Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 25, 2019 · 63 comments

  1. I didn’t sell much this week, although it makes sense as I didn’t do any thrifting. (Which translates to stale “merchandise.”) However, I did sell a Jonathan Adler dachshund figurine, a pair of Nerf bandanas, a vintage horror movie pin, an American Girl doll, some vintage wooden drawer knobs and a small wooden table that I’d painted awhile back.

    Supposedly someone is coming by this afternoon for a sewing table and someone tomorrow for some Danskos. However, I know well enough to not count my chickens before they hatch.

  2. I braved Sunday’s grocery mayhem and drove to Winco to buy the supplies for Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast. I was worried that the store would be pure hell, but was pleasantly surprised that it was only the normal amount of weekend busy. I saw that you could get a free turkey with a $100 purchase, so I stocked up on a few non-perishable items such as cat litter and rice. However I was still $7 shy of the $100 mark, so I grabbed two loaves of $5.47 gluten-free bread to reach my goal.

    So expensive, yet the purchases allowed me to get a free turkey.

    For those of you who have access to a Winco, I strongly encourage you to check them out. Not only are they employee owned, (so not prioritizing shareholders over their own employees!) but their groceries are insanely inexpensive. Add in their huge bulk section and they really are the best.

  3. I asked for working PS3 controllers on my Buy Nothing Group as we were down to a single functional one. A neighbor gifted us two, which is great as my house is about to full of young ‘uns for the Thanksgiving break. (A former Japanese exchange student will be spending the week with us.) It’s especially generous as one of the controllers was still in its original packaging!

    Let the games begin!

  4. My daughter’s girlfriend gave me a couple boxes of tulips and daffodils bulbs that her employee was otherwise tossing, (I think I’ll try doing forced bulbs for holiday gifts) I helped myself to an armload of my father’s firewood so we can use the fireplace on Thanksgiving, (thanks, dad!) I got together with a friend and we ended up going for a longish walk to the credit union, my husband took apart and repaired our dining room table, I washed and scrubbed our mildewy shower curtain liner instead of replacing it and I RSVPd “yes” to a free steak dinner, even though I’ll have to sit through a hard sell spiel on predatory retirement products. My son’s next tuition payment in looming and I am in budget-lockdown mode.

  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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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill A November 25, 2019 at 1:41 pm

1. My daughter was gifted a turkey by her employer which we will be using for our Thanksgiving meal. My mother and sister will bring sides to share.
2. I picked up groceries at Aldi and Costco including items needed for Thanksgiving. I filled up my gas tank at Costco and helped myself to free samples also.
3. I splurged on dinner with my daughters Saturday and instead of going to see Frozen 2 we watched Lady and the Tramp on Disney + which is free with Verizon phone service we share.
4. I raked my leaves again this year instead of buying more expensive equipment.
5. I didn’t bribe anyone to investigate my rivals.


P November 25, 2019 at 5:41 pm

LOVE your #5!


Christine November 25, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Love your #5! Wish everyone thought along those lines…


Patricia Koernig November 26, 2019 at 2:19 am

Kindred spirits on #5!


Lisa M. November 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Double 5FF: Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

1. Have all supplies ready for the big meal, purchased at Aldi or big box store in advance. Bought premium canned vegies (young peas & shoe peg corn) previously when on sale at local grocer. Don’t deal with expense & effort of a turkey – have frozen turkey roast with gravy from big box store as 2/3 of us are not big meat eaters. (Sorry meat eater.) Massive Halloween pie pumpkin yielded quantity for 2 pies, 1 each for Thanksgiving & Xmas. Have frozen pie crust & can of whipped cream in fridge purchased at Aldi last Easter. Will make mashed potato casserole using part of institutional sized bag of french-fried onions found at big box store on clearance last Easter, along with potatoes & cream cheese from Aldi, Mardi Gras Salad (using the aforementioned peas & corn & ½ green pepper in the freezer), Spiced Asparagus (using canned asparagus from big box & on-hand spices as I prepare 3x/year) & jellied cranberry (can from Aldi). For vegetarian DD, have frozen Eggplant Rollatinis purchased from Aldi which looked delicious & got vegetarian approval from DD.
Today picked up sparkling juice & orange juice (for Mimosas), both on sale at local grocery store, (plus other loss leaders), along with brioche’ rolls from Aldi. The meal leaves plenty of leftovers & is quite economical.

2. Worked last-minute extra hours last week d/t owner’s socialization activities. Works for me as I love making extra $$s…

3. Used gas station rewards program for recent free give aways: 1# of butter & free Glazer.

4. Have been waiting for an email from spice store as I needed to restock my favorite seasoning. They often send out coupons for a free (& sometimes new) spice either stand alone or with a $5 purchase, most often during cold weather when cooking is in full swing. After not receiving an email for months, received an offer for a free new spice with a $5 purchase. I stopped in & got a free bottle of the new spice (value: $7.69) while restocking the spice I needed.

