Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 29, 2018 · 165 comments

  1. I worked both Friday and Saturday and brought leftovers from home both days. (Of course I drank the free coffee and tea in a thrifted travel mug.) I still had a $5 food voucher for the cafeteria, so I went down and bought cookies which I then shared with my co-workers. I work with a team of kick-ass labor and delivery nurses and it’s important to show my appreciation now and then. Without them I would have changed careers a million years ago.

  2. I used last week’s paycheck to pay off our one credit card. We don’t carry a balance on the card, but had been succumbing to it a lot over the past month. We normally only use it for gasoline and out of town purchases, (and always pay off the balance) but the last month was insanely expensive due to the winter term tuition payments, renewing my nursing license, a surprise computer repair, an unexpected out of town trip and holiday expenses. We made a lot of financial sacrifices over the past month to continue our debt-free journey and it’s a relief to move forward. This paycheck included a bonus that I received for working over a certain number of hours in 2017, but only ended up as a normal amount as I had an entire week of work cancelled due to low hospital patient levels. The next double tuition payments aren’t due until April, so we can breathe again while we scurry to pile up another mountain of cash.

  3. I sold two items on eBay including a brand new NBA branded fleece robe that I’d picked up at Goodwill. I actually bought two at $9.99 apiece as I saw that they were selling for between $50 and $75. I priced mine at $50 and sold it within a few days of putting the listing together. The other item was a pair of Starbucks mugs that are on their merry way to Lancashire, England. Most of my listings, both on eBay and Facebook Marketplace are pretty dormant right now, but I’m not worried as January is always a slow month for sales. People are recovering from the holidays and hunkering down at home. I know I am!

  4. I sautéed a pan of 5-for-99¢ Grocery Outlet peppers for burritos, I washed up a sodden filthy towel to use as a cleaning rag,  (see above photo) I wore the same wool socks three days in a row, I found a quarter and five pennies on the ground while out and about and I walked to do my grocery shopping and ended up strolling home to chat with a neighbor which wouldn’t have happened had I driven.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar solid gold toilet.

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri January 29, 2018 at 12:14 pm

That towel is my favorite! Have you considered putting all your expenses on a credit card (and immediately paying them off) in order to collect the cash back rewards? We do this and I try to pay them off every day or two. I’d imagine you could get a lot of cash back for those hefty tuition payments! I’ve been blogging about my frugal escapades at my blog, The Frugal List.


Katy January 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm

I prefer to use credit cards as little possible. I worry that we could slide into credit debt.


Michelle January 29, 2018 at 12:32 pm

I’m not sure how Katy’a sons’ colleges are but my twins’ colleges charge a service fee to pay tuition via credit card. And its usually 3 percent…. More than one would receive in rewards.

Me too Katy. I loathe debt and only use monthly ad we need it and pay it off. We saved in 529 plans for 11 years. here’s my advice to parents ….put away whatever u can month if this is a goal for u. We auto piloted it for those 11 years and I was actually surprised at how much we had for tuition when it was needed. My daughter also received a small 4 yr academic scholarship. Every little bit helps. now to the mortgage lol


Katy January 29, 2018 at 1:03 pm

We pay the tuition directly, not with a credit card. It’s just that the payment made us very cash poor which is why we used the credit card.


Sue January 29, 2018 at 12:41 pm

IF you are making cash payments to the school and receiving not discount for cash….use the credit card with cash back or points foe the tuition payment, and go immediately to the bank amd thump down cash.

By not looking for a cash discount price OR cashback oppertunities you are incuring a 2% expense.

To give you an idea of the savings you are leaving behind….I received $2.5k worth of free flights from my bachelors and masters. I used a card that had air miles and no blackout dates, since we knew we had a few upcoming out of town events. Total price of schooling was about 15k before any employee tutition reimbursement.


Stephanie V January 29, 2018 at 1:57 pm

I’m not sure if this is the case with Katy’s son’s school, but my son’s college charges a 3% service fee if you put tuition on a credit card. My credit card pays rewards of 2%. I’d lose 1% if I charged tuition. We pay cash, too.


Katy January 29, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Yes, the Oregon state schools charge extra to use a credit card. We pay cash.

Terri January 29, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Wow, I did not know that they charge a fee to pay with a credit card. By all means, pay cash then! Save the money! 🙂

Terri January 29, 2018 at 2:39 pm

OK, that makes sense. It does require a lot of diligence to pay them off every day or two.


Mand01 January 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm

1. We went to see friends on the weekend. They were canning peaches so we helped. I learned how to can peaches and we left with a bagful of fresh peaches.
2. When we got home we prepared the peaches for the freezer and ended up with 14 cups of sliced peaches in the freezer.
3. I shredded a giant zucchini and put 21 cups of shredded zucchini in the freezer for future meals.
4. Our grocery bill was very low because we have planned our meals from the garden and pantry. I also want to the bakery on a hot afternoon as they were closing and got bread half price. That was an accident but a frugal one.
5. We managed to keep our garden alive in the heatwave and we have picked a mountain of tomatoes.


Lisa January 29, 2018 at 1:16 pm

I love canning with friends and family. It makes the jobs so much easier. I am planning a bean canning party (chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans) in the month of february.


Vickey January 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Great idea!


A. Marie January 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm

FFT, Haven’t Posted Lately Edition:

(1) I’ve been unusually distracted lately because, as chair of my Neighborhood Watch group, I’ve been dealing with a major problem that’s arisen on our street. No need for the details here–but I feel, as I’ve always felt, that doing your darnedest to keep your city neighborhood a good place to live is ultimately a Frugal Thing.

(2) But I haven’t neglected the routine stuff (hanging laundry on the vintage indoor racks, doing laundry less often, driving as little as possible, etc., etc.).

(3) And I recently made what I call an “Old MacDonald’s” soup stock, with an unusual assortment of bones: the carcass of the duck Dr. Bestest Neighbor made for Christmas dinner, plus a small fistful each of pork and turkey bones. E-I-E-I-O!

(4) I then used the stock to make a mulligatawny soup with brown lentils–which is about the only way I like brown lentils. (The lentils were bought at a recent 10% off all bulk purchases sale at my local food co-op.)

(5) Finally, one of our most eccentric neighbors (with whom I have been working cooperatively on the neighborhood problem), who knows that I pick up NYS deposit beverage containers on my walks, brought over an entire trash can’s worth of pre-rinsed containers as a token of his appreciation. Call me weird, but I’d rather have that than a florist’s bouquet!


mary January 29, 2018 at 1:29 pm

that was sweet of your neighbor! I would have liked that also!


Cindy January 30, 2018 at 10:13 am

Years ago, my husband financed a recording session by collecting cans (helped that we lived in a college town, he hit up the classrooms until he was run off by a custodian who wanted the deposits for himself!).


Mary in Maryland January 29, 2018 at 12:59 pm

1) Katy’s towel is an example of what we call roadkill at our house. I don’t find much money, but my husband is wearing a quilted vest that I found on the road a few years ago. And last week I found two pairs of gloves. I’ve washed both pairs and put them in the box for the thrift shop.
2) I went to a retreat this weekend and offered my quilted crafts for sale. I sell enough that it’s a self-supporting hobby. Everybody wants to buy smalls, so I specialize in pot holders. Most from the baggie of random blocks known as the orphanage–practice blocks or blocks left over from larger projects.
3) We had a book exchange at the retreat, and I brought home four that look interesting.
4) A friend wants a hat like the one I knit myself. I knit her one out of yarn someone gave me. It’s not a color I would ever have chosen (variegated rose, gray, and sage), but it was free and will look good on my friend.
5) Last night we went to a dinner given by a nonprofit we support cooked by the interns. Appetizers included a white bean and basil dip that was quite delicious. I have 32 cups of dried navy beans that I don’t like. I see white bean and basil dip in my potluck future.
6) The dog’s hypertensive med dose was halved–maybe due to his weight loss. That’ll save $66/year.


Katy January 29, 2018 at 1:04 pm

“Roadkill?” I love it and am totally stealing that term!


Mary in Maryland January 29, 2018 at 1:10 pm

As well you might…


A. Marie January 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm

I once picked a new-with-tags men’s large seersucker bathrobe out of the middle of the major street nearest me. Nothing wrong with it but a large tire track down the middle, which came out in the wash on the first try. Wore it for years (I wore a men’s L pretty well back then), and reverently cut it up for rags when it was too threadbare for further use.


Marie January 29, 2018 at 4:03 pm

My husband works construction, and brings home plenty of roadkill gloves, jackets, even a pair of boots once. People tend to be quite wasteful about clothes.


Christine January 29, 2018 at 7:27 pm

I still use a backpack found brand new in the road back in my mail carrying days.


