Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 10, 2018 · 76 comments


  1. I sold a number of things including a locally made silkscreened pillow, as well as Lenox snowman figurine that I picked up for 18¢ at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill bins. I also listed a couple more items such as a Dyson vacuum cleaner canister/filter and a North Face backpack. All these items (other than the pillow, which was $2.99 from a regular Goodwill) were bought at the bins. Yes, I had to scrub down the Dyson canister and the backpack, but they’re now as good as new. There’s gold in them-thar bins! Yee-haw!

  2. I mended a pair of hand knit socks that I’d set aside at least six months ago, as they had a hole that was likely to worsen with wear. They’re not perfect, but since zero percent of my friends and family spend time scrutinizing the bottoms of my socks, they’re now good to go. I feel like I got a brand new pair of socks for free!

  3. I mixed up a big ol’ pot of chili, which included some browned bulk sausage that I’d stuck into the freezer last month. I also threw in some random Chick-fil-A dipping sauces leftover from when I stopped by for a freebie over the summer. It added an extra zip, and there’s juuuust enough left to pack up for my next work lunch. Needless to say, I started with bulk-purchased dry beans.

  4. I set up our garbage picked Christmas tree that I pulled out of a dumpster three (four?) years ago. It came from a real estate company that had shuttered its doors, so I suspect that my tree lived its previous life staging houses for sale during the Christmas season. I never thought I’d been an artificial tree enthusiast, as Oregon supplies a large percentage of Christmas trees to the U.S., but I gotta say that getting rid of an annual purchase is pretty sweet. I’m in full support of anything that banishes a recurring expense! 

  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.”Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South December 10, 2018 at 1:11 pm

1. I wore a thrifted suit to court.
2. I took my son his birthday dinner from chicken I had purchased for $50 a lb., mashed potatoes that I got 16 lbs for $5, spinach dip I made from stuff I had on hand, and a cake I made. No eating out saves a bundle.
3. I have a very bad cold and I have been sleeping a lot, hoping that I will get over it without any expensive meds.
4. I listened to the radio and fell asleep to the BBC….lol
5. I have been trying to figure out what to do about a very difficult situation regarding a family member. Sometimes there are no good solutions.


Denise December 10, 2018 at 2:36 pm

$50 per lb?? That must have been soooommme chicken! Or a typo.


Bee December 11, 2018 at 4:28 am

Cindy, I hope you are better soon. Your cold has been lingering for a while. I just wanted to let you know that I am wishing you the best. Family issues around the holidays can be especially difficult, and I am sure the stress does not make you feel any better. Hang in there! The answers will eventually come. BTW, BBC puts me asleep too.


Cindy in the South December 11, 2018 at 6:06 am

Thank you Bee!


Cindy in the South December 11, 2018 at 6:05 am

50 cents a lb…sigh…its been a long month…lol


Lindsey December 10, 2018 at 1:19 pm

1. Mended a wallet, which I originally got from the Salvation Army shop, using duct tape. It is ugly but serviceable for as long as it will take for me to find another used wallet.
2. Found milk for $1.97 a gallon. This is an unheard-of price in Fairbanks so I bought two gallons for drinking (I will freeze one), one for making yogurt, and one for the corn/green chili/potato soup and the clam chowder I will be making for the next few days (I always make enough soup for two nights, so no cooking the second day).
3. I thought I had processed all of my pumpkins from last summer. Moved a table in the foyer and found two more of the darn things. (I have literally dozens of bags of pumpkin pulp in my freezer…) I dutifully cooked it up, freezing the pulp, making pumpkin guts bread from the stringy guts, and spiced pumpkin seeds. The empty, cooked shell went into the compost. I think I got as much use as you can from a pumpkin.
4. One of the non-profits I support had a fund raiser and dinner. I made four pumpkin pies (HA!!). This is frugal because I had all the ingredients.
5. Had a couple over to watch a movie we all wanted to see. They brought the DVD and their own drinks (they like Red Bull and know I hate that stuff so they always bring their own) and I supplied the snacks: popcorn. One was spicy, one was caramel, and one was cheesy. All made from ingredients I already had. And only I liked the spicy one, so I ate the leftover for lunch the next day. (Hey, I’ve eaten nutritionally worse lunches!)


Jennifer December 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

I sure you do things like this already but I like put pumpkin in homemade chili and vegetable soups. It gives it nice body and richness.


Bee December 11, 2018 at 4:37 am

I add pumpkin to soup, chili and stews also. Butternut squash and acorn squash also work well. It increases the nutritional value without adding many calories. I think it makes these dishes more filling too. Yay for pumpkins!


Roberta December 11, 2018 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the reminder about pumpkin in chili! I have a ton in the fridge — I need to repackage it for the freezer, and 5 more intact pumpkins (!). I’ll make chili this week and use some of it up!


julie December 11, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Pumpkin on oatmeal with some pie spice is a yummy breakfast too.

Mand01 December 10, 2018 at 1:19 pm

1. I continue to work, work, work. This means I have no time to spend, even at this time of year.
2. Staff Christmas party coming up. I’ll be recycling an outfit.
3. I’m currently trying to rid my house of 100 items that I no longer want or need.
4. Had dinner at my parents’ last night.
5. Currently wearing a dress I paid $3 for.


