Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 27, 2019 · 86 comments

  1. I sold a thrifted mahjong set through Facebook Marketplace, which my husband simply set out for the buyer as I’m still visiting my sister in New York. I also sold two eBay items, (a vintage “Hamm’s” scarf and a set of playing cards) which I’ll ship once I’m back in Portland. I then wrote two paid articles, which’ll help to defray some of the lost income from not working at the hospital. In a nicely timed coincidence, my work bonus appeared on last week’s paycheck, which means that I was able to miss two weeks of work without any pay dips.

  2. I arranged lunch dates in Manhattan with a three different friends, yet kept it 100% on budget. How?

    I scheduled a date with my gorgeous and talented friend Greta. She works at one of the city’s universities, whose campus features a solidly acceptable on-site cafeteria. And since their employee dining hall looks out over the East River, we enjoyed a million dollar view to go with our $9 salads. The hidden bonus of not choosing a traditional restaurant was that there was no tip, as it really was a straight-up cafeteria. Plus, they give out free fancy chocolates with every lunch!

    I then planned a get together with my old friend David, who works for a Manhattan based Hospital. (Coincidently up the street from Greta.) He gave me the choice to either find a restaurant or to eat at the on-site cafeteria. (I think you can see where this is going!) Yup — cafeteria! Since I was paying cash, I even got to use David’s employee discount, which brought the price of my lunch down to a mere $6.50. Again, there was no tip to pay. My goal with these dates was not to dine at the city’s finest establishments, but to catch up with old friends and not keep them away from their work duties any longer than necessary.

     I lastly met up with my old blogging pal, Gretchen Rubin. She chose the restaurant Le Pain Quotidien, which is a national chain. Me being me, I researched whether they had an app that might offer freebies to new members. Ding-ding-ding! Not just a free coffee or dessert, but an actual free entrée! This lunch ended up being the cheapest of all my lunch dates, as my only billed item was a drip coffee.

  3. My sister has never ending papers to write as part of her graduate school program. However, it can be difficult to focus while in the apartment, so I convinced her to dedicate a couple hours of studying at the Mamaroneck public library. They have a beautiful reading room with long tables and a decidedly serene atmosphere. (Plus free parking on Sundays!) We both got some work done, although I did sneak out to grab us a huge Italian combo hero from Cosmo & Alex Pisano Bros, and costs just $7.50.

    The library houses a used book store in the basement, but also has a cart of free (free!) books. I was able to find a book which’ll do quite nicely as an airplane read for my return trip to Oregon. For free! Free. (Free!)

  4. I’ll be hitting up my sister’s grocery store in the morning to stock up on food for my trip home. Although the flight itself is just 6 hours, I’ll leave for the airport 5 hours in advance, (multiple public transportation cogs, plus a few hours early to satisfy any paranoia about arriving late for my flight.) In total, I’ll be 11-1/2 hours between my sister’s apartment and my own refrigerator house. I don’t want to get hungry and held hostage to airplane food, which is the worst combination of yucky and expensive.

  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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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Avery January 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm

1). I have a friend who is studying to be a chiropractor. I have been having problems with my shoulders and offered him food to adjust me, which is not too bad of a cost.
2). I just listed 2 books on Facebook Marketplace and might list clothes as well if I have luck.
3). I have a cold draft in my room, but maintenance is coming to check it out and possibly give me a space heater free of charge since I’m in a college dorm.
4). I am reassessing what clothes I wear and actually don’t wear, which will help me be more conscious with my purchases. I think I already am with clothing, but I want to own what I’ll wear frequently and not pay to store and organize items I don’t enjoy.
5). I used a Sephora gift card from 2 years ago to get some foundation that I was required to get for a performance.


Pattilou January 28, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Avery, I applaud you for being on this site and your frugal efforts. If only I had started being more conscious of my financial state when I was in college, life might have been a little easier! Keep up the good work.


Avery January 28, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Thank you! I definitely have my frugal fails but enjoy the efforts I have made.


Mand01 January 27, 2019 at 11:09 pm

We have to buy a new car soon so we are on Big Savings Goals to ensure we can do this without going into debt.
1. We babysat and had friends for dinner yesterday. I fed everyone for next to nothing. I made a black bean chilli using ingredients on hand, including some ham from the freezer and mashed pumpkin from last year’s pumpkin crop. I made a peach and tomato salsa using homegrown tomatoes, and patatas bravas using potatoes I dug out of the ground with help from little garden helpers as a fun babysitting activity, and more homegrown tomatoes. Dessert was homegrown rhubarb and ice cream.
2. We had a huge heatwave (temperatures almost 50 degrees centigrade) and my tomato plants were ruined. I picked all the green tomatoes and made green tomato pickle. I had all the other ingredients on hand and used recycled jars.
3. My husband harvested the rest of the potatoes so we now have about ten kilograms of homegrown potatoes in the storeroom.
4. I put together my lunch for tomorrow – the rest of the chilli and rice, salsa, etc.
5. I have let the kids know not to expect much in the way of eating out etc for the next few months while we save hard toward our Big Savings Goal.


A. Marie January 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Wow, Mand, I feel your pain on your #2 (as a human being in general and a fellow tomato grower in particular). As per the Celsius to Fahrenheit converter I consulted, 50 degrees C = 122 degrees F?? Is that possible?? At least you did what you could with the green tomatoes.

But happy late Australia Day anyway!


Susie's Daughter January 28, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Mand- I have been thinking of you and the other posters down under often as I have been binge watching The Dr. Blake Mysteries and learning about Ballarat. I understand the actor’s real life behavior may have been less than admirable, but I do so love the show. I also have the movie “Australia” out from the library and A Place to Call Home in my library queue. Perhaps I just need to visit Australia! Although I am better suited to handle the -23 Celsius temps here in the next few days rather than +50 Celsius for sure.


Mand01 January 28, 2019 at 8:24 pm

I’ve never watched Dr Blake – but I’ve been following the news about his case. He was a heartthrob when I was young and it’s quite shocking as most Australians had a good opinion of him. He’s been replaced on Dr Blake by a woman, a great Aussie actress called Nadine Garner. I’m glad you are enjoying it. There’s some good Australian tv out now. If you are not easily offended, the comedy Please Like Me is beautiful.