Linda Gertig January 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

4) “It’s not a color I would have ever chosen…” I have knit scarves and hats for people who need them for many years, mostly from thrift store yarn or donated yarn. One time, many years ago, when I was knitting a scarf out of solid brown yarn, my then 6 year old told me, “It’s not right to knit ugly things for poor people!”
It turned out that he meant that he would like it better with stripes. There are different tastes, but if it wouldn’t be “good enough” for me and mine, I shouldn’t expect someone else to be grateful for it.


Cynthia Huntington January 29, 2018 at 5:34 pm

I think she meant she wouldn’t choose if for herself but it would look good on her friend. We all can appreciate certain colors and shades we don’t personally wear well.


Cynthia Huntington January 29, 2018 at 5:36 pm

I love apricot, peachy shades with a lot of yellow in them but they make my skin look like I have malaria. Others can wear these colors.


Mary in Maryland January 30, 2018 at 11:48 am

Most oranges and yellows make me look like a leprechaun with hepatitis.


Lindsey January 30, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Not everyone hates brown. I have a friend whose entire house/wardrobe/cars are all in shades of brown. She even wears brown eyeshadow! I find her house and clothes depressing…she once told me she had to get over thinking I was “garish and vulgar” when we were first introduced, because I favor yellows and oranges.


Dmarie January 30, 2018 at 4:20 am

we’d call Katy’s towel “free range” but love “roadkill” too


Vickey January 30, 2018 at 5:22 pm

“Foundlings”, we calls ‘em. Cuz we take ‘em home, give them some TLC, and a new lease on life.


rebecca January 29, 2018 at 1:08 pm

1. Ate leftovers for lunch from dinner last night that friends paid for as it was their daughter’s birthday celebration.
2. Shopped at Aldi today
3. Bought gas for $2.45 a gallon
4. Keeping the heat at 64 degrees
5. I found .15 cents


Lisa January 29, 2018 at 1:10 pm

My frugal life:

1. I went thru my t-shirt in anticipation of spring and only had one that I could not carry into warm weather. I cut it up for yarn and crocheted a new cover for my swiffer.

2. Planted my seeds in paper egg cartons. I can’t wait for warm weather.

3. Asked my eye doctor for eye drop coupons and he gave me four decent office samples.I

4. Pickled three jars of not so nice veggies (broccoli, carrots, celery, snow peas) that were wilted in the fridge three weeks ago. Opened today and they are fantastic. I will be buying more discounted veggies for sure.

5. Still eating the pantry down in anticipation of giving up meat for lent.


mary January 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

can you share a pic/pattern for the Swiffer cover?


Lisa January 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

I don’t have a Camera. Work from a kindle. I got the pattern from pintrest


Vicki January 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Hey Katy, did you ever offload that pretty purple train case? 😛


FrannyandDanny January 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

I love finding wrecked wet items and bringing them back to life. It’s happened several times.


Bee January 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

I had the type of thrifty day that only the frugal at heart can appreciate. Here are my frugal five:
1) I had home brewed coffee and avacado toast for breakfast. This allowed me to use up 1/2 an avacado leftover from last night’s taco extravaganza at our house. While enjoying my breakfast, I realized the turkey, that I bought for $0.49 per pound at Christmas and currently defrosting in the refrigerator, was not going to be ready in time for tonight’s dinner. It is taking forever! So I soaked some white beans for soup which are currently in the pressure cooker.

2) I had an orthodontist appointment this morning, so I was out the door early wearing a thrifted blouse, sweater, shoes, belt and bracelet. Although my trousers were not thrifted, I bought them 5 years ago on sale, but have kept them in good shape.

3) While out, I stopped at the library to pick up a book that I had on hold, shopped at a local thrift store, deposited some money into my savings account from a recent Facebook sale, and went to the grocery store. At the grocery store, I only bought 2 loss leaders and bought a discounted gas card.

4) Although I was hungry when out, I did not arrange a lunch date. Instead I headed home where I had a salad using up more leftovers and enjoyed BBC’s Anitique Road Trip free on YouTube.

5) Now, I am heading off to the gym and then listing some new items on eBay as I am trying to stay in shape and make some extra $$$$$..


Cindy in the South I January 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Sounds like a fabulous day!


Bee January 29, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Thank you, Cindy. I have been thinking about you. I am hoping all is well.


Christine January 29, 2018 at 7:35 pm

My kind of day Bee! And you’re so right…only the frugal at heart can get such a thrill out of what someone else might consider an ordinary day.


FrugalAussie February 4, 2018 at 3:49 pm

I’m with you. I plan our dinners about a day in advance so I have time to soak beans, defrost meat, purchase any missing ingredients or start some prep. I think planning and flexibility are two key factors for my frugal success. The third is choosing a frugal spouse! And I do the same with the library. I order books and DVDs online then pop in quickly to the library to pick them up when available. It saves time and I’m often first on the list for newly released DVDs. I’m eagerly waiting for ‘Maudie’.


Jenzer January 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm

1 – Operation Use-Up-The-Stale-Foodstuffs continues at our house. The latest eats: two spinach herb wraps that had gotten brittle on the edges (I trimmed those off and fed them to the dogs), and three cups of rolled oats a year out from their “best by” date (baked oatmeal = can’t taste the staleness).

2 – The kitchen pantry closet got a top-to-bottom clean-out and inventory last week. I made a list of foods to polish off within the next few months, plus ideas on how we could eat them (i.e. mixing the smoked oysters with cream cheese for a cracker spread, making a pilaf with the last bit of wild rice, etc.).

Any suggestions on how to use up a jar of corn relish I received as a gift?

3 – I’ve unplugged the house coffee pot while DH is away on business travel. My tea stash provides my early-morning caffeine fix, then I switch to coffee once I get to the office. We have a supplier who gifts us lovely loose teas from China, so I have LOTS and LOTS of tea on hand.

4 – The kids and I went through our (modest) DVD collection and set aside several for Goodwill — mostly animated films that are less appealing now that the kids are older.

5 – A few months ago I bought a new Jockey sports bra. This bra turned out to have, shall we say, insufficient “containment” capabilities. I used to hesitate in taking retailers up on their promises to accept returns “if you’re not satisfied for any reason” (especially if I’d already washed said item a few times). I’ve gotten over myself on that issue. Yesterday I requested a return shipping label through Jockey’s web site. I should get about $20 back for the effort, once I get it the package in the mail. Clutter out, money in!


Susie's Daughter January 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Jenzer – I am not sure what type of corn relish you have on hand, but I used something like it in black bean and beef chili. Way to go you!


Sarah D January 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I’d personally put the corn relish either on top of some kind of taco/taco salad creation or even on top of burgers (in my case, veggie burgers). For some reason corn relish always make me think of black beans as a good pairing.


Jenzer January 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm

I like the idea of using corn relish on a veggie burger. Thanks!


Jenny January 29, 2018 at 6:05 pm

I don’t care much for corn relish but I can lots of it because my husband loves it. He just eats it plain or on a salad, on a cracker, or he mixes it with cottage cheese. I think most people just put a spoonful of it alongside their meat.


Jenzer January 29, 2018 at 7:08 pm

Ooo, cottage cheese topping – that sounds good!

Lindsey January 30, 2018 at 12:23 pm

I throw unpalatable relishes I receive from canning friends into soup (if not tomato based) or chili (if tomato based). Spices up the soup and uses up something that would otherwise sit in the cupboard.


Liz B. January 30, 2018 at 1:09 pm

I have a similar problem with jars of pepper/onion relish…my mil gives them to us. It’s great over cream cheese with crackers, but it’s just two of us eating it (okay, likely just me…..)….I need to find other ways to use it up.
I like the idea of corn relish on a taco/salad or in chili.


Jenzer January 30, 2018 at 1:40 pm

I mix pepper and onion relish with mayonnaise and put it on roast beef or fried egg sandwiches.


Liz B. January 30, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Oooo, yes! Both of those sound yummy. I’m on kind of a fried egg kick lately!


Mary in VA January 31, 2018 at 10:42 am

Oh, that fried egg one sounds delish!


Jill January 29, 2018 at 2:01 pm

1. While I was out of town, apparently my entire request list at the library cleared as I had 8 books to pick up! So now I’m a reading machine – right now The Little Paris Bookshop – and thankfully all can be renewed so I actually have 6 weeks to read them.
2. I have a collection of vintage tablecloths from my pre-frugal days. I’ve been listing them on ebay and have been selling one per week. Mailed one today with used packaging materials.
3. In the process of cleaning out my closet this week and gathering things for Goodwill or ebay. My kids are all coming home in two weeks so I’ve also been scrubbing bathrooms and washing sheets.
4. My front hall rug is unraveling so I found a very inexpensive one that is a bit small for the area but I think it will do well enough. I’m transferring the old one to the sun porch where it will see less wear and tear.
5. I batched my errands today, am eating every meal at home this week with the exception of dinner with my sister at a local place for tacos, the husband has already completed our taxes and we combined a weekend away with looking at a wedding venue for my son and his fiance who live in Colorado.


karen January 29, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Jill, my son and his fiance live in Colorado. They are getting married in Estes Park this October. We live on the east coast so they are far away and I miss them but I know they love Colorado.