Bethany M December 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

I got a conditional agreement to hire from ETS. I plan to use some of my “dorking around” time to pad the bank account. Actually very good timing as the savings tends to dwindle this time of year. Just needing to electronically sign some things as they arrive. Been wanting some stay-at-home work for a long time, because husband’s schedule is unpredictable with travel which isn’t great for childcare and scheduling with an employer.

Quesadillas for the kids lunch, salad with tuna for my lunch.

Down 30 lbs with my free weight loss class. Almost ready for my gastric bypass. $0 copayment, $0 deductible.

Got a $400 visa card for using Consumer Medical as part of our benefits package. They helped me pick the right surgeon. Looks like I won’t have the possibility of a laparoscopic surgery converted to open, since the new dr. said he hasn’t had to convert a surgery to open for 15 years. Going to combine the visa card and Costco cash back for a much needed new sofa.

Made a check-off schedule for my oldest two kids’ mornings. Had everything on hand, clipboard, clear sheet protector, EXPO pen. They are loving their assignments all the more just because they get to check it off.


Denise December 10, 2018 at 2:41 pm


Really well done on sticking to your pre-surgery health plan, and the very best of luck with your treatment and on-going recovery. Congratulations on taking such a positive step towards better health for you and your family.



Jennifer December 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Yes, same…I have been following your posts for awhile and just wanted to say I’m proud of you.


Bethany M December 10, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Thanks, per insurance, we’re looking at Feb for surgery…. You may get a few more “pre-surgery” posts. LOL!


tracy December 10, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Adding my best wishes for a successful surgery and speedy recovery! And great news re laparoscopic v. open surgery, recovery will be much faster!


isabelle December 12, 2018 at 7:23 am

Good luck on your surgery! It takes courage to go throught this, despite what some people might think. It’s a major surgery. I was scheduled to have the Sleeve last april and I cancelled because I was too scared (Private, paid out of pocket = easy to cancel)
Still 110 pounds overweight….. 🙁
I hope it goes well for you!


Bethany M December 12, 2018 at 8:48 am

Thanks, Isabelle. I considered it years ago, but lost 145 on my own. Now I have 180 (was over 200 before pre-surgery diet). I just can’t face doing it again and mothering at the same time. I’m at last option stage. I don’t care how much it hurts, or how much I miss certain foods. It just has to happen this way and I can’t put it off any longer. Good luck with your weight loss too!!!


Midwest Beth December 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm

1. Getting in medical appointments today/this month before my insurance ends, starting a new job in two days; new insurance will start February 1st so I have the month of Janurary to get through hopefully without any medical expenses, can’t afford the price of COBRA insurance cost but good to know its there if I don’ t have a choice.

2. Went grocery shopping armed with paper and digital coupons this weekend. Also stocked up on 99 cents each bags of sugar and peanut butter for baking and eating at Kroger. Daughter thought I went over board but I know we will use it.

3. Had a side gig last week and all weekend cat sitting – will save money for an experience trip to Chicago.

4. Swagbucking on my phone and computer ALL the time, even when I am getting ready for work in the morning. Designating this money to help pay for a trip to Chicago as a surmy prise for daughter when she turns 16, will go see Hamilton and the sites in the city.

5. Closing doors to the bedrooms, basement (unused rooms) to save on heat – high of 28 degrees today.

6. Frugal fail – attended lots of events this past week – spurging on Book of Morman tickets with dinner out before hand. This weekend treated my daughter and her friends to a holiday event in our downtown with a cookie crawl (went to 25 businesses for 25 different cookies) and evening horse and carriage ride with the group and later treated them to pizza. Fun to see them enjoy themselves with the holiday spirit and spending time together. Hopefully it created some fun memories for them all.


Jen December 10, 2018 at 9:38 pm

#6 doesn’t sound like a Frugal Fail to me, at all! Every situation is different, but that is why I am frugal and one of the reasons I am a NCAdvocate, so have money for the things that matter! Memories. I had a frugal fail this week–was cleaning out an old box of wedding leftovers, RSVPs and such, from our wedding in 1993. Found an uncashed check for $100!!!! And, no, I can’t cash it now as it was from my ex-stepfather’s sister!! Have lost contact with her….Oh well.


Diane Black December 10, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Yes to an artificial tree and to saying I would never have one! I love the scent of real trees. But, I am on the strictest budget imaginable and noticed someone had tossed out a little tree with a broken stand. I rescued it, fixed the stand and now have my tree for life. With the bonus of never having to water it!


susanna d December 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

I’m another who once said “never, ever” to artificial trees. But a number of years ago, I realized getting our tree coincided with my husband’s allergies going crazy. Ate my words, got a very nice artificial tree, and it more than paid for itself while we lived in the city – many times over.

For the past 6 years, we’ve lived just outside a national forest and our yard is loaded with pine trees. But my husband still has his allergies so I the fake tree is still a great bargain. Happier husband alone is worth it, plus we’re saving by having to buy fewer allergy meds.


isabelle December 12, 2018 at 7:40 am

Always had an artificial tree. I’m too scared of bugs to bring in a real one, to cheap to buy a real one every year, to lazy to take care of a real one, and my ecological side gets annoyed at the idea of cut a tree for nothing more than decoration. Artificials are nice anyways!


