Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 1, 2019 · 61 comments

  1. I had a busy, busy week as I hosted Thanksgiving for everyone and cooked the entire meal from scratch. (Okay, I just lied. I called my mother on Wednesday and begged asked politely if she could bring rolls.) Add in that we invited a former Japanese exchange student to spend his fall break with us, and I can’t recall a spare minute over the past week.

    The exchange student was someone that we’d hosted 4-1/2 years ago, and had already experienced my greatest hits tour of Portland and the surrounding areas, (i.e., cool, but mostly free stuff) so I had to branch out. We ended up planning a freezing cold Oregon coast adventure day, which included my son, the exchange student, my daughter and her girlfriend. I treated everyone to meals and activities, (a Mexican food cart lunch, beach time, a Goodwill shopping spree, the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, fun at the Seaside arcade and dinner at the iconic Camp 18 restaurant on the way home.) and have to say that it was a day well spent.

    Yes, I spent a generous amount of money, but I’m chalking it up to experiences over stuff and support of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association and positive international relations.

    Scrimping and saving on the unimportant stuff so that the money is available when meaningful spending opportunities arise.

  2. I sold a few things here and there over the past week, most of which were on Black Friday. This included a pair of new-in-package Ikea curtains, a porcelain pie server, an Otter phone case and a pair of distressed drawer pulls.

    My favorite thing is that the phone case and drawer pulls were sourced from free boxes, so I was able to put what others may have tossed into the hands of people looking for these specific items. Plus, I made a couple of bucks in the process.

  3. I baked up a neighbor’s leftover uncut Halloween pumpkin for all my Thanksgiving pies. I know that a lot of people think that standard Halloween pumpkins aren’t edible, but they absolutely are!

    It’s as simple as:

    •Cut the pumpkin into big chunks.
    •Scrape out the seeds.
    •Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven until the meat is soft.
    •Scoop the meat from the tough skin. (Compost the skin.)
    •Puree in a food processor or mixer until smooth.

    Each pumpkin will provide enough puree for 4-5 pies, and any excess can be frozen until the thought of pumpkin pie is appealing again.

    Better than Libby’s.

  4. I borrowed an out of town neighbor’s silverware to provide for our 12 Thanksgiving guests, I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday, (okay, this is another lie. I picked up bananas and coffee at Trader Joe’s) and I’m having a hard time coming up with any other “frugal things,” as it was an unapologetically pricey week.

  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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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey December 1, 2019 at 1:05 pm

When using pulp from pumpkins, it helps to put the pulp in a strainer for a few hours after you take it out of the freezer. It will end up thicker and more like the stuff that comes out of the can. Now, on to the savings this week.
1. Made my own pie crusts, even though I was tempted to make a special trip to the grocery store to buy two. They turned out great and were cheaper than store-bought, plus it saved the gas I would have spent making a special trip to the grocery store.
2. Wrapped several gifts in Jimmy Dean sausage wrapping paper that a friend had won and intended to throw away. My husband will find the paper hysterical.
3. Found my husband’s favorite expensive Duluth socks at Good Will, still in the original paper so not even been removed to try them on. Hidden for Christmas.
4. Took on a very short side gig that earned me $150 I did not expect.
5. Hosted a friend for dinner and made it all from stuff already in the house. She wanted to go to the movies but I found a Redbox DVD we both wanted to see, saving a lot of money for both of us.


Ava December 1, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Lindsey, my husband also has a pair of Duluth socks. Also loves. Also from Goodwill.


Lisa M. December 1, 2019 at 1:14 pm

5FF: Post-Thanksgiving Edition

1. Technically pre-holiday, last stop at Aldi I made 50 cents. Attempted to give quarter to gentleman who was returning his cart, but he refused (cha ching!). As I was returning my cart to store, spotted an abandoned cart in the parking lot. Windy, cold, blustery day. Hooked carts together & pocketed both my quarter & extra cart’s quarter (cha ching!). Made up for 2 occasions where people gave me dimes & nickels in exchange for a cart. Now my quarter supply is back to normal.

2. Multiple rounds of snow & ice helped to ensure that I only made 2 brief trips out during the 4-day weekend: once to the gas station for bananas & once with DH to farm supply store to stock-up on bulk quantity nuts to go in holiday edible gifts. Like many here, I don’t participate in Black Friday sales.

3. Spent time investigating what turned out to be duplicative dental insurance coverage for DD, as we were unaware of school coverage. Hoping to eliminate 1 coverage to save $.

4. Due to ongoing dismal USPS service & missing mail, called gas company to pay bill online. Not frugal in time but frugal in avoiding potential late fee d/t continuing unreliable mail service.

5. Sent some Thanksgiving leftovers home with DD but still had lots of food left, frugal in time savings to work on other projects.


Jennifer December 2, 2019 at 5:28 am

2. The only sale on Black Friday that I do participate in is Kohl’s. They send me a coupon for a $10 off any purchase and a $5 off any purchase. This way, I get a free $10 and $5 gift…and then I go straight home! This time I got a new pillow and a nice rug for free!