Marilyn January 29, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Jill, I think there is some basic rule of life that all library books on reserve will become available all at once. Happens all the time for me, anyway.


FrugalAussie February 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The Little Paris Bookshop was my favourite read for 2017! I loved it. Nina George’s other book ‘The Little Breton Bistro’ is quite good too.


MommaL January 29, 2018 at 2:10 pm

1. Brought home about 20 packs of picante sauce left over from a staff breakfast. DH uses them for snacking with his chips and cheese.
2. Went to TJ Maxx to get a specific item I’d been needing for a while, put other things in my cart that looked like a good deal, walked around, debated, added the total in my head, and then put everything back except the original item.
3. Using a free app on my phone to track calories. (myfitnesspal)
4. Frugal for my DS: updated his address on I kept sending him care packages to the old address and he’d have to drive across town to get them!
5. Found chicken legs for 97 cents a pound. Make 3 chicken pot pies and a LOT of broth which I froze. I wish I knew how to make the broth less fatty, though.


Lisa January 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Hi, I make bone broth alot. I strain my broth then cool overnight in the fridge and then skim the fat from the top in the morning. I sometimes save the car if I am making biscuits or dumplings


Mand01 January 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Before you freeze it, refrigerate it. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. Scoop it off.


JJ January 29, 2018 at 2:46 pm

You can also render a decent amount of fat if you roast your chicken pieces before they go in the stock pot (30 minutes at 400 is all it takes). There will still be some fat to skim from the top after refrigerating, but not much.


WilliamB January 30, 2018 at 5:30 am

There are numerous way to defat stock; my list in order of convenience. To start with, be sure to simmer, rather than boil, the stock. Boiling makes it harder to defat the stock. One thing to know is that chicken fat is very tasty; if you use less fat in the cooking, your stock will be less chicken-tasting.

1. Don’t put the skin in the pot at all.

2. Roast the bones and skin before simmering. Some of the fat will render out; don’t use that. (I recommend roasting the skin and bones anyway; you get a stronger stock.)

3. After you make the stock, chill it. Much of the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off. I recommend leaving a thin layer of fat, it serves as an oxygen-proof cover that keeps your stock from getting “stale.”

4. Clarify your stock. This is the most work and the least frugal. The basic idea is that after your stock is mostly done and you’ve strained it, you add beaten egg whites to the very slowly simmering stock. This “raft” absorbs all the particles and fat, and you’re left with a very clear stock.


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:16 pm

Egg whites? I’ve never heard of that, thank you, I will try it!


Rebecca in MD January 30, 2018 at 7:07 am

To make chicken broth less fatty, I remove the skin before cooking, strain the broth through cheesecloth, and chill in the fridge. After the broth is chilled the fats will solidify on top and you can scoop them off. Then divide the broth into containers to freeze. Broth will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days only, so I freeze small portions to take out as needed.


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Thank you everyone, I had no idea where to start. I basically dumped the chicken legs in water with a few veggies and spices and boiled it to death. Good but greasy. I will try these tips next time.
Those boxes of broth are so easy to buy and store, but expensive.


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Thank you everyone, I had no idea where to start. I basically dumped the chicken legs in water with a few veggies and spices and boiled it to death. Good but greasy. I will try these tips next time.
Those boxes of broth are so easy to buy and store, but expensive.
You all are so helpful!


Mary in VA January 31, 2018 at 10:51 am

Re #2: I do that, too. Then I calculate what I would have spent on the items returned to the racks, and I transfer that amount from checking to savings. I do the same thing with all “found” money, whether it’s money literally found on the ground or money I was planning to spend but didn’t (like being treated to lunch when I was planning to pay; or discovering at checkout that an item was on sale and I didn’t realize it). I calculate what I would’ve spent, and into savings it goes!


MommaL February 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm

That’s a great idea, Mary!


Stephanie V January 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm

This is my first FFT. I’ll be doing double college tuition payments in the fall, so I’m being very mindful of our money.

1. We went to Chicago to look at a college for my youngest son (definitely not frugal), and we decided to see Hamilton. This definitely doesn’t sound frugal … but stick with me. 🙂 We looked on StubHub and waited until an hour or so before the show when people were dropping prices on tickets to get rid of them. We scored tickets for $34 each, considerably less than the face value. It was a super fun family treat.
2. We stuck to our food budget for the entire month, something that doesn’t usually happen here.
3. I returned two shirts that I had bought before Christmas for half off. They were still hanging in my closet with the tags on. I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. I decided if I hadn’t worn the shirts yet, I probably wasn’t going to.
4. Our vet prescribed medicine for our dog’s arthritis. He called us the next day and said that the blood work he had taken showed that our dog was in mid-renal failure (our dog is 15 1/2) and not to give him the pills. The vet said I could dispose of the pills and he’d put a credit on our account, or I could return them for a refund. I returned them; they were $25.
5. With the exception of our trip, we ate all meals at home. This is not the norm for us.


KJD509 January 29, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Wow, what a price on the Hamilton tix! We bought some for my mom in Chicago for a date in December but she couldn’t go. (It’s a looooong story.) We were pretty sure we’d have to eat the cost, but Hubs listed them on some site or another at face value, and a day or two before the show we were notified they’d sold for significantly more than that. I’m delighted (and a little envious!) you found such a great deal!


Jenzer January 29, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Hamilton tickets for $34 each? You’re my hero.


Diane C January 30, 2018 at 6:53 am

Wowza! I was tickled when we got ours in SF for $175 each. DH sold something he’d inherited and was never going to use for $2,025. That night, these tickets appeared on Next Door for the following Friday. All week, we listened to all the songs and learned everything we could about the show courtesy of YouTube. We spent the night in the City, using IHG points. Our room overlooked the theater entrance, which added to the excitement. We took public transit in (parking in SF is insane) and had dinner at a modest family-owned Mediterranean restaurant nearby. Next morning, breakfast was courtesy of Starbucks Rewards*, followed by a stroll through the magnificent SF Public Library. It was a weekend to remember. All in, we spent about $400 of the $2,025 “found” money and had a great time together.

I told this story to a friend, who totally topped it. There’s a lottery for $10 tickets at every Hamilton show. The $10 seats are in the first two rows. After a number of tries, she won and saw it the day after we did. It was still fun to share our frugal thrills!

*My walking partner is a S/B addict (and also FIRE). She works her insane schedule around my crazy schedule and comes to my house 3x/week to walk the hills in my neigborhood. We always stop at Starbucks. I don’t even drink coffee! At least the tea is cheaper. I’ve made my peace with it. I hack the freebies as much as possible. Hint: Your “free” item doesn’t need to be a beverage. Use it for food, which is more expensive. Hence, our breakfast after Hamilton.


Jennifer January 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

1. I took my kids to a local event celebrating the birthday of Heathworks which is a local play place for kids that has fun activities that are geared toward health. It was free for one day only. We had a great time and they provided small healthy muffins to eat and had several different stations that provided small gifts/treats. Great place to spend a Saturday morning since it was raining.
2. I’m spending today at home to clean and reorganize, as much as I can, mostly to inventory things we need and see what we can do without. My intermittent fasting has caused my almost completely healed gout to flare, which is not uncommon. It isn’t as bad as last time, though. I got some tart cherry juice as suggested by a commenter. I tried this in the past and didn’t see much improvement. Sure pure tart cherry juice is in line with my health goals, I thought it was worth it to try again. It’s $6 for a small bottle of the real stuff. It’s not frugal but if works I would pay $50!
3. We have one injured hen that wasn’t killed by the recent attack by a pit bull. She is a real fighter and is still laying eggs after all this stress on her body. I will appreciate these eggs just a little bit more as I use them in recipes the next few days.
4. I went to the local Dollar General with only a $5 bill in hand to keep me from making unnecessary purchases. I did find some cans of packed pumpkin in the leftover Christmas clearance. They had several cans but I only got 2. I will probably regret that later. I frequently mix this with a devil’s food cake mix to make yummy muffins or top those with a layer of frosting and call them cupcakes.
5. We had a “TV off Sunday” at my house. The TV is on a lot of the time even though I don’t really watch it. My husband watches it a lot, though. So we did home tasks without so much distraction. I think a little maintenance that prevents problems before they get too far gone is frugal.


avl January 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

I am just starting to learn about intermittent fasting – so interesting! I hope that your gout flares improve. Anything one can do to potentially improve future health is always frugal (and IF is free).


Jennifer January 30, 2018 at 9:55 am

It seems to be working for me, and not much else has. Of course, it isn’t for everybody. I have to remained focused on my health for so many reasons, including frugality. At 40, I have recently felt as though I was falling apart. Improvement has become necessary to continue to do the things I want/need to do. I used to lose weight to look better in my clothes now it is more about having a better quality of life.


