Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 12, 2019 · 88 comments

  1. I sold a pair on Danskos through Facebook Marketplace as well as a Starbucks travel mug through eBay. I rewrote a couple of Facebook Marketplace listings and then cross posted them on Craigslist, and body surfed coasted on the momentum to list a few new things on eBay.

  2. I was almost out of checks, so I stopped by my credit union to have them print out a dozen free “temporary checks.” Because I rarely write checks in the internet age, these ones will likely set me for the entirety of 2019. This may seem hardly worth the effort, but the cumulative effect of a thousand frugal decisions keeps me financially on track.

    Whatever it is that’s the opposite of “death by a thousand cuts,” this is it. Maybe “success by a thousand frugal hacks?” Not as catchy, yet ever so practical.

  3. I brought home and laundered a nicely hand-knit glove that I found in the library parking lot. (It looked like it had been there for a couple of days.) The sad thing was sodden and filthy, so I doubted the library could put it into their lost and found box. Now it’s nice and clean, so I’ll drop it off the next time I stop by the library. Hopefully it’ll make its way to its owner. If not, at least I gave it one last chance.

  4. I stopped by my husband’s workplace to pick up free boxes for a friend  who’s moving, I’m repeatedly enjoying scratch cooked black beans with roasted sweet potato cubes for meals, as they’re damned delicious and ridiculously frugal, I went on a “Goodwill Outlet date” with my friend Lise, where I picked up two pairs of pants, (“trousers” for you Brits) as well as a nest of vintage curtain rings. I’ve listed the curtain rings on eBay, and have have already worn both pairs of pants, which miraculously both fit perfectly.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or pay $500,000 to bribe my kids’ entrance into college.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary in Maryland March 12, 2019 at 3:30 pm

1. A friend called and asked if she could have a section of our newspaper. I said yes, and could she bring a couple of tablespoons of salt to get me to grocery shopping. She brought a pound box of kosher salt, which she “doesn’t like.”
2. Got a check and a souvenir for taking in the neighbors’ dog for ten days while they vacationed. The dog was a hoot, but three dogs is at least one too many.
3. One of the home dogs needed more of his heart meds. Used GoodRx. Somewhat cheaper ($20/yr) at Kmart. But walking four blocks to Safeway beats driving 6 miles every three months to Kmart.
4. I pick up odd gloves as I find them. The Mister is wearing black gloves, but that’s all they have in common.
5. Finished 4 potholders and two table toppers from bags of quilting discards given me by a friend. I also freecycled a carful of quilt batting.
6. The Mister is out of town. I picked up the third volume of a fabulous trilogy yesterday and will wrap myself in a quilt, tuck a dog in under each arm, and binge read for the next couple days.
7. I wear a pollen mask in the spring. It saves me a couple hundred a year in allergy meds, but the mask bends my glasses frames. Today I went to Worby Parker, tried on frames, and used a coupon to buy a pair that is mask-compatible.


Mand01 March 12, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Does anyone else have the issue that if they comment on iPad or computer, they can’t sign up to follow the other comments? On iPhone you can.

1. Working from home, saving two hours of commuting and a lot of petrol.
2. Last night none of us felt like cooking so we all made our own dinner from various freezer and fridge fixings. Older kids for the win. I’m finding now I need to cook dinner less frequently as the graze during the afternoon and don’t want dinner as much. Fine by me.
3. I baked on the weekend using fruit from my garden and other things I had on hand.
4. Reading a new library book. So far it’s chief attraction seems to be that it sends me off to sleep. Not a bad thing necessarily…it was a book I did consider buying before I made a no new book vow. Phew!
That’s about it


Danielle March 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Love your #4 and feel your pain. I have no idea what my latest library audio book is about and it’s talked me to sleep at least 8 times….


K D March 12, 2019 at 4:22 pm

1. I walked to the grocery store to buy $.27/pound cabbage and found a dime on the way home.

2. The daylight in the evening has led to walks after dinner. Good for our health, which can save money.

3. I’m continuing to enjoy ebooks and audio books from the public library.

4. I have a new credit card that will earn me a bunch of Southwest Airlines points after a minimum spend. With two family weddings in the near future they will be valuable.

5. I went to a friend’s house for leftovers for lunch and then we ran errands together.


Caroline March 12, 2019 at 5:14 pm

1. Bought gift card for direct report’s birthday with cc points that have been languishing for years.
2. Don’t really like quinoa after several tries; found a recipe for quinoa breakfast porridge that I still don’t love, but can tolerate until I finish up the bag!
3. Stopped at the cheapest gas station even though their pay at the pump feature has been down for weeks bc it meant a .15 per gallon savings… And the pay at the pump feature was working again!
4. Requested the library add a digital Flipster subscription to a magazine they offer a print version of in the library. Fingers crossed bc it’s the only one husband still subscribes to and it’s not cheap.
5. Combined some super-salty hummus with roasted butternut squash puree from freezer and veggie stock. Verdict: edible. Just. I can make it til Friday before buying groceries. Just!


Alexandra Evans March 13, 2019 at 4:01 am

I also don’t like quinoa straight up but I found if I cook a half a cup of quinoa and a half a cup of jasmine rice at the same time with 2 cups of liquid I love it. I feel like I’m getting more protein less carbs that way


Mary in VA March 13, 2019 at 7:36 am

I do the same thing, adding quinoa to rice.


Caroline March 14, 2019 at 2:48 am

Thanks for the tip, I might try that.


Tonya Parham March 12, 2019 at 6:51 pm

1. Instead of a new 10K kitchen remodel, the missus and I painted the kitchen, did the whole painting the cabinets and put in a nice backsplash. We also got a nice shelving unit from IKEA for the plates (there are few decent thrifting options for furniture here and what we needed was VERY specific) and that freed up enough space to actually put food in the tiny kitchen! I love this house but I knew when we bought the place, it would be hard to fit all my dishes and gadgets and food in it.