5. Noticed that DH’s annual holiday gift (Mexican beer) was on sale in the local grocery sales flyer but wanted to compare with big box store. Sale price a full dollar cheaper than big box normal low price, so stopped in to purchase on way home from work. Unfortunately, deal offered only at grocer’s stand-alone liquor stores. Next day on way home from work went to closest grocery liquor store to purchase Santa gift.

6. Another reader mentioned strategy of lengthening time between haircuts to reduce expenses. Got DH to get a haircut & he proudly informed me it had been 3 months since his last cut. Looked back & saw that it has been 8 MONTHS since my last haircut. Not intentional but with insurance changes, waiting on additional new cards so I can combine multiple appointments with 1 trip to city.

7. Recently submitted paperwork for DD’s continuing Good Student discount for her car insurance. Savings is $200-$300/year.

8. DH was intent on going to our favorite fast food hamburger place 2 weeks ago. Used a coupon for a meal deal for 2 & followed up with a survey to receive a free burger with the purchase of a small side & small beverage on next visit. Most often proceed cautiously with deals requiring a purchase but use this offer periodically since it is our/my favorite burger chain.
Spent part of a day off last week having fun with DD & when dinner rolled around, used a BIGI coupon for 2 chicken strip baskets at a different fast food spot meaning DH & I each ate for $3.40 which included 4 chicken strips with sauce, a huge amount of fries & Texas Toast. Later did survey & picked up a free Dilly bar for DD. My frugality helped with feeling no guilt in buying Thai take-out for DD to take home. Well that & the fact that she is 18 & living off campus with no food service.

9. DD’s recent wins: Her favorite bagel chain runs coupons for free bagels & cream cheese with a beverage purchase. Since a shop is located on campus, gave her a recent coupon. She texted me that she had not only remembered to use it but had also used her coffee shop rewards card at the same time since they serve the same brand of coffee. She’s a work in progress & I’m prouder of her efforts than mine.

10. Not only frugal to me but hoping to wider community of citizens & retailers. Was a victim of credit card # theft – learned after 3 charges at same gas station chain across the state where they are in process of having chip readers installed on their credit card machines. Credit card notified us immediately of suspicious charges, changed account #, sent out new cards & waived initial, minor fraudulent charges. Followed up with security & crime prevention at gas store headquarters. Took the time to stop & file a police report despite the low probability of catching the criminal/s & calling police departments in the 3 counties where larger fraudulent charges were subsequently made. Would hope that it might spare a future victim. A cautionary tale – now using cash at gas station until chip machines installed. Sadly, this is the world we live in.


susanna d November 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm

I’m sorry to hear about the credit card fraud in your #10. We just went through something very similar a couple of months ago with my husband’s credit card, and with mine a few years back. Many of our friends and family have had this happen as well. I hate how common credit card number theft is becoming. Thank you for your efforts to spare future victims!


Lisa M. November 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm

susanna d, Thank you for your encouraging words. On the upside, I have learned a lot of security-related info that I did not know before & it’s been very enlightening. I’m also extremely thankful that we are not out a red cent, unlike many victims who are not so fortunate.


Cindy in South November 26, 2019 at 7:56 am

I had it happen with a debit card. Happened, twice, in Virginia, and I live nowhere near there! I have used cash for gas ever since!


Mary Beth Danielson November 26, 2019 at 11:31 am

I don’t know if this will help anyone, but when there was fraud on our account a year ago, I wrote about hos we did credit freezes on them, including the URL’s of how I got the info.


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) November 26, 2019 at 3:48 pm

I have read several articles lately about limiting your risk of identity theft and fraud, including freezing your credit. I need to do this.
The AARP bulletin, also, recently had an article about “the dark web” that was informative as well as horrifying. It really made me take a hard look at my online security – still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) November 26, 2019 at 3:50 pm
susanna d November 25, 2019 at 2:55 pm

1. Stopped at Costco on our way home from our son’s house, since it was right on our route. The closest Costco to our home is 150 miles away, so we try to do our Costco runs when we’re near one.
2. Filled the gas tank at Costco, since the gas prices there were 40 cents per gallon lower than the always-high prices in the towns near us.
3. Picked up a rotisserie chicken while at Costco, and played the “how may meals can we get from this $5 bird” game. So far, it’s been 4 meals plus a gallon of chicken broth for the freezer. Also in the freezer is the remaining rostisserie chicken breast, to be incorporated into a meal at a later date when we’re no longer so tired of chicken (and soon to be turkey-weary as well).
4. Made a bunch of fire starters from dribs and drabs of old candles, the never-ending supply of sawdust that husband’s woodworking generates, and an old egg carton or two. We’ve been using the fireplace a lot, which helps keep us comfortable with the heat at a lower setting.
5. Above mentioned firewood was free courtesy of our amazing neighbors, who offered us the wood from several of the trees they had cut down last year. We have a great mutual-mooching (thanks for that term, Amy Dacyczyn!) relationship, and have probably both saved each other many hundreds of dollars over the years.

