Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 14, 2019 · 72 comments

  1. I sold a few items including a landscape painting, some midcentury wall hangings and two brand new sets of Spanx pantyhose. The latter sale was an odd one, but I took a chance on picking up three pairs at Goodwill, as they were priced for 99¢ apiece despite the original Nordstrom price tag of $19.99. I still have one more pair for sale, and expect them to sell quickly as the first two sold overnight.

  2. I’m flying to New York City and took the time to pack a ham sandwich, cheese, eggs and tangerines. The trip only takes five hours, but once you add in the Portland airport time plus transportation from the NY airport to my sister’s apartment, my food needs to cover breakfast, lunch as well as the multiple snacks that I normally mindlessly cram into my mouth enjoy throughout the day. I also packed a small box of chocolates for the flight attendants as a thank you gift, although I should have probably brought some for the poor TSA agents who are pointlessly working without pay.

  3. I’m arranging to do eight hours of paid education hours through my hospital. I earned this perk by working a certain number of hours in 2018, and can make sure to get these hours onto the next paycheck that would otherwise be empty due to my traveling.

  4. I created a Frankenbox out of used packaging materials to mail out the midcentury wall hangings, my husband and I continue to eat our way through the enormous free-from-work ham and I scored a used pair of jeans that are my favorite brand/my size. I recently discovered that they’re an expensive brand, (think $100+) which I hadn’t realized as I’d bought them at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill. I’m extremely excited.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica January 14, 2019 at 7:06 am

1) I got an old time sheet corrected so that I will get paid properly for overtime (I have a weird workplace where we don’t always log our hours if it is a regular week, so it is easy for these to slip through the cracks.)
2) I looked through last year’s medical claims to make sure insurance had properly reimbursed everything and figured out that I was never reimbursed for a dental appointment for my child, so I will resubmit the claim
3) I am filling out FSA paperwork so that I can get reimbursed for childcare expenses this year starting with my upcoming paycheck
4) I have a ton of stuff in my basement to sell in upcoming weeks, and am hopefully going to sell a new-in-box TV wall mount today. I got it from a friend who was decluttering and would have otherwise tossed it, so a win for the environment, too.
5) Same friend as above may bring me some solid wood endtables to refinish and use or sell today.

Frugal?: There was a very high end stroller on the edge of a yard near me, but I couldn’t tell whether it was out with the trash or had just been tossed aside quickly by a harried parent. So, I will wait and see if it’s still there when I walk the dog closer to heavy trash day.


Linda Emel January 14, 2019 at 11:20 am

I’m like you and also would wait to see if the stroller is still there later. My husband … HE would walk it up to the front door, ring the bell and ask.


Jill A January 14, 2019 at 7:20 am

1. I noticed that gas prices went back down so I filled up at Costco while I was picking up a few things.
2. Combining errands today so I use less of my cheap gas.
3. I broke the base of my make-up mirror. My eyes are bad so I need it to put my contact lenses in, pluck eyebrows, make-up etc. I used some zip ties and it is standing up now although still a little wobbly. I’ll probably try a little adhesive.
4. I picked up some of the dollar tree oxyclean. They had an orange version I hadn’t tried before and it had a bonus double amount so I saved an extra dollar on top of it being so much cheaper than the name brand version. Every little bit helps.
5. Paid my daughter for our portion of the phone bill using PayPal saving myself a stamp. Again, every little bit.


Roberta January 14, 2019 at 7:35 am

1. After months of nothing, the old Navy overcoat I have been listing on ebay finally sold! I had gotten to the point of wondering if it were worth keeping, but I left it up and didn’t just donate it for the space — and it finally sold!
2. Substitute taught again Friday — I’ve hit the break even point for the costs associated with getting the license (testing and fingerprinting). Any money I make after this point is actual income.
3. Because I worked I did not get to run to the grocery. Cobbled together meals out of pantry staples instead of eating out. (Really hoping to get to the grocery today, as I could use greens!)
4. Made graduation cards for my niece and her fiance. I really, really didn’t want to — I wanted to stop by the dollar store — but I did it, they were cute, and I didn’t spend money or gas. (I don’t trust my husband in stores, he’s an impulse shopper, so I’m, pretty sure I saved more than a buck on this).
5. Planned the end-of-the-month free supper at the church. We’re having soup out of leftover potatoes I’ve been keeping in my freezer (eliminate food waste and get freezer space back!) and a ham that’s been in someone else’s freezer. Now, if I just use up some more of the bananas that are in there I can go back down to just one freezer…


Diane C January 16, 2019 at 4:14 am

For those bananas, make healthy “ice cream”. Its easier if you chunked the bananas before you froze them, but if you didn’t, just thaw enough so you can hack them into good size chunks. You can always refreeze if they soften too much. Anyway, get your food processer out, toss in the frozen banana chunks, and swirl, swirl, swirl them until they look like ice cream, which they eventually will. Add a bit of water, milk or cream if you wish, but just a small amount. You can add a bit of vanilla to enhance the flavor. This dessert is so good and so easy to make, you’ll be sad when you finally run out of frozen bananas.


carla January 14, 2019 at 8:14 am

I’ve never done this before, but so enjoy reading lists from Katy and others that I want to join in. Plus, I’m trying harder to be frugal.

1. Am doing Whole 30 eating with my family this month so am cooking at home and drawing from a side of beef in the freezer and vegetables from the grocery (that are relatively cheap). It’s more expensive to eat healthier, but it’s certainly cheaper than eating out!

2. Was persuaded by a podcast to sign up for an app from our grocery store to have access to the ads, coupons, and other perks. I avoid technological things even when they are in my best interest, so this is the first step to saving some grocery money.