Mand01 January 28, 2019 at 8:20 pm

Unfortunately it is possible- our town reached almost 47, while another reached 49.5 degrees centigrade. Most of my garden survived but my baby avocado tree (not a cheap tree) and the aforementioned tomatoes were burned up. We also have had no rain at all this month. It’s very bad.


Gina in KY February 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

I have a good friend in Canberra and he has been telling me how miserably hot it’s been. I was shocked when I did the conversion too!


Moni January 28, 2019 at 12:21 am

Le Pain Quotidien is actually an international chain. I’ve been to their restaurants in Europe as well as in India. Similar quality in all places.


Mary in Maryland January 29, 2019 at 7:16 am

I believe they started in Belgium. We ate in a little place that claimed to be the very first when we were in Bruges.


Jill A January 28, 2019 at 5:26 am

It’s been a very frugal week with very little money spent.

1. I used my friends Fed-ex discount to ship a package to my daughters house (items they left behind at Christmas). This saved me $10.
2. My daughter is a culinary student and her school has a restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner two nights a week. My mother and I were invited for friends and family night which they do the week before they open for practice. We had a gourmet meal and only paid for our glasses of wine and a tip which will go toward a scholarship. Best food I think I’ve ever had. Yum!!!
3. I had lunch and coffee with my Mom at her house instead of going out. We both are on a budget and just wanted to spend a few hours together.
4. I washed my laundry in cold water and hung them to dry on racks inside. Sheets and towels get washed in warm and I use the dryer for them. I do laundry every couple of weeks and only full loads.
5. I took my daughter to the library again and she checked out another book. I’ve been reading library books on my Kindle. We spent the weekend mostly at home except for trips to library and dog park. We watched Netflix and ate all meals at home. I did buy a $5.50 Hot-n-Ready pizza on Friday night which has become a tradition. I is enough for a couple meals worth as we eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Older daughter came over after work on Saturday and I made fajitas and we spent the evening just enjoying each others company.


Kathy January 28, 2019 at 5:45 am

1. Worked my on call admin gig
2. Received a class action check for $49
3. Mailed out 3 regifted items
4. Debunked majority of kitchen while on phone call with former college roommate
5. Got a big can of L’Oréal hairspray on clearance marked down to $5 less $3 coupon. That can will last me all year


Ruby January 29, 2019 at 11:56 am

I know you meant “dejunked” but the idea of debunking the kitchen is so charming that it made me giggle.


A. Marie January 29, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Like Ruby, I was wondering about the “debunking.” I thought it might be a typo or autocorrect for “degunking.” My kitchen has certainly needed both this winter. (With DH at the foot of the stepladder to catch me if I fell, I recently “degunked” some of the high shelves near the stove that accumulate greasy dirt. Eeeeeewwwww.)


Bee January 28, 2019 at 5:46 am

Yes, airport food is definable both expensive and yucky. I admire your resolve not to buy anything when flying. I once purchased a small package of M&Ms for $6 at the airport. Not one of my more frugal days …

1) This week I continued my refrigerator, pantry and freezer clean out. I spent $10 on a bag of potatoes, 2lbs of carrots and a gallon of milk. I had roasted a turkey earlier in the week and made a GF pot pie. I used up a 1/2 bag of peas in the freezer and some GF flour. I saved the peels from the onions and carrots I cooked with so I can use them in the soup that I am making from the turkey carcass. I had bought this a turkey at Thankgiving for $6. It has yielded 2 dinners, numerous sandwiches for lunch, and a huge pot of soup.

2) I purchased two large boxes of depression glass at an auction last week. I kept a piece and divided some of it into 10 lots for eBay. I have sold 8 lots so far! There were some pieces not worth selling on this site, so I have priced and packed these for the vintage sale that I participate in twice a year.

3) Since I am on budget lockdown, I have not been out much except to volunteer. Thus, I am looking forward to my book club this week. I borrowed the book from the library, so it will be a free, stimulating and social evening.

4) When on budget lockdown, I seem to exercise a lot more. It helps me deal with the stress and the boredom. DH and I took a long walk with the dog on Saturday. I also went to the Y five times last week. Apparently, being broke is good for my health.

5) I have been doing all my usual things– brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered tap water, wearing my thrifted clothes, watching PBS and streamed television content and trying to chart my financial progress to stay on track. I am counting my blessings and am most thankful that January is almost over!


Susie's Daughter January 28, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Bee – Every year I swear that January is the LONGEST month of the year. Hand in there. February is in sight!


Jennifer January 29, 2019 at 5:08 am

Ugh, I feel the same about January


Jill January 28, 2019 at 5:50 am

1. I unsubscribed from some emails and blogs that tended to be “selling” things that I just don’t need to purchase.
2. My husband says I haven’t adjusted from purchasing food for 5 people to just 2 very well. And as much as I hate to admit it, he’s right. So I’m doing yet another “eating down the pantry” episode at my house. It’s going quite well though.
3. My husband lost his brand new (well, less than a year old) glasses on a recent trip. Unfortunately, he didn’t sign up for the vision plan on our new health insurance this year. So he stopped and got a copy of his prescription and purchased very inexpensive glasses online (19) to last him through the year until his vision plan kicks in next year. They are working fine.
4. We are headed out of town this weekend and have a solid eating plan in place – one meal out and I will bring the rest of the food from home with me. It helps to plan ahead.
5. I have been reading my library books ( on a Kate Atkinson binge) and watching Netflix shows, sold a few things at a consignment shop and redecorated my living room by “shopping the house” and rearranging furniture.


Bee January 28, 2019 at 6:06 am

It is very difficult to make the adjustment to cooking just for 2. My boys ate so much in their teenage years! When they went away to school, my food bill dropped by 50%. For example, an evening meal would consist of 6 quarts of meat sauce, 2 pounds of pasta, a Caesar salad using 3 heads of romaine and 2 loaves of garlic bread. That much food would last my husband and me over a week now. It gets easier.