Frugal fail – I forgot about the bag of broccoli in the fridge before leaving for our latest visit to our son’s home. Upon returning, the smell was enough to gag a maggot (to quote one of my junior high school teachers). No way that broccoli was going anywhere but the trash. Helped to mask the disgusting odor by burning a free to me scented candle, but I’m still annoyed at myself about the broccoli.


Karen B November 27, 2019 at 6:19 pm

I like that “mutual-mooching” term. We have a friend my husband has helped with late night emergencies like water in the basement and a broken toilet (separate incidents). The friend has pet sat for us several times. We both really appreciate each other. 🙂


Becky November 28, 2019 at 9:56 pm

One of my favorite fire starters when we had a wood burning stove was toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked really well, and it was free!


Kristen | The Frugal Girl November 25, 2019 at 2:59 pm

On the #1…yes to not counting chickens. People can be SO flaky! Even if you are giving something away.

In this sense, I prefer eBay because an eBay person is not usually coming to pick up their package, and so they can’t forget!


Stephanie November 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm

I love that doxie!
1 I made a cute snowman porch craft with a broken cabinet door and hats and fabric from around the house.
2.I cooked up some wilty spinach to use in an egg quiche.
3. Did not buy any new Xmas decor , tho very tempting.
4. Used slow cooker three times last week… no eating out!
5. Had three suspect apples.. cut around rot and diced good parts for overnight oatmeal.


Juhli November 25, 2019 at 4:12 pm

The I am thankful edition –

1. Talked to a neighbor who’s poodle has an ear infection and is deaf from the same over the year’s. Thankful I was shown how to remove hair from our poodle’s ears every 2 weeks instead of relying on groomer to do it. No ear infections in 8 years (knock on wood) so that is one vet bill I am grateful we have never had although there are many other types we have had. I do refer to it as torturing the dog as she hates it!
2. We are not hosting Thanksgiving this year and in fact are celebrating on Saturday with a son and DIL at their potluck Friendsgiving. Taking homemade cookies and apple galette so pretty frugal for me. Grateful to have adult children who invite us to spend time with them and their friends.
3. I find it quite hard to find shoes that are both comfortable and suitable for my lifestyle. I decided to order the exact same 2 pairs I wear happily and store them for later. One was on EBay for about 40% of what I paid for original pair but paid a bit more for the others. Grateful for the internet shopping that helps save money.
4. Our 22 year old comforter is needing replacement so I took advantage of Black Friday discounts and a son’s recommendation to order a new one. Not inexpensive still but I expect it will also last 20 years for which I am grateful.
5. I am also grateful for all the amazing ideas I have gotten from the lovely people I have “met” on blogs like this. Thanks to all of you!


Jenzer November 27, 2019 at 8:39 am

A “shoe pantry” is very handy, isn’t it? I’ve done this with the style of Red Wing shoe my DH wears every day. A local clothing store special-orders them for me, and since the store is a bit out of my way, I get two pairs each time I order. Like Amy Dacyczyn and her sneakers, DH wears the newest pair for special events, the next-oldest pair for everyday, and the beat-up pair for painting, outdoor work, and other mess-making.


Em November 25, 2019 at 4:22 pm

1. When my parents were in town a bit ago, my dad kept bringing me apples from their hotel. I do not care for red delicious apples, but was able to turn them into a delicious apple butter in the crock pot!

2. Headed to the store to beat the winter storm coming. Since we just moved for his new job, we aren’t able to make it back to the East coast for thanksgiving. I spent about 40 dollars and got just about everything we need for a 2 person feast.

3. Hit GW today and found a handful of gorgeous items from Anthropologie. A few of them are rare, so should sell for a great profit. All items are already listed on poshmark.

4. I have all my Black Friday items planned out. There are a few things we have needed for quite a while so I will be participating in the sales for items o haven’t been able to find second hand. No impulse buys, stocking strictly to the list!

5. Brainstorming ways to frugally decorate for Christmas. We had to get rid of our little fake tree with the move, so trying to figure out how to replace it in the most cost effective way! I know as soon as Christmas is over, free ones will be everywhere.


Patty November 25, 2019 at 4:29 pm

Shower curtains don’t have to be scrubbed. I just toss mine into the washer on hot and add some Clorox and it all comes out perfectly clean.


Katy November 25, 2019 at 7:13 pm

My super-super Oregon mildew says otherwise. Seriously though, washing in the machine is never enough for me.


Pattilou November 25, 2019 at 5:10 pm

1. Sold another item on Facebook Marketplace
2. I found a lovely candle for $5 to take as a hostess gift. It was a scent that I knew the hostess liked. I wrapped it in a decorative dish towel that I already had.
3. I found a gift for my brother on sale and with free shipping. I saved $20.00 by doing some searching and he is getting a gift that he wants.
4. I made coasters for some family members and because of how I stored them, the images got damaged. I spent some time removing the damaged images and will redo them with supplies I already have on hand. I’m not happy with having to redo them but I can do a few at a time and manage to get them done.
5. Used a coupon at the pet store when I took the dogs for a nail trim.