We also pared down a lot of stuff and I got rid of some stuff that I don’t use. The instant pot made many of my crockpots and rice cookers obsolete. I also have gone plant based and don’t bake as much as I did, so I got rid of some bakeware. All in all, we spent about $450 but it’s less than a 10K kitchen and I am JUST as happy.

2. We ate out a lot while doing that work– a frugal fail– but since, I am happy eating at home and think that will continue. We’ve even cancelled out weekly lunch at the Indian Buffet in favor of making food at home.

3. Used a free Kroger pick up for groceries last week. We have three Kroger stores and no one of them is pleasant to me. One is out of the way and hard to park at. Another is on my way to work but the parking lot is hard to find a spot in and the third is a little out of the way but HUGE and I just can’t go in there without a freaking anxiety attack. It’s huge and takes forever. The pick up service– I think– is a good option for things I can’t get–like tempeh or tofu or bread and soy milk– at Aldi and even if I were going to pay for it, I would probably save more because I’m not walking 165 aisles to find all the specific things I want. I haven’t decided if I will use it when it’s not free but I think I see a value in it. The hour and a half I save on that could be used cleaning my house so I want to cook and be in it!

4. Put some DVDs on hold at the library.

5. Got rid of cable and am rewatching The Office on Netflix. I hadn’t watched in since in aired. Still a great show!


Christine March 14, 2019 at 7:56 am

We recently got rid of cable too and have rediscovered The Office too. I forgot how funny it is. We also love the lack of long commercials to have to sit through.


Liz B. March 14, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Big fan of The Office here. I discovered it after two friends at work were talking about it. I binge watched all of the seasons last year while recovering from knee surgery. So, so funny!


Susan from Cincinnati March 15, 2019 at 2:57 am

I agree with the whole Kroger thing. Our Kroger did a huge remodel less than 10 years ago and I had to relearn the new layout. Several years ago they rearranged the inside and it took me a long time to relearn that switch. Two weeks ago I went in to shop and they are doing another huge rearrangement. I literally don’t know where anything is except in produce and cold/freezer section!


Tonya Parham March 16, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Same here– it was my favorite Kroger and they doubled it. But the saving grace was that the natural food and produce were together with the bread and canned beans next to that so when I went in, I was in one area and didn’t have to traipse past loads of crap (junk food). But then I went in one day and the Natural section was gone! I asked a lady, “Where did the natural foods go?” (I’m vegan and that’s where all the items I used were largely other than bread, produce, beans and rice) and she waved her arm and said, “It’s everywhere now!”)

I just have to think that it’s intentional that they do this so you have to relearn the lay out and be exposed to impulse purchase items!


Mary in VA March 15, 2019 at 8:45 am

Tonya, I feel the same way about Walmart Supercenters. I love their prices and selection, but I have to mentally prepare myself to wander through a warehouse-sized store (“shuffle through” might be more accurate, when it’s crowded). It can be very stressful if I’m trying to just pop in and grab one or two items.


Jennifer March 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I only shop at Kroger or Walmart early in the morning to avoid crowds. It seems less stressful if there aren’t as many shoppers. I also use Dollar General because of the smaller size store. I have anxiety if I have to go in the store when crowded. I seem to completely lose focus and forget things even when they are on my list!


Karen B March 12, 2019 at 8:10 pm

1) I meal planned for the week mostly using items we already had.

2) We made some progress on a dreaded, awful chore that once completed will save us money.

3) After working on dreaded, awful chore didn’t feel like cooking but did it anyway.

4) Making frugal plans for my son’s Spring Break. He has a little work to get caught up on, but will have plenty of time for fun including making a cardboard box diorama of the set of a favorite movie (his idea), Readathon (he’s been so busy with school that he hasn’t had as much time as he’d like for reading his choices), spring break special movie theater matinee for only $1 total if we don’t buy snacks (and snacks are half the price of other theaters if we do choose to buy), him doing a little cooking (getting my teen to work on this adult life skill has gotten easier since he recently became perpetually hungry), and 1 day to goof off playing a favorite video game with snacks and meals from the game (It’s his vacation and he’s been short on fun time).

5) I noticed what book my son had checked out from the school library and asked he’d read the previous books in the series. Yes, but that was the last one he’d been able to get so far. They’re popular and checked out perpetually. The next 5 are now on hold for him at the public library and he’ll have them in a few days to read over break.


Bethany March 12, 2019 at 9:49 pm

Yea for books!!!


Lindsey March 12, 2019 at 8:13 pm

1. Did a mystery restaurant shop, so a free meal for me and the husband.
2. Cut the husband’s hair which seems to grow at super sonic speed. I would swear I trim it every other week, but it saves us a lot of money so I am not about to send him back to a barber.
3. Friend’s husband died a few months ago. I know how often people fade away after the initial sympathy, so I had written myself a note to invite her over this month. She came over and I made borscht and a loaf of dark rye bread. She brought me a little bag with 20 plus boxes of nose guards (I think they are called that, the things that open your nostrils…my husband uses them) and unopened packages of razor blades. We will make good use of them and she is so frugal that she would never have thrown them away, so I was genuinely happy to take them.
4. Made four cards for upcoming birthdays.
5. Needed some mayo but did not want to go to the store just for that so made enough to last for several rounds of tuna sandwiches (which we eat A LOT).


Laura March 13, 2019 at 8:07 am

No 3 – so kind of you!


A. Marie March 13, 2019 at 9:51 am

I’m with Lindsey and Laura on the #3. I too try to make a point of following up later with folks who have had losses, because I’ve been on the receiving end of the “fade” Lindsey describes.


Liz B. March 14, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Love your #3. Making a note in my phone to follow up with a friend of mine who recently lost her dad. (Not the same as a spouse, but she’s also dealing with finding long term care for her mom, and selling parent’s house).