KJD509 January 29, 2018 at 2:38 pm

1) Today’s the 4th day in a row I’m stacking an errand with my commute. I pack the back end of the car with stuff for storage in the morning (too much crime in the neighborhood at the moment to do it the night before), drop it at storage on the way home from work, then cook and eat dinner at home in spite of many, many temptations on the route. Getting stuff out means we can list the house sooner, and selling it means just one household again. And following the plan helps a lot with this endless case of January.
2) Realized this weekend that I can use less-loved hair products on days I’m not going to work, which will stretch the beloved and more expensive ones.
3) Roasted a chicken Friday that I’d taken out to thaw before Eldest Daughter left town suddenly (for a new job – woohoo!). A whole chicken makes a LOT of meals for one person. Still plugging along on it – no waste yet.
4) Hubs ran into a colleague while visiting two kids at college this week and they rode home together. Saved him half his train fare, was useful in keeping the driver awake, and gave him a chance to get better acquainted in his new workplace.
5) Re-purposed existing furniture to stage the one room I have clean and ready in the house. It looks surprisingly good. Will continue to use items on hand for the rest of the house, avoiding all vulgar gold-plated toilets.


Jennifer January 29, 2018 at 2:59 pm

2. I do this same thing with perfume.


Christine January 29, 2018 at 7:45 pm

I think someone will be avoiding gold plated toilets from the Guggenheim!


June January 30, 2018 at 8:25 am

Hubby and I recently sold a house and relocated so I feel your pain in prepping the house for listing. Our realtor had some good advice about “staging” which I initially resisted but then accepted. I thought we were already pretty minimal but the realtor said we had “too many books and bookcases”…I didn’t even know that was possible. Too many reading tables and lamps, etc. She encouraged us to rent a storage unit and get some things out of the house and we did. All in all, we spent less than $500 for three months of storage and I admit the house DID look more camera ready when we listed it. We accepted a full price offer in two days so it was worth the work to make the house look more like a hotel than a home.


KJD509 January 30, 2018 at 9:25 am

Thanks for that encouragement, June. I had one realtor come in to give me an “as is” price in the fall (nothing sells here while the snow is flying), and her baseline recommendations were overwhelming. Some of them I’m rejecting outright – no, I’m not doing major renovations for an as-is sale – but we’ve been working for months to clear all walls, shelves, surfaces, etc. Fingers crossed it makes a difference in a month or so when it goes on the market. And congrats on your full price offer!


June January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

We rejected some of our realtor’s ideas too such as to “upgrade” our gold colored doorknobs with the more trendy brushed nickel! I ask her if people really changed perfectly functional doorknobs because they were the “wrong” color and she assured me they did. She also asked us consider upgrading our “outdated” light fixtures. Nope. Not doing that either. My husband blames HGTV for encouraging folks to think everything has to look like a spa or fancy hotel! 🙂 Good luck with your future sale and move. It is painful but worth it.


Liz B. January 31, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Don’t people want to change that kind of stuff themselves, anyway? Seems like so often, you “update” things to sell, then the new owners rip it out and put in what they want. Hubs and I might be putting our house on the market in the next year or so….I’m sure at 10 years old, it’s now “outdated”. Short of fixing things that need to be fixed (and decluttering), we are not remodeling ANYthing.

Katy in Africa January 29, 2018 at 2:53 pm

1. Been reading over all the amazing comments and tips on your fb post!!
2. Hung a dress I wore for just a few hours on the line to air out, then hung it back up inside…no need to wash it yet.
3. Froze some leftovers in case we don’t get around to eating them in a day or two, I don’t have to worry about them going bad. I’d rather have to defrost them than risk letting them go bad.
4. Reading the second Secret Zoo book to my kids, which we bought with an Christmas Amazon giftcard.
5. Made no big purchases


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Katy, is the fb group friendlier yet? I loved it until it got pretty harsh.


Minimal Steph January 31, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Nope it’s still pretty harsh.


Ruby January 29, 2018 at 2:55 pm

1. Used $11 in coupons grocery shopping Sunday. Most of this was store coupons, including one for $1 off corn chips. Bought the chips and made some very spicy salsa from ingredients we had at home.
2. Washed a couple of new navy blue items of clothing with my old navy slacks. They picked up some of the shed dye from the water and look fresher.
3. Did some hand-sewing to alter the leg phone pocket on the Mister’s new jeans and took up the necklines of three of my tops that had cleavage exposure issues if I ever slouched a bit. Now I can relax while wearing them without flashing anyone and he can get to his phone. 😀
4. Gave our dogs a bath at home Saturday and put their nylon collars into a old pillowcase to launder them along with their bath towels. The collars came out clean and the tags bright and shiny without any effort.
5. Pushed the easy button Sunday night, when we are most likely to fall prey to eating out, and bought roasted chicken and bagged salad at the grocery store for less than one entree at a restaurant. A nice meal with lots of leftovers.


Bee January 29, 2018 at 4:57 pm

I love the suggestion for your dogs colors. Thank you. I will try this on the next bath day.


Jenelle January 30, 2018 at 5:53 am

Yes, I love this suggestion. Our beagle/lab mix always gets into the cow poop from our Amish neighbor’s farm. Man can those collars stink! I’ll try the pillowcase idea. Thank you.


Ruby January 30, 2018 at 8:19 am

It’s super easy to do: just toss in the pillow case, knot the top shut and wash. I even threw the pillowcase into the dryer with the towels and the collars came out fine. I was expecting them to shrink a little, but they didn’t.

I think that clean dog smell stays with them longer when their collars are also clean.


Denise January 30, 2018 at 10:49 am

Genius idea on the navy trousers. Will definitely use that idea!


Jill A January 29, 2018 at 3:25 pm

1. My husband changed all the old smoke alarms out in the house. They are hardwired so it took a bit of work. It’s nice to have a handy husband.
2. I took the dust covers from the new smoke alarms and washed them. I’ll use them as food covers instead of using plastic wrap.
3. I sorted through a bag of freebies my daughter received her first week of college. These items have been languishing in her dorm room. I saved a couple clif bars and a kind bar from the trash. She doesn’t like them so my husband and I will eat them.
4. I sold another textbook on ebay and shipped it with a reused padded envelope. I dropped it at the post office as I was passing by on another errand.
5. I’m using up a bottle of strawberry basil lemonade that nobody liked by putting small amounts in my water. I like a little flavor in my water and it keeps me from drinking soda.


Lisa January 29, 2018 at 3:58 pm

1. I had a rare two days off in a row, but since I also have 2 in college I spent the time NOT spending money. Instead, I did some home maintenance like treating my butcher block island, repaired the couch, treated the leather chair with leather conditioner and scrubbed a few spots out of the stairs. I know, glamorous, right?
2. We are still working on eating down the pantry & freezer. I’ve just been buying fresh fruit, veg and dairy. There seems to be a LOT of fish dinners lately.
3. One of my side hustles is baking banana bread for a local market. I’m sooooo over it, but the cash is welcome.
4. I absolutely love estate sales, and there was a fantastic one this weekend. I managed to talk myself out of going, even to the 50% off day.
5. We often rent textbooks from Amazon, so before doing that, I purchase Amazon GCs form Kroger, where they give 2X points for GC purchases. Lately, my boss has needed stuff from Kroger and I’ve volunteered to go (to get the points.) Add to that the minimal amount of shopping I’ve done, and we have over 1,000 points which equals $1/gallon discount at the gas pump. That’s from about $300 out of pocket for Amazon GCs and some groceries.


Jenny January 29, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Lisa, I’d like to hear about your banana bread baking. How did you get started, are there any restrictions/rules, what don’t you like about it, how much do you do, etc.


Liz B. January 30, 2018 at 2:59 pm

I’m wondering the same thing? I like to bake, but don’t want to sell at our local farmers market (several very good bakers selling there already).


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Ack, sorry to hear about the money woes! You’re doing your sons such a service by paying cash for their education. 🙂 And bravo for rewarding your coworkers! I need to be better about that.

This week:

1. This Friday we’re going to a sausage-making class at Central Market. This will help us make our own breakfast sausage to save moolah in the long run. As an added bonus, they’re pairing beer with the sausages. 🙂

2. We looked at the budget and January was an INSANELY expensive month for us. We buckled down and made some changes to our February budget, so I’m hoping for the best. I started doing a monthlong meal plan instead of a weekly one. Hope it helps!

3. I’m sipping on homemade apple wine right now.

4. I opened and (sort of) learned how to use my Vanguard investment account. I’m investing my freelance income here as an experiment.

5. Yesterday our water heater broke. Ugh! As luck had it, my father in law was with us. He’s a home builder and taught us how to install a brand new water heater. We shelled out $750 for the water heater, but didn’t have to hire a plumber, which was a big win.