Bethany M November 25, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Still keeping the heat off. It’s a bit nippy tonight, but bundling up sounds better than Uber dry air and an inflated gas bill.

Made vegetable stock out of scraps for my turkey brine.

Had a good cry today over a $1300 car repair. We drained the vacation fund. Still so much to be thankful for and no credit card is one definite blessings. They took $200 off when hubby asked if it could wait until after the holidays.

Have someone scheduled to pick up my two favorite dressy shirts. Too big for me now. $6 is better than nothing. Listed some books on Varagesale today as well.

Took our table outside. It has crevices in all the wrong places for a family with little kids. We scraped, vacuumed, scrubbed and it’s clean as new. So many things could stand to be replaced, but we’re making do.


Lisa M. November 25, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Bethany M., I’m sorry about the expensive car repair. Since many businesses have the ability to make adjustments, it’s wonderful that your husband asked & saved $200. Kudos to him.


Kate November 25, 2019 at 6:11 pm

1. Set up an appt for tomorrow to pick up a large whiteboard I found on FB Marketplace. It will be the perfect gift for my daughter who’s studying math in college and for whom a whiteboard is her preferred means of writing formulas. I bought her a huge set of dry erase markers in August during a great back to school sale, so she’s all set. My husband – a college math professor – has already stated he’ll happily take it if she’s not interested. I promise I won’t flake out and not show up, Katy – I even set an alarm on my phone to get me there on time!
2. Stopped on a whim at Goodwill the other day and found 3 like-new Talbots tops and an unused Mr. Happy mug that would have been great at regular prices, but everything in the store was half off! Grand total spent was $6.99.
3. Darned the fingertips on a pair of gloves using leftover yarn a friend gave me when I asked for yarn to darn my husband’s socks last winter.
4. My sister offered an old phone for my son to replace his current one that is no longer hooking up to wifi. Fine if you have unlimited data, but on a pay-as-you-go plan it’s not cool!
5. My meal plan fell apart the other day when I didn’t get the meat out to thaw in time for dinner so I got just a bag of pizza dough at the grocery store and used the half jar of pizza sauce I’d frozen from the last time I made pizza and mixed together dribs and drabs of tiny chunks of various cheeses to top it.


Christine November 25, 2019 at 7:07 pm

1. I found a penny in a puddle and two deposit cans.
2. Dressing in layers in order to keep the heat down.
3. We had some long time friends over and served homemade Italian grinders which turned out to be a hit. I had an overabundance 0f eggs so I made deviled eggs for an appetizer. I also made a Swedish Almond Cake for dessert. All pretty easy and frugal.
4. I discovered Dave Ramsey, the finance guru, in a column that appears in our local paper. How have I not heard about him before?! I have his book on order from the library.
5. No big spends thank goodness and not many little spends either…a birthday card at the Dollar Store, milk and bread at the grocery store.


Alison November 25, 2019 at 7:11 pm

1. Darned a hole in one of my compression socks. They cost about$150 a pair so I wasn’t throwing it out.
2. Went back to work 25 hours a week after two years of retirement. Turns out I’m too young to retire lol. Actually I’m loving being back to work and the extra $ will come in handy.
3. Have been packing my lunch all but two days, where I bought a can of soup one day, and a salad on the other.
4. Enjoyed a birthday dinner at a friend’s house, we all contributed, I took salad and some cheese.


Cathy November 26, 2019 at 11:02 am

$150/pair for compression socks?!? Not sure if I could stomach that cost. 🙂


Alison November 25, 2019 at 7:12 pm

1. Darned a hole in one of my compression socks. They cost about$150 a pair so I wasn’t throwing it out.
2. Went back to work 25 hours a week after two years of retirement. Turns out I’m too young to retire lol. Actually I’m loving being back to work and the extra $ will come in handy.
3. Have been packing my lunch all but two days, where I bought a can of soup one day, and a salad on the other.
4. Enjoyed a birthday dinner at a friend’s house, we all contributed, I took salad and

some cheese.


Elizabeth November 26, 2019 at 4:03 am

*I am rooting three stems from my Pothos plant that were somehow knocked off accidentally by one of my children…so three new plants are coming my way.
*Used credit card reward points combined with an awesome deal at Target to bring down the cost of a new tv to a way more manageable price. Our tv decided to die last week, so I am just waiting for two more things to break….they always come in threes!
*Found a great deal on essential oils and used money I had been saving in a PayPal account to pay for it…so it felt free:)
*Chose to pick up bbq when my in-laws came to visit last weekend instead of going out to eat on a busy night…saved a ton of money…
*Made my daughter some faux saddle shoes using marker and thrifted Keds for her role in A Charlie Brown Christmas..she was Violet and did awesome. The director wanted her to have bangs so we found some clip on ones that made us laugh so hard when we put them on. I also finally figured out how to put her hair in a bun thanks to a YouTube video (she has massively thick hair) My son was Snoopy and his entire costume was handmade for a fraction of the cost of store bought one. A lot of people asked me where I bought it, so that made me feel good!