KJD509 January 28, 2019 at 10:56 am

No kidding, Jill- that adjustment is hard! This morning I was setting up for burrito bowls for dinner tonight and thought, “Oh, no – only two tomatoes! I’ll have to fit in a trip to the store.” Um, no. Those days are over. The whole reason we’re having burrito bowls is because the rice I made a week ago – 4C in a moment of madness – is STILL languishing in the fridge.

Glad to hear it gets easier, Bee. . . eventually . . .


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 5:59 pm

I have found rice to freeze well.


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 6:01 am

1. My friend gave me a trunkful of his deceased mothers lifetime supply of cookbooks. I picked out the ones I loved the most and passed on some of the rest. My church is having an indoor yardsale in February so hopefully I can pass on a few more for profit.
2. My youngest daughter is in the spring beauty pageant. After searching all the local thrift stores/ consignment shops, I settled on a beautiful Tiffany gown for $90 on eBay. I checked into renting a dress at a few places and the cost was $100+. I was a bit turned off at the rentals because they were missing sequins and looked very worn. This way, she has a high-end gorgeous dress with only one owner and I can resell when this is over. I will do her hair myself as I prefer long, natural, loose curls..which I can easily do. She will wear a little natural looking makeup. I am not a fan of the overdone pageant makeup that makes girls look like adults. We probably aren’t what the judges are looking for, but a nice dress paired with the look of beautiful childish innocence is a winner in my book.
3. I have been whining here about my tummy troubles on my gluten free, vegan diet. I have tried some of your suggestions to help digest beans better. I still feel like a busted can of biscuits after eating. I want to be a frugal bean eater but my body says no. I am taking a break from beans to let my gut heal then will reintroduce later. I am considering eating small amounts of meat again since the beans aren’t an option right now. Opinions are welcomed!
4. My husband and I chopped firewood and hauled up the hill to our house in preparation of our wintery mix expected the next few days. This was great exercise and will hopefully keep of electric bill lower.
5. My recliner broke so instead of throwing it away, my husband put a screw in the handle so it is now a plush rocking chair without reclining capability. It’s in such good shape so I hated to trash it. It stills sits and rocks perfectly so I thought why not use it for just that.


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 6:08 am

I actually have a number 6. While I was looking for the pageant dress at a thrift store, they announced that they were having a half price sale. I got a silver brand pair of jeans for $1!! I also got a whole bag of kids clothes for $8. I don’t think they were even charging me for some of it. They seemed to be just shoving it all quickly in bags. I guess they needed to move old stuff out for new inventory…..lucky me!


Mairsydoats January 28, 2019 at 8:24 am

When I took a blood test for food sensitivities, I found that I am mildly reactive to gluten but majorly reactive to eggs and many kinds of beans. If your body doesn’t like them, don’t eat them.


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 5:44 pm

I know for sure I have a gluten problem because the rash that I have had since May has completely disappeared. I have scheduled an appointment with a doctor but it’s not until the end of March! I know there is some thing or things that I haven’t pinpointed yet still causing me stomach issues. I want to be sure it’s the beans before I give them up so I’m doing a trial.


Jen January 28, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Try lentils and split peas. I was born vegetarian so beans have never been an issue. My husband converted later in life and too many beans cause major gas. Neither one of us likes that!


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Not sure about split peas but lentils I for sure can’t tolerate. I love the flavor of lentils so that was disappointing.


Bee January 28, 2019 at 6:20 am

You should not feel guilty about not eating as many legumes. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all diet out there. You need to find what works best for you. Our bodies are all different and our priorities are not always the same. However, if it continues, you may want to try an elimination diet to see what is causing your dietary issues. Feel better!


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 8:04 am

I loved to have a few beans in at least one meal a day because they make me feel full, are cheap, and replace the meat I used to eat.I have also found that lots of “gluten-free” labeled products irritate my stomach. I am now eating more natural food with less ingredients that I make at home. I know you have also struggled with food so there is hope for me. Thank you, Bee!


cathy January 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

Jennifer, as mom to two food-allergic kids, including one who is deathly allergic to wheat, rye, barley plus a bunch of GF foods, I can say that the best GF foods and meals are the ones that are naturally that way. If you can tolerate rice, corn/cornmeal, potatoes, oats, quinoa, there are a whole host of GF grain foods to eat. If you feel you’re missing out on baked goods, try making your own. We make our own GF flour blend, but you can find several brands of GF flour. You need a blend of flours to substitute it for wheat flour. One thing to watch out for is all the “gums” that get added to GF flours and baked goods. The most common is xanthan gum. It didn’t work for our family (upset some tummies), and it’s not true that you MUST add it to GF flour. You do need something to make up for the lack of gluten (i.e. the thing that makes it stick together), but there are alternatives. I add 1 Tbs potato flour for every 2 Cups of GF flour. Also, any GF baked goods that include egg end up using the egg as the binder. Lots of great cooking/baking resources online. I also love the cookbook The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 5:53 pm

I have heard of the xantham gum effect. Something in the store shelf GF breads I buy seems to be causing me issues. I will have to check those ingredients. Since I have been taking my lunches to work, which is basically simple leftovers of roasted veggies from the night before, my stomach is less bloated and irritated. I am looking into a “flour blend” that works for most of my baking needs. Thanks for your resource and input!


nancy from mass January 30, 2019 at 5:08 am

Glutino has a GF flour that doesn’t have xantham gum but it may have soy in it. the other brands (Bobs, King Arthur) have XG.

Jennifer January 30, 2019 at 7:54 am

Thanks for the Glutino suggestion, Nancy! Am I the only one that thinks label reading is extremely daunting and time consuming? I’m surprised there isn’t an app where we can put in ingredients we are unable to have that will find a recommended food item. Thanks for all your help team!!

Bee January 30, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Trader Joe’s also has an all purpose GF flour blend that is gum free. It works well, but requires that I add a little extra potato starch. I have used it in a pinch.

Nancy from mass January 30, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Jennifer, my son was diagnosed with 37 different allergies, 28 were foods…soy, carrots, green beans and peanuts were the biggest allergies. I had to read everything every time I bought something – since companies would change ingredients randomly. Also, I am allergic to artificial sweeteners and stevia as well as the stuff in artificial sweeteners like asulafame (sp?). I read everything and yes, it’s daunting and time consuming.

