Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 17, 2019 · 89 comments

  1. I’m in New York for a couple of weeks to visit with my sister. Amazingly I was able to score a round trip ticket for just $186 as I had a $50 voucher leftover from helping with a passenger’s on a previous flight. I flew into Newark and then took New Jersey Railroad into Penn Station for a mere $13, which was extremely straightforward. From there I met up with my sister, and together took the subway to her apartment in The Bronx. Navigating an unfamiliar public transportation system can seem intimidating, but is usually easier than you think. New York City’s transit system has great signage to direct even the most befuddled tourist.

    I’m starting to arrange lunch and coffee dates with NYC based friends, which will be fun. I have writing projects to attend to, (as well as supporting my sister) but that doesn’t mean I can’t sneak in some mild fun and shenanigans.

    Want information on visiting New York City on a budget? Click HERE to read how I’m enjoy the city without breaking the bank.

  2. One thing I’m doing while in New York is helping my sister winnow down her belongings. However, unlike Portland, with its multiple easily accessible Goodwill donation stops, (that take everything from furniture to toys, books to electronics) things are not so easy here. We filled up the back of her station wagon and drove north of the city to her trusty New Rochelle Goodwill only to learn that they no longer accept books, which was easily 3/4 of her donations! (Due to living in The Bronx, it’s often easier to go north of city rather than into mayhem of New York City.) No worries though, as we knew that the Mamaroneck library features a used book store. Until we learned that they only accept a single box of books per day. Even the Little Free Library was so crammed with books as to be a no go.

    This story does not have a nice tidy end, as the back of my sister’s car continues to be filled with books. I guess we’ll just head back to the Mamaroneck library tomorrow. And the next day. And probably the day after that as well.

    Whattaya think? After effects of the current KonMari fever sweeping the nation?

  3. I met up for lunch with my friend Greta today, but instead of heading out to a restaurant, we dined at the Rockefeller University cafeteria where she works. Not only was the price reasonable, but there was no tip to include, which saved us both a couple of bucks.

    After all, what am I a Rockefeller? <—- I am unable to resist a bad good pun!

    New York is brisk and windy, and it’s a challenge to stay warm while out and about. However, downloading the Pret A Manger app onto my phone rewarded me with a free coffee drink of my choice. Warm in my hands, warm in my belly. Plus it’s free? The cold weather trifecta!

  4. I found one nickel and two pennies while running errands with my sister this evening, we stopped into Goodwill and I didn’t buy anything, I sold a vintage Hamm’s Beer knit scarf on eBay, my sister gave me a free pass to The American Museum of Natural History and then I found a dime on the ground.

  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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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

Joann January 17, 2019 at 2:37 pm

You need to find a very large box – and fill it up and drop it off. : )


Mary in VA January 17, 2019 at 2:54 pm

You’re probably right about the increase in book donations, Katy. WTOP, a local news website, has this headline today: “Local donations soar thanks to Netflix star Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’ tips.” What a great thing for all the charities!


Mand01 January 17, 2019 at 3:16 pm

1. My husband worked a lot of OT. I banked all of the additional pay in an account that we never touch. I’ve boosted my savings a lot over the past month to make up for some spending on renovations last year. We are almost back where we started – this year we have more planned renovations so I’m being very diligent.
2. I bought a discounted ham.
3. My youngest konmaried their wardrobe. This is a minor miracle. There is five bags of clothes to donate in the hallway. I’m about ready to kiss Marie Kondo’s feet.
4. I traveled for work the past two days. The hotel had a free mini bar, coffee machine, movies and wifi. It was awesome and I will stay there again when work calls me to that part of the country.
5. Leftovers for lunch.


Bethany January 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Sold a few items on Varagesale. Used the money to purchase some sorely needed and perfectly my style art for the wall in our living room.

Down 40 lbs pre-op for my gastric bypass. Purchased a shirt second hand 6 months ago and it finally fits! Love it!

Scheduled some babysitting for my friend, so her and her husband can get out for a date. We swap and it saves us bundles. She might end up helping me around my surgery with the kids.

Listed a few things on Ebay.

Picked up some Santa Biblias for us and a friend for 75 cents at a thrift store. I had priced them out on Amazon, but didn’t feel good about that. Happy to get it for pennies on the dollar.


Liz B. January 18, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Bethany, congratulations and high five on your pre-bariatric surgery weight loss. You’re doing great!


Bethany January 19, 2019 at 7:37 pm

Thanks! Hoping to get my surgery date on Monday. I feel like I’ve been waiting on this forever. LOL!


Randi Macdonald January 20, 2019 at 8:57 am

I hope your surgery went well. I had VSG 5yrs ago, and kept off 100lbs. Remember, its a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.


Marie January 17, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Well, guess I’m behind. I don’t know who Marie Kondo is, or what she does?


Barbie January 17, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Marie Kondo wrote a best selling book a few years ago titled, The Magic of Tidying Up” that encouraged people to declutter and to keep only those things that “spark joy”. I read her book and loved it. Apparently she now has a show on Netflix and it has inspired a lot of people to donate their excess goods. I don’t get Netflix and haven’t seen it but I’ve heard it is worth watching.


Roberta January 17, 2019 at 8:22 pm

She’s a Japanese organizing expert, who wrote the Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. It has some interesting ideas regarding thanking your things for serving their purpose before giving them away, and only keeping things that spark joy. I like what she says about some things only having a purpose to communicate love (so you don’t have to keep the ugly vase your aunt gave you), but other things are a little hard to actually do in a family.