KJD509 January 29, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Sympathies on the water heater – been there. And I had absolutely no idea how much a new one cost. Now I’m feeling even more warm and fuzzy about the one my dad stashed in our storage for when we needed it.


Liz B. January 31, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Are you learning sausage making, like stuffing- sausage- in- casings type of sausage making? That sounds awesome. I make my own “bulk” sweet Italian sausge to use in my baked ziti.


FrugalStrong February 5, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Ok, you said Central Market, so you must be in Texas. Which part? I’m in Fort Worth.


Madeline Kasian January 29, 2018 at 4:16 pm

1. I have been overspending on groceries the past few months.Well, one of those months was Christmas and I do entertain more and splurge on foods we don’t normally eat.But I want to cut down our grocery bill in 2018. I meal planned and shopped for TWO weeks instead of one.Don’t need to go to grocery EVERY week and this saves money.We eat a combo of frozen and fresh veggies so the fresh gets eaten first, then to the hardier root veggies and cabbage which hold up longer then to frozen if I have to.Should only need fruit next week.

2.Went thrifting and fell in love with a desk that would look good in my craft room.Did not buy it.Came home to think on it.After thinking, I realize the one I have in there doesn’t look as good but is perfect because I splash paint and ink all over it.. do not need a better desk.STAY OUT OF THRIFT STORE when you don’t need anything= my new motto.

3.Scheduled card games with friends..we play at someone’s apartment complex clubhouse where we enjoy a free few hours of fun, conversation ,and they even provide us with free coffee and music!!

4. Got 8 library books:Cookbooks,poetry and some fiction,FREE FREE FREE! The book I thought was on a long wait list came in TWO DAYS AFTER I requested it!!

5. Baked some bread to go with a crock pot soup.I am one of those lucky people whose husband is happy to make a dinner out of a hearty soup and some bread.


Marie January 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm

1. Dug out my sewing machine, and put new strapping for handles on my 12year old firewood bag. Husband had the straps in our backpacking gear. $0 spent
2. Roasted a chicken last week. Are on it two nights, then made chicken noodle soup, then made bone broth for the dogs. It made 2 qts.
3. Needed a exterior door for the sheep house we’re building. Habitat for Humanity had a perfect one for $15
4. Habitat also had kitchen chair that matches our set perfectly $5
5. Still cleaning out closets, to donate, and found a new home for a sewing machine I don’t use. I am not asking any money for it, as it’s my son’s girlfriend, and she would like to learn how to sew. Win, win!


Teddie January 29, 2018 at 4:24 pm

1. Went grocery shopping at 3 different stores (all pretty close together)~ Winn Dixie to use my Plentipoints, Target for a few cartwheel items, and Walmart. At WM I used $9.17 of cash back. Boy do I miss my Aldi…
2. Stopped at WD again while passing by doing another errand and ran in for the coffee on sale. Came out to my car and looked at the receipt. Was charged $8.99 instead of $6.99 per canister. Went back in ~ I had picked up the wrong size AND it was the bigger size on sale so I got more coffee and $4 back in my pocket!
3. Returned 2 shirts (too small) and a broken iPad cover which were purchased as Christmas gifts. Received refunds ~ loving Amazon Prime.
4. We have no designated pantry in our condo, but we do have a huge laundry room which does double duty as a pantry. The shelf we had in there was too big and had only 4 shelves. Waited until chrome shelves went on sale plus used military discount to purchase a better configured shelf. We took all the pots and pans and pantry items out and put in the new shelf. I reorganized everything and did a happy dance. Now I can see everything I have ~ nothing hiding and buying it again bc I couldn’t see it. More happy dancing. Took the old shelf down to our storage room where DH used it to organize. More happy dancing!
5. If someone gave me taxable $1000 I would not consider it “crumbs”, but rather a true blessing. I would spend it frugally …


WilliamB January 30, 2018 at 5:44 am

I’m totally with you on the happy dance for a nicely organized space. It’s so restful. Things have places, are in their places, and you can find them and use them. Much more frual than not knowing where something is and so spending either a lot of time looking for it, or money buying another one.


Teddie January 30, 2018 at 8:09 am

So true ~ L KNEW I had that bottle of EVOO ~ my DH thought I was going senile. LOL


Teresa Young January 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

1 – Sold another item on FB Marketplace – cash for this summer’s vacation fund
2 – Went to a friend’s granddaughter’s birthday party where they served tacos – free lunch! And cake & wine!!
3 – Picked up dinner at Panera on the way home – free with gftcard
4 – Received a free book from in exchange for a review
5 – Set aside 4 books to sell at a local used book store. If they have something on my TBR list I’ll pick it up – supporting a local shop.


Bettypants January 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

1. I have been diligently walking to and from work, and walking home and back on my lunch hour as well. I only drive if I am scheduled to go to a client’s. I thought I would dislike walking in winter, but it beats those humid summer days.

2. Not really frugal, but I tested all my smoke alarms and replaced one dud, and the fire detector/CO alarm in the basement. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of my fears. I’d rather be out $40 than dead.

3. Used up all 30 of my free ebay listings for January. I have been trying to list items on FB boards every day. Sold a small trash can, percolator, and wall clock. Only a couple bucks each, but the stuff is out of my house.

4. Someone listed a large lot of Minecraft books for $15, and I’m sure I can flip them for a profit. It was a mile from my house, so I walked over with tote bags, and toted them home. They were a bit heavier than I had planned, ha ha. Shoulders not thrilled with my plan.

5. I have a small kitchen, but with 1940s cabinets that go to the ceiling. I realized I could reduce the height on the bottom 3 shelves, to get more room for the top shelf. Also reorganized the utensils and linens in a smarter arrangement. More storage for free!


Linda Gertig January 29, 2018 at 5:42 pm

I think #2 is VERY frugal. Taking care of your heath is frugal. Not spending money to take care of yourself or your family is just cheap.


Juhli January 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Kudos to all of you making college tuition payments. We are thankfully past that but are now contributing to our granddaughter’s college savings plan as we can.
1. Reading many books from the library and found a sweet Valentine’s children’s book to send instead of a card – 50 cents at the Friends of the Library bookstore.
2. Noticed I could get a $10 off coupon at Vons if I spent $50 so stocked up on items we used. This week I’ll use the coupon.
3. My BIL picked up the lunch bill for a family outing which was a nice change lol.
4. We decided to go with the least expensive option for soft water system and will see how it goes. Little downside financially.
5. No gold plated anything but Hubby did start work on what will be a tooth implant. Ouch in many ways.


Linda January 29, 2018 at 5:44 pm

1. Sewed a new apron fron my stash, using an old one as a pattern. It’s frugal for me to wear one. If I take care of my clothes I don’t need to buy new things.
2. All laundry dried in the summer sunshine.
3. Picking endless supplies of summer veges from the garden.
4. Bought a pattern for a knitted shawl. I have a spinning wheel and several sheep fleeces and an alpaca fleece given to me by my sister – all of them thrifted in her town. So, thrifty and warm, come winter!
5. There will be enough plums on our trees this year for me to make plum jam, if I can refrain from scoffing them straight from the tree.


Bee January 30, 2018 at 11:07 am

I always wear an apron when cooking. I am a fairly neat person until I enter the kitchen.


Chris January 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm

1. I was in charge of a pre-wedding retreat at church and brought home lasagna, salad, bread, yogurt and cinnamon rolls that were left over.
2. I have been buying coffee for the office and realized that Starbucks bags have a point/star sticker that I pulled off the last dozen bags I bought to give to my daughter who has a Starbucks in her building. Why throw them away?
3. We are going to the Central Library tomorrow to see an exhibit and with the Super Bowl here in Minneapolis, my husband wants to walk the downtown streets to see all the hoopla. He has once specific thing in mind and agrees we can leave after that. We will avoid all the food trucks because of the next FFT.
4. Our son who we will be visiting over the Super Bowl weekend gave us a gift certificate to a local restaurant for Christmas and we want to go there for lunch on the way home so we can give him our thanks with specifics.
5. Our daughter and son-in-law will stay at our house with the dog to save on kennel fees. I will give them almost as much $$ as I would the kennel but he can stay in his own home and they can always use some spare cash.


janine January 30, 2018 at 7:18 am

I am going to try to convince my son to do the same in the future (re:#5). One of the most expensive parts of our vacation this month were the fees for the kennel. The dog will be happier and our son will be a little richer.


Cynthia Huntington January 29, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Tough month budget wise. I think I’m coming in about $200 in the hole. Though I owed $0 for Christmas spending, January brought about $1300 in medical bills and copays. Even so, it seems I got a little loose somewhere: I’m now in the process of evaluating what went wrong. I didn’t make any large purchases or eat out AT ALL, but the money clearly went SOMEwhere. I’m not doing this to beat myself up but because as I’ve heard: you can’t fix what you can’t measure. I’m measuring, but haven’t nailed it yet.