3. Am resisting the urge to go to the Gap, which is having a going out of business sale in our town. I know I would get a few cheap sweaters but am committed to using what I have.

4. Due to Whole 30, I tried on work clothes today that are nearly new but that felt a little tight the last time I wore them (more than a year ago). They fit! And I look like I bought a new suit!

5. Spent Sunday doing the free activities of a spiritual meeting, trip to the park with my husband and daughters, food at home, a meal with another spiritual group, and Netflix while cleaning. I did spend too much for a car wash ($11!), but I will remember that this place that was convenient is too expensive and will go elsewhere next time.


Edie January 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

To help with Whole 30 eating plan, consider buying frozen green vegetables- especially this time of the year. You will save so much money.


Danielle January 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm



Christine January 14, 2019 at 5:56 pm

Welcome Carla! I hope you like this group…I think you will…I have discovered so many great, frugal ideas here.


Val January 14, 2019 at 8:30 am

Your blog is one of my frugal indulgences!
My five frugal things
1. I brought brocolli cheese soup for lunch that we made in a large crockpot batch.
2. My chiropractor had fruit set out for his patients to take a piece home. I grabbed a banana for an afternoon snack.
3. I am car pooling with my sister tomorrow as she is doing work training near my building.
4. I have books and movies I am picking up from my library to entertain me this week.
5. I am continuing to drink some tea that I purchased even though I don’t really like it. I paid for it so I’m finishing it Lol


Val Y January 15, 2019 at 6:42 pm

I just had to say hi to Val. There aren’t that many of us. I’m with you on your #5. If I buy something and don’t like it, I still try really hard to finish it, because I hate wasting it. If it’s not a food item, then I try to find a different purpose for it than its original purpose.


Stephanie January 14, 2019 at 8:44 am

Wishing you safe travels!

1. I’ve been hang-drying all the laundry except bedding. Not terribly pleasant in our cold basement where my drying racks live, but it saves money, so I’m happy with it.

2. I organized the cabinet under my sink. In doing so, I found we own more sunscreen than I ever thought possible (and my son pulled some out of his room last night as well), so there’s no excuse for going without. I’ll be able to find stuff a lot better now too, and won’t waste money buying stuff we already have.

3. I melted down old Halloween and Christmas candy to make a batch of brownies, and used up a container of sour cream (which I don’t use all that much, but had bought for a special Christmas recipe) making a new cookie recipe. Hurray for creativity and no waste!

4. I donated a box and some change of diapers to an organization that hands them out to needy families. Frugal for them, space-saving for me!

5. We used a gift card to buy inexpensive supplies to build a clothing rack in my laundry room where I can hang skirts and dresses so they don’t have to live all wadded up in a storage container (we’re hurting for closet space in this house). I’m really excited about this. 🙂


Bethany January 14, 2019 at 9:02 am

Came home from church for lunch. We have a picked upon rotisserie chicken in the fridge. We made chicken wraps and a chicken salad for me. Tonight will be chicken soup from the carcass. Trying to have bone broth every day for gut health since the gastric bypass surgery is coming. Wanting as healthy a gut as I can get.

Kids are finally getting through the chapter books a friend gave us years ago. I love seeing them devour books.

Had to get our tires replaced on my husband’s commuter car. It came with a family 4 pack for skiing, a real treat for us in SoCal!

Putting off some purchases…My 12 year old kitchen towels sorely need replaced and the color of our kitchen has changed, but still trying to eek it out. Trying to skip a size as I lose weight, to buy fewer. Trying to eek it out another month or two not buying more socks for me or my 3 year old. He’s even wearing mismatched. Lol! But flip flop season will be here so soon.

Still nursing my basil, mint and sage. Can’t wait for March to replant. You just can’t beat the flavor of fresh herbs!!


LM January 14, 2019 at 9:06 am

1. My sister (who works for my insurance company) took a look at my auto insurance policy and recommended we remove a few things that were redundant and/or unnecessary. Saved a total of $269 for the year.

2. Wearing my maternity clothes from my first pregnancy and not buying anything else. The seasons don’t exactly match up, so I’m supplementing some already owned cardigans over t-shirts and tank tops to help keep warm rather than buying any new items.

3. I’ve been picking deposit cans out of my boss’s trash can when he’s not around.

4. I’ve been able to reuse gift bags and tissue paper I have on hand for all upcoming birthdays. I also made cards rather than buying them. And one of the gifts I’m giving to my friend’s son is a duplicate item my son received for Christmas.

5. My husband and son have been sick, so we haven’t been going out as much saving money on gas.


Mary in VA January 15, 2019 at 6:07 am

Regarding #3, I do the same thing, but transfer the recycles to the recycle trashcan (they’re literally right next to each other…really, fellow employees??). My state doesn’t have deposit returns…I can’t imagine throwing away good money like that! Even if it’s only 5 cents, that adds up over time.


Pattilou January 14, 2019 at 9:22 am

It is time to get back on the frugal wagon, after a few months of major expenses. I had to reroof my house and Christmas was rather expensive, due to lack of planning on my part. On top of that, I have been unemployed for a few weeks. Time to really tighten the belt again.
1. My amazing friends gave me the gift of a ticket to see Hamilton. I told them that they never need to buy me another gift again. I did pay for parking and will treat them to dinner. I also will be making them their favorite cake and delivering that to them as a treat.
2. Another friend has a membership to the botanical gardens and can bring a guest. She has been inviting me every few months and we get to catch up. We had a lovely time yesterday.
3. I have been cleaning out closets and dividing things to donate and sell. I am still unsure of the selling thing so I’m going to give a few thing a try on eBay.
4. I picked up a check from the clothing consignment store and dropped off a few more items.
5. Had dinner at a friend’s house last night. My contribution was dessert. Mi had all of the ingredients at home already. My friend won’t eat left overs so I came home with them.
-my plan was to do a no spend January and February. I did buy two items that I really could have gone without but they will make life a little easier. So, I am beginning my no spend challenge over today!