I believe there is an app. It may be thru the clean eating site.

cathy February 3, 2019 at 10:54 am

My kids’ most dreaded words are “I’ll have to call the company.” Allergen info on labels is so much better than it used to be, but still lacking. I dream of a day when I don’t have to scrutinize every. last. ingredient.
Bee, thanks for mentioning that TJ’s GF flour. I’ll check it out.

K D January 28, 2019 at 6:28 am

1. I am still working on using up extra pantry and freezer items. I did buy some produce this past week but not much else. I used a slow cooker recipe book I borrowed from the library for a meal I made on Friday. I have banana pumpkin bread in the oven.

2. My husband took an overnight trip for work. He packed all his food (lunch, dinner, breakfast, and lunch) and used a hotel voucher to score a free bottled drink and a piece of fruit. He will collect a per diem for one or two of his days on the road. Go hubby!

3. I have been reading ebooks borrowed from the library. It seems like a good cold weather activity. I just finished Tell Me Three Things, a young adult book that I enjoyed. Of course I have a book on CD in my car, for when I drive by myself.

4. My sister is decluttering (inspired by Tidying Up). She is going to send me a few items I loaned her over the years. If our daughter does not want them we’ll give them away. She also has some watches that belonged to our mother. We have a friend that will get them working (a hobby of his) and then figure out if they can be sold or if family members would like to have them as a remembrance. Of course we will do something nice for our friend.

5. I gave away several items on Freecycle. I know it is not thrifty for me but it keeps them out of the landfill and finds them new homes.


LB January 28, 2019 at 6:40 am

1. This weekend was two birthday celebrations back to back–which we mitigated costs on by bringing cash and sticking to our budget. Proof that you can still have fun, let loose, but skip getting pizza on the way home (even if you get home at 3 am!)

2. Avoiding the siren calls of other ski mountains we don’t have passes to and instead hitting the one we do. Lift ticket prices are no. joke.

3. I have finally used up all the frozen vegetables in our freezer, and most of the frozen meat. I’m simultaneously astonished at the amount of useless crap left in there (I don’t even like ice cream sandwiches!)

4. Reconfiguring some outfits to feel like I have some new options. Between that and a few gifts from the holidays, I feel like my closet is a place I want to be again!

5. Had some friends in town for one of the birthday celebrations–they wanted to get some quality time Sunday night and had suggested a restaurant. Knowing we wouldn’t order any food, we suggested they come over and hang at our place instead. They stayed for a few hours and the cats were delighted with all the extra attention. Win-win!


Stephanie January 28, 2019 at 7:30 am

Safe travels! Lots of flights cancelled in our area today due to the winter storm, so hopefully you’ll make it out okay with no winter weather drama.

1. The library! (I love the library.) My daughter played there, I picked up several books from interlibrary loan, and we took my daughter to a mini golf program there. All the books I read lately, with the exception of the last book that came from a Little Free Library, came from one library or another.

2. We ate at home all but one time.

3. I entirely overhauled my daughter’s room, removing a ton of toys that she barely played with and that were probably overwhelming her. End result? More space in her room, better behavior, and far more use of her creativity and imagination. For now, we’re holding on to the extra toys, but after some time passes, we’ll probably sell what we can.

4. We stayed home a lot, both due to weather and due to my chronic pain condition. Either way, saves money. 🙂

5. I was going to purchase a gold-plated Lear Jet, but decided against it. 😉


Alison January 28, 2019 at 8:30 am

1. I’m on a low carb, low calorie diet for two weeks while I take an 8 week metabolic restoration course through my doctor. This is frugal as eating out would be too difficult.
2. DH had a few perogies and a slice of pizza that he found deep in the freezer for dinner, in order to “use things up”.
3. Found a lovely scarf at our local charity shop that benefits abused women, for only $3, already received a compliment.
4. Had a birthday lunch with my three oldest friends, at my friend’s house instead of going out. We all contributed so it was much cheaper, and way more relaxed than a restaurant.


Roberta January 28, 2019 at 8:53 am

1. Narrowly resisted burritos from the taco shop yesterday for lunch. Our church usually has a very meat-heavy free lunch the last Sunday of the month, but since it was veg this month I ate that instead. Free lunch for me and my teenager, and we helped the community.
2. Took a picnic to the zoo, instead of going out. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed the sun and the elephants while we ate. We’ll save lunch out for a day that’s not quite so gorgeous.
3. Doing laundry before the rain starts again. I’ll be hanging jeans out today.
4. Spent Saturday afternoon doing home maintenance. My wonderful husband cleaned out the water heater with vinegar, extending its life. Fertilized the fruit trees, which is expensive now but frugal for next year when we don’t need to buy fruit. Picked nettles for dinner just before my daughter weed-wacked the front yard.
5. Stayed home most of the weekend, watching a library movie, eating stovetop popcorn (bulk), played games, read library books. (I got Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book, really good so far!)


Monica January 28, 2019 at 9:04 am

Katy, how do you get all your food through Security? We can’t even take water bottles through. Do you eat up first, before you go through Security to the gates?


cathy January 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Not Katy, but when we travel, we have to take food because of food allergies. You are allowed to carry on food, but certain things are not allowed, or not allowed in particular quantities. Anything that is liquid or, rather, not solid, like yogurt, applesauce, pudding, is considered the same as toiletries (at least in terms of the size you can carry on). The problem is that, usually, the smallest single-serving size is 4 oz, which is too large. Since I don’t want to eat the expense of groceries we’ve bought on vacation, I’ll often pack things in my kids’ lunchboxes in addition to the food they’ll eat on the plane (sticks of butter, packages of cheese, etc).
Also, you are allowed to take empty water bottles. We always travel with our stainless water bottles. Go through security with them empty, then fill up at one of the filling stations near the gate.


Jessica January 28, 2019 at 9:26 am

Katy, your NY trips are always so insightful for me, as a person who lives here!!!
I had no idea about the LPQ app, but am setting it up for next time I forget a homemade lunch, which alas, happens sometimes. Especially since my work cafeteria is not a particularly frugal or delicious option (there is a taco cart nearby that is, though!).