Lisa M. December 2, 2019 at 4:45 pm

I might go to Kohl’s too if I was still getting those coupons. I haven’t been to Kohl’s for many years even though there is a store located a couple of blocks from where I work, so I no longer receive the coupons like you are describing. Perhaps since I am a long-term non-consumer, I no longer merit their marketing efforts.


priskill December 3, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Love these coupons and haven’t seen one in awhile! nice job


Karen Phillips December 1, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Frugal for Thanksgiving
1. Worked several days this week, including the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day (time and a half) and the weekend.
2. My husband made our Thanksgiving dinner. We had to shop for a few things on Wednesday evening, but except for the peas, everything was homemade and delicious.
3. Stayed home on Black Friday, only ordered prescription refills and photos online.
4. On Saturday we went out for Italian courtesy of a gift card. Our gift card covered all but $3 and the tip. Pretty great if you ask me. We then went to Target to do some Christmas shopping and get some inexpensive decor for the tree (about $15 for 4 items).
5. Stayed busy at home otherwise, rearranging the bedroom, putting up and decorating the tree, writing out cards, watching Christmas movies and shows.


A. Marie December 1, 2019 at 1:48 pm

FFT, Thanksgiving Fails and Wins Edition:

(1) Fail: The new root veg recipe that Chef Dr. Bestest Neighbor asked me to make for Thursday’s dinner was a **complete** disaster: It called for molasses and fresh ginger, and though I followed the recipe to the letter, it came out of the pan looking exactly like sewage sludge and not tasting much better. Fortunately, the Chef and the other guests had produced such a variety of good things that the sludge could be overlooked–but as you can imagine, I was mortified. (I took it home afterward and composted it!)

(2) Win: Despite the sludge disaster, I greatly enjoyed the company of the other four guests–two friends of Ms. BN and their significant others. The friends both sing extremely well, and though I don’t, we found ourselves spontaneously bursting into song at several points. I’m glad we’ll be seeing them again at Dr. BN’s birthday party/Chanukah latke party on 12/22. Better acquaintance with these folks = win.

(3) Fail: Thursday night/Friday morning, we had freezing rain, which turned to “black ice” (so called because you often can’t see it till it’s too late) when it hit the ground. I swear, all I did was step out onto the front entrance mat Friday morning when my feet flew out from under me and I landed hard on the top step, scaring the bejeezus out of a passing neighbor and her dog. Apparently my left hand and arm took the brunt; in particular, I seem to have sprained the left thumb. (Not enough pain for a broken bone, so I didn’t go to urgent care, since all they’d have recommended would have been the RICE I’ve been doing on my own. Besides, think of the turkey carving injuries, Thanksgiving family fight injuries, and Black Friday injuries they were dealing with already.) I can drive and (since I bought myself a thumb/hand splint at Wegmans yesterday) type, so I don’t think I should have to miss any work for this reason.

(4) Win: We did make it out Saturday morning for a Wegmans run and the FFT library book sale, where the lovely Barbara greeted us warmly and presented us with a splendid Jane Austen book she’d put aside for me. Thank you, Barbara! I also picked up two Winter Solstice CDs for 25 cents each and several other books, including one on dealing with Alzheimer’s that I am already finding useful.

(5) Win: Although Winter Storm Ezekiel (Ezekiel?? Who names these storms, anyway?) is unloading a double order of snow/ice/crud on us, we are having the BNs over for the soup I’m making from the turkey carcass stock I made yesterday, plus an order of bread machine bread. It’s about time they got a break from cooking.


Lindsey December 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm

A. Marie: I think you are wrong. I think black ice hides and then reaches up and pulls you down even if you are standing still! I once worked at a place that was very diligent about plowing down to the pavement but all that did was make the parking lot a nightmare ice skating rink of black ice. I used to carry a cottage cheese container full of small rocks (we buy a bag of gravel every winter for our porch and wheelchair ramp) and throw them down in front of me like some toddler throwing rose petals down at a wedding. You could always tell where I had recently parked because of the rock path—coworkers laughed but I noticed some of them parking next to me and using the path to get to the front door safely! When I left that job, they gave me a bag of gravel as a going away gift. One of the more useful gifts I have ever received!


susanna d December 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

#3 – black ice is the worst! There is just no way to prepare for it or see it soon enough – I hate it! I’m so sorry to hear about your fall, and wish you and your thumb (and any other injured parts) a speedy recovery.


Jen December 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm

This gravel idea is pretty great, Lindsey! Would I look weird if I walked around carrying a bag of cat litter or gravel? Maybe-who cares!? A. Marie, hope you heal up and I won’t ask for your recipe


Heidi Louise December 1, 2019 at 2:51 pm

A. Marie: I was watching for your post, and not just because I share your attitude toward Mid-Century Modern.
The other day on The Penny Hoarder website, I read an article about work benefits for elder care givers. At the bottom of the page was a list of links to resources. One is called Hilarity for Charity, and offers small grants to pay for respite care. I know nothing of them other than looking at their website, but as you had said you were getting a few hours of weekly care for your husband, you might look at what they offer.