Danielle January 14, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Your #1 how awesome! And pretty cool ways to show your appreciation too. 🙂


amanda January 14, 2019 at 9:22 am

1) When we planned meals and made a grocery list last night I really wasn’t feeling trying anything spectacular for dinners. I think I am really feeling dinners comprised of roasted veggies and meat or grilled cheeses and soup. I’m leaning into the simplicity and stocking up on just veggies and chicken at Aldi.

2) We have finally gotten the hang of budgeting. I realized that I was not recording things in the budget because it seemed “extra” or “not that big of a deal” and then we would go over by that amount and I would be all hard on myself. 2019 is the year of honest budgets–if I am going to buy the thing, put it in the stinking budget. Sounds like a simple thing, but it took me a long time to figure it out.

3) I am planning a research trip for some records I need a few hours away. It will be much easier to make it happen before our fourth baby comes in April, so I am planning it to the max for next week and will pack food to keep it an efficient use of time.

4) We are keeping the budget tight (now that we are doing it right) to take as little in distributions from our business as possible to build up our cash reserves.

5) We’ve also taken a few important steps in our business to “level up.” These include concrete plans to raise profit, which we have already started to put in place.


Katy January 14, 2019 at 9:58 am

Nice score on the jeans!

1. Last week we signed on a house, 100% cash down. I give God the credit for allowing this to happen. We had savings bonds and sold some stock that we had been given as kids, which covered most of it. We found a house in a town further away because the prices were so much better, and it’s a fixer upper, so we’ll be putting money into repairs now.
2. I made this rice-pudding recipe for a potluck I had all the ingredients on hand, and even if you go and buy them, theres only a few and they’re all cheap ingredients. It makes for a cheap dessert or breakfast and it’s a really good and creamy stove top rice pudding!

3. We’re getting ready to travel, so while I know I’ll end up tossing some food, I’m trying to have leftover meals and take inventory of what won’t travel well with us and we can eat up. Made a chicken and rice soup with chicken and rice I had.
4. I redeemed $36 of amazon giftcards I hadn’t redeemed yet, $31 was a gift for my 31 b-day and $5 was from earning swagbucks.

5. I filled out a mcdonald’s survey from my reciept. Now I can use it to get a free sandwich with a purchase of a sandwich. I don’t know if I’ll end up using it, but I can at least keep it in my purse in case we end up at a mcdonalds.


Sarah Tibbott January 14, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Congrats on your new home! What an amazing way to buy it! 🙂 Awesome!


Patricia Koernig January 15, 2019 at 3:30 am

Wootwoot! Congratulations!


KJD509 January 14, 2019 at 10:53 am

FFT, moving is rough edition:

Actually, I don’t think there’s anything truly frugal in this, though I’ve certainly been trying:

1) The sale of our house fell through a couple of times, and weird weather quirks in that area meant that for a full month after the first buyers backed out no one even came through it. But it finally closed, we’ve received all sorts of refunds from the mortgage and utility companies for having kept current while the house was empty (I guess people don’t do that?) and as miserable as the nearly 6 months of transition was, we were able to live in a rental property we own (student housing. For a family of 4 plus a huge dog and sickly cat. It was exactly as miserable as it sounds.) instead of in a hotel (so expensive!) or under a bridge.
2) Thanks to our unending politeness, the sellers of the house we were purchasing continued to roll our contract forward for the entire 6 months, with no additional charges. Housing prices in this much larger metropolitan area went up a ton in that time period, plus a swanky new waterfront neighborhood opened within walking distance, pushing prices in our block up with them. We were so lucky!
3) Alas, the former owners also appear not to have taken out the trash or flushed the toilets in that entire six months. We’ve had to replace all the flooring, and there’s a sizable plumbing project ahead of us as well. I stormed out of one Home Depot because they were so busy with professionals that they wanted me to come back another day, but the materials I wanted really were most frugally available there. Bought them from a different location, and the expert who helped me also recommended a non-Home Depot flooring installer who has done excellent and less expensive work. It meant we had to be flexible around his day job, but it was worth it.
4) I don’t want to admit to all the spoiled food and restaurant meals during the days that we were unexpectedly (to me – I’ve never had this kind of work done before) kicked out of the house for long periods. So let’s just say that we found ways to stay busy that didn’t involve wandering around the mall, keeping our out-of-the-house expenses as low as possible. We’ll be making good use of the crockpot and microwave for the next few days until the grout is dry and sealed and we can move the range back into the kitchen.
5) In spite of all the crazy and unexpected expenses, no Lear jet, no gold-plated anything, lots of vintage and thrift shopping when nothing we own fits a spot in these oddly proportioned rooms, and one more semester of cash paid for tuition for two kids, thank goodness.

Thanks for all the inspiration over the past few months, FFT fam! You all are wonderful.