Roberta November 26, 2019 at 7:40 am

I just replaced a microwave, Vitamix blender and dishwasher. I feel your pain, and hope you have cheap replacements from here out!


Bee November 26, 2019 at 5:09 am

Gluten-free bread can be pricey. I want to learn to bake it. I am making stuffing (dressing) substituting riced cauliflower for bread crumbs this year using my mother’s recipe. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works.
1. I have been selling as usual on eBay, but this week I made a purchase. For several weeks I have been looking for a longish wool skirt to wear with boots this winter. I tried the thrift stores, thred up and local consignment stores. However, I just couldn’t find one. So I did an eBay search and found exactly what I was looking for. Supporting other resellers, keeping clothing out of the landfill and finding exactly what I wanted for very little money are all good things.
2. My SIL was decluttering her kitchen and had me look through the items that she no longer needed. I was able to take some nice pots and pans for my older son who really needed them. We have spent $2 so far, and he nearly has everything he needs.
3. As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I am listening to The Alice Network on the library’s Libby App. I am really enjoying it. I seem to have read many books set in WWII this year. I am also slogging through my book club selection also checked out from the library. It’s horrible. I am about 120 pages into this David Baldacci novel and might just read the last 3 chapters to see what happens. His books are constantly on the best sellers list, so I think I might be the one of the only people in the US who doesn’t like his books. But thanks to the library, I do not have to buy it!
4. Although our extended family shares Thanksgiving responsibilities, I have been stocking up on grocery store specials this week. One of the local stores had 5-pound bags russet potatoes on sale for $0.77. I will buy a small turkey today and freeze it to prepare later. My husband and kids love turkey and there is never much leftover when we have dinner with 20 other family members.
5. I have been doing all the usual, slightly boring but thrifty things: Cooking from scratch, drinking primarily water, brewing my own coffee, enjoying simple meals at home, and trying to maximize food usage. I discovered the Zero Waste Chef recently. She has some amazing ideas to cut costs and get the most from our food supply.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am truly thankful for this blog, Katy’s commitment, and the people who contribute.


Darcy November 26, 2019 at 6:27 am

Katy – for a future posting – would love to hear more about your experiences with the logistics of local selling, trading, and freecycling. I’ve done a bit of all three but haven’t yet figured out how to address the issue of buyer/taker no-shows. Drives me crazy to stay at home waiting for someone to show up (for something I’m likely GIVING away) only to have them no-show. Your “not counting my chickens” comment makes me think that you’ve experienced this too. Suggestions?


Em November 27, 2019 at 4:35 pm

When I sell on facebook marketplace, I give people a general idea of where I live but I do not give them my exact address until they message me that they are on their way. This cuts down on no shows for me a lot.


Florencia November 29, 2019 at 8:01 pm

I have given away a couple things recently on Facebook Marketplace and have found success in stating the item is PUO (pick up only) and giving the cities (one my city, another the city where my work is). I also let people know when they message that I’m doing porch pickup but only give my address to one person after they tell me exactly what time they’ll be by, asking them to message me when they’ve picked up the item. Recently, I was giving something away and would not be home for the night, so I left the bag on my porch, giving it away to the person who was most readily answering when they’d come by get it. The lady let me know when she picked up. I also try to let people know if I’m only wanting to swing by to see the item instead of going directly to purchase, what time I’ll go and when I leave my house to their house or meeting place.


Susan November 26, 2019 at 6:31 am

1- Sold several items on eBay. Money in, crap out.
2- I’ve been on the lookout for a double Bob jogging stroller since I found out I was pregnant. One popped up on Marketplace for $100, most of them used are about $400, so I met up ASAP. I love to run and having a good jogging stroller makes all the difference. Keeps me healthy and sane!
3- Asked my in laws for practical gifts for my son instead of more plastic crap and stuffed animals.
4- Neighbor was cleaning out her freezer and gifted us frozen strawberries and bananas to make smoothies and banana bread.
5- Accepted leftovers from Friendsgiving, now set on lunches this week


Cindy in South November 26, 2019 at 7:11 am

1. I already mentioned on the last post my massive frugal fails as (1) one son’s car became toast and I gave him my car, which (2) caused me to buy myself a new car for $12,500, and (3) another son’s car needed a $4,000 repair (he is in school, works and takes care of most of his expenses but didn’t have the cash for this repair), and now the other son (who is in school) needs an oil change. That is not massive, and again, I take care of the car stuff for my kids, (long story but they took care of my mother for about eight/nine years so saved me a massive amount of money and enabled me to keep working and accumulating retirement re: pension), so I will be doing oil change. As far as something frugal….hummmm, I am making savory little cooked pumpkins for Thankgiving, and most of the food I already have on hand (got turkey for 78 cents a lb…not a great deal but whatever). That is all I have. Here’s hoping next month will be more frugal