5 frugal things:
1) Installed the PainQuotidien app for the next time I want to use it!
2) Returned a shirt my daughter received for Christmas that did not fit properly
3) went through old claims on health insurance, and found that my daughter’s second dental cleaning from last year was not reimbursed properly. Sorted that out.
4) Sold a pair of end tables I had grabbed from the corner near my house. Realized I could have priced them higher given the enthusiasm, but they weren’t in mint condition, and it was a gain, anyway! Also listed an end table that had been in my basement for awhile.
5) Organized and planned meals for this week, repaired my daughter’s watch rather than deeming it “broken”.
Grabbed a good condition chair from a trash pile and donated it to a local organization that collects furniture. Not frugal, per se, but non-consumer. I didn’t think it would have very much resale value without refinishing, and I didn’t have time to do that right now.

Coming: planning to list a Trunki, an art projector, a kettler trike, a lot of a dozen men’s woolen rag socks,


Katy January 28, 2019 at 9:33 am

1. We just bought a house 100% down and are trying to fix/furnish it as cheap as we can. We bought a bunk bed for $50, just needs a simple repair. We bought 2 trash cans and new curtains at the consignment store for a total of $27. Then we went to Marshals and bought a culunder, shower curtain and shower curtain rings for $15 (two of those items were clearance). Next we went to Ross and got a rug, curtains, 3 sets of full sheets and 4 sets of twin sheets for a total of $141.
2. We will be traveling tomorrow and will spend the night in an AirBNB, this saves us about $10-20.
3. For breakfast on the road I bought breakfast sandwiches from the freezer section, I’ll just microwave them before we leave. I also have crackers, veggie sticks, coffee, cookies and sandwich makings. The rest of our meals will be meals out, but just in those two meals alone we’ll probably save about $15 as compared to eating out.
4. We’ve been eating one meal a day as leftovers, saving me time in the kitchen, producing less wasted food and therefore saving money.
5. I was at WalMart the other day and they were having a ton of clearance. I spent $35 and got 2pairs of jeans, a sweater, a girl’s dress, kid underwear and kid socks.


marybeth January 28, 2019 at 6:48 pm

Congrats on your new home. Way to go paying for it in full.


A. Marie January 29, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Totally impressed by the 100% down on the house. Congratulations, mazel tov, huzzah, etc.!


Jenelle January 28, 2019 at 10:28 am

1. Sold two items on Facebook marketplace to then turn around and use that $ towards a visit to the dr. for my daughter! We’ve been to the dr. office three times in the last three weeks and those co-pays add up.
2. It’s been very cold here and we keep our heat between 65-68 so we layer our clothing, wear slippers and cuddle under blankets when we are sitting. Bring on summer!
3. Hubby has been very good at reminding me that we do not need to order out or go out to eat!
4. Lady item: continue to use my Diva Cup and saving from buying lady items.
5. Packing my lunch with anything that can be called lunch. My co-workers laugh at what I cobble together as a meal…but it all comes from home and isn’t eating out.


KJD509 January 28, 2019 at 11:30 am

Frugal if you squint real hard:

1) Slogging away cleaning out our rental (we’ve lived in it the past six months) instead of hiring it done. Slow, so we haven’t rented it yet, which is probably costing us more than a cleaning service 🙁
2) We’ve been paying for mental health care for more than a year now for several family members – and are so lucky to have good insurance! But we’re reaching limits on coverage. One provider has cut her fees, which allows us to stretch the coverage at least another several months, thank goodness.
3) We’ll have family by the dozens here in two weeks for Littlest’s school play. She has a favorite restaurant, but it’s not cheap and doesn’t take reservations. I was planning and budgeting for 4 days of feeding a crowd here, but the cost is enormous because my pantry and freezer are depleted due to the move. Called the restaurant on a whim and it turns out they DO hold tables for large groups if it’s late enough in the evening, such as post-performance, and they were tickled to be the unlikely choice for the middle school drama kid. So we’re having one big blow-out meal (and some of the adults will probably pay for their own dinners so it won’t be all on us) late one evening and toning things way down the rest of the time. This is actually cheaper overall and makes the kid feel like a star.
4) We have finally agreed on a paint color for the “accent walls” in the new place. Four quarts of different test colors were not cheaper than none, but everybody can live with it and it’s a currently hip color, which should help with resale in a year.
5) One son is making some hard, life-altering decisions that will be good for him in the long run. Hubs and I are wishing we had the means to provide a new apartment (not gold-plated!) and a vehicle (not a Lear jet!) to make it a little easier on him, but we don’t and it’s probably better for his growth and character to do it himself. We’ll loan him a car for a week to make the move, and that will have to be enough.


Gina January 28, 2019 at 11:37 am

1. Kept following up on a rebate for Advance Auto. They finally mailed the rebate a few weeks later than what they claimed it would be. I always follow up on our mail-in-rebates. My husband then in turn used the $20 towards oil change supplies. Every little bit helps!
2. Hubby got a game for his Playstation that he really didn’t care for. Sold it quickly on FB marketplace as it was going to cost me almost $6 to ship it back…yikes!
3. I always fill out class action settlement forms if they apply to me. The latest one I received was for $20.
4. My husband was gifted an IPad from his brother (who got a new one). Hubby was happy with it as we haven’t had a laptop for a few years. His brother is always getting the latest and greatest so we are happy with hand-me-downs.
5. We went to our warehouse club the other day & they have a sample kiosk there that if you scan your card, you get a sample. The other day it was their brand of laundry detergent. The machine spit out two samples instead of one for me!
6. Just boxed up youngest daughter’s phone. She got a new phone recently & Verizon wouldn’t buy back her older one that was in great shape. But, i was able to sell it online to Can’t wait for $ back in my pocket!!


A. Marie January 29, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Re: Gina’s #4, another snippet from the collected wisdom of Amy Dacyczyn: “Make friends with compulsive upgraders.”


Jennifer February 2, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Totally! I have a friend who buys stuff all the time then decides he doesn’t like it anymore. He often passes things along to us for free or a deep discount. He frequently tries new food items he doesn’t like so we get those too. I also get a lot of his Free Friday downloads at Kroger because he is so picky.