Pattilou March 12, 2019 at 8:20 pm

1. I wrote to two different companies to express my opinion of their products and received coupons for free products from both companies.
2. I bought a groupon that gets me $20.00 worth of food for 9.95 from a local Chinese restaurant. I planned on taking a friend to lunch because she helped me out this past week but she had to cancel at the last minute. I ordered take out instead and will get 4 to 5 meals out of it. Not the healthiest way to eat but that,and a few things from the freezer, will get me through the week without grocery shopping.
3. I had a work function and I managed to pull together an appropriate outfit from my closet instead of buying something new.
4. I went to a library book sale and it was fill a bag for $6.00 day. The sale was great and the books I found were in excellent condition. I walked away with 17 books and 4 audio books. I was able to find one, if not two, books for each member of my family for Christmas.
5. I found a pack of batteries in a puddle in the parking lot of the grocery store. I picked it up and wiped it off. They will definitely get used.


Bethany March 12, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Yea for books!!!


Pattilou March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

I agree Bethany!


Jessica March 13, 2019 at 11:48 am

Pattiloud, I’m so jealous of your book sale! Please say you live in California, because I want to go!


Pattilou March 13, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Sorry Jessica, Pennsylvania.


Mary in VA March 15, 2019 at 8:52 am

I adore library book sales, especially bag sales!


kathleen March 12, 2019 at 9:10 pm

1. Working every day this week. My head may explode, and I may quit after this, but that is a decision for another day. (I’ve worked for this company for almost 20 years, and I contemplate quitting regularly…usually during tax season…so I probably won’t this time either. lol)
2. Hired my 13yo granddaughter to help me around the house yesterday evening. Yes, I paid her $20, but while I decluttered, my carpets and rugs were vacuumed, my floors were swiffered, the baseboards were dusted as well as lots of shelves, and the trash was taken out. She is saving for a particular item, and I’m glad that she is willing to work for it. It also made me work harder while she was here. I may hire her again. 🙂
3. Tax refund was direct deposited into savings.
4. After lots of browsing airbnb and vrbo, I reserved a cabin at a KOA camp for a summer vacation which will give us more room for the price. I spent $30 for an annual membership, because it saved me $140 off of this transaction. A friend and I will split the cost of the cabin as well as fuel and meals, and I will get to spend a week in a part of the country I’ve never visited before (at friend’s family reunion).
5. Returned my library books early, because I had finished them. There were waitlists for them, so I feel like it’s considerate to return as soon as I finish in those cases. And it keeps me from forgetting about them and going overdue.
Of course I swung by the library while I was in the area on other errands. 🙂


Bethany March 12, 2019 at 9:38 pm

Friend gave us two grapefruits. Yummy snack!

Downloaded a free countdown app. 72 days until my gastric bypass surgery. 72 days to exercise, eat right, and hydrate to prep. That app is motivating me!!!

Kids are trying a free trial of VMathLive. If they like it, I’ll use $20 of our charter school funds to get it for them next year.

Walked and talked on the sidewalks at the park with my husband while the kids played. He loves to talk. Lol! Nice free way to spend the night.

I was notified by Netflix that I have another free trial week. I’ll save it for recovery week after surgery. Oh and my husband was told by his boss to apply for family medical leave instead of using his vacation we saved for it, so extra week off than we had planned.


Karen B March 13, 2019 at 5:31 am

If your kids are at math levels grade 1-8, have you tried Prodigy? There’s a free version, although if you do a paid membership the kids get more digital goodies. My son liked it enough to play it voluntarily, not just by assignment from mom. Getting answers right helps you advance in the game.


Bethany March 13, 2019 at 8:04 am

We haven’t tried Prodigy. Thanks for the tip!


Jill A March 13, 2019 at 3:15 am

1. I cancelled my Amazon Prime subscription and my daughter signed up for a Prime student account that we can all use. This will save me $150 over the next two years.
2. I received 16 lbs of free dog food in the mail. I have to try it and review it for Swagbucks. It’s high quality ingredients and my dog loves it.
3. My daughter and I had dinner at my Mom’s house instead of eating out. I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken for 3.99 and my Mom made the sides. We took some leftovers home.
4. Taught my daughter how to make a roast and mashed potatoes. Used up potatoes that would be heading to the compost pile if I didn’t use them soon. We packed it all up and she took it along with Grandma’s leftovers for dinners this next week at school.
5. Eating at home, washing my laundry in cold water and hanging to dry, keeping my thermostat at 62 during the day and 58 at night. Working on Swagbucks and Erewards to earn gift cards for Christmas.


tracy March 13, 2019 at 4:15 am

1. Had a frugal weekend this past weekend. Spent $6 on entertainment (to watch Black Klansman at home Friday eve) but otherwise ate at home, did a run outdoors Saturday, a hike in Forest Park Sunday, cooked food for this week, did laundry, changed beds etc. etc.

2. Did own taxes Sunday. Luckily we don’t owe money overall, but unfortunately as suspected the tax changes were not beneficial for us as we live in a “high tax” state and can no longer fully deduct state and local taxes and mortgage interest. Grateful we only owed a very small amount for federal and will get a small refund for state that will cover that amount. Disappointed not to receive a substantial refund as we have in years’ past but suspected this would be the situation.

3. For Lent this year I am getting rid of one item a day. Filled a bag this weekend, and will continue adding to it. Am also trying to be a better listener as my “positive” intention.

4. Had a mini-buying spree for clothes/shoes over last couple of weeks. This happens when I am tired and stressed. Luckily I snapped out of it fairly quickly and got back on track. Am going to return one item that I don’t need and isn’t flattering. Other items were not expensive and will be good wardrobe additions but I am ready to get back on the nonconsumer wagon in this regard. I have added no unnecessary shopping to my Lenten resolution, and am getting rid of an extra item for each item in.