Cindy in South November 26, 2019 at 7:14 am

P. S. Tuition is looming for me also. My bank acct will be depleted when that happens….sigh


Jess in NC November 26, 2019 at 7:34 am

1. My mom visited for a long weekend and I talked her into eating mostly at home and doing outdoor activities (free!). Frugality isn’t her thing but she enjoyed this lower cost visit.
2. DH and I do Thanksgiving just the two of us so we make a smaller meal consisting only of the things we really want to eat. This (along with the fact that we don’t buy turkey) has certainly saved us bunches over past decade.
3. My grocery total dropped almost 50% with coupons and sales. Food for the whole Thanksgiving week for $30? I’ll take it.
4. I had to give in and get a new winter coat this year. Thankfully the giving in lined up with a 50% off day on the Lands End website. Now I have a great quality new coat that should last me at least 10 years if not longer.
5. Reading y’all’s comments are such a joy and motivation for me. Thank you for your lovely ideas and charming anecdotes.


Cathy November 26, 2019 at 10:11 am

Yes; I love reading the comments, too. Helpful, inspiring, and funny!


Roberta November 26, 2019 at 7:57 am

1. My daughter and I dragged our old dishwasher out to the truck, and dropped it off at the recycling place (along with our dead blender and microwave). Saved $30 for 30 minutes work. Sears would have charged for taking away the old machine.
2. Spent yesterday replacing the fence posts and repairing my parent’s fence. Reused hardware, reused most of the fencing panels. We still have a ton of painting to do, and a couple of panels need to be replaced entirely. Still, saves them a bunch, and is keeping a lot of wood out of the landfill.
3. Splitting up Thanksgiving responsibilities with my mom, but I’ve been planning for a while for this. I have pecans (for pie) that I found on sale a while back, mushroom soup mix I got a while back, etc, etc. Only had to buy mushrooms and frozen broccoli.
4. Switched over to flannel sheets, using my hot water bottle at bedtime, and hot turning on heat.
5. The kids doubled up so my dad could have a bed Sunday night. He slept over so he could get to his medical test bright and early. (And I am so grateful — they *found* the arterial disease I have suspected, so he can actually be treated instead of being told that he’s fine.)


Kate from Buffalo November 26, 2019 at 9:32 am

1. I’m only home for a few days between my NYC trip and heading to my parents’ for thanksgiving so I’ve been scrounging for food – I’ve so far managed to avoid grocery shopping or eating out.
2. I couldn’t find a gift for my Gram at the holiday market and I remembered I have a cute unfinished crochet project she’ll like, so I’ll finish that up for her.
3. I returned a work dress that didn’t fit, which I had ordered from ThredUp. I kept 3 other dresses. They all were under $30 and in great shape. One was new with rags and the tag said it was originally $140.
4. I cancelled my digital news subscription.
5. I cancelled my December hair cut


Cathy November 26, 2019 at 10:07 am

1. Found $0.43 cents today, and it’s only 10am!
2. Shipped an ebay sale. Love making $$ from household stuff 🙂
3. Helping son w/his college apps (not paying bug bucks for a coach like many folks we know. Sheesh!). They’re due on 11/30. Wish us luck! He did get a waiver on one application, which saved us $60. That’s a big win!
4. Husband is sick. Needed some pricier meds for him, but searched for generics, which we found for a 70% lower cost.
5. Getting much-needed rain in Northern CA. Finally can turn off sprinklers, and stop hand-watering outside plants. Hooray!


Heidi Louise November 26, 2019 at 11:56 am

Cathy: Re: Admissions application fee waivers: Check on the school’s alumni webpage and see if alumni can provide a waiver for you. My previous employer did this. Then think through who you know who might be an alumnus who can help. Coaches or extra-curricular coaches who recruit might be able to provide waivers as well.
If you go to any on-campus recruiting events, ask around there. Admissions counselors and administrators are quite likely to be alumni, if an alumnus is who you need.


Amanda November 26, 2019 at 10:16 am

1) We had higher-than-anticipated medical expenses this month, but instead of dipping into emergency savings, we are trying to make up the difference in lower spending in other areas. Can we make it through Saturday with only $200 left? It’s not quite as simple as “just don’t spend anything” as we still have a $50 electric bill and hulu to hit our account. Plus I need kale for the salad we are bringing for Thanksgiving. The car will probably need gas before then. We shall see.

2) We are having city plumbing issues at our office space, which won’t cost us anything to fix (just tons of energy dumping buckets and millions of calls to the city). In the course of trying to figure this out one city employee told us we should have our water meter downgraded. We use a lot less water than the laundromat tenant before us. The smaller meter also comes with a lower monthly fee. Hopefully the city will downgrade us for free.

3) I rode my bike to get library books from the university closest to me this morning.