Susie's Daughter January 14, 2019 at 5:35 pm

KJD! HUGE Congratulations on all that has happened! As I am sure you are painfully aware, moving is one of the top five life stressors and your move certainly had more stress than one could even expect. I hope the energy and the opportunity to celebrate making it through present themselves!


susanna d January 14, 2019 at 11:04 am

1. This will be my biggest frugal entry for the week/month/longer – we cancelled satellite TV. After realizing there were 6 cable channels we actually watched – and after once again having to delete a recorded show without watching it due to bad weather turning the picture into a kaleidoscope – we decided to stop kicking ourselves (“we’re paying HOW much a month for THIS?”) and cancel once and for all. The house came with a giant antenna that pulls in all the network stuff. Savings? Almost $1000 per year.
2. Thawed out a very full one gallon bag of vegetable scraps and turned it into three quarts of vegetable stock.
3. While putting the vegetable stock in the freezer, I took out a quart of chicken stock made from – you guessed it – a Costco rotisserie chicken carcass. I love basically free broth! The addition of a couple of eggs and a few other things turned it into a very cheap, er, frugal egg drop soup for our lunch.
4. I’ve been entering my step counts into my Walgreens Balance Rewards account. While the limit a person can earn for this is $1 per month, that’s $12 per year for very minimal effort. I mean, I’m walking those steps anyway…
5. Used the step count balance rewards I’d earned in November and December to buy a jug of laundry soap – final cost was free except for sales tax.


A. Marie January 14, 2019 at 11:41 am

FFT, A. Marie Meets Marie Kondo Edition:

(1) I mentioned in the previous FFT that I’ve done a “modified KonMari” cleanout of my wardrobe. I’ve since extended this to the kitchen, and plan to tackle the attic and/or basement over MLK weekend (when another big snow dump is predicted here and I’ll need a major project). I say “modified” because I don’t quite take things to what I consider Kondo’s OCD extremes, but I do find the “Does it spark joy?” principle a useful guide. (Note: I have read the first book but not the second.)

(2) I have also not watched the Kondo Netflix series, but according to a recent story on the CNN website, it’s brought on a tidal wave of donations to thrift stores–and I’m certainly having a stellar post-holiday thrifting/resale shopping season. The post-holiday donations around here usually taper off in late January, but things may be different this year. FYI for all you other thrift shop mavens. (In particular, my three Vera Bradley-loving BFFs are going to have very, very happy birthdays!)

(3) Illustrating my dual nature as the product of a mixed marriage (my mother never threw anything out and my father was a sort of Southern version of Felix Unger in The Odd Couple), I took two bags of clothes/shoes/purses to my favorite resale shop–and immediately turned around and invested some of the $50 store credit in two pairs of jeans. (One pair was NWT Talbots, retail price $99. Looks as if Katy and I can go head to head–or at least bottom to bottom–in the “score on jeans” department.)

(4) To move on to another topic, our darling widowed next-door neighbor is 80 years old today. We are having her over for a dinner of ham (from our 1/2 pig), sweet potatoes (bought at a good price during the holidays), salad, and bread machine bread. Mint chocolate ice cream for dessert will be the only extravagance.

(5) And, naturally, after the ham will come the split pea (or should I say “spilt pee”?) soup!


Dusty January 14, 2019 at 3:00 pm

I love ur funny….i am so envious that u can find vera bradley anything at thrift store..
I bought my latest at outlet….75 marked down to 23….i was happy with that but would rather get at thrift store of course…..


Liz B. January 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm

My local thrift shops very occasionally have Vera Bradley bags, but the prices are typically in the $25 or so dollar range. So, Dusty, your outlet deal was truly a great deal!


Susie's Daughter January 14, 2019 at 5:39 pm

A, Marie – Did you offer the quote last spring about eternity being two people and a ham??? It has made me laugh for months…


Mand01 January 14, 2019 at 5:52 pm

And I just bought another ham! They had reduced ham for another $10 off. Eternity here we come!


A. Marie January 15, 2019 at 5:15 am

Google credits that quote to either Irma Rombauer (of The Joy of Cooking) or Dorothy Parker; even Google can’t decide. And I forget whether Katy or I said it last spring. But it’s a good one, isn’t it?

DH and I are quite happy to cope with a smaller ham. But I confess that I sold the larger one from this year’s 1/2 pig (at our cost) to a family down the street with five kids. There are limits!


Jill A January 15, 2019 at 3:52 am

Still looking forward to my “spilt pee” soup. Can’t wait. I need to pick up the peas next time I’m at Meijer.


K D January 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm

1. A close friend hosted me , and a few other friends, for lunch. She made a big pot of soup and everyone brought something to share. Much cheaper and probably more nutritious than eating out. Also, we were able to linger, and continue talking, after lunch.

2. I caught a cold. While not sick-in-bed sick I wanted to keep my germs at home and rest. I skipped my planned Pilates class and lunch (out) with friends.

3. I was still kind of sick on Saturday so we didn’t go anywhere expect for on a walk. Also, our daughter and her significant other came over to visit for much of the afternoon.

4. Sunday brought snow. It was enough to make our part of the world quiet. We did go out to shovel and I took a small walk around the neighborhood.

5. My Monday volunteer gig was cancelled, due to the snow. I was able to attend a yoga class that usually doesn’t fit my schedule (included with my monthly membership). I am getting stuff done around the house.


Mand01 January 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

The last time a party tried to block supply in Australia the Government was fired and a general election was triggered. This was in 1975 and it was a massive political scandal. It has not happened since – even now when we have a minority Government, supply is guaranteed.
I have been following the news and hope that your situation is resolved. I feel so sorry for your federal workers and all the people on food stamps.
1. Dinner at my parents
2. Price of petrol has dropped significantly, we are filling up while it’s cheap
3. We are picking beans, rhubarb and tomatoes from the garden
4. My husband worked a week of overtime- big paycheck this week. Straight to savings.
5. We have been saving hard to renovate our bathroom and go on holidays in April. On track so far.


Christine January 14, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Mand, for your empathy for the federal workers over here. The news is tough to watch these days.


Edie January 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Hello All!

1) Did a clean out of my storage closet and discovered all these work out dvds, resistance bands and even roller balls that I have not used in, well, since moving to my house! So no New Years memberships to any gyms! Plus the library have FREE dvds for machine based Pilates workouts!