My aggressive debt repayment was scaled WAY back in face of said medical bills. But still thank goodness all the bills were for routine or preventive care and I’m not looking at anything more serious than some skin cancers soon to be removed….

1. Found a dime today while walking from the free parking lot to my office. (20 min. walk vs. $30 a month for close-in parking.) I took the dime as a sign of encouragement.

2. I’m over the flu but still exhausted from my immune system’s Herculean efforts on my behalf. I’ve been going to work and coming home–which cuts the spending a lot.

3. The January thaw is helping my heating bill I’m sure.

4. I’ve made a half dozen eBay sales this month. I almost dare to hope I’m getting the hang of it. This week in a brief stop at my favorite thrift store I splurged on a $6 teapot I thought might have value. Looking it up on I found they have only one of these and are asking $249.00! However, further research indicates it’s not a particularly popular pattern and might take a LONG time to sell. I can deal with that: set it and forget it. I’m so happy to think I can trust my instincts to sniff out the good stuff. (Trust, but verify!)

5. Cheap wine glasses were on sale at the grocery store yesterday and I put a box of six white wine glasses in my basket. I am down to only red wine glasses over many years of use and breakage (mostly dishwashing breakage, I can’t claim we’re having wild glass-shattering parties in my house.) Then I realized I’ve managed without white wine glasses for quite some time and if anyone is bothered I’m not aware. And, I entertain about six times a year at most. So I put them back. It wasn’t a big savings but it helped reinforce discipline. (I tend to think if I buy something in the grocery store it doesn’t “count” as new… ah, the many ways we can fool ourselves into doing what we want to do)


Jenzer January 29, 2018 at 7:16 pm

#5 gave me idea. What about starting a “Things I Put Back on the Shelf” list, for frugal inspiration? Your story about the white wine glasses made me remember two cookbooks I almost impulse-bought back in October, but didn’t — and how I haven’t felt a hole in my life because they stayed in the store. 😉


Mand01 January 29, 2018 at 9:58 pm

I put a fabulous dress with embroidered bees on it (I love bees) that was half price back on the shelf last week. Trying to stick to my promise to buy no new or thrifted clothes this year.


Jenelle January 30, 2018 at 5:31 am

I love that idea. I fear that I put back “too many” items to even remember!


MommaL January 30, 2018 at 5:12 pm

I love that idea!
The best thing I do to MAKE me PUT IT BACK is to add the cost up before I get in line. Then its not just 2 dollars here, 5 dollars here, etc. Its the total amount.


Mand01 January 29, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Plum tree is one of my life goals. As soon as our backyard fence is repaired we are planting one. Memories of my grandmother’s amazing plum sauce is burned in my mind. I’m already saving the bottles.


Linda January 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm

I think everyone in NZ remembers the backyard plum tree!


Bethany January 29, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Asked the piano teacher to give me the names of the books we’ll need so the charter school can pick up the tab.

Having a free day at LEGOLAND plus a STEM workshop on the charter school. We’ll pack a lunch. Can’t wait!

Pulled out some pureed beans from the freezer. Burritos are on the docket for lunch tomorrow.

Cooked a whole chicken for lunch on Sunday, now we have a load of shredded chicken and broth for meals throughout the week.

Schlepped together an oatmeal dinner for the kids with a sprinkling of hemp hearts, chia seeds, a drizzle of maple syrup and a spoon of peanut butter. They gobble down this concoction. Husband is having dinner with the boss. Hope he brings me home a little doggy bag.


avl January 30, 2018 at 9:27 am

That oatmeal combination sounds really tasty.


Christine January 29, 2018 at 7:17 pm

My very sweet friend apparently was shocked and dismayed that I had made from scratch brownies last week, told me she had found a box mix at Walmart for .99 and was giving it to me next time we see each other so I didn’t “have to go through that” again!
1. Attended a pancake breakfast at church yesterday at which a friend was doing the cooking. When I left she piled up a plate with extra pancakes for me to take home. There was enough for my husband and I to have a BIG breakfast today.
2. We were invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday. Her gift was a Swedish Almond Cake I made that morning for her. I have made it at events where she was in attendance in the past and knew it was a favorite of hers. Apparently her husband likes it too because he looked very happy to see it! She said she’ll share it. Homemade was definitely a hit in this case.
3. A friend currently has two very ill close family members. To try and ease things a little for her, I made a crockpot full of hotdogs and beans for her family. She was thrilled. I say this not for a pat on the back, but to say how relatively easily and frugally it is to make things a little bit better for someone going through a tough time.
4. Brought 4 more items to the consignment store here in town. This is like 50% money-making and 50% donating as the store is run by and for intellectually challenged adults. 50% of whatever the items sell for is donated back to their organization and 50% goes to the seller so it is a win-win situation.
5. My yoga teacher gifted me an all cotton blanket that she had an excess of in her studio. The weave on it is so tight and the material so soft that it actually feels like a wool blanket but with no itch. My husband has kept himself wrapped in it since I took it home. I let him “borrow” it and it helps us to keep the thermostat low.


Bee January 30, 2018 at 11:10 am

Your FFT just tickled me. I have a friend who thinks that I am amazing for making whipped cream. Really could anything be easier? It doesn’t need to one from a can


Mary in Maryland January 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm

In my most epic frugal fail (not because it cost money, but because the outcome was so memorably awful) I tried the recipe on the powdered milk box for “whipped cream” to dress a fruit salad. Recipe–whip powdered milk in half the usual water. Consistency and taste were nothing like cream Since I had put cherries in the fruit salad, the “cream” was also fuschia. I did get to bring a lot of it home from the potluck. I rinsed the purple powdered milk off the fruit and ate it on cereal. Now, when potluck dishes are assigned, if fruit salad is mentioned, women look at me and laugh. Not worth selling the house and moving…


VanessaKC January 29, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Still plugging away at keeping those vintage VWs on the road and out of the scrap yards…
1. After a year and a half (some months part time, some full time) the 72 Westfalia dubbed The Yellow Submarine will be listed for sale in time for camper season. We’ve worked hard, paid close attention to detail and used as many original parts as possible.
2. Repaired, prepped and primed my hair stylist’s Honda scooter panels in exchange for 2 haircuts and highlights. Not only are her plastic panels saved, but I also learned about plastic welding! (So cool and foreign to a metal worker!)
3. Pescatarians were gifted an Omaha Steaks package that couldn’t be exchanged, so they gave it to us. Shake hands with beef! (90’s song, if anyone gets that)
4. Instead of my usual dozen plus ads for misc VW parts on Craigslist, I decided to try out a big, single ad. Lots of pics, minimal text, basically saying we have lots of this, that and the other from this year to that year. This single ad has brought so much new biz, zero haggling and one new part time employee. Brevity ftw!
5. Usual jazz. Cooking at home, taking tea to work, planning the gardens, killing rust, restoring things, fabricating things, learning things, etc.


Julie January 29, 2018 at 7:41 pm

1- used up several things from the pantry that were past the best before date, no one was harmed and the teen boys enjoyed a mid week cake “just because”
2- bought 10 pounds of bacon during a points promo event at my local grocery store after point cost is 99 cents a pack, teen boys again are pleased.
3- learning to love the free coffee at work and plan to stretch my Starbucks gift card as long as possible.
4-bought gift cards for my preferred gas station when they were on sale for 10% off, I bought enough for the next 4 months of fuel. Added bonus they are treated like cash when I use them so I am earning reward points to be used in store for the future. This will come in handy for gardening season.
5-I returned an impulse purchase of shoes, while I used a gift card to buy them once they sat in the box with no thought from me for three weeks I took it as a sign that I really did not need them.


Lee January 29, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Haha! I cleaned up a sodden filthy towel and now it’s hanging in my guest bathroom. I figure my kids will have some interesting stories to tell about their thrifty mom.


Canadian Girl January 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm

1 – Started to track our spending yesterday. Hope to track it for a bit to see any leaks in our spending. I have a lofty savings goal this year and I would love to reach it

2 – Made up a 2 week meal plan. I do so much better having a plan laid out in front of me. We do a meal plan sporadically but this was my first attempt at getting 2 weeks worth of meals jotted down. Tried a new recipe yesterday of Chicken Cacciatore (super yummy) ate leftovers of this yummy meal for both lunch at work as well as for dinner tonight

3 – Friends came over tonight for our weekly workout. We use different DVD’s and an assortment of hand weights to get the job done. We have been doing once a week since last spring. Such a great excuse to get together and its free and free is good 🙂

4 – Finally got a library card for the library near my work. I put some books on hold and had to pick up one last Friday and one again today. I don’t know why I didn’t get the library card sooner, its walking distance from my work and they have some books that I have been wanting to read for some time

5 – Had a strong urge to go shopping for new clothing. Dug through my dresser and pulled out 2 sweaters that I haven’t worn since last year. The urge for purchasing new clothing has now passed


Bethany January 30, 2018 at 12:04 am

P.S. Love those labor and delivery nurses. I’m a long laborer (48.5 hours for one of my babies) and a short deliverer (3-5 pushes). It’s nurses all the way. They delivered 2 of my 3 babies, because yeah, once they say, “Okay push.” they’re getting out of there.