Pattilou December 1, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Yikes, A, Marie. I’m glad you didn’t get hurt worse. I keep a pair of boots with Yak Tracks on them all of the time. I put them on anytime there is even a chance of it being icy. The older I get the more I worry about a fall and I have had a few doozies in the last few years.


susanna d December 2, 2019 at 7:46 am

Pattilou, we just about lived in Yak Trax last winter. Five different ice storms made the roads perpetually icy, and without our trax we would have had serious cabin fever from being cooped up indoors too much. Because like you said, the older we get the more we fear falling. Yak Trax are top my list of favorite things. Just wish I didn’t NEED them so much…


Karen Erickson December 2, 2019 at 10:10 am

A. Marie, I too brought a disastrous dish to our family’s Thanksgiving get together. On paper, it looked delicious, and the base of quinoa is one that many in the family love. It’s a mystery how this concoction turned out so bad! But no one said a thing, just avoided the pesto quinoa with roasted vegetables after trying some. It’s annoying how you can spend the same amount of time and money on a bad dish as a good one. I’m hoping that with time, I can laugh over this recipe fail!


Cynthia December 3, 2019 at 5:56 am

Better than Yak-Trax by about a million times: Micro-spikes! I think I got mine on Amazon. For one: they come up over the top of your boot shoe and will NOT fall off. For two: the little spikes really grip even on sheet ice–if there is any purchase to be found, they will find it.


susanna d December 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm

6FT, back-to-back snowstorm edition:

1. Getting hit by not one but two holiday snowstorms (one the day before thanksgiving, the other one last night into today) made me glad that for the first time in forever, we didn’t have any thanksgiving travel plans. With one exception, we stayed home the entire time. Very little gasoline usage plus almost zero shopping = more money stays in our pockets/bank accounts.
2. We did venture out once between snowstorms because the batteries for my husband’s gazillion power tools go on sale for less than half price this time of year, making thanksgiving week his time to make a new battery purchase (unfortunately, those batteries don’t live forever).
3. Used part of the $200 rebate from husband’s contact lens purchase to buy the above mentioned batteries.
4. Part of my free entertainment was spent recharging my frugal battery by reading older Five Frugal Things posts. Lots of good ideas in there, some that I seem to have forgotten.
5. Lots of exercise was provided by shoveling. While we have a massive snow thrower, the wrap around cedar deck on our freakishly long house would not emerge unscathed/unscratched after a round with Massive Snow Thrower. Some roof raking gave a little variety to the exercise program.
6. The first storm had very strong winds that knocked trees down and took out power all over the area. While we didn’t lose power (and have an automatic generator because power outages are so crazy common up here), we did lose three large pines. I’m taking this as a frugal win because…free firewood for the firepits in the future. The fact that we could probably cut down trees any old time means this isn’t a money saver per se, but to me the worst part of cutting down trees is the actual felling of the tree part. Nature kindly felled these trees exactly where we’d want them. Add some chainsaw action and hauling and stacking the cut wood and we scored even more free exercise. Which is good, since it’s also gun deer season and we temporarily put our daily hikes in the woods on hold during that time.


Christine December 1, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Katy, what if the Halloween pumpkin froze on my front steps? Is it still considered safe to eat and perhaps refreeze?
1. I drove by a K-Mart store on it’s last day open and trundled on in to discover all their merchandise was 80% off. Here’s what I bought for $29.80: an electrical wallplate,2 hair highlighting kits, a 5000 square foot coverage bag of Crabgrass Preventer, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios. a box of Fruit and Yogurt Special K, a 1 lb.6.6 oz. can of Folgers decaf coffee, 4 boxes of Jello, 4 cans of diced stewed tomatoes, 3 boxes of Shake n Bake, 1 20 0z. jar of mustard, 1 24″ towel bar, 2 Christmas bows for cemetery baskets, 4 pairs of pantyhose, 2 hand towels, 8 king size KitKat bars, a bag of Reeses peanut butter cups.
I was a happy camper.


Roberta December 2, 2019 at 7:35 am

I would definitely think the pumpkins would be safe to cook and refreeze. I believe the biggest problem with refreezing is texture, and pureed pumpkin wouldn’t have a texture problem.


Christine December 2, 2019 at 9:54 am

Thanks Roberta!


Christine December 1, 2019 at 3:04 pm

Part 2 of 2:
2. Our Harvest Fair at church was a few weeks ago. All the second hand holiday items not sold at the fair are being donated. Today at church we were told to take whatever we wanted. I chose a brand new box of two lighted Christmas trees for outdoor use. I’ll put them on my deck where I usually set up a bar (weather permitting) for my Christmas Eve party. The original price on the box was 29.98.
I could sell them but want to keep them for the Christmas festivities.
3. At the same leftover from the Harvest Fair area were lots of baskets and Christmas stockings that the Mission team will use to put together presents for the shut-ins.
4. Had a marvelous Thanksgiving at DD’s one town over. Didn’t have to travel far. We all helped with pies and veggies so her and her DH only had to cook the turkey and potatoes.