Nancy December 19, 2018 at 10:55 am

I’ve discovered that having a wreath in the house gives me that whiff of pine tree scent without the mess and bother of hauling in a pine tree. I have small artificial trees to satisfy my need for decorating.


Marilyn December 10, 2018 at 5:11 pm

I too thought I would always have a real tree at Christmas. I enjoyed the whole experience of going out with the kids and picking out a tree, carting it home and setting up. But kids are grown up now and found a nice artificial tree at the after Xmas sale about 5 years ago. It’s pre-lit, so no more fussing with lights. As Katy mentioned, it’s nice to eliminate that recurring expense.


Kathy December 10, 2018 at 2:59 pm

1. Worked my on call admin job.
2. Was treated to lunch 2x
3. Wore a oldie but goodie to a holiday party
4. Ate from pantry while hubby was gone
5. Received a $29 class action gift card


kathleen December 10, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I work an on-call admin job to (EJ) and just accepted two more days filling in for someone that had vacation days to use up before the end of the year. 🙂


NORMA December 10, 2018 at 3:04 pm

I never thought I would have an artificial tree. We always had a real one when my children were little and they absolutely scoffed at an artificial one (and I agreed). However, they now have their own home and we usually go there for Christmas so can’t see having a real tree. Because of health issues on my part, they are coming home for Christmas and I really, really want to get a real tree but don’t want to pay for it and/or take care of it.


susanna d December 10, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Frugal things, vacation edition:

1. While money was definitely spent, I have a vacation sub-account set up and all money spent came from that account. Meaning the money was set aside in advance, and no busting of the “regular” budget occurred.
2. Stayed in a condo with a full kitchen – which included a dishwasher. I don’t have a dishwasher at home, so that alone made it seem like a vacation.
3. All breakfasts and lunches – as well as a dinner – were prepared and eaten at the condo with food brought from home. The food at one restaurant meal was covered by a free gift card – only had to pay the tip out of pocket. Reduced the cost considerably.
4. Did lots of free outdoor hiking. We did our hiking indoors at the giant water park hotel complex on the first day of the trip, until the ice outside had melted. Did not want to risk falling. Broken bones are not frugal.
5. Filled the gas tank before leaving for home, since gasoline was a whopping 30 cents per gallon cheaper than it is where we live.
6. The condo had an in-unit washer and dryer. While doing laundry there before leaving for home wasn’t a huge money saver (brought my own soap, we don’t use a dryer at home for most things) the payoff to my sanity was worth it – I hate coming home to a mountain of dirty clothes.
7. Made sure to turn the heat and water heater down before we left for vacation – it’s been a cold winter so far and I’m doing what I can to reduce heating costs.


K D December 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm

1. I was tempted to buy my husband a weighted blanket but in reading the negative reviews I was struck by the fact that we already have something similar. Years ago my MIL made a quilt like cover made up of small fabric squares that are each stuffed with fiber fill. It is a single bed size (like the weighted blankets) and plenty heavy and warm. Yeah for reusing.

2. I used some frozen Thanksgiving turkey to make cacciatore for dinner.

3. My shredder not only sounded like a dying animal but it started smoking. I did buy a new one, but waited for it to be on sale. It was a little more expensive locally than on Amazon, but I’m okay with that.

4. Even though our thermostat is set to be cooler during the day, when we are often out of the house, I realized I could turn the temperature even lower for the times I know I’ll be gone for a while.

5. I baked a big batch of gluten free cookies. They’re at least as good as store bought, cheaper, and most likely healthier.


Jennifer December 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm

1. Wrapped Christmas presents with wrapping paper I got for 33 cents at an after Christmas sale, last year. We are not to the point of not using wrapping paper in my family but I really scrimp on it and tape. It’s a family joke how little tape I use.
2. We are eating leftovers tonight as eating vegan- meals causes us to eat at home a lot saving a ton of money.
3. I gave my kids teacher’s ornaments for gifts that I got marked down at an after Christmas sale last year. I had carefully packed them up so they would look perfect to give this year.
4. My stove died… This was pretty unsettling since last week my refrigerator quit, my dryer knob broke , and my washing machine knob became stripped. I refuse to let this get to me. I brought home a toaster oven from work. We are cooking in that while we wait for the part to come in to fix the oven. Incidentally, I have noticed it takes much less time for the toaster oven to preheat. That’s the only upside I can find at this point.
5. I loaded some money onto a Walmart gift card so I could get 3 cents per gallon off and I filled up my car right after. If I would have waited I would most likely get caught having to pay more somewhere else.