Heidi Louise January 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

She has a series on Netflix now, where she goes to people’s homes and works them through their stuff. (I haven’t watched it).
In her books, she describes not just how to get rid of stuff, but how to store what you have. As she is probably a size two and I am many multiples of that, her clothing storage doesn’t work for me.


A. Marie January 17, 2019 at 4:28 pm

FFT, Big Storm’s A-Comin’ Edition: We have a prediction for up to 2 feet of snow this weekend, so I’m making plans accordingly.

(1) First, to my regret, I’ve bailed out on Saturday’s January meeting of my Literary Society in the next city over, since I can think of few things less frugal than getting stuck on the NY State Thruway in a blizzard. (The chair of our chapter emailed me back that she’s just hoping the meeting can be held at all.) And I also won’t be spending the usual $$ for gas for the trip and lunch with a LitSoc friend. But I’d still rather be going to the meeting, so I consider this one a win/fail.

(2) DH started a new cognitive care program today, so after I got him settled in, I used the solo time to do a fast grocery run (which netted me 20 cents off per gallon in the grocery chain’s gas discount program). I then gassed up at the participating gas station across the street. Full stock of perishables and full tank of gas ahead of the storm = frugal.

(3) Am planning to do a little thrifting Friday p.m. and possibly Saturday a.m. (before the storm rolls in Sat. p.m.). Again, I will be confining purchases to things we truly need for ourselves and gifts for friends–but the continuing reports of a KonMari-fueled tsunami of donated goods continue to intrigue me.

(4) Am also planning to continue my modified KonMari cleanout at home after the snow sets in. (Remember that I’m the child of a mixed marriage between a packrat and a neatnik. I’ve inherited both tendencies.)

(5) We’re still working on the ham I mentioned in my last comment, but boredom with it hasn’t set in yet. So far, we’ve had a “spilt pee” soup and a scalloped potato/ham casserole. And I’ll have plenty of time for further experiments during the snowbound days.


Nancy from mass January 17, 2019 at 4:38 pm

It sounds like a weird recipe, but try the cheesy ham broccoli casserole from the genius kitchen website. It’s made with mayonnaise and croutons with the ham and pasta and broccoli. Very strange combination, but a very good casserole


A. Marie January 18, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for the recipe tip, NancyMA. I’ve got a head of cauliflower on hand that I need to use up, so I’ll probably substitute that for the broccoli, but otherwise I’m good to go with this.


Jessica January 17, 2019 at 5:00 pm

I’m headed into a conference for the weekend, at a hotel where the food can be VERY expensive and NOT VERY good. Two breakfasts, two lunches, and three dinners. I meal prepped most of the meals and brought them with me, and the two meals I’ve planned to eat out, I’m going with friends I only see once a year at this conference, and we’re planning to go somewhere near the hotel that’s very reasonable. Yay!


Stephanie January 17, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Katy–The Ferguson Library in Stamford, right up the road from Mamaroneck at exit 8 on 95, accepts any quantity of books for their (wonderful) bookstore, the proceeds of which fund library programs.


Kathy January 17, 2019 at 5:29 pm

1. Worked my fund my fun job today.
2. Binge watching Longmire on Netflix
3. Bought a NWT fluffy king sized blanket at assistance league thrift store for$17
4. Picked up free audio book from library
5. Received $25 visa gift card for an event I attended in July


Lindsey January 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm

Longmire is one of those shows that I wish I had never seen, so I could have the enjoyment of watching it in front of me!


Liz B. January 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Hubby and I watched Longmire before it moved to Netflix….we love it!


tracy January 19, 2019 at 5:48 am

LOVED Longmire!


Mary in VA January 20, 2019 at 6:10 am

I’m a Longmire fan, too. I was so disappointed when it left cable. But I’ve been buying Longmire DVDs from Amazon and the local used book store. I’ll have the whole series soon!


Deb in SD January 20, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Longmire is based on books by Craig Johnson. The books are even better than the show.


Christine January 21, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for the tip Deb! I loved the series so if the books are even better…can’t wait to read them.


Lisa Parrish January 17, 2019 at 6:28 pm

1. Made a menu for the week, and placed it on the fridge so that he and I could refer to it as needed.
2, Several bags of stuff are ready for the Salvation Army
3. Found a nickel in a parking lot. I rarely find money!
4. Sold some excess stuff on a local yard sale site.
5. I have my Birthday and Christmas list for 2019 in my agenda book to see which gifts are left to buy. I work on presents all year long as sales and great finds come along.
Thank you all for sharing your ideas. I actually copy some of them down to refer to at a later date. Love to you all!


Christine January 17, 2019 at 7:24 pm

1. Since found money is very scarce around here, I have decided to instead pick up deposit cans and bottles which are not scarce, when I walk.
2. The beer and chili party I have planned for Sunday may be a flop thanks to Winter Storm Harper barreling toward New England with a predicted arrival time of Saturday night and continuing into Sunday. Heavy snow and ice for our area is expected. I still plan on making the chili in case our neighbors brave the snowstorm and stagger over.
3. I had my yearly check up today, free with our insurance. I realize and am grateful for this good fortune. Ditto for good health.
4. I received my last check from the great consignment store in our town which closed at the end of December. I haven’t found a replacement yet. Most of them are all furniture or clothing that caters to the younger generation. I’ll keep looking.
5. DH scored a $68 airline ticket to Georgia. My mountain man is attempting the Appalachian Trail south to north this Spring and Summer.