5. No huge spends, just the usual groceries and gasoline.


Ruby December 1, 2019 at 3:15 pm

1. Took a friend to a mall on Black Friday to pick up his eye glasses at an optical shop located there. Business was rather terrifyingly brisk, so we were glad to get his specs and vamoose. He had scoped out a “buy x amount, get $10 free” gift card deal that I did purchase elsewhere. Usually I observe Buy Nothing Day, but did not want to make a second trip downtown on another day to buy the cards.
2. Finished crocheting a scarf that will be a Christmas gift. This year, thanks to massive surprise medical bills, I am digging into my big tub of fabric and yarn to make gifts.
3. Did not have many grocery coupons yesterday, but managed to stay on budget and get a few special items for Christmas candy making.
4. Baked a large deep dish cherry pie for the family Thanksgiving with two cans of pie filling scored at the clearance store. It was devoured by the crowd.
5. My husband kindly shared his cold with me, which with both of us sick would usually mean a trip out for head-clearing Chinese food. Instead I doctored up canned tomato soup from the clearance rack with onions and herbs and cooked a quick pot of chili with lots of hot peppers. The pantry saves the budget again!
6. Bonus round: Drying most of my laundry on the rack and pole in the laundry room. Used the last few drops of dish liquid in a bottle to handwash a microfiber dust mop head. Dug one of my late Dad’s old handkerchiefs out of the dresser to use every day while fighting this cold. If I forget and leave it in my jeans pocket, it won’t leave papery lint all over the clothes.


Mary in VA December 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

Regarding your #1, every year my favorite thrift store sells $60 gift cards for $50 starting December 1. I already shop there because of their great prices and selection, so these additional savings makes me really happy! A cashier told me that someone bought $1,000 worth of gift cards last year. That’s a little more than I can spare–but I’ll definitely shell out for three cards.


Mand01 December 1, 2019 at 4:39 pm

It’s a pretty unfrugal time of year, but I’ll try.
1. Made haloumi sandwiches and wraps for dinner using sale priced haloumi and wraps, and veggies from the fridge and garden.
2. Baked cupcakes and replaced one of the eggs with an overripe banana.
3. Worked a lot of freelance hours.
4. Went op (thrift) shopping but didn’t buy anything. Decided I really do have enough clothes for now.
5. Still bottling my homemade kombucha and my husband is making his amazing sourdough. Now trying our hand at kimchi using our homegrown cabbage. Also made a batch of fruit mince for Christmas pies. Yum – my favourite food of all time. I’m going to make the pastry tomorrow and then pre-make and freeze.


Mary in Maryland December 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm

1. A couple weeks ago I nabbed several pumpkins marked down to 50 cents each, several Cinderella squash at 50 cents a pound, and another few Kabocha at 59 cents a pound. The mister claims that I feel about winter squash the way other women feel about shoes. I baked a pumpkin, a spaghetti squash, and a butternut squash yesterday and then made pumpkin soup. I am not wild about the texture in soup, and remember a savory pumpkin pie I used to make in the 80s. Must find or reinvent the recipe.
2. Since I had colonoscopy on Wednesday, I couldn’t eat at the Thanksgiving party at school on Tuesday. However, I rescued a turkey carcass from the trash and made broth for my not-so-strict vegan husband. While I contented myself with green Jello.
3. Area youth spent a weekend at our church and abandoned quite a lot of food. This afternoon I brought home a pound of spring greens, a tub of hummus, the remnants of a crudité platter, and the leavings in three jars of marinara sauce. For dinner we had pasta with mixed vegetables dressed with marinara sauce on a bed of tender greens.
4. They also left several slightly dirty ziplock bags. I brought them home and washed them and will use them for our upcoming quilters’ yard sale.
5. A neighbor who was leaving for a family wedding gave me her birthday roses. I now have arrangements in the dining room, the kitchen, and my study. They are giving a lot of joy.
6. I am knitting an interesting hat from small bits of yarn that weren’t chosen at a craft swap last spring. Nice stripes.


Bee December 2, 2019 at 9:01 am

I am very jealous of your pumpkins, Mary. After Halloween, there weren’t any pumpkins or hard squash left in our stores – except spaghetti squash. I love squash and pumpkin soup, and I usually fill up the freezer this time of year. However, I am afraid that it won’t happen this year.


Mary in VA December 2, 2019 at 10:04 am

Congrats on getting your colonoscopy done, Mary! I had mine in October, and I’m good to go for 5 years. Yippee!


Mary in Maryland December 2, 2019 at 11:01 am

If the pathology of the 3mm lesion is benign, I’m of the hook for ten years. By then I’ll be too old. I did think, while sitting on the toilet at 4 am, that this was a lot like my period, except without the cramps. And the doc let me watch my own colon on the monitor.


Bettpants December 1, 2019 at 6:12 pm

1. A coworker overheard me talking about cast iron pans and offered me two for free. She said she didn´t care what I did with them, but wanted them out of her basement. I seasoned both and sold one on FB for $25.

2. Taco Bell is offering a free $5 gift card with the purchase of a $15 gift card. My teen is into the Frito burritos right now, so I bought two cards.

3. Kohls mailed out $10 coupons, to be used in store only. I used mine on a pair of slippers, which I needed. I was not tempted to fill a cart while I was there.

4. I also sold a set of candlesticks, an embroidered tablecloth (25 cents from a garage sale this summer) and a stack of books.

5. My $0.99 a month Hulu subscription ended, but when I tried to cancel, they offered me a free month. I´m in for 30 more days, then done for good.