5. I am not a lifelong or naturally frugal person (see item 4!) and have had to really work to move away from being a spender. For many years even though I made a good salary I carried a balance on my credit cards, often thousands of dollars. That was a hard habit to break and although I haven’t done that for 15 or so years it makes me nervous still. I finally feel I have enough financial discipline to use a credit card for most daily expenses and pay it off at the end of the month. (Actually I pay what I spend pretty much as I go along to avoid “surprises” at the end of the month.) I am now doing this to earn flight miles as we hope to do a family trip to Europe when youngest graduates HS in 3 years and I hope to pay for our flights this way.


MW March 13, 2019 at 7:00 am

Re: point 5- good move paying as you go. Treating it more as a debit card helps keep you honest.


Jill March 13, 2019 at 4:33 am

1. My mom’s 91st birthday is next week and she wants a new suitcase. New, not used. So my sister and I will go halvsies and use all our coupons and rewards that we have. Until then, I’m still working on finding one at Goodwill that she would like.
2. Spent the weekend away with the husband combining work with pleasure. We ate breakfast at the hotel and packed food in a cooler. We did eat out for dinner but once was pizza at a favorite spot and once was for the early happy hour menu which was much more affordable. I wanted to stop for dinner again on our way home but decided to go home and eat the food we already have.
3. Put Rick Steves Travel books on hold at the library to plan future trips – he’s my favorite.
4. Still reading library books, watching netflix (current show we’re watching is Grace and Frankie), wearing my usual clothes and eating mainly at home. Just doing the usual everyday stuff – with the exception of the weekend out of town.
5. My phone, which is quite old in phone years, was having some issues so I took it to Verizon and they fixed it for no charge. The manager just said to think of them when I do purchase a new one.


Isitaneedorawant March 13, 2019 at 5:36 am

You might want to look at EBay. I purchased both NWT and vintage Briggs and Riley for awesome prices. They have a lifetime warranty( you do not have to be original owner). We are heavy travellers and have had airline damage to the bags fixed free of charge over the years. Saves them going to the landfill for ripped off wheels


Bee March 13, 2019 at 6:05 am

Travel Pro also makes a good suitcase, and it is guaranteed. I finally went with a lightweight hard sided bag. I came back from a trip out west and my bag looked like the plane ran over it.


rjr March 13, 2019 at 5:20 am

1. Eating out of the pantry and freezer. Hoping not to grocery shop until the weekend.
2. I always thought Wegman’s was expensive. I used their app, coupons from them and their brand name products and saved a ton of $$ when I went last week.
3. Library books, coffee and lunch from home
4. I am ready for spring and enjoying the past few evenings of it getting dark later.
5. De-cluttering and need to get my house in order. A pain in the neck but free…..


Bee March 13, 2019 at 6:01 am

1) Spring has arrived in Northern Florida! The azaleas are in bloom. The sun is out. The breeze is cool. The birds are singing. It’s just perfect. Contrary to popular belief, perfect weather is a rarity here. So I am taking advantage of this time and getting some outdoor chores done. We borrowed my son’s pressure washer this past weekend to clean the porch, driveway and the north side of the house. Much better and it didn’t cost a thing!

2) I had orthodontic work done recently and I wear a retainer. Unfortunately, it snapped when I was taking it out on Saturday morning. I ordered another, but the orthodontist was going to charge $100 to replace it! It was less than 6 weeks old and it fit much too tightly. I calmly explained this, and the fee was waived. Whew!

3) I had a banking issue recently. I tried to change and auto payment, and it was not done correctly by the customer service representative. It resulted in a late fee and an overdraft charge. I went into the local bank branch and spoke directly to the manager. He waived the $70 in fees and changed the account making it fee-free. It is amazing when you are calm and respectful how much you can get done.

4) I continue to sell items on eBay. My neighbor saved several small boxes and packing materials for me. I try to reuse boxes for items that I sell, but I am especially happy to be given other types of packing materials such as air pillows.

5) I am doing all the usual things – cooking from scratch, drinking filtered water from reusable bottles, brewing my own coffee, wearing thrifted clothing, cleaning my home myself, reading library books, washing my own car and bathing my dear old dog at home.


Cindy in the South March 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Azaleas are blooming in South Alabama also. I love spring.


MW March 13, 2019 at 6:57 am

– Dismantled the washing machine and cleaned out the pump filter. Not only saved the cost of a service call, but also pulled out of the filter 2 baby socks, a few bobby pins, and $3.16 in change.
– Husband managed to unclog the bathroom sink- again, saved the cost of a service call.
– Husband has found a lead on replacing a shower door, instead of having to replace the whole dang unit.
– Enjoyed a date with my husband using gifted museum passes, swapped child care, and our free bus passes. We did buy lunch at the food carts near our house, a rare treat.
– Still bringing my lunch, making my coffee, riding the bus to work and fun with my free pass, checking out digital books from the library and wearing my thrifted wardrobe. Those little choices do indeed add up.


Liz B. March 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Re: your #1…..WOW. I’d be afraid to do that – is it hard? I suspect ours would be full of cat and dog hair, and maybe a sock of my hubby’s that has bern missing. lol!


Roberta March 13, 2019 at 7:27 am

1. Made dinner last night with the last frozen jar of pumpkin as an addition to our spaghetti sauce, and feta cheese from Grocery Outlet. There was even enough for leftovers! And now I have room to freeze the three remaining pumpkins I was given, before the weather changes and they go to rot.
2. Froze eggs. Last time I tried they didn’t work out great, but we have so many eggs and I don’t want to have to buy them this next winter, so I’m trying again.
3. Making lemon meringue pie tomorrow out of free lemons I brought home from the food bank. (They donated them to the chickens, who would not have appreciated them). Tomorrow is Pi day, for all the math geeks out there! We celebrate with pie.
4. Finished most of the longstanding chores around the house this week, including pruning the roses (I always put this off). We should have beautiful blooms this year!
5. Not frugal — our truck may have had it. It’s been at the shop for 3 days so far, and I’m concerned it may not pass smog. Frugal — I’ve convinced my husband to go back down to a two-car family for a while. Hopefully, we can last until we’ve saved up enough to buy a new-to-us car for cash. If not, every month we last will be a step down that road. It’s going to be a little hard because we’ve gotten spoiled with one car per driver, but it will be worth it not to have to take out a loan! Where we live we really need a car because we’re too far out to walk anywhere.


janine March 13, 2019 at 7:47 am

1. Free steak dinner at a favorite restaurant, the only catch being a presentation from a jacuzzi -like salesman. We couldn’t afford his products but he did a good job of presentation.
2. Looking for sale cabbage to serve with the $2.99 corned beef I will be serving to the family on St. Patrick’s Day.
3. Putting together another box of books to sell to a half price book store for a couple of dollars.
4. Still have a few $$ left on Xmas gift cards which will fulfill my desire to spend freely without thought to the consequences.
5. Got a senior discount on a much needed haircut. Put off this chore for several months which saved me the price of my usual trim.