4) My husband bought a whole turkey at Aldi last week on sale. It’s not for Thanksgiving but just general eating. We cut it up so we can cook a few pieces at a time in the crockpot. Saturday we cooked just the breasts and fed our family (of 6) dinner. Then we have had turkey sandwiches for lunch every day since then. Since others cook our Thanksgiving feast we don’t get leftovers–therefore we have to pregame. hahahaha

5) We continue to breastfeed and cloth diaper the baby. I bought some Thredup clothes for our daughter to fill out her winter wardrobe. I applied for a bunch of travel grants to attend an upcoming conference. I am watching prices for flights for my husband’s next scheduled conference. We are planning Christmas gifts carefully to stay under budget. We have a crockpot of chili going for dinner. The last few unvaccinated family members got the flu vaccine at CVS yesterday.


Lindsey November 26, 2019 at 10:45 am

Here is the thrift store find that has obliterated any and all other frugal accomplishments this week: I was dropping off a bag of stuff at Salvation Army and decided to walk through their store because my Crock Pot lid has cracked and I have hopes of scoring a new lid instead of buying a whole new Pot. In the corner was an artificial Christmas tree, still in the original, sealed box. We have gotten too old to go out and cut down our own tree, and the ones in the tree lots run about $70 for feeble looking specimens. So, I paid $20 for it and brought the artificial tree home. It had never been put together and when we did set it up last night, it ended up 7.5 feet tall with over 600 lights that you can program to be all one color or another, and you can have it lighting in waves or randomly or no movement at all. It is a very impressive tree, so I looked it up to see how much it would have cost new—$499.99! I about fell over. I know I could sell it for a good sum, but this is a find we are keeping for ourselves. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I can keep something I like, instead of always thinking how much it could bring in if I sold it.


A. Marie November 26, 2019 at 11:08 am

Lindsey, kudos on your awesome Xmas tree score! And I also appreciate the observation that it’s OK to keep excellent finds for ourselves–since I myself only go thrifting for DH, myself, and our friends. If I were 20 years younger and had more time and energy, I’d be more into the resale scene–but I can only do so much with what I’ve got right now. (You too, I know.)


ouvickie November 26, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Wow, Lindsey, GREAT score on that tree. How awesome!!!


susanna d November 26, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Lindsey, that’s an amazing score! After realizing just how much our “real” trees were aggravating my husband’s allergies, we bought an artificial tree a number of years back. We bought it after the holidays when it was half price, but due to it having a lot of LOT OF lights – more than most artificial trees – that little 5 footer was nowhere near cheap, even at half off. I love that tree though, it really lights up a room (understatement). To find a 7.5 footer for $20 is fantastic!


Christine November 27, 2019 at 6:48 pm

Lindsey, that is a fantastic deal on that tree! I am a die hard real Christmas tree fan but even I would have jumped at that price and kept it for myself to use. That would be impossible for me to pass up.


A. Marie November 26, 2019 at 11:00 am

(1) Biggest news here is that I am going to start having a home care aide here 4 hr/day, 1 day a week for DH, starting 12/4. Strictly speaking, he doesn’t need this yet. But I want to get him used to the idea of having someone else in the house to care for him–and I want to form a good relationship with this agency (which comes highly recommended by the folks at DH’s cognitive care programs) well before serious need arises. Having arrangements in place before DH’s condition deteriorates or before I have some sort of personal emergency to deal with = priceless.

(2) Finished the last smidgen of conventional Xmas retail shopping (gift cards for one or two folks who aren’t into the Compact) today, at the grocery store where we earn gas points. Apart from the usual stocking stuffers at the usual peace’n’justice crafts fair, I’m done. No Black Friday madness for me.

(3) Purchased some unusual ingredients for my Thanksgiving dinner assignment (a new root veg dish calling for a few veggies I don’t often use, plus fresh ginger and molasses) at the Regional Market last Saturday. I’m a little dubious about this recipe–but it was Chef Dr. Bestest Neighbor’s request, and I’d probably try to cook eye of newt and toe of frog if he asked me to.

(4) On Black Friday itself, DH and I will be heading out for as much communing with nature as the ever-unpredictable Upstate NY weather permits.

(5) And on Saturday, after our usual Regional Market visit, DH and I will be heading to the final FFL library book sale of 2019. Barbara, keep an eye out for us!


ouvickie November 26, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Great idea on # 1, A. Marie! I’m so glad you have programs in place to help you and that you think ahead.
Since I went through this with my Mom, I did my best to help my cousins think ahead, when my Uncle and now my Aunt is going through the stages of Alzheimer’s.
#2) – Doing something similar with Christmas gifting. I don’t like shopping anytime of the year, but I loathe Black Friday & Christmas rush madness!


Patricia Koernig November 27, 2019 at 2:00 am

“eye of newt and tow of frog.” Belly laugh. Thank you, A. Marie.
Happy Thanksgiving.