Ava December 1, 2019 at 6:21 pm

1. Used a $10 off purchase at the grocery store and also got free peanut butter and free frozen fruit.
2. Made a double batch of cranberry salad to share with my neighbor. She gave me chocolate pie.
3. Brought home the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving dinner and made 9 pints of broth. Shared with my neighbor.
4. Heard that a friend was playing in a free Christmas concert. Went to hear her. It was great.
5. Still trying to keep the injured dog confined. We have at least another 3 weeks to go. Dog and people are miserable but she is definitely improving. We got 5 laser treatments for her, which were not cheap, but were a real bargain if they help avoid surgery.


Nancy from mass December 1, 2019 at 6:56 pm

1. Helped the in-laws with Thanksgiving dinner. I took care of the turkey for everyone and I did bring one dessert. Did not go out to the clubs on Wednesday night with them. Stayed behind and knitted instead.
2. Came home late Friday night and spent Saturday helping my best friend. She’s getting her house ready to put on the market I needed some painting done. We worked until 9 PM. But it’s all done. She treated me to a sub, drink and chips as well as a nice large coffee.
3. Told my neighbor he could have the tree that fell in the shed and cut it up to use this firewood. (No damage to the shed) he then came over with his leaf blower attachment gadget on his lawnmower and blew the remainder of the leaves from my backyard into the woods.
4. Watch the great tennis tournament with my son on TV it was very funny. And trying to watch the homecoming but there’s something going on with the feed and it keeps cutting in and out. 🙁
5. Not frugal. I’m really missing my cat. Went to the animal shelter today, spent two hours there, and put my name in to adopt two female kittens. I’ve been approved and I pick them up tomorrow. It will be nice to have kitties in this house again but they are going to be a lot of work.
6. Due to the storm, I will probably be working at home tomorrow. No gas will be used other than to pick up the kittens.


Christine December 2, 2019 at 4:10 pm

I’m so glad you’re adopting two kittens! It will help ease some of the grief over your cat and it will give a home to not one but two kittens. I worked at a no-kill cat shelter for 6 years and let me tell you it wasn’t just the elderly cats who lingered in the shelter. Some lived there for years before being adopted. The good news is at least they were warm, fed, given medical attention and tons of love from the staff. Enjoy your new babies!


Nancy from mass December 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm

I originally went there to adopt a senior cat. They had 2 seniors and one nipped at me after about 30 seconds of petting and the other didn’t want to come near me. The 3rd senior was already called for. Then I saw the kittens. They are so cute!! The shelter was happy that I asked to adopt both. They waived the adoption fee for the 2nd cat.


Sharon December 4, 2019 at 9:43 pm

It’s always best to do 2 kittens at the same time (and never 2 puppies). You’ll enjoy them.


Bee December 3, 2019 at 3:18 am

Two kittens!!! That is wonderful. I hope that the little beast will bring you years of companionship and joy.


Nancy from mass December 3, 2019 at 6:10 am

My DS hugged me last night and thanked me for adopting 2 kittens. He is enjoying having them. 🙂


Hawaii Planner December 1, 2019 at 7:12 pm

1) Ate Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner 2x
2) Turned the remaining roasted vegetables into the base of a dinner for tonight, to minimize other ingredients + carbs
3) My husband doesn’t like/eat sweets. The pumpkin cake we had on Thanksgiving was pretty much just a pumpkin bread with a cream cheese frosting. Scraped cream cheese frosting off, and saved the pumpkin bread for his breakfasts.
4) Was very temped to attend a yoga class at a studio with a friend yesterday. Instead went to our local gym & attended a lovely class for “free” (included in very inexpensive family membership)
5) My kids are on the cusp of not needing camps when school is out, and most camps don’t allow teens. However, we have to work & we don’t want them to stay home all day on electronics. We joined a local gym for a very reasonable price. It was 10% of the cost of 1 week of Thanksgiving break camp for 1 kid, let alone two. The kids went 9 times in 10 days, I also got in a bunch of work outs. I also found out that the gym offers a $200 discount on an overnight camp the kids attend, which pays for several more months worth of memberships. All told, we’d pay for the gym anyway, as it’s great to have a workout option, but the discounts & camp replacements help very much with the budget.


Pattilou December 1, 2019 at 9:33 pm

1. I sold two more items, one on Craigslist and one on Facebook marketplace.
2. A friend has a basement full of lock n lock containers. She ended up giving me a set the other day.
3. Had dinner and a movie at a friend’s house. We had turkey soup made with Thanksgiving leftovers. I supplied the bread.
4. I did shop on line for some Black Friday deals and got myself some much needed new underwear at a great price.
5. I am beginning a two month stretch of unemployment so I will be eating from the freezer to help save on groceries.


Jann in Maine December 2, 2019 at 2:33 am

Finishing up the turkey leftovers with a refrigerator cleanout and made turkey chowder with enough to gift a friend a quart Mason jar full. Nothing better than homemade soup!
Ended up making 3 batches of my English toffee while it was sunny. People wait all year for this stuff and I have found it has to be made on a sunny day. It waits in large tupperware containers to be parceled out into smaller gift tins I accumulate all year for this purpose. I make this and a killer easy caramel sauce which I put into cleaned glass salad dressing jars.
Home all weekend and listed on ebay. Sales slower than I would like but as we know that could change in a moment.
If you don’t have crampons (they go on your shoes or boots and are like a rubber with spikes) they are worth every penny. We use them alot here in Maine when it is slippery. I walk year round and keep crampons on my sneakers. These help minimize falls although ice is always a problem!