Bee December 10, 2018 at 5:55 pm

I have my first artificial Christmas tree this year, and I am not sure how I feel about it. This is one of many changes in my life over the last few years. Just as I have learned to accept so many new things, I suppose that I will learn to live with this also. However, I have missed the smell of fresh pine … the search for the perfect tree… the struggle to bring the tree home and to put put it up … and the annual discussion with my husband regarding the correct number of lights.
1) I decorated my new tree with old decorations that I have collected over the years. Many bring back memories reminding me of family and friends — some who are no longer with me. I love looking at all these “old” decorations. They fill my heart with love. This is a place where frugality and happiness meet.
2) I had some unnecessary food waste in November. I simply was not paying attention, so I have been focused on not repeating this during the month of December. I turned a little leftover pork roast and a stalk of bok choy into a wok full of fried rice. There was enough for dinner and lunches!
3) I am continuing to use the library and have placed a hold on my book club’s selection for next month. I had no trouble getting it. I hope that this is not a sign. I also participated in Food for Fines. Unfortunately my books do not always make it back to the library on time.
4) I sold several items on eBay over the weekend. I used recycle, reclaimed packing materials when possible. It always amazes me when I can turn $8 of thrift store merchandise into $160!
5) I listen to an interesting segment on Ted Radio Hour (npr) regarding sustainability options. It is amazing what can be done! It is even more amazing how little we do. NCA is definitely on the cutting edge. Changing the world one little choice at a time.


Marybeth December 10, 2018 at 6:47 pm

If you go somewhere where they sell live trees, ask if you could have some of the tree cuttings. I have never been charged. Then you can stick them in sparse spots on the fake tree. They will make the room smell nice.


Bee December 11, 2018 at 4:40 am

That is a wonderful idea. I will incorporate fresh pine into my decorating. It is amazing how important scent can be.


kathleen December 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm

1. Watched YouTube videos to help me complete some Christmas gifts. I owe a huge thank you to skilled people who take the time to make YouTube tutorials. I’ve learned so many things; among them replacing my own broken Kindle screen, sewing machine maintenance, help setting up my phone, putting binding on a quilt, etc.
2. Found a years-old package of holiday stationery in my home office, still in original package, that I will print out our annual letter on and include in cards.
3. Downsizing our card list.
4. Needed to bake a dessert yesterday, but was short a required ingredient. Did a search online for a substitute to save time and avoid a trip to the store.
5. I suggested a very frugal, yet valuable, gift that my son could give me for Christmas. I asked him to register to vote. He’s very informed and thoughtful, but rather jaded about politics, and hasn’t felt moved to register before. However, when I made the suggestion, he said he had thought about gifting that very thing to me. 🙂


Patricia Koernig December 11, 2018 at 2:25 am

Love your #5!


Emily December 10, 2018 at 6:32 pm

1. decorated my hand-me-down 4 feet tall Christmas tree with decorations that have either been gifted or purchased at the dollar tree. The tree was given to me by a neighbor when I moved away from my home town 4 years ago. It’s perfect for our little apartment, especially because we travel for Christmas anyway.

2. Have been very focused on limiting food waste, meal prepping, and shopping grocery sales. A Lidl opened nearby recently, and they have been sending out great coupons (10 off 40), so have been able to really maximize the grocery budget.

3. Free entertainment lately has been taking my puppy to the dog park across the street and in our apartment complex. It’s so fun to watch him play. The snow in Charlotte has kept us from going anywhere the last two days, but pup LOVED playing in the snow.

4. Submitted claims to nationwide for vet bills. I am so grateful for pet insurance, it has helped immensely. Dogs are worth every penny, but it is great being able to provide him great care and not have to worry about the finances.

5. Didn’t clear shelves at Walmart thinking I would be snowed in and lose power for the rest of forever. North Carolinians can be very dramatic about weather…


tracy December 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Have to confess I’ve had a fair number of frugal fails mostly around Christmas shopping so let’s see if I can come up with FFT:
1. Used leftover roast chicken, leftover corn tortillas, left over black beans and other things on hand to make a yummy chicken tortilla soup that we will get several lunches/dinners from. Also made a delish pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting from things we had on hand.
2. Ate above food and watched Portland Timbers lose national championship game to Atlanta (sadly for these Timbers fans) for a free family evening Saturday night. In front of our (real) Christmas tree.
3. Like others, I also stocked up on .99/cent sugar and .99/cent peanut butter and .99/cent chocolate chips from Freddy’s (Kroger). Have been pretty successful at keeping to lower budget by making lists/”clipping” e-coupons/basing list on weekly ads.
4. Reading a stack of library books.
5. Planning a low cost getaway for a few days after Christmas to Mom’s beach house with Mom and some of my adult kids, already stocking up on some groceries/treats to buy when on sale and avoid higher priced groceries at coast.


Nancy from mass December 10, 2018 at 7:16 pm

1. Found a dime Saturday while out buying a tree.
2. Spent the day in my jammies decorating yesterday. Never left the house and didn’t shop online either,
3. Thought about buying lunch (didn’t pack mine because I thought today was my sub-team luncheon, but that’s next week.). I remembered I had a can of soup in my drawer. .99 lunch was filling
4. Trying to find a hat pattern I can quickly knit with yarn on hand for one of my grand nieces. (I have 14 in all…only 4 boys, the rest of the grands are girls)
5. Thought about buying a gold apartment but changed my mind.


A. Marie December 11, 2018 at 4:08 am

FFT, Havin’ Ourselves a Minimalist Little Christmas Edition:

(1) Here’s DH’s and my untraditional take on the tree question: We haven’t put up a tree since 1991, when we had a new kitten that Christmas and didn’t want to tempt him beyond his endurance with bright shiny dangling objects. To be honest, we don’t miss the put-up/take-down process a bit. I gave our ornaments away to family members. I realize that going treeless is not an option for households with children (plus a lot of others), but it works for us.