Julie from MA January 28, 2019 at 11:58 am

1. Received a nice $49 class action check in the mail. Applied to our credit card account even though we just wanted a dinner out.
2. Slim pickings for lunch today to bring to work. I remembered some homemade butternut squash soup in the freezer and had a nice hot lunch today.
3. I prefer to drink my tea a little on the weaker side. I use my tea bags twice. Some people think its weird but I just don’t care.
4. I am fighting a minor cold. I am trying go medication free since I really don’t think most of those medications work all that great and are pretty expensive. I am drinking a lot of tea and honey and nice hot broth and I think this is actually helping.
5. Continuing to work hard on my survey sites like swagbucks in my downtime to save for an upcoming vacation. We are planning on paying fully in cash and not coming home to credit card bills. We have done it before and it is such a great way to come back with no bills.


Gina in KY February 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Your #3: I do the same thing with the coffee grounds in the French Press. After three water fills, the coffee gets weaker, but I like to get my money’s worth!


Jen in Aptos, CA January 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

1. Made a big pot of Pinto Beans from dried beans purchased on sale. Big pot of Spanish-style rice and made cheap snacks and burritos for the week.
2. Took 6 boxes of library Discards from my son’s school library where I volunteer regularly. Let friends and neighbors go through them, put some in 2 LIttle Free LIbraries, and donated the rest. They might have ended up in the trash if I hadn’t taken them so I was happy to rescue them.
3. Made a deal with a Pilates Studio owner to walk her small dog at the beach for one hour a week in exchange for a free Pilates class. Had never tried Pilates but took my first class last night and enjoyed the new workout. Class is worth $25/hour!
4.Had one of my Tips published in The Dollar Stretcher Blog. Tip was about using maps and twine, as well as other papers like architectural drawings (if you can find them) for gift wrapping. Helping others consume less makes me feel good.
5. Let Amazon Prime account lapse. Annual fee is too large so waiting to see if I miss it. Only pain so far is that my daughter missed Curb Your Enthusiasm repeats but I found I can borrow the DVDs at the library.


Susie's Daughter January 28, 2019 at 3:16 pm

1) Potatoes – specifically the fact that they are on sale in our area. Last week was a 10lb bag for .99 (which was marked down as it was a “holiday themed bag” with plaid and pictures of potatoes dressed as Santa…) and this week .79 for a 5lb bag. So potatoes it is!

2) Made “cream” of asparagus soup yesterday with stuff from the pantry, onion from our garden storage, three bags of frozen home grown asparagus from 2016 and – you guessed it! – potatoes. Once really well cooked, it all went into the blender and came out quite tasty – which is good because it made a lot.

3) One of the HDMI ports on the TV is no longer working. Solved the problem by purchasing a splitter and extra HDMI cable for the remaining port, $16 total. Still able to watch DVDs and Roku. Apparently HDMI ports are really difficult to repair and this is much easier and cheaper solution.

4) Rereading Tightwad Gazette for pointers on leftovers turned into creative casseroles. I love that book.

5) Skiing and snow shoeing for exercise on equipment I own. Lots of beautiful snow these days in my part of New England with more predicted tomorrow.


Lindsey January 28, 2019 at 3:40 pm

1. Did one of my favorites—a bookstore mystery shop. Get paid a fairly small amount but get free café food! Husband and I used it for a date night.
2. A friend who thought she would like cauliflower pizza crusts bought 10 of them. She hates them, as do all the members of her house. She gave the nine remaining to me. They cost $5.99 each here! She did take five 2 cup bags of frozen pumpkin pulp in return, from last summer’s garden.
3. Got a mystery shop oil change. They paid for the change, plus $40 for doing it. Usually they pay only $5, but they were desperate so when I saw the price increase, I snapped it up. It was 20 below that day, so I needed more than a $5 incentive to leave the house.
4. Donated a box of books and got a tax receipt.
5. Donated a bag of puzzles to the library for their take-a-puzzle and leave-a-puzzle corner. It is a city library, so no tax receipt but I love that they have a puzzle area now and that you can take and leave puzzles without checking them out or worrying about when to bring them back. I did come home with a puzzle that I could have paid for—one of the periodic table of elements. I knew that my high school education would come in handy someday!

Frugal fail, which could have killed the husband: Made some more pumpkin dog biscuits. Left them too close to the edge of the counter and the wolfhound and the Dane acted together to pull them off onto the floor and ate them. Husband heard the noise, raced in and slipped and fell on the drool the dogs had left while trying to gobble them all down before someone noticed. He is fine but sore. The dogs are happy. They got dozens of biscuits and then were able to lick the husband when he got down on the floor because (they figured) he obviously wanted them to play with him.


Jill A January 29, 2019 at 5:58 am

Your dogs sound hilarious. I got a laugh out of that.


A. Marie January 29, 2019 at 1:08 pm

I’m divided between diversion at your FFail and being glad your DH wasn’t badly hurt. Neither of you needs that, I know.


Ney January 29, 2019 at 3:41 pm

I would love to know which mystery shop company you use?

I also appreciate your dog antics as mine are just as bad!


Lindsey January 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm

I did a post on all the companies I use, either on last October 12th or 16th, so if you look that up you can read the lengthy post.


Bethany M January 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Friend volunteered to watch the kids Friday so we could have a date. Have $35 left on an Outback gift card. I had been telling him we need to use that up before my gastric bypass.

Taking advantage of one last Legoland day before our passes expire. Next year we’ll let the charter school purchase us some zoo passes for the kids and we’ll purchase ours.

Spot cleaning my carpets and forgoing a professional cleaning for now. Would love to rip them up and replace if I’m being honest. It’s not in the works for now.

Borrowed my neighbors spaghetti utensil for when we had company instead of purchasing. I have a jimmy rig I usually do with a spatula and a big prong fork. She said she knows what to get me for Christmas now. LOL!

Cleaned out the out-grown clothes from my kids dressers. Made a pile to toss, donate and list on Varagesale. Hey why not third hand it if they’re still decent?


Jennifer February 2, 2019 at 5:53 pm

I’m not sure if they still do this but when my friend had gastric bypass, they gave her a little card that she carried in her wallet. She could show it when she went to restaurants and they would allow her to order the child menu or a smaller portion such as just ordering a side instead of a whole meal.