Elizabeth January 30, 2018 at 4:12 am

1. Used some beads I bought at a yard sale last summer to make fish necklaces for my Sunday school class.
2. Bought a beautiful quilt and a bag of Duplo blocks for $3 each at the thrift store last week.
3. Switched the location of my cheese/meat drawer in the refrigerator to the lower more stabler shelf, in hopes of prolonging my refrigerator life. All of my shelves/drawers have cracks in them and if I lose one more….it’s not going to be pretty!
4. Reorganized my homeschool supplies and found a lot of things we forgot about, but actually needed this week…neatness can be very frugal…
5. Saved $2 a pound on chicken breast by grinding up my own chicken


nancy from mass January 30, 2018 at 4:51 am

1. finished 3 fingerless mitts for the woman with the nerve problems (a multicolor, eggplant and a black with grey and white flecks). All the yarn was given to me. The recipient loves them (and feels blessed that i would do it for her) and wanted to pay me. No way. I told her to pay it forward. I received a very nice card in the mail.
2. i spent Saturday at the AMC annual summit. Met some very nice people. sat through some workshops. had a great lunch and apps after. can’t wait until it’s warm enough to hike with the groups!
3. went into Boston on sunday with DS. parked for free at my companys’ Boston HQ and took the T (subway). wandered around Harvard Square, read part of a book at the Coop (a harvard store) and ordered it from my library, people watched and took the T back to HQ. Only non frugal part was that I had a Charlie Ticket with about 9.50 left on it in my pocket and i put my phone in the same pocket. I lost the value. 🙁 Ate supper at home even though we were getting hungry and it would have been easy to eat there.
4. when leaving Boston, we took a drive around the city then around Southie. DS loves doing this. I was very careful to not go into the Financial District….lots of one way, curvy streets and i always get stuck in there… it’s actually funny.
5. working at home today watching the snow. the only gas i will use today is to pick up my free bagel. I’ve only missed 4 days this month!


Susie's Daughter January 30, 2018 at 7:51 am

Nancy your #4 – even after 10 years in Somerville/Charlestown, I almost always ended up someplace down there that I didn’t mean to be. I had an especially hard time with the streets just off the Common. Makes me think of National Lampoon’s European Vacation ‘Big Ben and Parliament’ scene…


nancy from mass January 30, 2018 at 12:20 pm

a few years ago my son and i went into town and saw that there was a festival going on in the Common. so we parked down below, walked up to see what it was all about and i apparently brought my 14-15 year old to HempFest! we were crying laughing. I am the coolest mom in the world!


Leslie January 30, 2018 at 10:43 am

I carry my Charlie Card in my pocket all the time with my phone. I’m curious why you lost the value on your card.


nancy from mass January 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

i’m not sure. my son seemed to think that was what happened. (It happened in DC last year also…)


Kay January 30, 2018 at 4:51 am

I’m a bit surprised that you list wearing the same wool socks 3 days in a row as frugal. Do you wear them over other socks? I don’t think washing my socks every day hurts my frugality.


nancy from mass January 30, 2018 at 4:55 am

if you haven’t done much or sweated much, you can wear real wool socks more than one day. cotton socks are different, they get sweaty and kind of gross at the end of the day. I sometimes wear my hand knitted wool socks more than one day before washing – unless I’ve hiked, or something similar, in them.


Christine January 30, 2018 at 8:08 am

I wear my wool socks for several days also. It’s usually around the house under a pair of slippers so the bottoms don’t even get dirty. Very different from cotton or acrylic socks.


June January 30, 2018 at 9:17 am

My lovely friend knitted a yummy pair of wool socks for me that I wear only in the bed. I am careful to put them on after my feet leave the floor and to remove them before I get out of bed. I hand wash them only about every two weeks as I don’t have sweaty feet and I am careful to keep them clean. I love, love love hand knitted socks and should really learn to make my own.


nancy from mass January 30, 2018 at 12:24 pm

i learned how to knit so i could make socks to fit my feet. i was tired of having the heel half way up my ankle. (i will never understand why womens socks are size 4-10. that’s a huge difference – especially when you wear a 7 1/2 to 8 shoe)


Bethel January 30, 2018 at 7:05 am

Washing can wear them out and uses energy and water 🙂 It’s a small thing, but it’s savings!


Christine January 30, 2018 at 8:10 am

Like Katy and The Tightwad Gazette say: It’s the many small things we do that make a difference.


Jennifer January 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

If I am just staying around the house I will wear the same socks for a couple or more days. I like running around in sock feet. I don’t think it’s necessary to wash daily unless my foot is in a sweaty shoe. If I am already having to wash laundry I throw them in, if not, I will wear them another day.


WilliamB January 30, 2018 at 6:16 am

1. Making sure to use the CalTort free entree cards before they expire. They were part of holiday deal on CalTort gift cards – buy $25 gift card, get 1 free entree in January.

2. Inventoried the pantry for foods that need to be used up. Turns out I buy/receive a lot more jam than I consume.

3. Continued to collect kindling, instead of buying any. The firewood is from 2 face cords I bought at steep discount over 10 years ago. The wood is going bad (insect-chewed or rotting) so I’m having a lot of fires this season.

4. Bought 1 gal veggie oil and 1 gal peanut oil at the crazy-low price of $3/gal. (Usually they’re $10-12/gal.) Made sure the teller ran the $1.50 in coupons as well, even though the register didn’t recognize the oil purchase. Knowing how to insist, politely, is a very frugal skill.

5. Did not outsource dinner, despite being so tired I could barely get up off the couch.

Buy firewood from someone who has sold most of his load and wants to go home. You can negotiate an excellent deal under those circumstances.

Frugal Fail:
Neither of the loaves of bread I tried to make (for the jam, natch), didn’t rise. It wasn’t the yeast – I proofed it. :-{


Val January 30, 2018 at 8:43 am

Do the socks stink when you wear them 3 days in a row?


Jennifer January 30, 2018 at 10:14 am

I have noticed that in the winter my feet stay cold and hardly sweat at all. Not sure if that’s just me or not.


Katy January 30, 2018 at 11:27 am

Not at all. My feet never seem to smell bad and I’m not wearing them at night.


Christine January 30, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Mine never do. I know this because my family would tell me!


Jenelle January 30, 2018 at 9:25 am

1. Hubby made some soup last night that was mostly black eyed peas. That is not a staple of our diet (here in PA) and I’m not fond of them. But I gave it a chance and no one liked it. So, thinking ahead, I immediately froze it and will get it out for our “Souper Bowl” at church on Sunday. Hopefully, someone in that large group will like it. Just not my favorite flavor. Blah!

2. Trying out my Diva Cup for the first time in years. (Men, feel free to stop reading). I’m hoping that after two kids it will be a bit easier to use. So far, so good. I’m hoping it will reduce the $ spent moving forward.

3. The 100th day of school is approaching and we were asked to create a shirt with 100 things on it. I convinced my son that we can paint 100 smiley faces on a shirt.(with paint we already have) Now if I could just convince him to wear the blue shirt we already own, but that little 5 year old only wants green! Grrrr

4.Found a few zucchini stragglers in the bottom of the fridge. I made zoodles out of them and froze them.

I guess I can only come up with four!


ouvickie January 30, 2018 at 9:59 am

1) I bought some more rice cakes and Peanut Butter at Aldi over the weekend, so I could resupply my work stash. Sometimes I eat one as a snack and eat my lunch late.
2) Thankfully we had plenty of leftovers from the Lasagna I fixed Sunday evening, so part of that became Monday evening’s dinner.
3) I returned an audiobook and a regular book to the Library yesterday, so no fines to pay, since the book was due that day.
4) My oldest granddaughter’s 11th birthday is today. I have a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby I bought back in December, along with a Fashion sketch book and some colored markers. She’s a crafter and an artist, so those were perfect. I found a cute bag for it all and a card in my wrap/ribbon/bag stash. I plan to buy some chocolate cupcakes and put candles on them to celebrate with the family this evening. She’s such a sweetie.
5) I washed my all-weather coat on Sunday. I’ve had that thing for at least 19 years now and it was a used coat my daughter gave me in about 1999. It’s still in good shape and so warm on windy, cold Winter days. I’ve thought about getting a new coat, but never do. No reason to get rid of a perfectly good coat with multiple pockets!