Bee December 2, 2019 at 5:07 am

1. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with our extended family who had rented a house on the beach. Everything was simple and casual. I provided desserts, homemade cranberry sauce, and sausage dressing. Sadly, there were very few leftovers. Yet happily, there were very few leftovers. I did use the leftover cranberry sauce to make a hearty pot of “Thanksgiving” oatmeal on Friday morning — cranberries, apples and nuts.
2. My older son headed out of town on Friday. Since the news was reporting that parking lots were completely full, my husband took him to the airport. This will save my son the cost of long-term parking. In return, he handed us two bags that contained the contents of his refrigerator. His CSA had just been delivered so the bags were filled with wonderful fresh veggies.
3. My daughter was also visiting over the holiday weekend. She had never been to Bins (GW Pound Store) and really wanted to go. We spent and fun afternoon digging. Best of all, I could afford to buy her everything that she wanted.
4. Shutterfly was offering unlimited free prints over the weekend. I ordered the 30 family photos that I needed for my personal Christmas cards that I send to close friends and family. I bought two packages of cards that held photos such as these at an estate sale this summer for $0.50 each.
I also addressed and mailed the cards that I send to others (club members, vendors, and service providers). These were purchase at the Bins a few weeks ago.
5. Of course, I did SOME of the usual things – I cooked from scratch, brewed my coffee at home, drank primarily filtered water, sold some items on eBay, wore thrifted clothing and enjoyed the outdoors.
We did splurge and enjoyed lunch out with part of the family on Saturday. We enjoyed good food and excellent company as we sat outside on the intracoastal waterway on a perfect autumn afternoon. It was worth every penny! Now back to being thrifty!


Jill A December 2, 2019 at 5:43 am

1. I signed two of my daughters up for health insurance. One daughter who works and goes to school full time makes enough to qualify for the ACA so she’s signed up for that. The other daughter’s college offers a great BCBS health insurance plan for students so she is signed up for that. I will remain on COBRA which is offered for 36 months after the death of a spouse. This saves me over $4000 a year.
2. I sold a nice spinner suitcase on Facebook which I had purchased at a garage sale and flipped. I also sold an old textbook on Ebay. Money in, Crap OUT!!!
3. I’m eating leftovers from our inexpensive Thanksgiving dinner made with a free turkey. Today I will make a cottage pie or sheperd’s pie. whichever it is.
4. I purchased some necessary items on black friday – underwear, bras, shoes, furnace filter. I also purchased a Roku stick for inexpensive entertainment and a few Christmas gifts although not as many as I’d like. My NCA children haven’t given me many ideas yet.
5. I’m still using my broken refrigerator. The freezer portion of my side by side is not working but fridge side is fine. I have a deep freeze which I was going to sell and was just sitting unused. So now I’m using my old freezer. The only thing I miss is ice and I don’t use much in the winter anyways.


tracy December 2, 2019 at 6:19 am

1. Thanksgiving: Brought roasted brussel sprouts with delicata squash, make ahead mashed potatoes (with loads of butter and cream cheese) and deviled eggs to my sister in law’s for Thanksgiving dinner. All yummy and bought ingredients on sale so low cost as well.
2. Went to beach Friday a.m. and had a frugal weekend. We were with my husband’s family for Thanksgiving (we are a blended family) so the weekend was my time to hang with my (adult) kids and mom. Kids requested stuffing so I made a big batch Friday (meatless, 3 are vegetarians) and we had that and roasted asparagus for dinner! I made a delicious meatless pasta dish second night. Brought all food from here (mostly purchased on sale) and spent very little at beach (1 yoga class, 1 stocking stuffer, and 3 candles to put one each in the small gifts I exchange with dear women friends at our annual holiday lunch). Entertainment = games, Netflix, beach walk, reading. Plus yoga class (only part that cost $)
3. I am almost done Christmas shopping (thank goodness) and am ready to move into nonconsumer mode. I am going to do a buy nothing new year in 2020! Am excited. Will help with both spending less and equally important goal of aligning my spending with my values and not adding extra crap to the universe. 2020 will be my last year of paid employment so need to beef up the savings!
4. Kept weekly grocery spend for coming week to $70 and that included $28 worth of stocking stuffers (8 Almond Roca cans on sale for $3.50 each!). REALLY need to clear out the freezer. And am up to my eyeballs in canned goods. So time to get creative!
5. Am taking bus to work today, will save on parking cost.


Bee December 4, 2019 at 3:26 am

I wish the best of luck during your buy-nothing year. I think that is an amazing goal. Have you read Cait Flanders book, The Year of Less? I really enjoyed it. It was filled with interesting observations regarding our relationship with stuff.
I also read a book by Jen Hatmaker called Seven. This was also about consumerism and cutting back. It was written with a more traditional spiritual perspective, but it was laugh out loud funny at times. It covered s multitude of things that we as Americans have too much of including food and media.


K D December 2, 2019 at 7:38 am

1. My husband replaced the cracked faux leather on one of our dining room chairs. He paid attention when he deconstructed it, used the old fabric as a template for the new, and then reconstructed it. The fabric was purchased at JoAnn’s with a 60% off coupon.