Bee January 18, 2019 at 3:51 am

I wish your husband the best as he hikes the AT. It is a life-changing experience. My son completed the trail on October 15, 2017. He heads to California this spring to do the Pacific Crest Trail.


Christine January 18, 2019 at 9:29 am

Congratulations to your son on his accomplishment completing the AT and best wishes to him as he hikes the PCT. The book and movie “Wild” details Cheryl Strayed’s journey on the PCT. I enthusiastically recommend both.


Bee January 20, 2019 at 4:38 am

Thank you, Christine. I read “Wild” and loved it. It was a wonderful book. Long distance hiking is a challenge like no other and brings out one’s strength and determination.


Nancy from mass January 18, 2019 at 9:01 am

Please keep us informed on how your husband is doing on the AT! I absolutely love to read about peoples journey!


Christine January 18, 2019 at 9:32 am

I will be happy to report how he is doing on this blog. Writing about his progress will keep him closer to me too! Thanks for the interest Nancy!


Patricia Koernig January 20, 2019 at 3:18 am

Looking forward to your report!!! Safe travels to your husband!


Christine January 21, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the well wishes for DH! He appreciates it too.

A. Marie January 18, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Re: your #1: Welcome to Bottlepickers Anonymous. I’ve been picking for at least the last 30 years (I believe the NY State bottle bill went into effect in 1985 or thereabouts), and have made at least $200 per year this way ever since. And since Gov. Cuomo is obviously trying to curry favor with me by announcing an expanded bottle bill proposal for this year, I may yet be able to fund my Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure retirement. (Before anyone asks, “Lifestyles…” was another Amy Dacyczyn gem. She was amazing, wasn’t she?)

Re: your #2: Good luck on that chili party. Make the chili no matter what; you’ll need it.

And re: your #5, best of luck to your DH on the AT attempt. I used to fantasize about trying the AT myself, although that’s a long-gone fantasy now.


Mand01 January 18, 2019 at 3:59 pm

She really was amazing. I still love reading through her books at least once a year.


Christine January 19, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Thanks A.Marie, for your well wishes. We have the bottle bill here in Mass. too and I’ve heard rumors about an expansion. Like you, I hope it happens, especially if it includes plastic water bottles and little “nip” bottles. They edge every road and street and then some. I think I could make quite the small fortune just on those two items alone.
I made 2 different types of chili and a double batch of homemade beans this morning…just in case. If no one shows, I’ll freeze some in 2 person batches and DH and I will enjoy them over time.
DH is very excited about his upcoming trek on the AT. Thanks for the good thoughts.
Yay for Amy Dacyczyn!!!


Christine January 19, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Thanks A.Marie for your well wishes and for the welcome into Bottle Pickers Anonymous! I just tried twice to message you…first time I got booted off the website before I finished posting, second time I finished and hit submit only to see the post disappear. Oh well, maybe third time’s a charm.
I hope they expand the bottle bill here in Mass., too. Between water bottles and little “nip” bottles I could make a small fortune.
I made 2 kinds of chili and a double batch of homemade beans for tomorrow…just in case. If not, DH and I can eat them over time as I will freeze some in small quantities.
Thanks for the good thoughts for DH’s trek on the AT. And yay for Amy D.!!!


A. Marie January 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Thanks in return, Christine. And here’s the secret behind my long-winded comments: I write as much as I like, and then copy it to my computer’s notebook. Then I refresh the site and paste in what I’ve written. Great for gabby types like me! 🙂

Also, NY has had the 5 cents on water bottles for a few years now, although many folks in my ‘hood don’t seem to be aware of this. The expansion will cover fruit drinks, Gatorade, etc., if it goes through. Woot woot!


Alison Hicinbothem January 17, 2019 at 7:54 pm

1. Dh has been traveling this week so dinners for dd and I have been easy. I was eating from the fridge and had dd make me 2 grilled cheese sandwiches for 2 nights and she made chicken stir fry tonight. She used her Christmas gifted Panera gc to get her dinner two nights.
2. Dh was instructed to get as many free pens as he could at the trade show he was attending. He says he got me a scarf too.
3. Sent my sister the Christmas card that our aunt sent me. It has her family on it. Used an old, 2nd hand envelope to mail it in.
4. Got the electric bill and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be with lights on in the house so I didn’t trip and the Christmas tree. I was thinking $200 – what was I thinking? – and it was $116. The month prior was $81. Back to turning off lights and managing energy consumption.
5. Dh has to wear a dark suit to get his picture taken at work. We are brainstorming on how to do that without buying a brand new one. He’ll ask his buddy at work and I said check out Goodwill for at least the jacket.


Laur January 17, 2019 at 8:11 pm

1. I hosted a party at home for my son’s birthday. I budgeted $100 for food, decorations, cake and party bags and only spend $70. I made the cake myself with the help of a recipe search on Google. We have a few food leftovers.
2. I sold a costume on eBay that no longer fit my daughter. Postage was $5 cheaper than I had anticipated so I made $12.50.
3. I had an all day babysitting gig this week and have another lined up for next week.
4. I’ve been wearing my thrifted clothes. I scored a bag of clothes for $5 which included 2 dresses, 3 shirts and a pair of pants.
5. It’s been really hot here. I’ve been using a fan instead of the air conditioner when I can. I scored two meat trays reduced to half price. I’ve been drinking lots of filtered tap water and taking colder than usual showers.