LB March 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

1. Chugging through week 2 bringing my lunch every day. Have settled into a nice ham and cheese rut that I’ll be happy to keep going for a while.

2. The more sun comes in, the warmer our apartment is when I get home. With this sunny week I’ve been able to keep the heat low or off for a while even with cold weather outside!

3. Listed 2 pairs of shoes that I adore but never wear on Poshmark.

4. Traveling to NYC for an interview tomorrow. Opting to drive instead of take the bus ($20 in gas + $12 tolls less than the $56 bus fare with better flexibility) and will be crashing at a friend’s apartment. Going to stock up on some snacks and pb&j’s to avoid buying food.

5. Spoke with our HR department and it seems that the tuition reimbursement requirements are subject to discretion-which means I will be able to pro-rate the money I owe them. I was planning to use my vacation payout to do this and now it’s looking like I’ll be able to handle it without! So relieved.


Gina March 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

It’s not always easy for me to come up with 5 frugal items, but I’m going to try anyways…..
1. I have to get my hair cut often due to my style so I typically choose places like Famous Hair or Best Cuts or Great Clips for cheap haircuts as they save your information plus haircut info in their computer. Typically hairs cuts are anywhere from $11-$15, but this weekend they were having a sale on haircuts for $5.99. I took advantage of the sale & saved some $$
2. I had to get a prescription refilled, so I combined a coupon with it which gave $15 in free groceries for transferring a prescription. Plus by transferring to this new pharmacy plus checking to see which insurance would be cheaper (we have double medical insurance), I saved another $16.20.
3. We celebrate co-workers birthdays at work by taking turns bringing in a birthday treat. I typically make a homemade treat when it’s my turn. The birthday boy had me make a cake using his grandma’s recipe & i had all the ingredients plus he said it tasted just like his grandma’s cake!!
4. We went on a road trip last weekend with another couple and they treated us to dinner on the way home (we had treated them previously), but it was still nice to be treated when not expected.
5. Used a $10 reward coupon for Dick’s sporting goods. They didn’t have original item I was looking for, so instead of letting my reward lapse, I treated myself to a pretty blue under armour shirt that will be perfect for spring/summer & by shopping the clearance rack, I only spent $2.97 out of pocket.

Wow, that was easier than I thought! I love these types of posts!


ellen March 13, 2019 at 10:00 am

Love #3


Liz B. March 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm

We do something similar to your #3…..I make a killer Guinness chocolate cake, which is usually what is requested by the person I’m bringing in a birthday treat for. I keep Guinness in stock at home just for this purpose.


Mary Beth Danielson March 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

1. Not only did my husband do our Taxes, he did them for some of our kids and the parents of a kid-in-law. He also does them every Thursday at the local library via AARP. Go here if you want to check out FREE professional tax preparation (you don’t have to be poor or old) (He just got an email. Their group of volunteer tax-preparers has done 150 tax returns so far this season with the IRS reporting NO rejections.)
2. We went to a production of “The Tragedy of King Richard II” that was produced and filmed in London. Viewed from the burnt-popcorn-smelling Downer Theater in Milwaukee. I love “live theater” for $15 a pop.
3. Decluttered two lovely old things on eBay. Then someone suggested “Twelve Months of Monastery Soups” cookbook. I don’t buy cookbooks anymore, but … this one sounds intriguing – the monastery cook makes soups from stuff in the monastery garden in upstate New York. I ordered it for $4 – for both book AND shipping from eBay! Making Indian curry lentil carrot soup tonight.
4. Some letter-writer on NCA wrote, a month ago, about watching and loving “Longmire.” Checked it out that night and then we binge-watched ALL 65 episodes. We used our son’s Netflix access; he put us on his subscription and is footing the $2 extra per month for us. Anyways, we loved the show and that was really fun. Thanks!
5. Watched an interesting video on 10 items of clothing all French women own. (Beautifully cut blazer, perfect black and white shirts, a pair of quality leather flats and a pair of black stilettos, some other stuff.) I was amazed that I own none of the recommended items, and yet somehow, I continue to exist.
I think I need to make a list of ten garment items non-consuming person need to own. Hmmm. (I worked for a social service contractor in a jail for years; one of the items on our dress code was “shoes one can run in”.)


KJD509 March 13, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Re: #4 – ooh, I took the Longmire suggestion too! Loving it. College-aged daughter will watch it with us, and that and really good (read: expensive and caloric) dinner is about the only family togetherness that will get her out of her room these days, so that’s an extra plus.

Also, that dress code item is . . . thought-provoking.


Nancy from mass March 13, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Since I am not allowed to work the rest of the week (doctors orders) and there’s never anything on TV I was thinking that I might binge watch Longmire again. That’s one thing can watch over and over again


Mary Beth Danielson March 15, 2019 at 8:39 am

I’m a little late to come back here, but in case anyone is looking. We LOVED Longmire – and we also LOVED The Killing and The Tunnel (British, with Dillane and Poesy).


lauz March 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm

hehe #5
I work in a correctional centre too. My personal work dress code also includes shoes that don’t set off the metal detectors so you don’t have to take them off getting into work, clothes that don’t need belts, also so you don’t set the metal detectors off, clothes that easily hold the duress alarms so that you don’t keep accidentally setting them off and clothes that aren’t the same colour as the prison uniforms!