2. We walked to the grocery store to buy something and my husband found a $5 bill. He gave it to me for my found change jar.

3. Our daughter and her fiance said they’d enjoy coming over for Thanksgiving leftovers on Saturday. Cheap, easy, and helpful.

4. I baked “Nieman Marcus” cookies for the first time in many years. They are still delicious, even without nuts. I sent some cookies home with our daughter and the rest were given away today (planned baking).

5. I’m still using the pedometer that I’ve had for 10+ years. I change the battery twice a year and it’s good to go. It lets me know if I’m as active as I think I am/want to be but there is no recording of every breath I take, every move I make.


Roberta December 2, 2019 at 8:16 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.)


Roberta December 2, 2019 at 8:29 am

Ok, the above post is from last time. When I copy-and-pasted, I guess I didn’t copy and just had the old clipboard! Trying again:
1. Hosted my husband’s family Saturday night, for one last get-together before his father leaves town. Made a grilled cheese bar, with a variety of cheeses, a variety of toppings and a variety of breads. We used my sister-in-law’s George Foreman grill, and I found one Friday at Goodwill for $8. Cooking the sandwiches was easy, and dinner was yummy. Also made soup from a giant can of tomatoes I found at Grocery Outlet for $3.
2. Used real plates, real glasses and real napkins for the party. The napkins are in the wash right now, with my regular laundry, and everything else went through the dishwasher. Not much harder than throwing everything away — and definitely less expensive, as I already had the real stuff!
3. Bought a pair of (Christmas) Dr. Marten’s for $25 off and free shipping. Unfortunately, the other two pairs I wanted were not covered by the sale, so I’m waiting and hoping a later sale will cover them. If not, I’m not any worse off. I also bought my niece’s gift online, 25% off. The only other shopping I did that day was shopping for the party.
4. After church we headed up to the zoo’s new platypus exhibit. We packed leftover soup in a thermos, so lunch was faster, cheaper and as filling as going out. So we had more time to see the animals. I know someone on this site has a membership to the San Diego Zoo, and the platypuses are definitely worth the drive. Very cute and active!
5. Everything else is ordinary: checking the weather forecast to plan hanging out laundry, making a menu out of what’s leftover in the fridge, etc, etc.


Bee December 2, 2019 at 9:10 am

Ooooh, I grilled cheese bar is a fun idea especially paired with tomato soup.


LB December 2, 2019 at 9:06 am

I feel like I’ve been crushing my behavior changes to be more frugal, so this past week hit even harder than I expected. And so we move on to the….
~Holiday List of Frugal Fails!~
1. I was in charge of buying the white wine for thanksgiving. Still cheaper than hosting, but I got in my head about how much was necessary and spent $80 on wine. For a family who doesn’t drink white wine. Oof.
2. Got sucked into a black friday deal at the gym for $99 including personal training, nutrition, etc. Feeling very negative on it since this is on top of my existing membership. Maybe I’ll feel better once the program package starts up.
3. Bus got cancelled yesterday because of winter weather. I was able to jump on an earlier bus for an additional $50. Wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t already rented a car to travel between cities and didn’t budget for extras. Lesson learned!
4. Splurged at lunch only to be hungry 2 hours later. Whoops!
5. Reactivated Amazon prime for the holiday season. This isn’t a crisis, more of convenience, but I know how I get with access to Prime and I don’t want to be sucked back into those spending holes!

Now for a few frugal things:
1. Held off on buying food between my bus trip back to NYC and getting home. Was reward by BF having made dinner and I ate a LOT!
2. Similarly held off eating on the bus and instead snacked on the protein bars I had brought with me. French fries are tempting little buggers.
3. Saved 3 holiday sweaters that were really mildewy from a wet basement by using parent’s “sanitize” setting on their washer and putting them in the dryer on hot. Waiting a few days to see if the smell comes back but I think we are in the clear.
4. Winter boots appear to STILL be missing, which is incredibly frustrating. I’m holding off a week or two before purchasing new ones and seeing if I can fill in the gaps they leave in my wardrobe. Considering I have my snow boots, I can manage.
5. Having some very open and honest conversations with family about presents and how I don’t need anything-but also have minimal interest in throwing money around to GIVE as well. The message has resonated; now to see if it stuck.


Kate from Buffalo December 2, 2019 at 10:46 am

1. I needed a few votive candles for some of my Christmas decorations and I’m almost bought some, until i thought to ask in my Buy Nothing group first. Someone has 4 they don’t need and I’m going to pick them up Thursday!
2. I’m currently working on crocheting my Gram’s Christmas present using supplies I already had on hand.
3. I was at my parents’ for Thanksgiving and came away with enough leftovers for 5 meals.
4. For Thanksgiving, my mom asked me to bring wine. I brought two bottles that I already had on hand.
5. I’m decorating my apartment and office today with decorations I have on hand – all of which have been passed to me by my mom or gram, except for a few things I was gifted or had purchased in years past.