Roberta January 17, 2019 at 8:36 pm

1. I sold two things on ebay! It’s been a long time, but I’m glad I posted new things. I only got $2 for a tea cup, but since I initially was going to just donate it, it’s better than nothing. Plus, I get to move clutter out!
2. I picked up at the food bank, and passed along leftovers to the pig farmer. I also got a huge ton of blueberries (I haven’t bought any since summer when they were in season!), a ton of individually packaged yogurt, organic tomatoes, and bagels. My family, my chickens and the pigs will all be grateful.
3. I made tortilla soup out of broken corn tortillas I toasted in the oven, leftover chard stems from my Imperfect Produce box (I’m not sure about the prices, but I love so much preventing food waste I’m going to keep this up for a while longer), and dried pinto beans. It was so good, I’m totally making this again!
4. The fridge stopped making cold, so I turned it off and defrosted the freezer. It worked! I need the fridge to keep working until my son moves out, because when I am no longer feeding a teenager, I’ll be able to buy a much smaller refrigerator for my husband and I. Only 3.5 years to go!
5. I dropped off at Goodwill today, and only bought a photo album. I didn’t see any great KonMari effect, but my Goodwill donation center (separate from the shop) is much pickier about what they’ll accept, and that might be the KonMari effect. I’d hate for more to go to the landfill because charity shops are being overwhelmed by too much stuff…

Not frugal: I may end up with a bonus dog. I met her running loose on a busy street. I took her home, but I told the owner that if they can’t take care of her, call me and I’ll find her a good home. Extra dogs are not frugal, but then neither is a bad conscience.


Bee January 18, 2019 at 4:07 am

Your third frugal thing made me smile. My refrigerator gave out last May. I replaced it with same make and model that I had previously. It’s huge! I do not know what I was thinking. It was NOT a smart purchase on my part. I forget that I am no longer feeding three teenagers. It is wonderful that you are a forward thinker.


janine January 19, 2019 at 7:37 am

Be careful what you wish for. I also downsized my refrigerator – and it was a mistake. I long for the return of the freezer space and the ease with which I used to locate needed items. Don’t go too far! My sister-in-law “did as I did” and holds similar sentiments.


Pattilou January 17, 2019 at 9:08 pm

1. Wrote to a company about my disappointment in their product. They sent me two replacements.
2. Spending my time off doing some major cleaning out of my house. Took bags to goodwill, donated some stuff to work and have a bag of clothes to take to the consignment store.
3. I listed a bunch of stuff on eBay and Craigslist. Hopefully some stuff sells. I want to get stuff out of the house. I’m not sure I priced things properly but we’ll see.
4. I found two dimes in the past two days.
5. Preparing for the storm by going to Aldi and doing a shop. I’ll do some cooking and baking tomorrow so I have some stuff prepped in case the power goes out. There is a concern about ice as well as snow.


Emmy Van Aken January 18, 2019 at 4:20 am

Maybe take a picture of the pile of books and put them on Craigslist for free?


Abbe January 18, 2019 at 4:30 am

I run all my book ISBNs through the “Sell Books” link at Powell’s Books to see if they are accepting them. They e-mail a shipping label and I end up with Powell’s credit.


Jennifer January 18, 2019 at 5:36 am

I have mixed feelings about the KonMari method. I wish I could have less stuff but every time I have a big purge from my home, I end up regretting some of it. Last time, I threw away a box of odds and ends craft supplies causing me to have to run out and buy more later. There is a fine line between hanging on to stuff for future needs and hoard like tendencies for me.


Danielle January 18, 2019 at 2:24 pm

I hear ya! As a result, I almost never take things to donate right after decluttering. Things just get further from me until I’m sure…. first they go in a bag, then the bag goes in the closet, then it goes in the shed, THEN it gets looked again and if I still haven’t needed it, maybe it can go. 😉

I do appreciate that her method helps me recognize things that make me feel bad every time I see them (clothes that magically shrunk in the closet or really shrunk or were just bad purchases.) Those can go. 😉


Katy January 18, 2019 at 6:11 am

I love the word “befuddled”!!
Traveling FFT:
1. Stayed at 2 Airbnbs instead of hotels. I estimate a savings of $20-40.
2. While we did eat out some, we also ate burritos I made and packed, and we stopped at an Aldi for some more food. I also avoided buying bottled water by refilling our bottles at a rest stop water fountain. I estimate a savings of $2-3 on water and $40 in eating prepped/grocery food instead of meals out.
3. We’ll be staying with my sister in law for several days saving us $200-$300 on lodging.
4. Because of our travels our kids are missing out on milkshake night at church, so we told them we’ll get some. Steak N Shake has happy hour, so if we hit that and all of us get shakes it’ll be about $8 cheaper than full price.
5. I have $8.17 credit at our consignment store, 169 swagbucks, and over $2 on Ibotta.


Cathy January 18, 2019 at 6:55 am

1. I have found a record-breaking $26.25 in bills and change so far this week!
2. We are borrowing my mom’s car after my son was in a fender-bender. Hooray for not having to rent a car while ours is getting repaired. An accident is definitely NOT frugal, but everyone is ok and a lesson was learned.
3. After a ridiculous battle with Airbnb, they are finally giving me the difference on an alternate rental. Like I said, it was ridiculous but totally worth it. I got hundred of dollars back from a huge mistake on their end.
4. Found some high-end jeans at a thrift store (on 1/2 off day!) and am reselling them now on Poshmark.
5. Eating out of the fridge, cabinet, freezer. Hooray for healthy food at home!