Jennifer January 28, 2019 at 6:40 pm

1) I pursued workman’s comp for an injury I got at work. Trying to make sure I follow all the proper channels so it is all covered.
2) Got apples for $0.77 per pound. I wish I had time to go back for more as what I bought are almost all eaten by the kids.
3) Making sure I am caught up on laundry before the polar vortex hits. Getting wood inside incase we need to build a fire. Filling gas tanks to avoid cars that won’t start. Digging out our electric heater just in case.
4) Cashed in swagbucks for a Starbucks gift card to fund my dh and I’s weekly dates.
5) Received our statements from “volunteering” at the local professional sports games – between my dh and I we have almost $1000 in credits to cover gymnastics as well as my ds’s DC trip.


Morgan January 28, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Small frugal wins!

• For once, managed to skip a scheduled petco order since I don’t need the supplies yet.
• Still managing to carpool once a week even with two vehicles.
• Picked up some free chairs on Craigs list… one of the three match a chair I just gave my husband for christmas.
• First found change of the year, a dime, to the change jar.
• Saved parking fee of .30 cents by stopping a few blocks away.


tracy January 29, 2019 at 5:10 am

1. Almost to the end of January, and have bought (almost) no things this month except groceries and necessary household items (toothpaste etc.). “Almost” because my ear buds broke and I bought some inexpensive new ones.

2. Took the bus to/from work yesterday. I had gotten in the habit of riding the bus 2-3 times/week over the summer and fall, but then I had surgery and the rain started and I got OUT of the habit. Working on getting back into that routine. Only 2-3 x week because 2-3 days a week I have to go somewhere either before or after work that requires a car. Bus saves 12.50 parking fees each day plus gas and is of course a more climate-friendly option.

3. Although I’ve eaten out several times this month, it’s been because of volleyball travel or work commitment lunches or social commitments — I have done well at not buying lunch out otherwise and bringing breakfast and lunch to work. Also have been eating at home when I don’t have a work or social commitment. Sunday I made a big pot of lentil soup with stuff that needed to be used (a $1 tube of chorizo, an iffy green pepper, a slightly shriveled butternut squash, some yellow stickered turnip greens etc.). It’s healthy and delicious and was CHEAP to make. I am eating it for lunch all week and it will probably be dinner one night.

4. Not frugal but reasonably cheap and fun — haven’t been to San Francisco for a few years. For mother’s day, my Mom, my two daughters (they’re 27 and 28) and I are going for 3 nights. I got plane tickets for $135 each RT which will be my contribution to the trip, my mom will pay the hotel (we will all squeeze into one room) and I’ve told the girls they need to pay their own expenses in SF. We will take public transit from airport to city and will walk and take transit in the city. I love to plan trips and will be looking for free and low cost activities and yummy but cheap eating options (banh mi and dim sum will be on the list for sure!). We haven’t been to the SF Museum of Modern Art since it was remodeled so that will also be a must-see. Can’t wait! Travel is a passion and saving in other areas and travelling with an eye to keeping costs down allows me to do things like this! (Now if I could just learn to travel as frugally as Katy does….)

5. We moved into our current house over three years ago but I hadn’t gotten around to hanging my art. Finally did that in the living room this weekend and what a change! It looks amazing and at no cost to me whatsoever! Most of my art was purchased at thrift type stores in the first instance and I did two big groupings of pictures and I love how it came out.


Ronald Burke January 29, 2019 at 8:50 am

Yes. So worth being frugal in order to travel. We always save and pay cash (actually charge on our credit card for the points and pay off when we return) for our travel. Makes it so much more enjoyable than having to pay all the interest on charge cards.


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 29, 2019 at 5:13 am

Good on you for making New York as frugal as possible! It’s been years since I visited, but I remembered being hard-pressed to find a good meal under $10. Love the frugal pre-travel shopping! I always take a refillable (empty) water bottle through security so I don’t have to buy the expensive water.

This week:

1. My friend and I like to exchange letters. We’ve been doing it for years! I wrote her a letter on some free stationery. Better yet, I inadvertently stocked up on Forever stamps before their price hike, so I’ll be good for at least another year.

2. I plan to vote today at a special city election.

3. Hubs and I made a menu for February using mostly ingredients in our fridge and pantry. I want to get under budget for food next month!

4. I baked a loaf of chocolate Amish bread over the weekend and froze it in single-serve slices.

5. Last night we enjoyed a beef ragu pappardelle pasta, which I cooked ahead last weekend. I love pre-cooking so weeknight meals are easier.


Christine January 31, 2019 at 6:57 am

I have a friend I still exchange letters with too and like you, I’m always scouting for nice stationary and notecards at yard sales, church fairs, etc. With the use of electronic communications being used these days, there’s a lot of beautiful note paper left unused. For us letter writers, it’s a win/win. It keeps it out of landfills and incinerators too.


Heidi Louise January 31, 2019 at 11:50 am

I am in the midwest where there was no mail delivery due to bad weather for two days. I was reminded of this quotation:
As long as there are postmen, life will have zest William James


Christine February 3, 2019 at 10:10 am

That’s beautiful Heidi Louise, especially since I am a retired postman(woman)! LOL. I think it’s true though. Who doesn’t like to get a handwritten letter/note/card? Something about it lifts the spirits.


ouvickie January 29, 2019 at 12:58 pm

1) I hit up the Dollar Tree today for a birthday card and gift bag for my oldest granddaughter’s 12th birthday tomorrow. I bought her really cool plush pink leopard neck pillow/iPad holder for $5 on Hollar. She wants some type of hair straightening brush, so I told her I’d take her and let her pick that out. I don’t want to waste money getting the wrong thing.
2) She can’t eat gluten, so I’m going to make gluten-free brownies with walnuts tonight. I already have everything in the cupboard.
3) I found a bag of chicken quarters at the store last week and separated them into freezer bags. I bought a package of ground beef and made BBQ hamburgers over the weekend. I can usually get 2-3 meals out the hamburgers and at least 6 meals out of the chicken quarters.
4) I avoided the toll road, while traveling to Tulsa for a Women’s conference over the weekend. There’s a State highway that follows the same route. That way we could stop and use the restrooms or get gas, whenever we needed to. I only had to fill up once though and fuel is so cheap it cost me less than $20.
5) I’m listening to audiobook on CD in my car and received a free Audible book for January, so I downloaded that to my iPhone.