Alison R December 2, 2019 at 11:51 am

1. Fed 16 for turkey Day
2. Have leftover turkey chopped and frozen for future meals
3. Carcass made great turkey stock
4. Roasted all leftover veggies from veg tray as a side for dinner one night
5. No shopping over the weekend as all gifts have already been planned


ouvickie December 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm

1) I made dressing for Thanksgiving dinner from some leftover cornbread I’d made earlier in the week.
2) We didn’t have any guests for Thanksgiving, so I divided up the leftover turkey and drippings to share out with family – which I delivered on Friday. The weathers was nice and I spent the afternoon, that day, visiting with my brother’s family.
3) I cleaned out my freezer Friday morning and dumped things that weren’t edible. Freeing up a lot of freezer space and making me more determined not to over-buy and waste food in the future.
4) The only gifts I have left to purchase are gift cards for 3 family members. Then I’ll be done and no time was wasted on Black Friday madness.
5) I don’t plan to buy anything gold plated for Christmas.


KJD509 December 2, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Five frugal things, the I ♥️ Thanksgiving edition:

1) Potluck with a whole bunch of extended family on the big day. I was so worried the food wouldn’t work out that I could barely function last Wednesday, but it was delicious and abundant. Even after parceling out pounds of leftovers we ate well from them all weekend.

2) Made two types of stock from the two carcasses. Froze the regular one but made spicy turkey, black bean and sweet potato soup from the stock made with garlic and jalepeno. Holy smokes was it delicious!

3) Packed a large thermos of said spicy soup for the college student son who drove back to school late Saturday night to avoid the traffic on I-5. I figured the chilis would counteract the tryptophan plus keep him from wasting money on roadside fast food. He saved 4 hours and more than a tank of gas over his ill-timed trip south during the worst of the traffic on Wednesday.

4) Instead of shopping on Friday, we gathered all the various donation piles from the backs of closets, catalogued it all for taxes, and dropped it off at Goodwill. I get flustered trying to do that every month, but one big anti Black Friday trip was supremely satisfying. As was a brisk walk in the freezing cold for the free and delightful experience of the local community tree lighting. We’re still new here so we weren’t sure which tree it was in the big park in the center of town, but standing a little ways away from the crowd with our giant dog gave a great view of all the likely suspects.

5) Not frugal for us, but for the grown kids: hubs got their oil changed, checked their tires, filled their gas tanks to get everybody safe home. My dad did that whenever he could sneak my keys away from me for many years after I was grown and married and had kids of my own, so seeing my husband do the same for our kids warms my heart.


Em December 2, 2019 at 8:55 pm

1. My boyfriend and I were unable to travel for thanksgiving, so we cooked for ourselves! I shopped well and bought just about everything for 50 dollars, with lots of leftovers we have been feeding from.

2. I did shop Black Friday. I got a pair of running shoes (I don’t buy running shoes used, as I’ve had knee surgeries so I’m particular about wear), my first new vacuum, and a digital photo frame for my boyfriends grandma that allows us (and other family members) to upload pictures to the frame from hundreds of miles away. We got a lot of kohl’s cash that will be used for some other gifts and needs.

3. Health insurance kicked in for both of us yesterday that is fully funded by bfs employer.

4. Found the hardware to the curtain rod for our guest room, which means I can return the one I bought after thinking the other was gone for good!

5. Realized I have a 45 dollar credit for snapfish for when they messed up an order last year , which I will be using for some gifts for Christmas.


Bethany M December 3, 2019 at 9:25 am

I hosted as well. Did fewer of the traditional sides than made one fresh side each time I heated up the leftovers. It made the day a little easier and the leftovers a little more fun.

Attended my free bariatric support group last night. It helps to see people doing so well. I’m motivated to get back on track.

Have my 6 mo appointment with my surgeon today. Down 110 lbs. Going to talk about this blasted gallbladder.

Grandparents came with crafts for the kids. The in-law situation isn’t the best, but watching them invest quality time with my kids is very heart-warming. Also knowing that they’re trying really hard helps me extend grace for the less than stellar in-law moments. Lol, I’m sure that the shoe on the other foot, I’d be a real peach as well.

Made bone broth and going to make bunches of cheap soup this winter. My weekly $15 CSA box should give me all the veggies I need. Going to come up with some kind of grocery challenge for myself. Still thinking about it.


Jann in Maine December 5, 2019 at 2:49 am
Mary in VA December 5, 2019 at 8:48 am

Very interesting!


ouvickie December 5, 2019 at 10:48 am

That’s a great article, Jann, thank you for sharing it out!
I’m going to share it in my other social media circles.


CatherinefromFrance December 5, 2019 at 10:59 am

Hello ! Do you know this blog about a “professionnal” scavenger : as he names himself.
Here is his presentation :”I’m a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.”
Catherine.(from France so sorry for my poor american 🙂


Lisa M. December 7, 2019 at 7:52 am

Catherine: This site looks intriguing from a Canadian perspective. Antique buffs would also find this interesting. The photos & descriptions are quite meticulous. Thank you for the link.

Mary in VA December 7, 2019 at 3:52 pm

It breaks my heart what people put in the trash! I’m so glad he’s rescuing items that someone else will treasure, and he’s making a living doing it.

Lisa M. December 7, 2019 at 7:38 am

Jann, Thank you for the link. I read the article & listened to the podcast. Very timely & informative for us non-consumers!


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