Jill A January 18, 2019 at 7:04 am

Nothing super exciting to report.

1. Working on my swagbucks and erewards. I’m almost halfway to my goal of buying $100 of giftcards for all five kids for next Christmas.
2. I found my hair color clearance at half off. I could only find one box but that saves me $6.
3. I stopped at Costco on my way to the dog park and filled my car up with gas. The price dropped again. I’m just going to keep my car full when I notice the gas prices are down. It seems to be jumping around a lot. I paid 1.79 a gallon.
4. I’ve picked up some seriously discounted stocking stuffers and filler gifts for next years Christmas. I’m determined to get the cost of Christmas gifts down.
5. Treated my mom to coffee out using a bogo coupon. Avoiding eating out as much as possible. Fed my daughter lunch at home when she came for a visit. We just hung out at home and enjoyed each others company.


LM January 18, 2019 at 7:34 am

1. I sold 2 items on ebay. We’re expecting a big snow storm this weekend, so I’m making plans to list a few more things and possibly start the KonMari method. I read her first book and went through all of my belongings about 3 years ago, but I’ve slowly accumulated way too much stuff and should do it again.

2. I decided to up my 403b retirement contributions from 15% of my check to 21.5%. I don’t think I could afford to max it out, though I wish I could, but this should add an extra $120ish biweekly.

3. A friend of mine from work was decluttering so she brought in a big bag for me. Her policy is that I have to take everything, but she is ok with me passing on or selling what I don’t want. I took out the things I wanted (some clothing and a few toys for my son). My mom is going to look through the adult clothing, and then I’ll donate the rest.

4. I signed up for a free baking event through work. We’ll learn to make corn tortillas. The selling point was that they’ll have a taco bar set up afterwards.

5. As long as we don’t lose power for the storm, I also have plans to cook and bake a bunch of stuff using items already on hand.


Debi January 18, 2019 at 8:18 am

1) Coworker had gotten a bunch of burritos, and gave me one as he was tired of them. Free lunch at work.
2) Eating food from freezer for dinner tonight. Chicken patties, have buns, lettuce and tomatoes as well.
3) Put more items on ebay. Sold one item earlier this week.
4) Was offered a job to go through a church’s accounting before it goes to their CPA and am being paid for that. Since it’s going to be frigid this weekend, I will stay in and do this task.
5) Had a plastic dishpan with rinse water for dishes, went to go empty it into the toilet so I would not have to worry about water level, and it slipped out of my hands. So I cleaned up the water and got a clean bathroom floor. Rugs and towels are hanging that were affected by it.


jessica January 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

I am roughly in your sister’s neck of the woods, and have thoughts on the book question:
1) Scarsdale municipal dump has a take-it-or-leave-it shed which is open to anyone not just town residents. 110 Secor Road, Scarsdale, NY
2) However, they now only take 10 books as well
3) a great place to get rid of unwanted books, though I found these did not move as quickly as I had hoped
4) BetterWorld Books has a book drop box outside of the 16 handles in New Rochelle. Last time I went there it was full, though, so I don’t know how regularly pickups happen from here.


Amanda January 18, 2019 at 9:13 am

1) We rented our house on airbnb this weekend as we always do. Minus the cleaning expense for my fantastic cleaning woman the rest will go straight to the savings account.

2) Our business has grown to the point that we need professional design help kitting it out, but not enough to make us willing to throw buckets of money at it. We have a friend doing it as a freelance project for us. She gave us an estimate of what each piece of the build out will cost based on what she would spend at her day job with her fancy/shmancy clients. We are excited for the personal challenge of seeing just how cheaply we can accomplish her beautiful vision with scrappiness and facebook marketplace.

3) We met the interior designer after hours last night at the office. Last time we met with her we got a babysitter, but it occurred to us that as long as we finish up in time to get them home to bed, parking them on the sofa in the office while we work with a pizza and their tablets is pretty much their idea of heaven. And a pizza is cheaper than a sitter.

4) I’ve been emailing with our home exchange partners about our summer exchange. We’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest and are so excited! We also take travel as a personal challenge to spend as little as possible. I’ll start shopping flights soon, and most meals will be prepared in the kitchen in our host’s home. Most of our cash will go to a rental car with a few sightseeing splurges.

5) Lunch is leftovers. Supper will be leftovers.


Nancy January 18, 2019 at 9:27 am

Call other libraries.There are a few closer than Mamaroneck: Mt. Bernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle. Would some of the books be suitable for the VA hospital in the Bronx? There’s also a Goodwill drop off ste on Mill Rd. In Eastchester.


Katy January 18, 2019 at 8:49 pm

We actually went back to Mamaroneck today and they took the last of the books, as I had my nephew with me.


ouvickie January 18, 2019 at 11:47 am

This week has been pretty frugal – thank goodness, because the month overall will not likely end up that way. I’ll take whatever wins I can get!
1) One of our coworkers resigned, so the Team had breakfast together yesterday at Syrup. I ordered the stuffed Frittata, which was good but nothing was cheap. However, I was surprised when they didn’t bring me a bill, seems another coworker bought my breakfast as a belated birthday gift. Yahoo for nice people!
2) I didn’t eat lunch yesterday, since I was stuffed from breakfast, so that saved a meal in the freezer. That leaves me entrees for next week. I have Monday (holiday) and Friday (PTO) off, so only 3 days of lunches at work.
3) I scored a cool long sleeve t-shirt, a bag of goodies w/a thank you note, and a $10 coupon for Pub W, when I donated blood at a Campus blood drive.
4) I picked up a few groceries last evening. There’s storm headed our way, so I figured I’d get what we need through the weekend and I won’t have to go anywhere.
5) Another Vendor left swag on the conference table at work last week, so I picked up another set of free earbuds and put them in my purse. That way I’ll have a set for my phone or computer, when I’m traveling or stuck in a waiting room.


LB January 18, 2019 at 12:16 pm

FFT: Snow edition!

1. Got our energy bill for Dec/Jan and it was surprisingly reasonable. BF always rolls his eyes at how low I keep the heat, but between the amount of blankets we have and the snuggly cats, we may make it through the winter unscathed.

2. Just in case though, I bagged the DRAFTIEST window I have ever seen. Popped the damn bag off twice because the breeze was so strong-but third time’s the charm, and you KNOW I won.

3. Made dinner out of the pantry last night: falafel from a mix on toast with kalamata olives, shallots, and roasted red peppers. Hardly gourmet, but was cheap and tasted like real food and not pb&j.

4. Friends coming into town this weekend in the middle of a Nor’easter–already told them to just plan on having everyone come to my place for dinner Sunday instead of attempting something out. Some nice heat from the oven will keep the kitchen toasty, plus I can serve a crowd chicken thighs for as much as going out would have been.

5. Went to Dick’s sporting goods for a badly needed new knee brace and a new sports bra. Found both for reasonable deals–under $30 each–and managed to avoid the siren song of the clearance shoe rack. It doesn’t matter how good the deal is if it still costs money! The mantra is working 😉


Cynthia Huntington January 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

What does it mean to bag a window?


Lauren, chaser of squirrels January 18, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Probably means taped a plastic bag over it – like a garbage or clear recycling bag – over the window or the ledge to block out the draft (like you would see someone do if their car side window was smashed, etc).


Jennifer January 18, 2019 at 5:21 pm

My mom used to tape plastic over all our single pane windows during the winter to help keep insulate a bit and keep heat from escaping. I think this is what she is referring to. It works really well! Some people use bubble wrap now to do this and I bet that works even better.


Lindsey January 18, 2019 at 8:42 pm

People in northern Alaska do this all the time. It really does make a difference, especially when it gets colder than about 20 below.


Mary in Maryland January 18, 2019 at 1:29 pm

1. The woodstove is clean, the wood chopped, and the cast iron pan upstairs in case we wind up cooking and heating with the woodstove.
2. I’m cooking meals from my list and the refrigerator. We have a small 2 drawer fridge, so things rarely get lost.
3. I used up the last of some weird pasta (percilli?) and the last of the 25# of navy beans making pasta Faggioli for company for dinner last Saturday. My friend loves it—I don’t—she was thrilled to take the left overs home.
4. Alcohol leaves me with a headache the next morning even if I only have half a beer. So I stopped accepting any just before Thanksgiving. I’ve lost 8 pounds without thinking about it. I don’t think I was drinking that many calories, but drinks do dissolve my sense of dietary discretion.
5. Frugal fail—I bought the hype and an inexpensive very local air fryer from Craigslist. I’m not impressed enough to store something this big, so I listed it back on Craigslist.
6. My Cuisinart takes up a lot of room and has been mostly replaced by the immersion blender and a tiny chopper. So I put the C in the basement in a box with a note about the date. If I don’t use it in a year, I’ll freecycle it.
7. There is to be a book exchange at the women’s retreat next weekend. They asked for a volunteer to bring the leftovers to the Library book sale. I volunteered. I’m apt to look through and read some of them first before donating.
8. Many books coming through reserve at the library.


Suzanne January 20, 2019 at 5:17 am

#5 is not a frugal fail. It was a frugal experiment that gave you useful information. I read somewhere that we should look at Craigslist as the ultimate free storage unit: you can take things in and out of the consumer stream without cluttering up your house.

Reply January 20, 2019 at 11:13 am

Depending on the age of your Cuisinart, it may be worth selling. Mine is 30 years old and a much better machine than the new ones. If mine died, I’d be looking for a used one. And I’d pay good money for it. Mine is a work horse!


Tracy January 18, 2019 at 3:43 pm

1. Been eating at home this week even when I didn’t feel like it. Cooked a pot of black beans, been making black beans and rice bowls with turkey taco meat bought on sale, made a stir fry last night, leftovers for lunch, been bringing yogurt for breakfast at work.
2. Reading library books and watching Netflix and Amazon Prime for cheap entertainment.
3. Found two quarters today.
4. Have a certain brand and flavor of dry dog food we usually buy. Have been buying the “small dog” version but realized the “regular” version is same price but has 5 pounds more per bag. Only difference is slightly larger kibble. Buying the regular from now on, dog still scarfs it up.
5. Doing well with my low-spend January, have bought no “things” except groceries. Going away for the weekend this weekend for DD’s volleyball tourney but will take some snacks and sandwiches to eat and hotel has free breakfast and evening happy hour snacks so hoepfully we won’t have to spend a bundle on food.


janine January 18, 2019 at 6:29 pm

1. Returned a couple of Xmas gifts and got a dozen much needed steak knives with the credit. Still have about $13 left.
2. Son locked himself out of car. DH and I drove 50 miles with spare key. Frugal for him not to call a locksmith.
3. Made a fair facsimile of a Bohemian deli soup with leftover sausage, sauerkraut and vegetables.
4. Got bargain ice cream in losing football team flavors – a gallon of a good brand for $2. Hope family will consume rather odd looking but delicious stuff.
5. Now is the time to buy calendars and date books – found a couple of calendars originally marked $10 for 50c each. Sports themes are good for the guys in our family.