Crosby January 30, 2018 at 10:12 am

– I went to Cali last week for work, and even though it isn’t my money, I still found an awesome deal on flights, round trip for $200 from Upstate New York. I work for a University so being frugal with state/donor/tuition dollars is really importatn to me.
– My husband came with me for a mini vacation for him. He had more than enough time, and we had more than enough credit card points to cover his flight. I also made sure to take a vacation day while we were there so we could really enjoy San Dieo and LA. So the only out of personal pocket costs for us were the fees for DH’s flights, food for DH, and one night of the hotel (since I took a vacation day). But since I made sure to choose a low cost hotel, we were happy to pay for one of the nights.
– Paid for all of my work expenses on my personal credit card that I get travel credits for. I will pay off the whole balance.
– DH and I had some unexpected costs for his photography business, so we’ve decided to do a February challenge. In the past, whenever I’ve suggested challenges, DH hasn’t been on board so I’m done them solo. But he was the one that suggested we not eat out for the whole month of Feb. Yippee!! I’m rubbing off!


June January 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm

That’s a great price for your flight!


Crosby January 31, 2018 at 6:13 am

I was floored! JetBlue is the only airline that has a direct flight from Buffalo to LAX and in December, they had a massive sale. A bunch of my coworkers, including myself, who have needed to get to Cali for work but haven’t due to cost jumped on the sale.


Suzanne Kouns January 30, 2018 at 10:32 am

Last night I made some kitchen pan scrubbers out of onion – orange – & potato net bags I’ve been saving.

We have been saving on electricity by doing most of our laundry on the weekend when it’s less expensive, or at least late at night during the week. Plus, other small changes that really add up. Our recent elec bills have been saying “compared to your neighbors you are doing great” (This has only been in the last few months). All of our past elec bills have said JUST THE OPPOSITE lol, not funny really just a fact, and we are so happy they are saying how good we are now. I always thought that stuff was made up…..but , they really do want to help people conserve.

Really wanted a new coat this year, but I don’t NEED one. Even though they are really cheap right now , and i was at the mall , cause my mother n law needed some under garments over the weekend (we take her about twice a year), I have so far resisted even though it was the place if one was in the market :). Feeling good!

Winter seems long…..still foraging for kindling around our house and neighboring woods for sticks we use as kindling ( to keep our fire going in our wood stove). A lot of work, but gets us outdoors for change of air. Free entertainment! My husband and I spend a couple of hours a week filling up boxes…..I don’t know why – but we love doing this .

Yesterday i Made hand sanitizer out of water, vinegar, and drops of essential peppermint oil. Stay healthy everyone! HAVING FUN & making every PENNEY COUNT


KJD509 January 30, 2018 at 11:57 am

It’s not made up, I can personally guarantee it 🙂 Conservation really matters to utilities because the cost of building new generation is so high. I’m delighted the information is useful and helping you to make changes!


Diane C January 31, 2018 at 6:25 am

Ugh. I just got one of those notices yesterday. It says we use 28% more energy than our neighbors with comparable homes. Let’s see… our house is only ten years old, while the surrounding homes are more like 50. We have energy efficient everything, including a recirc. pump on the hot water heater and CFL’s in every light fixture. We keep our heat at 66, because my MIL has Alz. and lives with us. DH uses a c-pap at night. Between the two of them, there’s only so much I can do. I always find those notes very discouraging.


Vickey February 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm

I’d love it if we could customize our profile, so the comparisons were more meaningful. Does it take into account, for example, the SF of a dwelling? Or the fact that both adults work from home? (Meaning more water, heat, and oh yeah, electricity – computers gulp the stuff.)


rebecca January 31, 2018 at 9:16 am

Why pay for something that is readily available? I love using fallen twigs and branches for my fire pit. It’s free, smells good and saving plastic wrap that kindling is always wrapped up in. Nature’s Bounty! lol. Plus, I talk a walk with a bag when I do it so I get exercise as well.


Tracy January 30, 2018 at 10:33 am

1. Sticking with grocery shopping 1 x/week from a list made after checking my store’s weekly ads (Fred Meyer, a Kroger store). This is definitely helping keep the grocery budget lower.
2. Successfully made a tank of gas last over two weeks. Took bus to/from work yesterday, which also saves $12 in parking.
3. Frugal purchases #1 — went to a book sale that benefits the Jewish Community Center. Bought 10 great books for $20. Two of them are like new books that will be part of my 26 year old daughter’s birthday gift come June.
4. Frugal purchases #2 — found a small pyrex glass bowl with glass lid for $1 at Goodwill that will aid my efforts to move toward glass bowls with lids to store leftovers (and reheat in microwave) instead of plastic. Also found a like-new large Starbucks mug for $3 that I put away in my gift stash — it will make a great gift filled with candy and a $10 Starbucks card when I need one. Also bought a gorgeous silk dressy dress for $12 (Banana Republic) and a pair of lined wool work trousers (J. Crew) that fit perfectly without hemming also for $12. Finally, bought a beautiful heavy crystal vase for $3 for future gifting filled with a bouquet of farmer’s market flowers when a birthday or hospital visit need arises; total cost will be a fraction of florist shop costs. Love the Goodwill!
5. Made a whole chicken Sunday for dinner (cooked whole in crockpot). Made chicken bowls with homemade pinto beans, some of chicken, an iffy avocado, leftover rice and some cabbage that needed to be used last night. Will get one more meal (chicken and dumplings) out of this one $6 chicken.


avl January 31, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Sounds like you scored some very worthwhile and useful Goodwill items! Also, your #5 reminded me that I have my own iffy avocado I need to eat to


janine January 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm

1. January is actually a 31 day “long” month, and misery compounds with Christmas bills and cold weather. However, the snow is beautiful and sometimes the sun shines. Free beauty!
2. Made minestrone soup with bits and dabs from the refrigerator. Add in banana bread for a good hearty cheap winter meal tonight. Entertainment will be a fire in the fireplace with wood from our lot.
3. In addition to a coupon for three free bagels to be redeemed on Thursday morning, the company also sent me another coupon for a free bagel and cream cheese for joining their “club”.
4. Rectified a mistake in billing from the dog’s stay at pet’s hotel. He did not receive a nail clip although we were billed for it (second time this has happened). They refunded my money and offered him a free nail clip the next time he comes in. Annoying to take time for this but worth $24.
5. I don’t always check my receipts but it is a good idea. I found I had been charged for an item I didn’t buy. I received a full refund and a coupon for 15% off on my next visit. As others have commented, these small savings do add up.


barb January 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Please do not wear the same socks more than 1 day. Feet sweat and after one day all socks are damp and can hold fungus. My podiatrist always starts her new clients with this lecture. Change your socks ( and underwear ) daily pls!


Katy January 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Don’t worry. I’m changing my underwear on a daily basis. And wool socks? They can be worn multiple days.


Christine January 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Please don’t fret barb! Underwear changed daily here. Ditto on cotton or acrylic socks. Wool socks changed every few days with no ill effects. I’ve been doing this for years and years and have never had foot or toenail fungus.


June January 30, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Ditto. Underwear changed daily but socks can hang out for several days with no adverse effects. It is probably a function of different body chemistries but I rarely sweat unless I am working hard and I really, really avoid hard work. .


Jenelle January 31, 2018 at 5:42 am

I must not clean enough becuase our socks are always dirty by the end of the day!!! LOL (between a dog, 3 year old and a 5 year old, I’m constantly loosing the cleaning battle)


Deb January 31, 2018 at 11:19 am

Katy, my best lint free towel was found all squished up, soggy and filthy in a parking lot! I looked around to see if anyone was watching and then grabbed it and threw it in the back seat of my car on the floor. I felt like a dumpster diver but I sure love that free towel!


Vickey February 1, 2018 at 9:52 pm

FFT catch-up:
1. Schlepped the rest of the to-be-donated items to the thrift store, got my %off purchase punch card filled, promptly redeemed it before it expired, yielding 30% off already low-priced items.
2. When DS was here for a visit we had a “repair cafe”, got several items repaired and back in service. Only one item was too far gone to be salvageable, and we’re living without a replacement for it.
3. Celebrating an artist friend’s birthday tomorrow. I’ll make lunch, and if the weather’s too nasty for venturing out for the planned adventure afterwards, we’ll stay in and work on some sewing projects for her community service program.
4. Attended a free essential oils workshop at the library. Met new people, got out of the house, and came away with new knowledge and a couple of useful – and free! – essential oil blend items.
5. Coooking from scratch, improvising from what’s on hand to reduce no. of trips to the store, drinking homemade elderberry juice to continue successfully sidestepping the flu. etc.


Mand01 January 31, 2018 at 4:20 pm

We bought a 40 year old house as is three years ago. I’m glad they didn’t do anything to it. It gave us the opportunity to do things to it that we like. We are doing it at our own pace and as we can afford it, but it’s looking much better than when we bought it.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: