My brother- and sister-in-law spent their vacation in the Caribbean (lucky!) and their Christmas gifts were wonderful spices from the local market. Ours was coconut curry…I wish I could post the aroma for you all! I included it in the chicken soup and it most definitely “kicked it up a notch.” We obviously didn’t do any sight-seeing, or even go out. We sat about watching football, eating chicken soup, and gossiping. Family gossip = free entertainment.

4.) I found an OshKosh coat in just my grandchild’s size at a thrift store. It’s a heavy winter coat in perfect shape and at $4 I couldn’t believe my good luck. I’d intended to keep it here for when the kids visit, but talked to my daughter who lamented that the little one was outgrowing the coat they have and the weather was getting cold. I asked if I should ship the OshKosh I’d bought the day before and she said, “Yes PLEASE!” So I used a USPS flat-rate box and crammed the coat in and off it went. I got a text a few days later saying it was perfect. Yay!

5.) I found a beautiful, still-in-the-wrapper vegan cookbook I’d bought to give one of my stepsons for Christmas. It had got lost in the shuffle and forgotten about. So we gave it to him as a housewarming gift (he and his partner just moved into a new home).


Susie's Daughter January 23, 2018 at 4:54 am

Ava on your family gossip comment: My aunt always called her commentary about people “improving the character of those not present”. 🙂


Ava January 23, 2018 at 5:27 am

Hi Ava. This is the other Ava. I rarely hear of an Ava who is older than 8.
1. My husband had a strong craving for pizza. I had a strong craving to not go out again. I have been making a lot of bread lately, so I tried pizza crust and it turned out great. Doctored up some leftover spaghetti sauce and had cheese in the freezer. No extra money spent. More pizza in our future.
2. Found a deal on dried cranberries, raisins and candied orange peel and stocked up. We had oatmeal cooked with candied orange peel at a B & B we stayed at and it was wonderful. I have been wanting to try it at home. It is indeed wonderful.
3. Almost finished with the closet purge and getting ready to move on to books. I gave my friend a bag and a jacket. I will have a stack of pants for her daughter to go through shortly.
4. I have been pretty down this month due to his and hers root canals and crowns, endless car repairs (and we still don’t know if it is fixed) and weather. We spent a day with son’s family, watching grandson’s basketball game and taking a long walk with granddaughter. I think that helped start the climb out of depression.
5. Found a receipt I need to turn in for reimbursement. I was sure I had thrown it away.


Mand01 January 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm

1. Aforementioned expensive coffee and multiple varieties of leaf tea. I’m drinking some now. 2. Gardening magazines 3. Also good honey, preferably local and single variety 4. Dinner out with my husband and youngest once a week 5. Houseplants


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