Joanie January 18, 2019 at 11:39 pm

Once when I hurriedly closed and locked the car behind me, with the key still in the ignition, the police opened the car for me.


janine January 19, 2019 at 1:18 pm

I did not totally explain the circumstances of the car- lock-out. We did talk to security where my son works, and they were uncertain how long it would take to get the police to arrive; also some makes no longer easily yield to being opened up by law enforcement.


Bee January 19, 2019 at 5:08 am

Last year, our GW temporarily stopped accepting artwork and frames. Art is a week point of mine and one of my favorite things to thrift. I was happy when they discontinued that policy.
1) The doctor recommended that my husband begin using some expensive OTC eye drops. DH had the doctor write a prescription for these. I was then able to submit the prescription along with the receipt for reimbursement from my HSA.

2) I continue to clean out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry keeping my grocery bills relatively low. I made a pan of enchiladas using the Budget Bytes thrifty Weeknight Enchiladas Recipe. I had some beans left, so I think that I will make tortilla soup like Roberta did above. I used some homemade chicken broth to make an Asian inspired chicken noodle soup which used some leftover rice noodles, bok choy, and green onions. I also dragged a turkey that I brought at Thanksgiving out of the freezer to defrost and then cook.

3) Although eBay has been a little slow since Christmas, I have sold a few items. I spent a good part of yesterday listing items that I had on hand. I would like to reach the maximum of 50 free listings this month. Fortunately, one item sold immediately — a beautiful book that I bought at GW.

4) I did a closet clean out right before Christmas and sent a few of the better items to Thredup. I had never done this before. They accepted nearly everything I sent and most have sold already. It is not as profitable as selling yourself or selling through a local consignment shop if you have one. However, it is easy, and the $16 is welcome. Most of the things that I sold were purchased from the thrift shop and worn for a while. Now they have yet another life.

5) As always, I am drinking primarily filtered water and brewing my own coffee. I am wearing thrifted clothing while batching errands and cooking my meals at home. I am reading books from the library, watching streamed content, and enjoying the outdoors. The thrifty life is good!


Gina in KY January 19, 2019 at 7:20 am

Kindness of friends and strangers edition:

1. Still waiting on this Shutdown to end (please oh please end). Meanwhile, I was gifted strawberries and raspberries by some friends. A lot of both so I made and canned jam! I will re-gift jars back to them. I was also taken out to dinner by other friends. One night, we went for Chinese. My friend is Cuban and knows the Chinese born owners and their American-born children. We met a sweet, young guy with a beautiful accent at the restaurant that just opened up next door (I stopped to look at the menu). He showed me his favorites on the menu and talked about one in particular that his mom makes a lot. I made a mental note to come back and try the Somali dishes. Anyway, while eating the Chinese, I saw so much diversity in just who frequents the restaurants and all I can say is THIS IS the America I want to live in. Sorry for the opinion, but I feel like I have earned this voice up being a pawn in the system currently. 😉
1a A lot of restaurants and food pantries in my city are serving the affected
Feds. But, I am going to tell you all a secret…where you have to show a badge, we are not doing it because we are under so many ethics rules that this could cause a problem. There is a gift rule, but the gift has to be open to everyone and a bunch of other crap. Anyway, it is sad. I am not taking advantage of these offers (yet).
2. I have been purging and cleaning my house. I have a ton of things on a list to do today and none of those require spending.
3. I am going to a free event at the library at noon. It is a course on buying vacant homes. I have already done this (I’ve mentioned in the past how I bought an abandoned house for $9000), but I have my eyes on a near-by property (next to the vacant lot I just bought in December).
4. I made mango and black beans using items I had on hand. I serve it over jasmine rice (also a pantry staple) and I do not feel deprived.
5. I was able to pay all my bills without late charges.No Spend Challenge is saving the day. One somewhat frugal fail was changing an insurance payment that normally comes out whole in February. I switched to monthly until Shutdown ends. Well, the insurance company that has “Government employees” in their name, charged me a fee for changing it. I will be shopping around for new insurance company. I did my taxes early than usual this year.


Patricia Koernig January 20, 2019 at 3:27 am

I hope the shut down ends soon too, Gina! Courage and grace to you, during these difficult times.


A. Marie January 20, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Kudos to you for your grace, ingenuity, and courage while this ridiculous shutdown drags on, Gina. Let’s hope for you and all your fellow workers’ sakes that it ends soon.


Mary Beth Danielson January 19, 2019 at 2:46 pm

I just wrote up 8 frugal things at my website. I call them Mindful Chickens.. because catchy phrases are free? …

One of my frugal things is how to get FREE professional tax preparation.
Also; surprising info about what happens if an entity writes off part of your debt to them.
And how I went to a play in London for $15.
Making yogurt and then using the whey to make bread.
Also: for Wisconsinites who have books or daughters. The AAUW in Racine accepts book donations; they host BIG 2x/year books sales. Proceeds become scholarships for women. If you have a female relative in college or tech school in SE Wisconsin, tell her to apply (I think they are past this year’s deadline). I’m not even a member of this organization, I just admire their strategies and dedication.