(2) However, it’s time to go out prospecting on curbs for clippings from the bottom branches of other folks’ trees, so that I can construct my annual holiday decoration for the front of the house (an attractively trimmed bunch of boughs, secured with florist wire and a large ribbon I reuse annually). Putting this item together gives me my fresh-evergreen-smell fix.

(3) Joining Katy in the make-and-mend department, I fixed a ripped hem on one of DH’s thrifted fleece vests. He practically lives in these vests during the winter months.

(4) Marinated a London broil (from our annual 1/4 cow) in The Joy of Cooking’s recipe for lamb/game marinade, using leftover red wine. Yum yum.

(5) DH and I will be paying a holiday visit Sunday to our older ex-neighbors who just moved into senior housing. I’ll be taking them a full set of my homegrown herbs as a holiday/housewarming present.


Mand01 December 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I’d love to skip a tree. I’ve been so busy this year I’ve had no time to buy any gifts or put up the tree. My kids will not be happy at all if we don’t do it though so I guess I’ll have to find the time. I honestly couldn’t care less if we didn’t have one. Grinch!!


A. Marie December 11, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Mand, I don’t consider either of us to be a Grinch. And I realize you’re in a tough place tree-wise, because I can well imagine that your kids wouldn’t take kindly to the change. DH and I do the holiday traditions that work for us in our own way, and I’m just hoping to free up a little space for all of us here to do the same.


Mand01 December 12, 2018 at 10:02 am

This year when it comes to Christmas I’m going to be much less frugal than usual as I’m working right up to Christmas Eve. I have major deadlines that are just piling up. I’ve never seen anything like it. So I’m taking my family out for dinner after work tonight and then knocking all the shopping off in one hit. I’m splitting the tasks up between everyone. Then I will do as Bee suggests and hand tree decorating duties over to the kids on the weekend. I’ll be working anyway and they will enjoy it. My husband is on Christmas groceries duties. Usually I bake and make homemade and recycled gifts, grow plants. I took a bigger job halfway through the year and boy has it done a number on me now!! The past six weeks have been nothing but work.


Bee December 11, 2018 at 5:22 pm

When I was in my teens, my mother and father had a really busy November and December. I wanted a tree, so they arranged for me to pick it out and then had it delivered. (Small town) My father put it up and then the rest was up to me. I put on the lights and decorated it just the way I wanted it. I felt very grown up and it was a Weight off my parents shoulders.


Mrs. Picky Pincher December 11, 2018 at 5:07 am

Oooh, I never thought to repurpose Chikfila sauces in cooking. Which ones did you use for the chili? I could see Polynesian or Buffalo giving an interesting kick.

This week:

1. Hubs and I cooked an amazing dinner Sunday night. We roasted salmon and served it with green beans and smashed potatoes. It was more expensive than our typical dinners, but it was still cheaper than going out, healthy, and awesome. It’s nice to have a treat every now and then. 🙂

2. I shopped at the Dollar Tree to put together Christmas stockings for my nieces and nephews.

3. I repaired my Roomba yesterday. Well, by ‘repair’ I mean I did maintenance to make it run better. This little appliance saves me so much time cleaning–I want to keep it running well for years to come.

4. I wrapped Christmas gifts using paper bought on sale last year, as well as secondhand bags and tissue paper.

5. We finished our Christmas shopping using our cashback rewards balance. That means we have zero budget impact for Christmas shopping! 🙂


Jill A December 11, 2018 at 6:39 am

1. I took my daughter to the monthly Art Hop downtown. We met up with friends. We had a great time looking. My daughter spent her own money to buy an original artwork. I spent nothing.
2. We went out for dinner afterwards, not frugal. We did share a pizza which provided meals for the next day and I ordered water to drink so could have been worse.
3. I made a fajitas for dinner another night and invited friends and my mother and daughters. We all had leftovers to eat the next few days and it was a fun night of tree decorating.
4. I took my Mom for a ride and to JCPenney where she used my $10 coupon to buy a necklace she wanted for a Christmas dinner with friends. I spent nothing and my Mother was happy to get something she wanted for next to nothing. She really enjoyed the ride too.
5. I picked up some inexpensive frozen meals at Trader Joes to eat on the nights when I don’t feel like cooking so that I won’t be tempted by take out.


Jenelle December 11, 2018 at 7:39 am

1. Decided to skip the Santa’s secret workshop this year at my son’s school. The items they sell are so cheap. I took each of the kids to the Goodwill to buy for one another and for Daddy! Every item but one was new with tags!
2. My birthday is this coming Saturday and hubby is taking me to my favorite winery (not frugal, but something we only do once or twice a year). I will be able to save a little bit by using the free glass of wine for your birthday coupon that came in the mail.
3. Visited the bins and found a few items for our family (Christmas PJ’s for my daughter and a down filled puffer vest for me) My hubby used to snub his nose at the Goodwill, but I caught him liking & wearing a pair of boxer shorts I found. (disclaimer, these boxer shorts were obviously new, otherwise I would not have brought them home from the bins)
4. Instead of purchasing an 8×10 of my son’s school picture, I am going to be creative and try to blow up one of the smaller portraits with the help of my work scanner. Probably illegal, I know.
5. trying to collect thrown out paper at my office that I can use for printing my ebay labels on. I do have to be careful to not use anything that shows my employers name.