2) Bought end of year body care stuff for the entire year: yes, it was an indulgence with higher end marketed goods, BUT it’s stuff that I like and with discounts it turns out to be a affordable indulgence for the next year!

3) Have been bringing lunch; the key I really think is to batch and do portioning on my Sundays- and to stick with it.

4) My housemate is sick, so I made her a big batch of chicken stock using cheap organic chicken backs and breast frames, turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion. I made about a gallon- and it cost about $3, including the energy for cooking. What she did not drink I turned into winter veggie soup.

5) and of course, using mass transit to get to work!


Rachel January 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

1. The QFC supermarket near my house is closing soon and everything is 30-40% off, so I stocked up on dry goods which will last us forever.

2. My boss recommended a book and I got it from the library.

3. My daughter has a bunch of loose beads that needed a home, so I made the request for a bead organizer on Buy Nothing and got exactly what I needed!

4. Instead of skiing this weekend, my boyfriend and I went on a hike in Forest Park. Free and lovely.

5. I scored the most awesome pair of Sauconys at Goodwill this weekend for just $6.99. Huge frugal win.


Jennifer January 14, 2019 at 2:44 pm

1) I emailed 2 companies with small complaints and received replacement coupons in the mail. Also, received a coupon for a free can of dog food, though I don’t remember signing up.

2) Picked through our salad container to get enough lettuce for my lunch today, before having to scrap the rest. All 5 of us packed our lunch today.

3) My volunteered at a food bank last week and came home with 2 loaves of bread and a 16 pound organic turkey that had a sticker price of $82!!! It wouldn’t fit in the food bank’s freezer and none of the customer’s wanted it.

4) We are traveling soon for a gymnastics meet. I will be packing loads of snacks and a quick lunch for the car ride home (a Hickory Farms kit from Christmas). We will pack breakfasts since our hotel doesn’t offer a free one. The one day we will be there my plan is to go for pizza for lunch, then have leftovers for dinner. I hope my careful planning will mean just 1 meal out paid for.

5) Canceled my Subscribe & Save Order for January and am just making due with what I have at home. Savings of around $80 this month.


Ava January 14, 2019 at 4:22 pm

I haven’t commented for a while so I may have some extras.
1. Found the best Christmas present for my husband at an estate sale. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was. For $3.00 I was able to add to his collection of Aborigine paintings. For another $2.00 at Goodwill, I found a frame. It looks great hanging with the pictures he already has.
2. We had guests for several days before and after New Years. We did not have to feed them for most meals, but we did buy bbq and saved money by making sides and dessert to feed 10 for one meal and then fed 7 the next day with the leftovers.
3. We always reuse gift bags, but some must have gone home with people last year. We restocked at Dollar Tree’s half off sale.
4. Made broth from a rotisserie chicken carcass.
5. Asked for and received practical, needed gifts for Christmas. I now have new cleaning cloths, vanilla and garden clippers.
6. In the frugal for others category:
a. Kept son’s family’s dogs while they were vacationing to save them boarding fees.
b. Ordered a pair of pants that did not meet my idea of extra large sizing. I was able to give them to my daughter rather than return them.
c. Signed up to take food to a family who is having multiple medical issues right now. Shopped for the ingredients at Aldi.


Lindsey January 14, 2019 at 5:11 pm

This is the time of year when I swear that I am going to move this summer, then spring comes and I get amnesia. Hovered between 35 and 44 below zero at our house for four days this week. We have a very well insulated house and I still felt cold, so did a lot of baking. Don’t have to worry about freezer space as in the winter we stick any excess freezer foods outside from about November until the end of February or mid-March. Made four loaves of challah, two of ciabatta, two dozen chocolate chip cookies, 143 pumpkin dog treats, and pizza for two nights of dinner; all used ingredients I already had. We also had chicken soup made from two carcasses I had frozen, and ate that for lunch each day. We managed to arrange things so we did not have to leave the house, so ate soup for lunch each day. (It is dangerous to drive at 30 and 40 below because the moisture in the air crystalizes and all exhaust just hangs there, forming ice fog that makes it hard to see 10 feet in front of your car or to notice stop signs if you are in an unfamiliar area. Never mind the danger if your car breaks down, which is less than before cell phones, but still unpleasant. Better to sit home and read and do puzzles and pet the dogs. So, it was a very frugal week. I did do an online donation to the foodbank; Alaska proportionately has the highest number of federal employees and our food bank is already having trouble keeping stocked. I keep in mind that I elected and can afford to stay home this past week, but many others are not so fortunate.


Mand01 January 14, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Is that true that you put things outside instead of in the freezer or is that a joke? I can’t imagine that level of cold.


Susie's Daughter January 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm

In our household, we refer to it as the “walk in cooler”. The worst is when I put something on our deck that was warm enough to melt the snow a little bit and then it freezes solid to the wood. I have a small bowl out there I expect I won’t be about to retrieve until March…

Lindsey, I appreciated the insight about federal workers in Alaska. I am thinking so often about federally employed friends in DC and about giving to the food bank at our old church there. What a disgraceful mess we are in…


Christine January 14, 2019 at 6:24 pm

While not nearly as cold as Alaska, my family has always lived in New England. Your post brought back some really sweet memories of my grandmother. In the winter she would use her enclosed back porch as a second refrigerator. No electricity used and it worked great.


Avery January 14, 2019 at 5:13 pm

1. I exchanged some things I was gifted that I knew I wasn’t going to use for a Target merchandise gift card. With this, I bought oatmeal, toothpaste, and a package of Larabars that I am addicted to.
2. I have applied to 10 scholarships in the past couple days. I’m trying to get that financial aid to go abroad!
3. My parents have a gym membership that goes unused, and the gym is allowing me to use the membership for the month that I’m home to use the rowing machine.
4. I batch cooked a few of my favorite recipes. Two of the recipes called for celery and carrots so I almost perfectly ran out of those vegetables and I will munch on the carrot and celery sticks in between meals. This saved me a couple times from going out to eat for the sheer purpose of getting food. I do allow myself to go out to eat if I am with friends because I value those social interactions, which usually end up in hours of talking.
5. I bought some fabric to fix a strap on my Chacos.