laura January 29, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Downunder 5 frugal things

1. Volunteered as a judge at the BBQ competition so got to try (and take home) some delicious low and slow style bbq free of charge!
2. Spent a good portion of our long weekend reading a brilliant library book (Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton) love how quickly I can get even new release and popular books via the local library and that I have kicked the book buying bug.
3. Needed to go grocery shopping on wednesday but pushed it out to Sunday by being creative with items. Always feel I save money when cook from availabel items, even if that meant odd toppings on pizzas!
4. Continue to car pool to work even though I miss the me time driving alone provided.
5. Purchased a used barbie doll play house on facebook market place to use for when friends have their kids over.


janine January 31, 2019 at 7:07 am

1. Not much spending at -50F wind chill here in the ice box of the world. Lucky that our furnace is working and that our power remains on. Others were not so fortunate. Bad news: Heating bill will negate any cosumer savings achieved by staying home for the last several days.
2. Cooked from scratch – pork chops didn’t turn out well – converted food to a mushroom /pork sauce with mashed potatoes for son who has been working long hours this week. DH will bring goodies to him this morning.
3. Re-reading stash of books on hand. Getting into the details previously missed.
4. Turned down heat several degrees and passed on using the dryer last night per energy company instructions. Despite adequate supplies of natural gas difficulties are being experienced. Wonder about state of infrastructure when “weather events” occur.
5. Working on budget improvement for February. Usually additional ways to be a non-consumer if you look hard.


Lindsey January 31, 2019 at 1:36 pm

If you are going to turn your heat down at night, you might want to open all your cabinets leading to kitchen or bathroom water lines. Tip from someone who has survived 64 below air temperature and 110 below zero wind chill.


janine February 1, 2019 at 6:39 pm

I remember that trick of keeping the cabinets open with water lines. We have had so many mild winters that folks have forgotten all of the gathered knowledge of very cold winters that we used to experience.

Thanks for the reminder!


Jill A February 2, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for the tip. I opened all my cabinet doors just in case.


Christine February 3, 2019 at 10:13 am

I rented my grandmother’s house here in Mass. for many years when she moved in with my mother. I always remember her telling me to open the cabinet under the kitchen sink in the pantry which was on the north side of the house in the winter. I’m sure it saved many frozen and possibly burst pipes.


Heidi Louise February 3, 2019 at 11:26 am

In a previous home, I accidentally discovered that running the clothes dryer that was close to the unprotected bathroom was enough to slowly thaw the frozen pipes.
Ah, physics– How I wish I understood thee!


Gina in KY February 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm

1. I heard about a wonderful sounding book on a podcast and immediately went to Amazon to look for it. It was cheap; however, I came to my senses and put it on hold from our fabulous library.
2. I currently have a big pile of library books and a mile long hold list. My theme at the moment is Urban Farming, Gardens, Permaculture and Heirloom Vegetables.
3. Reworked my Feb budget to be more realistic and on task for No Spend Year. As part of NPY, I am also Eating from the Pantry. I cleaned out the freezer and found food I had no memory of stockpiling including 6 packages of tempeh (bought on clearance), 11 packs of tofu (and I keep buying it!), and 12 packages of Naan bread (also bought on clearance). I also fished out frozen samosas that I cooked tonight and then threw away because they tasted like freezer burn. Oh, the frugal lessons I learn! I have an inventory of the freezers now and pantry is up next. I made a simple spreadsheet to track the food better. I abhor food waste!
4. From several different kinds of berries found stashed in the freezers I am making and canning a Forest Berry Jam this weekend. From a dozen full and half-full Ziplock bags of veggie scraps I am making and canning veggie broth this weekend. This will clear up space in the freezer and allow longer storage of these goods. I have all the equipment and jars I need already on hand.
5. The cold spell kept me indoors so no gas used and no money spent. This weekend we will be in the 60s, however, and my plan is to work on the vacant lot I bought near my house so I can garden as soon as I can in the spring.


Gina in KY February 1, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Oh, let me clarify no gas as in petrol spent…I dread the next gas bill from the furnace. 🙁


Laur February 2, 2019 at 8:44 pm

1. I helped my son clean up his room and listed a couple of old toys on Facebook Marketplace.
2. My friend referred me to a meal delivery service where I got a box of fresh food for free. I received share codes so sent a message out to all my friends and ended up with a $100 credit as well.
3. I bagged up some of my sons too small clothes and books he has outgrown to give to my nephew. A few books from my daughters room and miscellaneous items will go to the opportunity. I’ll take time to browse their racks for a few clothes items we need.
4. I filled my car up at the cheapest petrol station in town whilst running errands.
5. Being a business owner I thought it would be good to find an accountant before tax time. He helped me fill in some tax forms and didn’t charge me for the consultation. I will definitely bring going back at tax time.


Jessica February 4, 2019 at 9:40 am

1) I listed & sold a Melissa and Doug ride on toy very quickly in a local facebook group.
2) I listed & sold (pending pickup) an end table that had been in my basement.
3) I donated a bunch of things to create more room, which is nice, and sold 3 books through a book resale website. This week, planning to list 2 TVs, a few more books, and we will see.
4) I renewed a few listings for things that hadn’t sold.
5) have continued to be good about bringing lunch and eating breakfast at home.


Michele February 5, 2019 at 8:06 am

1. Bringing my breakfast, lunch and snacks to work.
2. Used my shell gas card for $50 that I got for $40 to fill up- and got my 5 cents off, too.
3. Back into the “CVS Game”- which saves me on Health and Beauty.
4. Smoshed more soap slivers together to make a usable bar.
5. Planning 3 meals from the 1.5 pounds of ground beef I got out. Luckily, my family is pretty happy with casseroles.


Betsy February 15, 2019 at 9:05 pm

I just started reading your blog and I love it!i want to follow by email but did not see that option. I really love how you connected with your friends in New York without ruining your budget.


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