Rebecca in MD December 11, 2018 at 7:44 am

Hello all,

Here’s my FFT

1. Put up our artificial Christmas tree that we have had for several years.
2. Did not buy any new ornaments and tree is pre-lit. I wanted a new tree skirt, but as there is nothing wrong with the current one, I’ll keep using it.
3. Requested “no new stuff” as my Christmas wish list from my son and his family. I did send him links to two used books available on Thrift Books as gift suggestions.
4. Stocked up on cheap/on sale baking supplies at Aldi for my annual Christmas cookies (some of which I give as gifts).
5. Bought my son and his family a restaurant gift certificate as their Christmas gift. Going to also pick up some movie gift certificates at Costco which are 20% savings instead of buying them online. All other gifts will be homemade.


Roberta December 11, 2018 at 7:55 am

1. I have been delaying buying my husband a watch from LL Bean (he has broken two watches in the last couple of years. He asked for an unbreakable one.) Yesterday they ran a sale, 25 percent off anything. That’s what I’ve been waiting for!
2. Cooked leftover pumpkin into muffins for breakfast, and I have enough batter left over to make a little loaf of bread to say thank you to the friend who gave me all the pumpkins!
3. Soaked black beans and rice for lunches this week.
4. As per above suggestion, I’ll be making chili this week for dinner, to use up more pumpkin pulp!
5. Cut a live tree from our yard. We have a bunch of volunteers, and they don’t look like tree-lot trees, but they’ll have to come down eventually, so we might as well get some use out of them!


LB December 11, 2018 at 8:49 am

I gotta get on the darning train! I have a few winter socks that are starting to unravel.

1. Fridge and freezer are empty looking at first glance, so I’ve been looking a bit deeper to find lunches and dinners. Trying to make it to Thursday without buying groceries, since that’s the day I have to go shopping to get Christmas cookie ingredients anyway.

2. Skipping a lot of Christmas parties that I have felt obligated to attend in the past. These often come with an obligation to donate to an organization as well as get something from the cash bar. I’m happy with my level of donations as is, and don’t need overpriced glasses of wine or to make small talk.

3. Christmas cards are out! I had a blast painting christmas scenes on old postcards. I hope everyone likes them.

4. Got an offer on Poshmark when it’s been radio silence for months. Sure, $7 ain’t a lot but it’s more money than that dress is making sitting in my closet!

5. On the schedule for my side gig once a week. Every little bit helps.


Amanda December 11, 2018 at 9:01 am

1) Sent the kids out in the snow with entirely thrifted/gifted snow suits and boots.
2) Our tree is a free cycle find from a few years ago. The prestrung lights had stopped working, so we got an almost-new tree for free. We just carefully unwound the lights and added our own.
3) I think one more long sleeve T-shirt and one more short sleeved T-shirt will give me enough of a wardrobe to get through this, my last pregnancy, fully clothed. I searched two Goodwills with no luck, but found exactly what I needed on thredUP. I did go online to Old Navy but almost went into preterm labor at the idea of paying $20 for a T-shirt. $4 sounds lot better to me.
4) The snow kept us from doing our usual grocery run Sunday night, and we are still eating leftovers/out of the freezer.
5) This weekend I finished cleaning out my rediculously large collection of thrifted and gifted baby and kids clothes in preparation for baby. We’ve hand-me-downed and donated bags and bags of things we don’t need now that we know the baby’s sex.


Julia Park Tracey December 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm

1. My hens are still laying so I”m getting 1-2 eggs per day. With holiday baking, this is a real plus (always use their eggs,but more so with baking).
2. We stripped down our usual holiday gift-giving (5 adult children plus mates) to one name each. I bought a T-shirt from the National Parks Foundation for my SIL (benefits the NPs) and yarn and gift card for crocheting daughter (this was “from” my husband but he is disabled and can’t go out shopping. I bought it for him to gift.) For the rest of my extended family, I am baking several varieties of biscotti and giving an assortment to each family (I’m from a family of 5 children and there are now 8 families that gather at my parents’ near Christmas). I am using brown lunch-bags and yarn to wrap these up.
3. I guess all of my adult children will be at other parent or mates’ parents on Christmas Day, so I’m thinking about taking a long walk by myself (husband can’t hike/walk out). I have a dear friend who is solo on holidays and I think I will invite her up to join me.
4. Husband has a bad cold so I got out the box of handkerchiefs to use instead of Kleenex. I put all of our handkerchiefs in a pretty box (the kind to store photos in, second hand!) and bring out the box when anyone gets sick.
5. I can’t believe my copper coffee filter is 12 years old and that I have not bought a single coffee filter since joining the non-consumer lifestyle 12 years ago!


Dusty December 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Luv #4…never occurred to me….on a mission to find nice handkerchiefs at the thrift store and a nice decorative box to put in….