Here’s my post on how to do NYC on $1 a day. (As long as you can do it 40 years ago.)


Jennifer January 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm

We traveled this weekend for gymnastics, so here is how I did.

1) Packed breakfasts for both days, as well as drinks and snacks.
2) Went out to lunch and had leftovers for our dinner. Packed lunch for the drive home.
3) The meet was sponsored by Always and Tampax (P & G). The three of us participated in a 15 minute chat about our periods. We each got a $15 Starbucks giftcard. We used one of these to give us the energy for the drive home.
4) The meet was giving out full size boxes of pads and tampons. We came home with 6.
5) We made it all the way home in a horrible snow storm. We booked it out of the meet ASAP and made it 3/4’s of the way home before the rain turned to snow and the roads turned awful very fast. Then went about 30 mph the rest of the way. But we made it and avoided another hotel night.

Frugal Fail – I booked a host hotel .3 miles from the meet venue figuring we could walk to avoid parking fees. It was unwalkable. The only road there was through a construction zone, in a terrible area with no street lights or sidewalks. We needed to make that walk both days before the sun came up. So…we drove and paid for parking both days.


Morgan January 20, 2019 at 1:04 am

Action word: Frugaling
• A long day resulted in Chinese take out for dinner… but the leftovers became dinner the next night as well saving on clean up for two nights on extremely busy days. Anyone who has eaten cold rice straight from the box will understand.
• Ordered, received and installed new oxygen sensors for our 20 year old minivan with 210,000 miles on it. It’s mpg was dropping and it was time. The sensors themselves were just 30 total and less than 15 minute to swap out. Keeping our fingers crossed that we’ve done it correctly.
• Extra work again, tutuoring a home schooled teenager. I earn every penny. 🙂
• Waited for the day after a downpour to recheck the roof after a repair. A small leak shows where the patch was faulty and has now been sealed. It pays to double check.
• Finally, I called in the mortgage payoff yesterday. Of course it’s on a Saturday on a holiday weekend so I can’t see the mortgage loan zero out online until Tuesday but it’s done! We own our own personal and growing disaster area, owing nothing!!


Patricia Koernig January 20, 2019 at 3:30 am

Congratulations, Morgan!!!!! Mortgage Free! Woot woot!!!!


Morgan January 20, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Thanks so much! We definitely made some lucky moves but I like to think that the hard work played a part too! Oddly, not that many people seem as excited about it as I am. Lol.


A. Marie January 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

My congratulations also on the mortgage payoff. And I love the line “We own our own personal and growing disaster area…!!” Yes, home ownership does feel like that sometimes. But at least it’s your OWN disaster area!


Morgan January 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

Exactly! I have friends with lovely remodeled spaces… that they borrow from the bank. Lol. I’m happy to have a little more certainty for the long haul instead.


Marybeth January 21, 2019 at 6:05 am

Congrats on paying off your mortgage!


Morgan January 22, 2019 at 5:52 am

Thanks so much! 😀 😀 😀


Sarah January 21, 2019 at 6:25 am

Congrats on your mortgage!!!!! That is AWESOME!


Morgan January 22, 2019 at 5:53 am

It FEELS awesome! Lol.


Dianne January 20, 2019 at 6:29 am

That is interesting as a lot of the charity shops here in the UK are now saying no more book at the moment. What does this show? That maybe we all buy way too many books? I love to buy the odd one but mainly I borrow from the library.


Jessica January 20, 2019 at 7:03 am

1) posted a pair of shoes on Facebook marketplace and it looks like they will sell on Tuesday
2) reposted a tv mount and looks like that will sell Tuesday as well
3) sold a dayplanner that I was gifted for Christmas and could not exchange in the store
4) went away for the long weekend and shopped around for the best deal I could find. Staying in a hotel room with a kitchenette and brought food for all meals but one (some confusion over what kitchenette had and so one meal I brought will not work.
5) have been much better about bringing lunch to work and drinking the free crappy coffee


Elizabeth January 21, 2019 at 4:04 am

1.Earned $24 in credit card reward points
2.Filed my taxes online and will be getting back a great return. We plan to use the money wisely and make some home improvements that we have been putting off for many years
3.Returned library books the day they were due and picked up a few more to enjoy:)
4.Borrowed a small kettlebell from my sister to try out for a workout (they are extremely expensive!)and accepted a bag of office supplies my mom was giving away
5.Used fuel points from Kroger to reduce my price per gallon by 20 cents
**Is it better to use the points all at once or split them up??


Ruby January 21, 2019 at 1:57 pm

I have been on a “use what you got” kick. Dug around in my tub of fabric bits and found enough fun pieces to make new covers for the den sofa throw pillows. Also pulled stuff from the freezer and pantry to make beef mushroom veggie soup for supper tonight.


Jessica January 24, 2019 at 10:51 am

Another FFT!
1) just listed more stuff on facebook marketplace (bird feeder, cycling shoes, surge protector)
2) called Geico and got a lower rate on car insurance and a statement credit without cutting service because of a billing error they had made
3) called Verizon and got a lower rate on home phone/internet/tv service. I know that many people have cut the cord, but for various reasons that is not the right choice for me right now. I was glad to get this discount though.
4) got a free outdoor gas grill from a friend last summer. Calling Weber to get parts (covered by warranty) to make it like new.
5) going to cancel a drop box subscription that I needed for a limited period of time.


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