Lindsey March 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Your remark reminded me of when I was very young in both age and lawyering and had to visit someone on death row at one of the state penitentiaries. Each time I had to sign a statement that I understood that if I were taken hostage, they would not negotiate for my release. You do a very difficult job, one where it can be hard to maintain your humanity and compassion; judging from my experiences visiting, being a woman means you get a lot of trash talk—and not just from inmates. Thank you for doing a job that is needed but not always respected.


Cindy in the South March 15, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Lindsey, when I was a defense attorney, before becoming a prosecutor, I used to visit death row also and it was difficult to see the client. We had to make prior arrangements weeks in advance, could not come at certain times, etc.


Cindy in the South March 15, 2019 at 5:17 pm

You have a difficult job.


Lindsey March 13, 2019 at 4:33 pm

If you have Prime and like mysteries and history, check out the Brother Cadfael series, set in medieval times. Stars Derek Jacobi.


A. Marie March 13, 2019 at 10:57 am

FFT, Recognizing My Limitations Edition:

(1) I have a call in to a recommended local plumber for our upstairs bathroom sink’s faucet, which has sprung leaks at two locations. One of DH’s guy friends has tried to fix this faucet in the past, and I feel it’s time to call in a pro (sigh). But in the meantime, I’m collecting all the water from the drips and using it to bucket-flush the toilet, water houseplants, etc.

(2) I took our tax paperwork to the trusted accountant we’ve used for many years. Although our tax situation is considerably simpler than it was back in DH’s self-employment/landlord days, I’ve given myself permission not to try to learn the tax code (or plumbing, for that matter) at my age and under the stress of caregiving for DH. (Also, the accountant’s office has Girl Scout cookies for sale at the front desk. Further frugal fail for three boxes of Thin Mints.)

(3) Now, on to actual accomplishments. I made one of the cheapest and best soups of modern times from a soup box kit (brown and red lentils and barley, plus a very good packet of spices) gifted to me by a friend, plus half a jar of tomato sauce (made by a neighbor from my own 2018 tomatoes) and the juices from a pork butt braised in dark beer (well strained for fat and other residue). Nom nom nom!

(4) Looking forward to the official start of gardening season, when I begin raising seedlings under lights. As a Jane Austen fan and scholar, I’ve begun a tradition of doing this on Lady Day, aka the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25. Lady Day was one of the four “quarter days” of the year in JA’s time, when important business was transacted.

(5) Finally, the LL Bean “Weather Challenger 3-in-1” coat I recently scored at a thrift store has been getting rave reviews all over town. Gosh, you’d think I’d paid retail price for it. 🙂


KJD509 March 13, 2019 at 12:05 pm

A Marie, there is nothing non-frugal about calling in professional help for an upstairs plumbing problem. Think of the cost if it got worse and flooded both floors! Sounds like a plumber is a wise, frugal, and self-compassionate choice.


Christine March 14, 2019 at 8:16 am

Thin Mint Frugal Fail…totally understood.


Liz B. March 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm

….because, who can resist the siren song of GS thin mint cookies? Yes. Perfectly understandable.


KJD509 March 13, 2019 at 12:17 pm

1) I keep forgetting to mention this: using up all the odd bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., that we hauled from the old house. Kids got toiletries in their too-large stockings for many years, and I found dozens of unfinished bottles stashed in corners and closets in the teen quadrant of the basement (which they were supposed to keep clean themselves). We may never have to buy shampoo again.

2) Fun, free afternoon of cards with 3 of the 5 kids plus Grandma this weekend. There’s nothing like playing fast, raucous, super-competitive games once everybody is old enough to snark without anyone’s feelings getting hurt.

3) Cooking from freezer and pantry – hoping to keep it going until we get back from a weekend at the beach on the 25th, but I think I’ll have to buy cabbage to go with the already purchased on sale corned beef.

4) Tracking steps and miles walked/run on the free versions of fancy athletic apps. They provide plenty of info, and I never get tired of sending the suggestions that I spend $ to upgrade straight to the trash.

5) No Lear jet, no bribes on behalf of the college kids, and unending gratitude that my blood pressure meds work or I’d be in sad shape right now thanks to my fury over that story. Ugh.


Ava March 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm

KJD- I sent my kids a text saying that I was sure they would be glad to know that I didn’t spend $500,000 on bribes to get them into the schools of their choice. They did it on their own merits, with their own test scores. Good for a frugal laugh from them.


Crosby March 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm

1. Wearing a wool sweater around the apartment to stay warm. My grandma bought it for my mom when she went to Ireland in the late 80’s. My mom had it packed away and found it when she was cleaning out their attic. It has no moth holes or any damage so now I have a new-to-me vintage Irish wool sweater!
2. My partner and I meal planned for this week (he does lunches and I do dinners) and he figured out he could cook from the freezer/pantry! He normally doesn’t plan meals this ayay, so yay!! We only needed a few things from the grocery store this week.
3. Continuing to volunteer at a local yoga studio in exchange for free classes.
4. Getting back into the habit of healthy eating, which means consuming less meat, sugar, and refined carbs. It also hopefully means a lower potential for medical expenses in the future.
5. Currently (4:30PM) using all my willpower to not go downstairs and buy a snack from the vending machine. I’ll be home soon!!


Bethany March 13, 2019 at 8:11 pm

Good job cleaning up your diet!!! I’m working on my portions and keeping snacks in check.


Crosby March 14, 2019 at 6:11 am

Thanks Bethany!! Although it is less convenient to eat healthier, it sure does make me feel better! Kudos to you as well!