Christine January 14, 2019 at 5:50 pm

1. I sold two items on FB Marketplace today: a very LARGE suitcase and a fancy bushel basket made into a toy box. These were languishing in a spare bedroom closet so I was happy to make some money while opening up closet space.
2. The deep freeze has definitely settled into NE so DH and I are handling it by wearing thermals under our clothes and sweatshirts on top of our clothes and hunkering down under blankets on the couch all while keeping the heat set between 60 and 65 degrees.
3. My optometrist bumped me up a notch regarding reading glasses. I stopped in at an Ocean State Job Lot to pick up a few pairs at $2.97 ea. They’re a step up from Dollar Store readers but not as expensive as what I would pay at the drugstore. When I was checking out, the cashier handed me a G/C for $8.91, the price of the glasses, to be used at a future date. Turns out, they were a “Crazy Deal”, or free, besides the tax.
4. Reading library books for entertainment. A few good ones I’ve read recently are: Black Klansman, In Pieces(Sally Field), Hand to Mouth and Heartland. I have The Happiness Project on order at the library.
5. Eating down the freezer, including the Christmas Eve ham leftovers.


Susie's Daughter January 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm

1) DS’s school had a writer’s workshop program tonight with a free spaghetti supper beforehand. Tasty! Tasted even better because I didn’t have to cook it!!

2) We are traveling to see family in the Pacific NW over DS’s school break later this year. By driving an extra hour and flying from a regional hub, we saved an astronomical amount of money per ticket, are flying direct and will have a chance to stay over in the ‘big city’ the night before at a very reasonable cost.

3) Canvasing among friends to get the needed signatures for our library’s funding request for this year. Is there any frugal institution I love more than the library?

4) Gratefully received some hand me downs from our friends for DS, including a pair of much needed jeans.

5) Putting together a pile of books to sell for credit at our used bookstore, washing plastic bags to use again, bringing my own mug places and cross country skiing for exercise. Must exercise –…


Christine January 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Your #2. We traveled to the Midwest this past summer using the same method of travel. Like you, we saved a ton of money by driving a bit further to the airport and were able to get direct flights. We also explored the city we landed in (Minneapolis)for a couple of days before we flew home.


Bee January 15, 2019 at 6:37 am

We often do this too. It also saves the hassle of making a connecting flight. Cheaper and flying direct … Yes please!


Dee January 14, 2019 at 9:32 pm

Sewed a hem that was coming out.
Used a quart of chicken bone broth from the freezer and rice from the fridge to make soup for my husband. He woke up with a queasy stomach and needed something light to eat.
Used bananas from the freezer to make muffins.
Sold a pair of new shoes on eBay that I bought on clearance for my daughter that did not fit.
Cleaned our house, did our laundry, cooked our meals.


tracy January 15, 2019 at 4:55 am

1. Had to attend a work event Friday night but it was at a lovely downtown restaurant — yummy free dinner! Also had work event with same group Saturday morning — Free breakfast! And free lunch at work yesterday as I was participating in an interview panel that went over the lunch hour. Yay for free food!
2. Low spend January is going well for me — no shopping for entertainment, no unnecessary purchases. Keeping grocery costs low, reading books for fun (3 so far in January!), spent no money on entertainment this past weekend — went on a long walk, went to yoga at athletic club I already belong to (so no extra cost), went to 12 step meeting ($2 donation). Lots of good self care, little to no money spent.
3. Bought a cute LBD (little black dress) at Banana Republic right after Christmas for $22. It will look better just a scooch shorter. I am not handy or crafty, but am going to hem it myself to avoid paying for alterations(dress won’t be frugal of I pay another $15 or $20 to have it hemmed). We’ll see how it comes out…
4. My mom and I usually take a trip together in the fall. We had talked about a few destinations that would have had expensive travel costs (such as Croatia). I have to attend a meeting in Atlanta for work in late September, so we are going to do a driving trip in the SE instead. We lived in S. Carolina for a few years when I was very young and haven’t been back so we can visit that area plus Savannah and Charleston, and we will visit my cousins in the Raleigh/Durham area. Airfare for me will be paid by work, so a much more frugal choice and these are places/people I’ve long wanted to visit.
5. Used my medical FSA to pay for the out of pocket expenses I had for my surgery in November. Pretax dollars and no hit to the general budget. Plus extremely grateful for good medical insurance through my employer.


Bee January 15, 2019 at 6:34 am

Just a suggestion….Approximately two hours north of Atlanta are several beautiful mountain town/resorts. My favorite is the Highlands/Cashiers area famous for its waterfalls. From there, you can easily head east through Sapphire Valley, Brevard, and Asheville (The Biltmore House) then drop down to Raliegh/Durham.


tracy January 15, 2019 at 7:42 am

Thank you Bee that’s wonderful to know! Will definitely check it out.


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 15, 2019 at 5:05 am

Oooh, I love Frankenboxes! I’m no good at folding them myself, but hubby is great at it!

This week:

1. Hubs fermented a huge crock of vegetables. He’s using a gigantic crock gifted to him by his parents.

2. Tonight I’m finalizing a donation run to Goodwill. I’ve been meaning to clear out our “to donate” pile for ages.

3. I changed the settings on my gym membership so I only pay $10/mo. There’s less flexibility and features, but I didn’t use them, anyway.