Juhli December 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm

1. We love leftovers and just finished the 3rd dinner from a roasted pork loin by making pork and bean tostados. Enough left for lunch for one.
2. We brought home enough leftovers from a catered hobby club holiday dinner last night to provide 2 more dinners with some veggie/salad addition. I was one of the main organizers and all the volunteers got to have a chance at the leftovers.
3. Did an errand day to day and went in a loop to stop at 4 places and save gas.
4. Carefully going through my wardrobe for this season and seeing how I can make things work with few additions. So far just added a cardigan.
5. Reading a stack of library books and books passed on by book discussion group friends.


janine December 11, 2018 at 7:52 pm

1. Love my fresh tree. However, we got it as a gift from a realtor friend who gifts them to her clients in return for donations to the food shelf and the toys for tots program. Since we would donate to these programs in any case we feel this is a win-win.
2. Brought home leftovers from a meal at a Mexican restaurant. Fed two of us the following evening with some additional ingredients.
3. Son has requested a “good” frying pan for Christmas. He likes to make homemade breakfasts.
4. Buying experience related gift certificates for family members including tickets to professional basketball games.
5. Filled up my tank at Costco this morning . Also shopped at Aldi for a few bargains.


Katy December 11, 2018 at 9:55 pm

I love your idea of throwing leftover sauce packets into your chili!
1. I wanted to give my son’s bio family gifts of pictures in frames and found the 3 frames at a thrift store, all wrapped in cellophane like they were brand new!
2. Used my $5 amazon card I earned from swagbucks towards a purchase.
3. I bought wrapping paper from a consignment store, used some leftover gift bags and one gift bag that was too torn to use, I cut up and used to wrap two sets of earrings.
4. I bought a new pair of pants and a bra at Ross, I was very happy with the prices, although I can’t remember them off the top of my head.
5. I found a hotel body wash among my stuff, so I’m using that as my big body wash is used up.


Audra Erickson December 12, 2018 at 1:08 am

My husband started wearing wool socks last year. Thankfully I’ve not had to darn any yet, however after his initial purchase of six pair of socks I have been fortunate to find 14 additional pair at thrift stores and garage sales for .50 to .99! Yesterday my neighbor knocked on my door with six brand new pair that were gifted to her husband that he won’t wear. These will be put away for my husbands birthday gift in February!
Made a large pot of chicken tortilla soup alfrom left over bbq chicken breast and gave my daughter and her husband a container to take home. They’ve had a dinner and two lunches from it, making chili beans tomorrow with plans to share some with them as well. They are both teachers and working in their masters, so a hot home made meal they don’t have to cook is always a treat!

Reply December 12, 2018 at 10:37 am

Appreciate the comments on fresh vs artificial tree. Food for thought.
1. We bought our tree Thanksgiving weekend but won’t put up until next week. Traveling to Arlington national cemetery for my father’s burial with full Military honors. Looking forward to seeing folks and the ceremony. He had a full life, just shy of 80 years.
We have A1 year old cat and 6 month old kitten. Leaving them with cat sitters and a decorated Xmas tree would not be frugal!
2. Trying out the Amtrak shuttle-to-train service from Wilmington NC to Washington DC. No car rental! DC has great public transportation. Will ride with family for funeral ( must be in a car we’ve been told).
3. Packed drinks and snacks for 9 hour journey. At least excellent wifi! Driving is 7 hours.
4. Using hotel points for 3 nights hotel and gifted one might to SIL. Credit card points only work if balance paid each month. Learned this the hard way but learn we did!
5. Using money set aside for vacation for this trip. Realizing we need a new line item I’ll call “family travel”. We are in our 50s and traveling to funerals is becoming a budget line item. I never regret attending a funeral. It means so much.


Dusty December 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

My condolences on ur loss….my uncle was buried at Arlington….beautiful service…….it will be a wonderful way to pay your respects….


Christine Joiner December 12, 2018 at 6:33 pm

My condolences on the loss of your father. Tough thing for a girl to lose her Dad. The ceremony will hopefully be healing for you and your family.


janine December 12, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Condolences to you and your family. I still miss my dad who also served in the military.


tracy December 13, 2018 at 4:41 am

Alexandra I’m sorry for the loss of your father. Arlington is amazing and it will be a special time for you and your family to honor and remember him. And good idea re travel savings, I do a bunch of different (free) earmarked savings accounts through Capital One and have one for travel (and a second one for an extra special trip I’m just starting to save for that we’ll take in 3+ years when youngest graduates from HS).


Debbie from Delaware December 13, 2018 at 8:45 pm

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your father. I know how that feels… lost mine almost 6 years ago at age 72. Praying for safe travels for you and your family, and that you will find the services at Arlington a source of comfort.


Katy December 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

My condolences on the loss of your father. May his memory be a blessing.



Cindy in the South December 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father.


Christine December 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

1. Cleaned out my cellar of old, broken appliances and metal. Packed it in my car and brought it to a scrap metal dealer. I only made $4.05 but it’s junk out of my house and 4 bucks I didn’t have before.
2. I belong to a Bible Study group at my church. It is definitely not your grandmother’s Bible Study. We usually go out to eat as a group for Christmas but I suggested this year we do a potluck meal at our last meeting before Christmas. We will be reading the story of Christ’s birth and singing a few carols. This was met with enthusiasm so I hope it will be fun.
3. Still walking in the New England woods with DH. The snow we got in November melted so the woods are now snowless and bugless…my favorite time to walk trails.
4. Bought a fresh tree for the cheapest price I could find…$30. Not great but I love my real trees.
5. No crazy expenditures.