Christine March 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm

1. I wanted to have a map of the Appalachian Trail mounted on foam board to keep a visual track of where DH is as he hikes. and was prepared to pay for it. We had purchased the map from Amazon(free shipping with Prime) but needed a backing for push pins. The animal shelter where I volunteer purchased a new LARGE message board which shipped in a huge box with more heavy cardboard packing inside. One piece happened to be a perfect fit on which to mount my map with a bit of hot glue.
2. Going to a free “Fleetwood Mac” concert at the library tonight.
3. I saved over 50% on my grocery bill using BOGOs, store coupons and manufacturers coupons combined. Spent $23, saved $29.
4. Walking for exercise and watching reruns of Til Debt Do Us Part on Amazon TV.
5. Batched my errands today and mindfully checked the speedometer to make sure I’m under 65 mph. Yup, a thousand frugal hacks.


Alexandra Evans March 15, 2019 at 8:59 am

I love TIL debt do us part! I’m on season 4. I wish it was an hour as I’d love more details of the changes implemented.


Marci Ellsworth March 13, 2019 at 1:10 pm

You always brighten my day with your “Five Frugal” posts. Would you share your recipe for black beans and sweet potatoes. I just made a batch of beans and need some ways to serve them other than over rice. Thanks so much! If I ever get up your way from Houston, TX, I am going to beg you to take me Goodwill Outlet shopping.


Sheila Bauer March 13, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Hahaha! So glad you didn’t bribe your kids’ way into college. Me either.


Momma L March 13, 2019 at 1:58 pm

1. Did my taxes, thanks to increasing my HSA card balance this year and asking HR to withold more, my tax bill was considerably less this year. Still owed, but for the first time I saved up more than it actually costs.
2. Putting that extra savings towards upgrading my kitchen. DH is getting older and I’m anticipating him not being able to handle the home and yard maintenance. We plan to spread out some improvements over the next few years to get it in top shape to sell. DH painted the walls this week, will start on the woodwork soon. Found a slab on clearance (it was the last one they had) to make the countertop after shopping for one for weeks and weeks.
3. Was gifted several pairs of shoes, some I love and some not so much. Sold a pair of Sperrys right away on ebay.
4. Went through my shoes and listed some I wore very little.
5. I already save veggie bits in the freezer to make broth, started to also add the water from when I steam veggies for dinner .


lulutoo March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

How about “Success by a thousand budget cuts”?


Christine March 14, 2019 at 8:21 am

Love it. Sounds like a good title for a self help book for us NCAs.


Susie's Daughter March 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Katy – thank you for leading from the front. Here’s to success by 1K frugal hacks!

1) Found a dime on the ground when I stopped to fill up the car, which was running on fumes.

2) Put off grocery shopping until today and got double rewards points at our local grocer for shopping on Wednesday. Typically we get 1 point for every $5 spent and when you reach 80 points, you get $5 off your bill. I try to use the $5 for something more expensive or that I wouldn’t otherwise buy (like local donuts or fancier coffee). One woman I know saves her points all year to pay for holiday cooking. I am not there yet, but good on her!

3) While on vacation recently, I resisted buying what we think will be our next family read, “Greenglass House”, because I was pretty certain our fabulous local library would have it. Picked it up at the library today. 🙂

4) Keeping better track of my mileage this year for work purposes so that I can be reimbursed or claim it on our taxes next year. Already it is more than I would have estimated.

5) Making a pumpkin pie with frozen home grown pumpkin for pie day tomorrow. Leftovers are fair game for breakfast on Friday. Yum!


Katy March 13, 2019 at 4:50 pm

1. Since I had the time, I cooked my noodles the energy-efficient way, by bringing the water to a boil, adding noodles, stirring, putting lid back on and turning off the burner. It takes longer, so when I’m not rushed I use this method.
2. Our grocery totals have gone way up this month, but that’s a good thing, because our eating out totals have dropped. Even on days that we’re not at home, I pack sandwiches and we eat in the car or go to a park for a picnic. We can’t afford eating out right now, and it’s had the added bonus of helping me maintain my weight. 🙂
3. Borrowed books and 2 DVDs from the library.
4. Ordered a free Shutterfly book. I do one for every year and try to wait for the free promotion, so I just have to pay shipping.
5. My husband made a gun rack for our son’s bb gun. We had bought a shelf with hearts carved in it, but replaced the sides with hearts. He then was able to cut one of the hearts in half,and turn each side upside-down, making a hook, which he used for the gun rack.


Jennifer March 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm

1. Dd is sick. I had an appointment for tomorrow, but when her fever spiked tonight I ended up taking her to a local urgent care. This one however is billed as a DR appointment, so the cost is the same. I used my flex card for the copay and the Tamiflu she was prescribed. Now I won’t have to miss work tomorrow to take her in.
2. While at CVS getting the prescription I walked through the soup aisle and noticed dh’s favorite soup was on clearance for cheaper than I have ever seen it. I bought all 3 remaining cans. He takes soup when we don’t have leftovers.
3. Had a staff meeting before work and enjoyed a free muffin from Panera for my breakfast.
4. Cooked dinner from scratch at 4:30 so that everyone could eat before their respective evening activities. I used up leftover sausage in my spaghetti sauce and the remains of a box of pasta.
5. Made a batch of breakfast sandwiches – costing about half of what it would cost in the store. Also made a homemade quick bread for our breakfast.


Jessica March 14, 2019 at 6:46 am

1) Listed a nightstand on a local Facebook group that usually gets better pricing than general marketplace items, but will post to marketplace if that doesn’t work
2) just ordered shower curtain rings off of ebay instead of amazon, saving $9
3) will submit expenses for work travel in a timely way to make sure I get fully reimbursed for cash expenses
4) Have a few more items to list this weekend
5) buying plants today – will get them at the grocery store instead of the fancy plant store — excellent quality at a much lower price.


Connie C March 14, 2019 at 7:44 am

1) Just returned from vacation in the warm south. We stayed with friends who winter there so no housing costs.
2) Checked online pricing from multiple sites to find the lowest cost for specific deodorant my sons use to find the best price. Ordered enough (since it won’t go bad) to get free shipping to my house.
3) Picked up gloves I like at Target. They were marked $3 for two pair, when I rang them up in self check out they were $0.90! With the red card savins I paid $0.85 plus tax!
4) Working on Swagbucks again after we returned home from vacation.
5) Brought my lunch to work three out of four days this week.