4. I took on more freelance work than usual this month. That let me invest back into the business with some much-needed equipment. Woohoo!

5. I managed to DIY some repairs to our Roomba yesterday.


Debi January 15, 2019 at 5:43 am

1) Brought my lunch to work with leftovers from the house.
2) Free exercise — walk the dog before and after work each day.
3) Stayed home for the weekend even though mom’s prescription was ready for pick-up. Waited until Monday and ran on my lunch hour to pick that up and also had an ebay sale so mailed that out (both places are within 2 blocks).
4) Posted more items on ebay, so hopefully I can get more sales from decluttering and items given to me s well.
5) Reading books that were given to me as birthday and Christmas gifts, so no spending on books. I normally don’t as I use the library faithfully.


Bee January 15, 2019 at 6:21 am

My FFT are rather boring … Perhaps even a little repetitive … It’s the little things
1) Sunday morning was beautiful, so DH and I once again used our annual state park pass to enjoy the sunshine. We walked on the beach and soaked up much needed vitamin D. I have been walking and heading to the gym as much as possible trying to get rid of the 3lbs I put on over the holidays. Almost there!
2) I have planned our meals around things in the pantry and freezer. I also have been substituting things that I have on hand in many recipes to use them up. For example, I used two kohlrabi that came in my farm share in slaw rather than using cabbage. I made falafel with package of mix that my son left at the house when he was visiting. I turned leftover roasted potatoes into breakfast hash browns and wilting spinach into smoothies. Of course, since I didn’t want to be left out, I used a bit of leftover Christmas ham in 15 bean soup. Groceries this week came to only $33.
3) Although I have FOMO, I managed to drive by the thrift store yesterday without going in. I don’t need anything, and I have plenty of items to sell. I promised myself a visit when I finish cleaning out my closet and listing the items on hand for sale.
4) I had my annual eye exam, and my doctor gave me a rebate form for my contact lens purchase –$210! This cuts the price of an annual supply in 1/2. Woot! Woot!
5) I had my annual physical yesterday. Rather than doing my blood work the first week of January, I did it on 12/28/2018. Since I had met my 2018 deductible, my out-of-pocket cost is just over $13 instead of $130. Definitely motivation for not putting it off.
I am also doing all the usual things reading library books, brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily water in my reusable containers, bringing my own towels to the gym to avoid towel fees, wearing thrifted clothes, batching errands,and streaming television content.


Gina in KY January 15, 2019 at 10:39 am

Frugal is my middle name…

1. Still on No Spend (all year) and Eat from the Pantry (until I need to replenish the stock). I am doing really well. I did falter and scraped up some dollars to buy some Satsumas while they are in season (I guess I can put them under medical needs for the Vit C).
2. To keep from feeling deprived, I have been doing free or cheap things like Zumba at the neighborhood health center ($1/class or $7/month), Sunday and First Friday museum visits (free) and dreaming about my spring projects.
3. Turned heat down to 55. Keeping heat on 55. I am grateful we have had a mild winter (it’s cold this week and going to be cold next week, but for the most part I can’t complain).
4. Staying home and not shopping is keeping my vehicle gas bill low. I am also hand washing clothing instead of laundry matting it for the moment.
5. I was gifted 5 pints of raspberries nearing their end and a bag each of potatoes and onions by a kind soul.

THANK YOU for all the supportive comments about being a Fed. You all are the best! <3


ouvickie January 15, 2019 at 11:19 am

1) I’m wearing my pair of brown Winter ankle boots I bought last year at GW. I think I paid $4 for them and they are sturdy leather with a good waffle type sole.
2) Yesterday was my birthday, but we’re stretched thin this month since paydays are 6 weeks apart – for me – due to a long month and Winter Break in between, so I went home treated myself to a beer and leftovers, then watched the movie “Little Italy” on my Roku with my Amazon Prime account.
3) I bought some frozen entrees for lunch this week, but my bestie treated me to a birthday lunch, yesterday, at a good Mexican restaurant in town.
4) I’m going to a Women’s Conference in Tulsa, on the 25th of this month, with my Lady friends at church. Since I get a free night on my Marriott rewards card every year, I chose to use that at the Conference Hotel, since it’s part of their chain. The Church paid our registration fees, so everything is free except tax on the room and a few meals.
5) I’ve been de-cluttering stuff from the house and re-homing it or donating. Thankfully it’s all still in good shape, so I feel good donating it to people I know or giving it to GW or the local shelter. I cleaned up quite a bit of stuff from the kitchen in the past two months. I thought I’d gotten rid of a lot the last time I culled through the cupboards, but apparently not. I took a stack of plastic, stackable re-usable cups to the church, along with an extra measuring cup I didn’t need. Gave a bag of toddler house shoes and rain boots to a young family with kids and donated a tall corner shelf I no longer used and a bag of perfectly good Vendor swag t-shirts from work to the Shelter for their clients. Every time I take off a load of stuff I feel a little lighter!


Bee January 16, 2019 at 3:35 am

Happy birthday, Vickie! Sending you wishes for a happy and blessed year ahead.


ouvickie January 15, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Wow, Gina – I’m impressed, you are doing awesome!!
I have my heat on 67 and that’s about as low as I can go – if my limbs and hands get stiff they hurt. It has helped keeping it in the 60s though. We seem to be able to go at least two weeks longer before I have to get the propane tank refilled.
I find cheap things to do, also. I go to the Library and “shop” with my card. I attend free seminars and keep busy with things at church. If I stay away from the stores, unless we need food or animal feed, I do pretty good.