A Cooney December 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm

1, I boiled bones for 24 hours for bone broth, made up two quarts for this osteo- penic senior. Note to self; next time get a bigger slow oooker next time round, make bigger batches..
2. Ran all my errands in one trip, grocery, post office, pharmacy, visit to in-laws, and made it back in time for the plumber to turn the gas back on after he finished his work.
3 Sorted cloths as to – workout – cleaning cloths (the old, ragged ones) and outside the house for appointments, social and such. (keeping the better from becoming old before it’s time and using the old stuff until it is truly worn out.
4. Put the well picked over ham bone from the Thanksgiving free roast (Supermarket holiday thing in these parts) into the slow cooker for pea soup. 5. Repaired a pair of sneakers that work so well with my orthotics, I really can not justify buying new ones, the toes were starting to show my socks, strange colors on black sneaks. Hurray for ‘shoe goo’ and a tired old pair of black shorts that I sacrificed to patch from the inside .

Stay Thrifty my friends. 😉


Diane C December 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Here are my contributions, Frugal Holiday Luncheon for 100 Ladies Version:
1. Didn’t hire a caterer.
2. Bought roasted turkey breast, and scalloped potatoes at Costco. I also purchased discounted See’s gift cards there, which I redeemed at See’s Candy for dessert treats.
3. Bought green beans, stuffing mix, supplies for cranberry relish, and gravy at Grocery Outlet on Senior Day.
4. Re-used the re-usable white plastic plates and silver plastic silverware that I’ve bought on sale at Costco and used in previous years.
5. I wanted new holiday table runners. I scrounged thrifts for months. At the end, I was three short. I found them at Grocery Outlet for $3.99, less 10%, on Senior Day. I’d been averaging $5-$6 at the thrifts, so this was an unexpected win. They’re all different, so they will be used year after year.
6. Bought supplies for holiday favors at dollar stores.
7. I bought the holiday napkins last year when they were 75% off.
8. Total outlay for the event was just under $10 per person including all decor items, hot lunch, beverages and dessert, which is pretty great, considering that a lot of the supplies will be re-used.
9. Because I was in thrifts so often, I got a lot of my family’s holiday shopping completed on the cheap, too.
10. Best of all, my family gamely consumed all the leftovers. I didn’t have to cook for three days, hooray!


Joanie December 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm

$1,000? Lots of clever thought went into that but it’s startling how it all adds up. I hope you were reimbursed.


Diane C December 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm

I had a budget and I came in well under it. And yes, I will be reimbursed. My expense report is already done.


Alison Hicinbothem December 17, 2018 at 7:39 pm

After a crazy November which featured me breaking my ankle, having surgery to put 8 screws and a plate in and 2 weeks at rehab I am home and receiving Visiting Nurse care as well as physical therapy. Everything should be free as I had met my medical and prescription out of pocket before the broken ankle.

I’ve been doing online shopping using Ebates (reward money back) and getting great deals. Ds is in Singapore and his birthday is Friday so he’s getting all cash. I cashed in credit card points for 3 gifts for my daughter: $100 Amazon card, $50 Barnes and Noble card and $50 Panera card. She will get a couple more gifts.

Love my artificial Christmas tree with lights already on it. Dh puts it up while watching football. I have all my ornaments that the kids made growing up as well as a few hand made ornaments that my aunt made 40 yrs ago. Two glass ornaments from my father who bought them in Woolworth’s during the depression.


Diane C December 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Joanie, here’s a little more context. Earlier this year I hosted a fund raising dinner for another , smaller group (about 60). I used a caterer. The food price was boosted by 8.5% sales tax and an 18% Service Fee, which is typical in my area. Cooking in a private, i.e. home, kitchen for a for-profit event (alas, this includes fundraising, no matter what the cause) has been disallowed in my state. This holiday event was held in a venue with a Commercial Kitchen, and was for a membership group, and was not a fund raiser. I pulled the whole thing off for less that I paid in fees at the prior event. So yeah, under $10 a head was a huge win. And it was a full meal, so yeah, it’s a frugal win in my book.


Karen Kolb December 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

Karen I Kolb


VanessaKC December 19, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Man, ugh. I typed out my first long-ish comment in months, only to have it fail to post. Was hoping this would be remedied by now.


Diane C December 20, 2018 at 6:03 am

That’s so frustrating. Now I copy and refresh before attempting to send. Maybe try emailing Katy directly?


Jessica December 20, 2018 at 7:25 am

Not frugal, but very non-consumer five:
I have found a lot of stuff that would have been thrown away, and have redistributed it to people who need or want it.
1) a stuffed squirrel that someone had put in my work desk as a joke, but is a perfect condition stuffed animal is going to a child who will use it.
2) I took 3 sets of sheets, a faucet (new), a bundt pan (new) and a TV mount (new in box) from a friend who is overwhelmed by stuff and was about to throw everything out. I kept 1 set of sheets for myself and am giving away or selling the rest.
3) I found a preschool that will take some outgrown toys of my daughter’s, and will bring them there when I am going to the community center where it is located anyway for something else.
4) I freecycled an alarm clock and large candle that were gathering dust
5) I brought another candle to a friend who was having a tough time


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