Christine November 27, 2019 at 6:54 pm

Your #4 sounds like a wonderful alternative to the Black Friday madness. I want no part of Black Friday this year and most years. Instead I’ll be visiting an elderly friend in a nursing home…much more enjoyable. I hope the weather cooperates for your commune with Nature! Enjoy yourselves.


Barbara November 28, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Hi A.Marie,
Looking forward to seeing you and your sweet DH this Saturday!!!


Bee December 1, 2019 at 11:55 am

Re:#1 – This is a wonderful idea. I took care of my MIL who had severe dementia. Since she had always done everything herself, it was extremely unsettling for her to have anyone in her home. We found that having her caregiver wear a uniform, scrubs, helped her to identify them.
I have such admiration for you. You are approaching this difficult situation with love and grace.


Jenzer November 26, 2019 at 11:25 am

1 – Used a “$10 off your purchase of $25 or more” coupon at the pricey-but-convenient grocery store yesterday. Most of my purchases were sale items, and I bought *just* enough to get me to the $25 limit.

2 – Bumped our Netflix subscription down from two users to one. I have a backlog of DVDs I’ve bought but never viewed, and I decided this is the winter to catch up. DH uses Netflix far more than I do, anyway.

3 – Decanted some fancy, gifted honey from a narrowed-necked bottle into a wide-mouthed jar. It’ll be much easier to scoop out with a spoon now.

4 – Donated shampoo and conditioner from a recent hotel stay to our Little Free Pantry in town.

5 – Did multiple searches in several states’ unclaimed property databases, trying to find funds one of our banks took from a dormant account (grrr …). My search yielded no results for us, BUT I *did* find money for three other extended family members. I forwarded them all screenshots as well as links to start the claims process. Hopefully they can get their money back!


susanna d November 26, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Re: your #5: Jenzer, after it was brought to my attention recently that my late mom had unclaimed property, after doing a search for her I ran a search on my name and on my husband’s name. I’d done this many times before and never found anything, but this time for some reason I used the name my husband normally goes by rather than his proper full name (think “Jim” instead of “James”, for example). This time I got a hit, his informal name with our address. And he said “Oh, yeah, that’s the time I was double billed and finally gave up on getting it back.” Huh? News to me. I’d never thought to try that before, I always used our full, formal names in the past.


Jenzer November 27, 2019 at 7:35 am

Thank you for the tip, susanna. The funds I’m chasing were from a business bank account, but I’ve seen the spelling of that business name botched more than once. I’ll tweak my search terms and see what I find.


ouvickie November 26, 2019 at 1:30 pm

1) Bought my turkey last Friday, discounted from 1.67 lb to 77 cents and put it in the fridge, so it should be good at thawed by Thursday morning.
2) I’m holding my side dishes down to two, with the addition of a salad, rolls and deviled eggs. Our leftovers will be split with my brother & my daughter’s household.
3) I made a pot of beans and cornbread last weekend and we had a dinner at church on Sunday. So, hubby has had plenty of leftovers to eat this week and I’ve brought them for lunch. So far, the only money I’ve spent, out of our bank account, this week has been for fuel.
4) I’m having my monthly lunch out with a friend tomorrow, since I have the day off, then I can get whatever else I need from the grocers on the way home.
5) No travelling for us on Thanksgiving. I’ll cook dinner and we’ll watch football.
6) I had a $40 credit on my Amazon account, so I applied it to the doll my youngest granddaughter wants for Christmas.


tracy November 29, 2019 at 10:03 am

I have fallen off the non-consumer wagon (a little “one for them one for me” holiday shopping I’m afraid) but so value this community, and vow to get back on! Posting to keep myself accountable. Off for a frugal, non-consumer family centered weekend at the beach, so hopefully will have FFT to post next time around! (Only good news is I am a dedicated bargain hunter, in fact my bargain hunting has bit of an addictive quality, but it does mean will be able to recover financially fairly quickly from my little consumer spree)


Audry November 30, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Your post reminded me that I SPRINTED thru the grocery store thanksgiving morning. When the checkout tally hit $100 I ran to get my FREE TURKEY. LOL
For some reason, I didn’t expect to spend enough to get one, even though we had been gone 9 days and there was really no food in the house. And trust me, I chose the biggest one I could find.


MommaL December 1, 2019 at 9:57 am

1. I learned how to print shipping labels at home through UPS. I’ve been using USPS, but when I calculated the shipping to send some gifts it was far cheaper to use UPS.
2. Linked all of my ebay listings to UPS as a shipping option as well, to save customers some $$ and hopefully help boost sales.
3. Found a coupon code EASY to save 20 percent off of the UPS rate today.
4. Bought three vera bradley bags at GW for $2 each. Listed two of them, hanging one other outside to get a perfume smell out.
5. Resisting overbuying is HARD. I have to tell myself, this is enough. Harder with my grandchildren than with my children! I bought them memberships to Children’s museums and zoos, depending on where they live.


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