Gina in KY January 17, 2019 at 5:42 am

I think I go the season in some pain as well! I do supplement with low-energy space heaters. I live in a house built in 1888 and it’s a bit of an energy drain. Someday I hope I can correct that problem. It sounds like you are doing awesome as well. 🙂


Christine January 17, 2019 at 8:46 am

I know what you mean about “shopping” with your library card. Whenever I walk into the library I feel like I’m walking into a bookstore where everything is free! No cost and no accumulated clutter in my house.


Melissa January 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm

1. Really wanted to order take out tonight after a long day at work. Came home & made chicken stirfry casserole instead. Kept up our streak of eating at home.
2. Cut open my empty lotion & got 4 more days out of it.
3. Planned all meals from freezer & pantry for the next week.
4. Received a lovely gift of biscuit mix & jam from the parents of my daughter’s friend. Looking forward to breakfast this weekend.
5. Most importantly, I realized that I do entirely too much casual spending: picking up things at the dollar store, a lipstick, a candle, etc. I could always justify it because it was under $5.00. Those fivers add up! Staying out of the stores & being mindful is a definite money saver.


Val Y January 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

About your number 5–so true, Melissa! Dollar Tree is my nemesis. I can almost never get out of there without spending at least $5. I’m trying to be more “mindful” of my wasteful/unnecessary/impulse spending this year.


Mand01 January 15, 2019 at 7:40 pm

I have stopped doing this – mine was thrift shopping. It was only a couple of dollars! Well that adds up. Then it was buying coffee. I’ve mostly given that up too – but it took a concerted effort to break the habit.


Melissa January 16, 2019 at 4:09 am

Yes! Staying out of thrift stores is huge for me. I do not purchase to resell so I’m committed to only going in when we NEED something. Not to browse & randomly shop.


Melissa January 16, 2019 at 4:10 am

My plan is to take in the exact amount in cash that I need for the items I’m going to purchase. This way I cannot get anything extra.


Monica January 16, 2019 at 10:04 am

1) A note on the Holiday gift bags. I had been using the same stash of gift bags for at LEAST a decade. We’d put them under the tree, and then re-use again next year, etc, etc. To the point that I was SO SICK OF THE SIGHT OF THEM! This year I finally, finally used up the last one from that ever-loving huge bag of gift bags! Now, I just have about 10 (newer, from gifts this year) in a much smaller container. Next year we will convert to recycle-able paper gift wrap (which we bought at 90% off after the Holidays)!
2) Breakfasts and lunches brought from home to work
3) My daughter and I have been ‘shopping our closets’ this past month to create new outfits from what we already have
4) Daughter has grown at least 3 inches since last summer, so I had to buy her some new jeans recently — new meaning at the childrens’ consignment store for a fraction of their in-store full retail price. And they fit!
5) Used discount movie tickets from Costco to see Mary Poppins Returns. We rarely go out to the movie so this was a treat. I insisted we purchase NO SNACKS from the theatre, but used some leftover Halloween candy instead. (Yes, it will be in the house until Easter)!


Michele January 16, 2019 at 11:41 am

1. Cooking dinner at home in big batches and then bringing leftovers for lunch.
2. Using Aldi’s except for really good price loss leaders at Publix.
3. Sticking to my Penny Savings Challenge.
4. Making own laundry detergent and cutting Bounce in half.
5. Mashed a whole bunch of slivers of soap together and using for shower. I smell like Dove/Lever/Irish Spring!


Louise January 16, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Don’t worry about not giving to the TSA people. Last week I called our small local international airport & offered to buy the federal workers pizza for lunch. I was told that they aren’t allowed to accept gifts!


Barb January 16, 2019 at 5:02 pm

The gift thing is more complicated than you can imagine, just like on the shows you see. Having said that You (generic you, not you specifically) could offer a pop up near to Airport and offer up Pizzas for those in need, and I dont think that Celebretiy chef who is opening a pop up grocery in DC is breaking the rules. As a former Fed, even I cannot figure it out.


Morgan January 16, 2019 at 6:38 pm

And frugaling we will go!

1. Keeping an eye out for extra work opportunities for either myself or husband, We’ve both picked up extra work… and all extra dollars are funneled towards positive actions like paying down debt or increasing savings. 1500 earned even if it did mean working the last few weekends.
2. Wiped clean an older laptop we had around the house and sold it to a young student who needed something entry level at a good price. 150 back to me!
3. Learning to use the mobile deposit at my bank regularly. Its faster and easier, saving time, money and mileage. Maybe 10 per month in savings long term.
4. Rearranged payment schedules on my bills so that I pay off debt differently, creating a 165 savings over the next 3 months.
5. Finished my 2018 taxes last week, which allows me to tweak retirement contributions to their best advantage before anything is set in stone. Priceless. 😉


Tonya January 17, 2019 at 10:32 am

1) Cut my husband’s hair at home today.
2) Dry cleaned my son’s choir suit with a Dryel kit in our dryer at home.
3) Worked out at home again yesterday, as we cancelled our gym membership last fall. It’s actually easier to work out since I don’t have to go anywhere to do so.
4) Made a batch of bean and turkey soup, used the broth from the carcass as a base for soaking the beans. It was delicious and fed us the last three nights in a row.
5) I have marked down chicken thighs in the Crock-Pot for tonight’s dinner. Even a frugal person can only eat beans so many nights consecutively.


Isa January 17, 2019 at 12:52 pm

* Spent zero dollars on entertainment or eating out since the beginning of the month
* Daughter decided she’s not eating meat anymore. As a result – since I’m not one to cook two different meals every night – we all have been eating much less meat lately, which makes meals cheaper
* Using PC Points towards free groceries
* Doing online surveys to get rebates on gasoline for the car
* Got 2 new looking bathing suit from the thrift store (washed them really thoroughly, twice!) for 9$! One of them is a Speedo, yay!


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