Mary in VA March 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Re: #3, I love those clearance prices! I’m making the rounds of shops looking for clearance clothing for local shelters.


LM March 14, 2019 at 8:01 am

1. I cut my own hair the other night. I took off all of the length and had my husband even it out for me.

2. I had another .40 worth of gas points, so I filled up yesterday saving a total of $5.71.

3. I found a penny this morning. I haven’t found much money yet this year so I’ll take what I can get.

4. I earned another $10 Walmart gift card for taking some surveys about Walmart.

5. I had a day off yesterday, so I took my son to the children’s museum. We have a family membership we were gifted for Christmas last year, so other than gas to get there, it was free. He had a blast!

6. One extra since I was short one last week…I was about to drop my son’s preschool deposit in the mail when I got an email from the school saying I forgot to sign the check for the registration fee. I offered to swing by this afternoon to sign it, and I’ll drop off the deposit while there. The school is about a half mile from home, so it won’t be out of my way and I’ll save a stamp.


SL March 14, 2019 at 3:23 pm

1st time responding. Love the website.
1. Found a dime on the floor of a store.

2. Returned equipment to cable company. Will try to live stream instead. The cable guy said he could give me a good deal if I returned. Savings will be huge if we don’t go back .

3. Today is pi day 314… local store was selling pies normally 6.99 for 3.14. Pie was delicious.

4. Got 2 great movies from library.

5. Signed up for T mobile. Great savings foor 55+. Even got to keep our old phones. $70.00 monthly. Includes taxes and fees.

I really enjoy reading how everyone saves. Wish I was a better seller in the markerplace. I am a goodwill shopper. Never know what shows up.


Christine March 17, 2019 at 1:10 pm

I totally forgot about pi day 314. I did however remember sleep day on the 15th. I actually didn’t remember…just happened to wake up at 9:18 a.m.!


ouvickie March 14, 2019 at 4:52 pm

1) It’s finally warmed up enough to unplug the heater in our well house – yahoo! I look forward to a lower bill at least until Summer kicks in.
2) I dropped by Big Lots and decided to buy 2 bags of the IAMs cat food. Hopefully that will last the rest of the month.
3) Hubby finished off the rest of the beef stew the other night and I ate a sandwich for dinner. I was tempted to buy dinner on the way home, but I’m glad I didn’t spend the money.
4) I stopped by the Dollar Tree on the way home yesterday and bought facial tissue and a few other needs.
5) I’m thrilled my retirement fund is gaining again .


Jenelle March 15, 2019 at 4:45 am

1. Visited the Goodwill bins to stock up on some Ebay items to sell. My niece was in town for her spring break and went with me. This was her first time. We had fun rummaging through all of the clothing. My sister, her mom, is even more frugal then I and taught her to go through all the pockets of items that she is looking at. (smart women) I found 70 cents and she found a pill and a mint!! Though I had to take a day off of work, it was worth it to spend the day with my niece. I love seeing them as adults on their own.

2. We are having a brief warm up and it felt so nice to take a few layers off and turn the heater off.

3. Hubby has been working later in the evenings this week, so the kids and I have been picking at leftovers and snacky type foods instead of cooking anything (and just making more leftovers). For some reason I get satisfaction when I have an empty (or near empty) fridge.

4. Right now we have no real needs (other than BIG stuff that has to wait to be tackled…like replacing windows), so there isn’t anything I’m really struggling to purchase. I call that a win.

5. all of the usual: mending when things are broken, packing my lunch, taking snacks in the car when we go somewhere, etc.


isa March 15, 2019 at 7:23 am

1- ordered grocery online (sales) to get a free bag of frozen mango and a free box of chicken strock
2- Using my Netflix subscription more (I’m binge watching Good Girls at the moment!)
3- Library!!! Free loans!!! Love books!
4- DD is having a special dance at school where they have to wear all white. I never spend money on that kind of stuff. She is putting a gorgeous flowergirl dress that she already own for a wedding last year. Not like she will re-wear this, so if she gets it dirty, well, it’s life
5- Got security cameras cheaply on Amazon (Wyze) so I can feel more secure around a sketchy neighbor and his pittbull. Less than 100$ to get two, and shipped express. The quality is very good too, yay!


Susan March 15, 2019 at 12:58 pm

1. Used CVS extra bucks buy three stuffed Easter bunnies for my grandkids. OOP $2.91
2. Got Senior discount on Egypt exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center and saved five dollars.
3. Got senior discount at Paris exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum and saved six dollars.
4. Used gift cards for lunch. Four lunches $6.
5. 30% off a gallon of paint saving $10.80.


Alison Hicinbothem March 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm

My FFTs:
1. My daughter had bought me 4 scratch off lottery tickets for my birthday at the beginning of the month. Finally got around to turning them in thinking I won $10. Nope, I won $240!!! Whaaa? I gave my daughter a taste of my win.
2. Picked up season 6 of Game of Thrones for dh from the library.
3. We’ve been eating out of the fridge this week and no take out. For some reason I have a hankering for grilled cheese sandwiches. Dd made chicken stir fry last night and I was excited to have a “real” meal.
4. I’ve been enjoying our Netflix subscription and have watched a couple more Marie Kondo Tidying Up. Last night on regular tv I got sucked in to The Shawshank Redemption. Love that movie.
5. Told hubby I didn’t want to do our annual spring trip to Florida so that will save us some big bucks.


Liz B. March 16, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Hubs and I are HUGE Game of Thrones fans. We just re-watched the last season on Amazon, in anticipation of (sob) the final season starting in April. We get HBO Now as an Amazon add-on.
And I, too, love The Shawshank Redemption. That, and The Green Mile are two Steven King movie adaptations that are faves of mine.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: