Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 17, 2020 · 68 comments

  1. I haven’t sold much, although I did sell a Wells Fargo zipper pouch, a vintage pin, a pair of Polish pottery mugs, a bag of Pendleton wool remnant pieces and a set of high-end bike fenders. I did put together a couple of new eBay listings yesterday, including a Pendleton Wool blanket that I picked up for just $14.99, (thank you Goodwill!) and a two-pound bag of Pendleton wool remnants. And why yes . . . Pendleton is a local company!

  2. I picked up a soggy knit cap in a parking lot, which I promptly brought home to launder. It cleaned up beautifully, so I brought it over to my local library for their donation box. I often come across lost or abandoned garments, which usually need nothing more than a rinse and a wash to come back to usefulness.

    We live in a throwaway society, (which includes people cycling through buying and donating in order to make room for new stuff) which motivates my ongoing decision to buy nothing new. Twelve years so far, baby!

  3. Portland, Oregon has started requiring stores to charge a nickel per bag, which means that I’m now saving 5¢ – 30¢ whenever I grocery shop. I’ve been bringing my own bags for years, and always have a reusable one in my purse. (A large nylon bag that folds into its own tiny pouch.)

  4. I finished reading one library book, (The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton) and then started another, (Wunderland, by Jennifer Cody Epstein) I put together a huge pot of cheap af black bean soup one evening using my Instant Pot, (even though I was mortally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to nap on the couch!) I snagged $1 bags of both limes and green peppers from the Fred Meyer (Kroger) markdown shelf, I located a free sample of weather proofing goo to rub into my winter boots, (where it came from, I’ll never know) I listened to the audiobook of Gaby Dunn’s Bad With Money, through the library’s Libby app, my friend Lise treated me to a cup of coffee and I took an overnight trip using my Diane Von Furstenberg suitcase that I pulled out of a Westchester County Goodwill dumpster.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenzer January 17, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Someone got a good deal on those mugs!


Kathy January 17, 2020 at 5:38 pm

1. I’m back to working my on call admin gig. Happy for the $$
2. Since the first of the month I’ve sold 4 books on amazon and 2 items via Facebook
3. I’m regifting a NWT polo shirt for a birthday gift, reusing a gift bag and picked up a .25 card tomorrow
4. Sent two bags to consignment store
5. Picked up a couple of NWT items for a friend’s upcoming grandchild


Texasilver January 19, 2020 at 2:34 pm

1. iPhone bit the dust. Bought a refurbished iPhone 8 off eBay for $230. So far it is working perfectly. Refused to pay $1100 for a new iPhone 11.
2. Bought new Otter Box for used phone so I won’t break the screen (like I did with last phone). Paid 17.99 on Groupon for Otter Box instead of $50 at store.
3. Ate bday lunch at Cicis Pizza with free bday voucher. Got hubby his lunch with free loyalty points.
4. Got a free barbecue sandwich @ local restaurant with bday coupon.
5. Used $5 off $25 purchase at Dollar General. Needed cat food, and a few OTC meds.
Happy New Year to All!


Kym Hopkins January 17, 2020 at 8:11 pm

I’m curious why your overnight bag was in a dumpster. Did it have heads in it by any chance?


Anne January 17, 2020 at 9:38 pm

Love it.

Inquiring minds want to know.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:19 pm

I feel like I’m in an episode of The Sopranos.


Mary in VA January 20, 2020 at 8:40 am

And I’m curious whether you were actually looking through the dumpster, or just happened to see it when driving by. I love watching YouTube videos of dumpster divers finding amazing things…but I don’t have the nerve to do it myself. 😉


Roberta January 17, 2020 at 8:58 pm

1. Subbed yesterday and today. I went in an hour early, so I could carpool with my husband. Instead of wasting the time, I asked the secretary if she needed extra coverage. It turns out she did today, so I picked up a little extra cash in my extra time! Better than sitting in my classroom reading a book (on the library app)!
2. In my free time after class yesterday, I stopped by Barnes and Noble to look through their clearance bins. I got a metal Darth Vader and Boba Fett mask kit for my nephew’s birthday, half off.
3. Made dinner, even though I wasn’t feeling it. I made real mac and cheese, and frozen broccoli. Happy family, and even with all the cheese, it was less than takeout. We even had leftovers for lunch!
4. Met up with a friend to go grocery shopping. We don’t have time to hang out much. Resisted new candles at Target, and only came away with what I went in for (peanut butter, antacid, deodorant).
5. The rest is the usual: keep heat off, use hot water bottle at bedtime, hang laundry out, cook at home, share rides.


Ruby January 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm

1. Have found a whopping eight cents in dropped change so far this year. Mentioned this to the clerk at the bread outlet store while buying a half dozen loaves to stock up the freezer and she said she has found a lot in the store parking lot so far.
2. Reading is fundamental: I started to do a regular order of pet supplies and noticed the regular total seemed unusually high. Turned out the price for a pheromone calming collar we use on our visually impaired oldest dog had doubled without notice and the item count of the potty pads we order for the youngest dog had defaulted to the largest number, which is more than we can easily store. Made me glad I scrolled down the page and checked instead of running on auto pilot.
3. Am writing down everything I spend in January. Only expenditures basic groceries, gasoline, home care, health, pet care, and my job search are allowed. This is turning out to be surprisingly easy.
4. Bought 2 packs of new in the package pantyhose at the Salvation Army (original price was $19 total) for $1.50 total on green tag day. I needed hose due to discovering that both pair I owned had runs and I am in the midst of a seemingly endless job search that requires dressing up for interviews.
5. Added the last of some leftover cooked sausage and the last of a package of Colombian broken spaghetti to a can of Progresso tomato basil soup and made a nice lunch dish for three days.
Bonus sixth thing: Went to Ollie’s Outlet with a 15% off coupon on what was essentially a scouting mission for a friend who is a struggling single mother. Her rowdy 4 year old broke their toilet seat beyond repair. After coupon, the one from Ollie’s was $4.24. I also got 20 pounds of cat litter for $4.24 and a box of Twinings tea ($1.70) for my family on the same trip.


Bee January 18, 2020 at 3:31 am

Ruby, what online pet supply company do you order from? Also, I wish you the best of luck on your job search!


Ru January 18, 2020 at 8:10 am

It’s Chewy. I was editing an autoship and was surprised by the changes. I don’t think it’s anything sinister on Chewy’s part. It just always pays to pay attention.


Ruby January 18, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Thanks for the good wishes. The company is Chewy, which I do not think was doing anything wrong. It just always pays to be aware of prices.


Bee January 22, 2020 at 3:55 am

Thanks, Ruby. I am looking at ways to try and decrease pet expenses. I will look into Chewy. I figured the best place to start was among frugal friends.


priskill January 21, 2020 at 4:42 pm

Wow — love your #6!! Kudos!


Pattilou January 17, 2020 at 9:23 pm

1.A friend gave me 4 free tickets to Snow Tube at a local ski resort. Now the weather just has to cooperate so we can use them.
2. I found an unused gift card in the back of my wallet. I used it to buy groceries this week.
3. Returned bread to Aldi that was not good. I had to tell the cashier the return policy. She was just going to replace the product and not reimburse me.
4. I food prepped for the weekend so I won’t be tempted to grab something on the go.
5. I returned a few things I had purchased for Christmas and did not end up giving. I found out that I could drop them off at Kohl’s, which I did. They gave me a 25% off coupon. I walked out of the store without using it.


Lisa M. January 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm

5FF: “Oh the Weather Outside is Currently Frightful”

1. At physical exam, provider recommended determining insurance coverage of shingles vaccine ($300) prior to administration. Kicking myself for not doing it in advance, contacted insurance company to verify coverage & made a subsequent nurse visit appt. for vaccine administration. An extra trip was preferable to being stuck for a large out-of-pocket expense.

2. Found 4 bakery clearance items that were enticing during previous trip to big box store, along with holiday cards at 90% off. Upon checking receipts, found a random bakery clearance item generated after clerk had difficulty scanning 1 clearance item d/t original UPC being only partially obscured, & a 75% discount on cards. Hot footed back in to store for refunds of random clearance item & additional 15% discount on cards. Yes, it was only ~$2 saved but another example of how errors are almost always in the retailer’s favor in my experience.

3. This week’s version of beans: Sausage & Bean Stew. Purchased 2# of dry pinto beans at Aldi & cooked 1# in the crockpot, reserving the other # for a subsequent recipe.

4. Enjoyed 1st complimentary dinners of 2020 at retirement related seminar. As a bonus, DH got a giant prime rib as opposed to the advertised Filet Mignon.

5. DH planning international travel between jobs, so will again be providing airport transportation to & from. Recent price discussion on Next Door reflected increasing cost for Uber & Lyft airport service, so savings increased by doing self-service.


Tonya parham January 17, 2020 at 9:50 pm

1. Enrolled in the safe driving program with my insurance. It has the little beacon that goes in the car and scores your driving. I’ve saved $13 so far and my wife $14.

2. I didn’t go to the grocery today.

3. Haven’t bought a book this year…a big deal for me. I’ve got a book buying problem.

4. Didn’t go out for a Smoothie King smoothie this morning– just made my own with peanut butter powder, soy milk, frozen bananas and cocoa powder! (SOOOOO GOOOD!)

5. I’m hoping to get to a state park tomorrow for some frugal weekend fun. Weather permitting. We may also take a Goodwill gift card and go look for some pants for the wife as she needs some and wants to build a capsule wardrobe.


Jann in Maine January 18, 2020 at 3:21 am

Instead of going to the MDs office for your shingles check out the Walgreens or pharmacy of choice. They do immunizations and the pharmacist does the injections at least here in Maine. Also their hours are longer than the MD;s office.
Katy could you post a link to your black bean soup recipe please? Always looking for what I call my go to recipes that are yummy,filling,and low cost. TY in advance.
Have stayed home and worked the past couple of weeks and attempting to declutter. Seems like the more I do the more I unearth.
I have been dumpster diving clear plastic greeting card sleeves that I use for my cat litter. Perfect size for the scoop to go into and another use for the thrown away bags. I also get ebay packing materials from this little green box so it is a win win for me.
Made a nice thai chicken meatball curry this week that used up small amounts of vegetables I had such as a stalk of broccoli and carrots. Also helped make the dish go farther and was more colorful.
Still making my own coffee, reading library books, cooking from scratch, and walking daily.
Once a tightwad always a tightwad. I believe it is ingrained in who I am regardless . I come from a long line of tightwads and as I tell my kids: “Any idiot can spend $$ it takes brains to save $$”.


Shevaun January 18, 2020 at 4:29 am

FFT Meal Planning *System* Edition
1. Revised my cookbook to reflect ingredient amounts in the sizes that we actually buy. (For example, why use 10 oz. frozen spinach if the package comes in 16 oz.? Either use 8 oz. [half a package] or 16 oz. for a full package). This helps reduce wasting bips and bobs.
2. Made a meal-plan-based shopping list, and modified a few recipes to use up bips and bobs. Ex. shredded sweet potatoes into a recipe calling for butternut squash.
3. Have cooked-double/eat-one-freeze-one meals all week. The eat-one’s are big enough to have lunch leftovers the next day, too. The freeze-one’s I leave out the last step (usually adding the pasta/rice/potatoes) and just freeze the veg/meat/sauce part. This helps the second round dinner to not be squishy.
4. Served meals that kids and I like but DH does not while DH is away for work. The meals are yummy, just not his taste, and I like them a lot.
5. Frugal Fail: we frequently shop at a salvage grocery store. They sell technically expired but actually still good packaged food. I *always* can get 10-packs of Clif Bars for .39 (!) that I use for the kids’ go-bags. But alas. Now I must revise “always” to “sometimes but not today”. Bummer. And it was a long drive.


KJD509 January 18, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Shevaun, that menu planning tweak is genius. As the kids grow up and our numbers at meals shrink, I’ve noticed some recipes don’t seem to work as well. Bet that’s because when I was making larger versions I was throwing in the rest of things to avoid the leftover bits. Will have to think about that next time.

Also, funny story: Littlest was home alone one morning and made rice krispy treats. She had never made them before so followed the recipe on the box. Later in the week I discovered in the cupboard a cereal box with about 3 Tbs of rice Krispies and a marshmallow bag with half a dozen mini marshmallows left. I guess that’s what happens when you measure.


Shevaun January 22, 2020 at 3:38 am

KJD509, hmm. so what can we do with 3T of rice krispies and 6 marshmallows? Ah, my waste-not heart is all a flutter… Dip the marshmallows in something sticky (corn syrup?), roll in rice krispies, add food coloring eyes and make mini-monsters?

I used to cook strictly by recipes, but I’ve recently loosened up to avoid food waste. This has actually taught me to be a better cook, using my taste and smell more.


Jill A January 18, 2020 at 4:32 am

1. I met my mother for lunch at Panera and used a Christmas gift card that I’d received to pay for it. While I was on her side of town I combined errands.
2. I returned items that I had bought for Christmas that didn’t work out as well as some of other items. The total was over $100 back in my pocket.
3. I picked up a clearance scarf for my daughter for her stocking for next Christmas.
4. I sold one small items on Ebay. I plan to thrift more to replenish my sad stock. I did find a nice set of Corning Ware pans that I listed. The pans and lids were not matched together at Goodwill. I had to hunt the lids down. Since they weren’t paired together as they were supposed to the clerk gave them to me for half the price.
5. Since I now have a new refrigerator with a working freezer I emptied my chest freezer and unplugged it. This should save on my electric bill. I used up the huge bag of veggie scraps to make veggie broth.


Susan January 18, 2020 at 4:59 am

Just returned from an expensive Caribbean family vacation. We have good jobs, money in savings and didn’t go into debt. We save on other things throughout the year to treat ourselves to experiences
-Got free checked bag through airlines and packed a lot of extra food, as groceries were expensive on the islands
-Ate most breakfasts and lunches in, and tried to go to places with Happy hour specials for dinner.
-rented a beach front condo on Airbnb. It was on the top floor without an elevator, which gave us a discount on price and kept us in shape climbing stairs. Also cheaper than renting 2 hotel rooms for us and my parents. It also had an amazing espresso maker, so avoided splurging for fancy coffees
-Kids less than 2 fly for free, so this was a huge savings
-didn’t buy any souvenirs, but did go on a few excursions and tours
-used public transportation or walked instead of renting a car
Now that we’re home, back to packing our meals, selling extra crap on eBay and generally staying out of the stores. We had a lot of sour milk, so I’ve been doing a lot of baking.


J January 19, 2020 at 10:43 pm

How did your baked goods turn out, Susan? I ask because I have been advised that there is a big difference between sour milk” and “spoiled milk”. Old-fashioned unpasteurized milk would naturally sour and be used for cheese, yogurt, baking, etc., but commercial pasteurized milk turns into a health hazard, I was told- bad bacteria grow and it’s poisonous. Or maybe you get untreated farm milk?


Roberta January 20, 2020 at 8:32 am

I have used sour-smelling milk in the past for baking with no problems, and I get the regular stuff. As long as it’s not chunky I think it’s ok.


Bee January 18, 2020 at 4:59 am

I think it is wonderful that you have made so many people aware of the benefits of thrifting. I also buy most items that I purchase secondhand. I have saved a fortune over the years and helped to keep things out of the landfill. There certainly seems to be an endless supply of stuff!
1. I sent a book to my daughter that her book club was reading as well as 2 pieces of clothing. I had purchased the book at the library sale on bag day and the clothing came from a trip to the bins. The items probably cost around $2, but the box was $10 to mail. I had to laugh, but she was happy to have all three things.
2. We were in need of OTC Advil. The local store had 100-count bottles on sale for $8.63 a bottle. I picked up two that each had a $2.00 in-store coupon on the package. There was a coupon for $6.00 off two bottles in the store circular and I had evidentially clipped two digital coupons that totaled $5. This brought the price down to $2.26 for two bottles. The next day I received notification from Ibotta that I had received $4 in rebates for this purchase. I am not sure how this happened, but I made money while buying what we needed. I wish I could do it more often! However, since I buy very few brand name items, I am not a big coupon user. I suppose the stars aligned this time.
3. Since I was over on that side of town, I stopped at the Goodwill bins. I bought several items for resale. However, I also picked up a few items that I can use – smart wool socks, a beautiful Italian merino wool sweater, a Talbots blouse, 3 unopened packages of tissue paper, several unopened boxes of Dove soap, a 3-ring binder and a pair of Tervis Tumblers.
4. I was gifted several packages of wild boar sausage. Hmmm… this was a challenge. I used a package to make egg roll in a bowl. It was very tasty! I will use another package or two to make a pot of chili. It was much leaner than commercially produced pork.
5. Technically not my frugal thing, but I am taking some credit for raising a frugal son. My son — the long distance hiker — posted a video on Instagram showing how to repair a piece of outdoor gear. He was encouraging others to repair their gear rather than replace it. I was so proud!!!! As Jann in Maine said above, “It takes brains to save $$.”


A. Marie January 18, 2020 at 7:22 am

Good job on your #5, Bee. You raised him right! (And I admire your #3 as well. No Goodwill bins around here, alas.)


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Nice score on the Advil!


Mary in VA January 20, 2020 at 11:46 am

Bee, every time I read about the things that you scored or that Katy scored at the bins, I tell myself I need to plan another trip! The closest Goodwill Outlet to me is an hour away. I need to plan another trip.


Bee January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm

The bins are fun— an endless treasure hunt. I am glad they aren’t close to my home. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon digging and lose track of time. I would go too often. I hope you get a visit in soon.


A. Marie January 18, 2020 at 5:46 am

FFT, Mixed Bag Edition:

(1) Decided not to go to the Literary Society’s annual luncheon today in the next city over, due to the weather forecast (winter weather advisory for 3-5″ of a snow/rain dump) plus DH’s increasing confusion/anxiety/agitation. Am consoling myself with thoughts of a day free that I wouldn’t have otherwise, plus the savings in gas and tolls. (Yes, it’s not much comfort, and, yes, I am out the luncheon registration fee. So it goes.)

(2) Am planning to use the free day for catching up on domestic chores, plus a good deal of decluttering. This latest decluttering round is inspired by my latest read, Adam Minter’s excellent new book Secondhand. A real wake-up call, and I heartily recommend it. (Ironically, I must confess that I actually bought the book at retail price, less store discount. But I did have a gift card…)

(3) Like Katy, I pick up dropped items of clothing, launder them, and pass them on. But I’m keeping my latest find: a lightweight red Nautica cotton sweater that cleaned up good as new and fits me perfectly (men’s XL, but it was too short in the sleeves for DH).

(4) The Bestest Neighbors are home from their annual London theatre trip with stories to tell and have invited us to dinner tonight. I’m taking a loaf of bread machine bread.

(5) And, to finish on a high note, my 2019 found change and bottle/can return totals: $23.19 in change, $299.95 in containers. The change total was helped by a $5 bill found back in March and three $1 bills found during the December thaw.


Jenzer January 18, 2020 at 1:56 pm

That sounds like a fascinating book, A. Marie. Thank you for the recommendation.


Roberta January 20, 2020 at 8:36 am

I am waiting for Secondhand from the library. My son heard about it on NPR and told me about it.


tracy January 18, 2020 at 9:53 am

FFT Maui trip edition
1. Carry on only so no bag charges. Also bought no food or drink on plane and will not buy on way home tomorrow either.
2. Massage school massages (one hour for $35 each) were amazing. Checked out of curiosity and fancy resort just down the road in Wailea charges $200 for 50 minute massage.
3. Had happy hour pizza (delicious gourmet pizza) 2 Caesar salads and sodas for $30 (including 25% tip) for early dinner after massages. In Maui. Where prices are crazy,
4. Have eaten breakfast and made our coffee at condo every day. Have also made our lunches a couple of times. Splurged on one fancy dinner but otherwise eating yummy food at (relatively) inexpensive places.
5. Have been attending a sunset AA meeting in a local park every afternoon at 5 pm. Beautiful, cheap therapy ($1-2 thrown in basket) and frugal because not drinking saves a ton of $ (not to mention my soul!).


Jenny January 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm

Love your #5, Tracy! For those who don’t “qualify” for AA, check out the dozens of other soul-saving Twelve Step program groups around the world (maybe google search?) for some life-changing, frugal meetings!


Lindsey January 18, 2020 at 10:34 am

1. Did four mystery shops this week: two gas stations, one big box and a cell phone place. $10 of free gas and a case of bottled water on top of the fees. More water for the earthquake kit.
2. Sold another book on Amazon.
3. Took old towels and blankets to a dog rescue place and got a tax receipt.
4. Unpacked a box that has been sitting around since my father died five years ago and ended up donating most of the clothes to a homeless shelter and got a tax receipt.
5. Went to a breakfast meeting and came home with two bagels and three donuts. We never buy either so this was a treat.

This is not a frugal thing but makes me happy: I am a pretty good cake decorator and I made a cake for a friend’s church event where they auctioned off cakes. My cake brought in $115! No fondant used; I hate that stuff.


tracy January 19, 2020 at 7:30 am

Lindsey that’s amazing! Congrats on the cake, wish you could post a pic! I love to watch Them Great British Baking Show’ and am always amazed at the cakes.


Julie January 18, 2020 at 11:36 am

1-Indulged in my love of coffee by using some about to expire points at Starbucks 2-This also ensure I stayed on track for my no spend challenge. I am not good at the no spend for the month so instead I aim for a certain number of days in a month and I am almost at my January goal with 2 weeks left. The snow storm will keep me inside and busy for the day. 3-I worked at home 2 days this past week, saving time and travel costs DH did the same of two different days. This also saves the bus fare for my 16 yr old as we can drive him to school and he takes the bus home.  4-I had a a library book due and was pleased to receive a note from my library  advising on the due date they renewed it for me as no one was waiting..Another reason to love my library.  5-Continuing to eat from the pantry/freezer and I am feeling good about all random bits getting used up.  


Jenzer January 18, 2020 at 1:58 pm

1 – Our local Dollar General had canned coconut milk on its holiday clearance shelf. I picked up 13 cans for $1 each.

2 – I watched the documentary -Birding: The Central Park Effect- through our library’s Kanopy service.

3 – I deep-cleaned a few hot spots in our house for a zero-dollar mood boost (“hot spot” meaning the FlyLady term for any surface in the house that accumulates clutter — we have several around here).

4 – I used a Tightwad Gazette recipe to make lemonade from bottled lemon juice. The juice was given to me by someone clearing out their leftovers. I added crushed leaves from the apple mint plant that’s spending the winter in our bathroom.

5 – I just put two loaves of oatmeal bread in the oven. It’s a sloppy, slushy Saturday here in the upper Midwest, the kind of weather which makes fresh-baked bread taste even better than usual. The ingredients for this recipe are cheap cheap cheap, but the flavor is amazing.


K D January 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

1. I have not had my hair cut for over two months, that’s longer than I usually go. I guess I don’t mind being a little scraggly.

2. Continuing to eat from the freezer and pantry as much as possible. Just picking up a few groceries here and there.

3. I scheduled our auto insurance payment, using my mileage credit card.

4. I had to make an emergency trip to help a family member in crisis. I packed food and just bought a few groceries and a couple bowls of soup on the 3-1/2 day trip.

5. I have an old sewing machine I do not use. I checked it today to make sure it still works. After some oil and lubing it seems to be good to go to someone I know that would like to have one.


Cindy in the South January 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Things have been hectic so if I post repeats from prev posts, I apologize. 1. I contributed to IRA max for year. 2. I contributed to 529 for granddaughter. 3. I was in a hurry and just threw dried pinto beans in crockpot to cook all night. I didn’t presoak and I forgot to season them. All is well, I simply seasoned them this morning. Apparently I don’t need to do any of that presoak nonsense I have been doing because they were soft! 4. I went to Dollar Tree and picked up Awesome cleaner, dandruff shampoo, socks for my work trip next week, green tea, and Godiva chocolate. 5. I took a nap.


Kathy Sell January 23, 2020 at 10:12 am

About the beans: I remember reading that “old” dried beans need to be pre-soaked. Fresher dried beans (current season?) don’t. Just a thought.


rebecca January 18, 2020 at 6:19 pm

1. Decluttered and gave all the clothes away to someone.
2. Staying in tonight and watching the basketball game instead of going out Plus it is cold and snowy and being home in my pajamas is lovely.
3. Walked the dog and took a nap this afternoon after seeing 3 clients this am.
4. Teaching starts again on Tuesday. I am exhausted already but the paychecks sure do come in handy.
5. The usual-lunch and coffee from home, using up things in the freezer and cupboards and line drying laundry when I don’t need the item the next day.


Sheila January 18, 2020 at 6:46 pm

Tracy, we’re headed to Maui next month, and I was so glad to be reminded of the massage school. May I ask where you had your fancy dinner and if you thought it was worth it?


Kathe Westbrook January 19, 2020 at 6:21 am

Merriman’s up on the north end. Long drive to it from Lahaini, even Kaanapali. It was nice enough, the food was good enough, the service was good—only real complaint is that the enviroment doesn’t fit the prices: it was loud and chaotic. But the $85/person—with 1 drink, shared appetizer and shared dessert, and tip included—was alot of money for one meal. We went because my companion wanted to go; I wouldn’t do it again. And if there is a next time, I’ll lobby against something like this.


Tracy January 19, 2020 at 7:57 am

Massage school = Maui Academy of Healing Arts, they have a website, highly recommend. We ate at 5 Palms and I wouldn’t recommend for dinner – expensive and food just okay (amazing views) but I would highly highly recommend Cuatro in Kihei (no views, in a strip mall but most amazing food at very reasonable prices for fine dining, BYOB $10 corkage fee, reservations a must). Other highlights: fish tacos at coconuts, happy hour pizza at Fabiani’s (Kihei location, not far from massage school), snorkelinG at Ahihi preserve, sandwiches and pudding at 808 Deli in Kihei (take to park across Street and eat at picnic table with ocean view!). Have a great time, we come home today 🙁


Kathe Westbrook January 19, 2020 at 6:12 am

1. Husband went away on business for the week; I used it to do a sewing project that got left behind last year. It’s a big thing and I usually spend parts of several weeks each year. Now it’s half done and I’m glad for it. It’s a charity project and I always am glad I can do something to give back. Because I was determined—not hardly anytime out of the house and no $$ spent, except for a trip to the library to get some videos.
2. I set a goal for each day, and when done, I did 1 project of organizing and post- holiday chaos cleaning around the place. More and more junque to sell, to the the garage sale, or donations (specific things that I know are needed—like at the women’s shelter or the pregnancy center). Again, giving back w/out spending lots of money.
3. Finally got a book I requested from the library about 3 mo ago. But I was determined not to buy yet another item to clutter up the house. I really enjoyed and highly recommend Mike Rowe, “The Way I Heard It”.
4. Since hubby was away, and he doesn’t like chili—but I love it, I made a big pot and had that 1x each day. I didn’t have to cook while I was focused on my project, and I was satisfied every day.
5. One task in the midst of it—I bought used canning jars now that it’s winter for really cheap (some were as little as 10cents/jar) to replenish my stock after selling and gifting canned goods in 2019—6 or 7 dozen total—and ran them through the dishwasher. When putting them away, I was able to organize and take stock before I start canning in late April.


Jennifer January 19, 2020 at 10:30 am

1. I started a spreadsheet of my decluttering efforts so I can claim stuff on our taxes. I donated a trunk full of clothing, coats, shoes today to Goodwill.
2. Dd came home from work last night with a bag of food they were going to throw out. We feasted on bagels, cinnamon rolls and croissants for breakfast.
3. Dh and I were going to go to the HS gymnastics meet last night at $7 a person. Dd is not able to compete but is the team manager. Ds asked to have friends over to watch a movie and dh volunteered to stay home and supervise. I sat with friends from the team instead and saved $7.
4. We are having plumbing issues and can’t seem to resolve them on our own though we have tried everything we can find online to try. We were proactive before a true crisis and scheduled a plumber to come out tomorrow when we are both off work. No emergency visit on a weekend and we don’t have to take time off work to be here.
5. Did loop errands today and filled up with gas at Costco on our route.


MB in MN January 19, 2020 at 10:33 am

1. Finished my annual read of the book “The Feast Nearby” by Robin Mather. Chock full of ideas for saving money by foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally. Also, her personal story is inspiring and her parrot says funny stuff.

2. Challenging myself to eat less to save $$ and stretch food supplies. Learned that I often eat for reasons other than hunger (clearly a first-world problem).

3. Pulled blueberries, corn and tomatoes from freezer that we froze last summer using existing inventory of mason jars (to avoid plastic and save $$, including canning lids that can be reused when freezing vs. regular canning).

4. Applied lesson learned and confirmed a meeting ahead of time to make sure person would be there to avoid an unnecessary car trip.

5. Stopped buying paper napkins, towels and Kleenex. Now using existing supply of washable bandannas, towels and handkerchiefs.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will put it on order at my library.


Jenzer January 19, 2020 at 5:12 pm

I love The Feast Nearby — it’s one of my favorite books.


Betta from daVille January 19, 2020 at 10:57 am

1) Found .06 on a walk
2) I had some raw cookie dough in the freezer for 2 years. When I first baked part of batch 2 years ago, they came out totally wrong, but I figured I could always crumble them over ice cream for making dessert for company. Several times over the last 2 years, I almost threw them out. But last night, I wanted something sweet and decided to finally bake them off. I don’t know what I did differently, but they came out perfectly and I didn’t end up having food waste.
3) Bought a jug of milk for a house sitter who left most of it. We rarely have milk in the house so I took advantage of making/freezing foods that call for small amounts including quiche filling, pancakes, mashed potatoes, and chicken pot pie.
4) DP (dear partner) and I did not eat out once this week, which is a HUGE win for us.
5) Booked trip for my 50th, using credit from an airline when DP volunteered to be bumped. Convinced him that we did not need business class (he is a tall guy and whines a lot with today’s airline seats) to keep the price within the credit amount…. frugal fail: he did get the economy plus for the flight out.


Lindsey January 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm

I am with your DP on paying extra for more leg room. I am 6′ and I am in agony after regular cabin flights; I cannot imagine what people who are really tall do. I am frugal in many other ways but not spending hours working out the kinks after a flight is worth splashing out extra money for. It infuriates me that airlines cram everyone together but until things change (I have hopes for the tests they are now doing to see if closer seats means fewer people get out alive after a crash; if so, they may force airlines to provide more space/leg room) I will pay more. The older I get, the more willing I am to exchange money for comfort.


WilliamB January 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I’m most proud of the meal I made consisting of:
– black beans (not frugal, at $6/lb, but Rancho Gordo beans are so tasty that I buy them anyway);
– kale that was the greenery in an edible bouquet, which I steamed using the salty chickeny liquid that is left after the steaming step of Barbara Tropp’s Tea Smoked Chicken; and
– rice cooked the remainder of the salty chickeny liquid.

I’m also eating down the deep freezer so I can defrost it. There have been several interesting meals recently as I near the end of the process.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm

1. I counted out my Found Change from 2019 which turned out to be a nice little $4.32. It came in dribs and drabs so I didn’t think it would amount to even that much. It would have been nice to find paper money but beggars can’t be choosers although finders can be keepers.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm

2. I had kitchen duty at church today for coffee hour. Instead of buying the pastry at a bakery I spent a couple of hours baking yesterday. A friend offered to make a lemon poppy seed bread which I happily took her up on. The pastry usually bought for coffee hour is $25 which is taken out of the coffee fund. At our little financially challenged church a savings of $25 may mean a lot. Plus I honed my baking skills using a new recipe.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm

3. We had 3 days of unseasonably warm weather here in New England last week. One day it even reached into the low 70s! DH and I took advantage by walking trails in the snowless woods and enjoying the spring like temperatures. I guess it was a true January Thaw. On the last day of it, we packed sandwiches and a thermos of tea and walked to a brook near the site of an old coffee house where supposedly laborers in the 1800s went to warm up. I do know they cut ice nearby from the local ponds so perhaps it was the workers who went there to drink coffee.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:13 pm

4. I mended a nightgown. I cleaned out a junk drawer. I’m getting together items for an indoor yard sale in March at a local church. I started to clean out the cellar with DH and discovered some items which I listed on FB Marketplace…sold two of those items. Keeping the shades drawn at night to retain heat in the house. Doing all laundry in cold water. I’m waiting for a library book I ordered a couple of weeks ago and in the meantime am reading local free newspapers and a book from our book shelf which we don’t replenish anymore with yet more books.


Christine January 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm

5. Have not bought anything gold plated or retained any celebrity lawyers.


Betty January 20, 2020 at 12:28 pm

1. So far this year my found money jar is up to $2.45. Found 2 dollar bills in the gym parking lot, which made me thankful I went to the gym, although I hate it.
2. Husband bought two bottles of what he thought were shampoo, but one was conditioner, so he gave it to me to put in our food pantry collection.
3. Our church is holding a father/daughter dance and giving free tickets to us if we invite people, so I invited neighbor (3 daughters), 2 young friends with a daughter each, and our nephew, with a daughter and a stepdaughter.
4. Renewed my gym membership, which netted me 5 $10 gift certificates. Gave them to one daughter to use towards a pool pass this summer for her and 7 yo granddaughter.
5. Took a workshop in bullet journaling for free at library, plus borrowed so many books and movies.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl January 21, 2020 at 7:28 am

I love the bags that fold into themselves! I always have a few of those in my purse and they’ve saved me from a plastic bag so many times.

Plastic bags are not outlawed here, but I shop at Aldi an awful lot, and you do have to pay for bags at Aldi.

And I don’t shop at Target much, but they do pay $0.05 for each bag you bring.

Like you, though, I’d do this even if there were no financial incentive!


Jenelle January 21, 2020 at 1:12 pm

1. Visited the Goodwill bins to find items to sell on Ebay. MLK Day is my day to go stock up for most of the spring. I am only a part time seller, so I can’t have too much inventory. I did very well with what I found and also was able to score a few things my family needed (very cheap). Brand new Christmas wrapping paper, a cat bed, bible cover for my daughter, shorts for my dad, winter boots for my dad and husband and a new purse for me!!
2. The new kittens have kept us all busy at our house. Thus keeping us at our house and not going out to spend money.
3. We set up our Wii (from when we first got married) for our kids and they love it. It’s kept them busy and out of my hair. Zero dollars spent.
4. Some parents say boys go through pants quickly. My son goes through shoes quickly! I swear he slides his feet all day. I found a pair of trendy sneakers at the Goodwill for him. He loves them!
5. Tonight kids eat free at Texas Road House. We have Gift Cards and a free appetizer. I hope our meal will be free!


LB January 22, 2020 at 4:28 pm

1. Lots of work travel, which means reimbursed miles and many paid-for lunches during all-day meetings. Today’s lunch was Mediterranean: hummus, roasted chicken, salad, yum!

2. Lots of my travel is to the suburbs of NYC. Traffic was particularly trash today so I availed myself of cheaper necessities at a big box Target (how is it that all my toiletries always run out at the same time?) I resisted a clearance work bag that fit all my needs (laptop sleeve! coffee cup compartment!) for $23 knowing that the quality just wouldn’t last, and also avoided buying myself a candy bar that I desperately wanted when I walked in, but had almost forgotten about by the time I got to the food section. Also we have a big vacation coming up, so I stocked up on some travel items that are often tough to find in smaller stores.

3. Skiing is hardly a frugal sport, but with a pass already purchased for the year to multiple mountains it’s easier in the moment to enjoy the snow. We booked a weekend trip to Mont Tremblant (lift tickets already paid for) that we could book the flight for on credit card points. When we pitched the trip to our friends, another 5 people joined in! AirBnB for the weekend is $100 per person and is right on the mountain. So excited to spend time with good friends without spending a ton of money doing a sport that I love.

4. Still coasting off our big grocery run two weeks ago–scraping the bottom of the barrel on some things and have had to pick up bread and bananas, but otherwise chugging along. Feels good to have made food choices that make sense with each other to make meals that are easy to pull together (plus I made the best breakfast burrito ever last weekend, and realized that buying two of those at the place nearby would have been at least $30.)

5. Learning to say no and be honest about why. Lots of “I can’t afford that right now” or “Could we maybe find a cheaper place?” For the most part friends are relieved. It seems we are all in financial holes that we don’t want to tell others about.

Not a frugal fail, but I did borrow a book from Libby on frugal living that was a real bummer. It seemed that the author was just doing a victory lap on how clever she is instead of offering any sort of real help. Also, she did not address a single barrier to her frugal recommendations–like how hard it is for my generation to buy a house or retire. Very disappointing read–and also made me grateful for the practicality of this community.


Ney January 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm

LB I am so curious what frugal book this was!


LB January 23, 2020 at 8:35 am

It was “Frugal Isn’t Cheap” by Clare Levison. Definitely some context needed as it was published in 2013 and people were still digging out of the recession, but her suggestions included changing the frame of “I want to” to “I’d rather,” which is great for your internal monologue to reduce spending. However, her example was telling your friend who just purchased a vacation home “I’d rather spend that money on my kid’s college tuition” which I found rude and tasteless. She also discussed how her husband chased promotions at work and that was not a bad thing–which made me think her financial success had nothing to do with reducing her consumption…I could go on, I’m afraid!


sea January 23, 2020 at 9:25 am

Most important frugal item this week: brand new car I bought last spring saved me a lot of money last night: automatic anti collision system kicked in and kept me from rear-ending another car!!! The system really worked, although it sure makes a lot of noise & creates a jolt so strong I thought I had actually hit the car (I glanced over to make sure road was clear to change lanes, but I was obviously following too closely; in my defense, the guy did stop short for no reason on a 55 mph road). Freaked my son out, but he’s got his driver’s permit and I used it as a “teachable moment”. How’s that for a positive spin? Brand new cars may not be cheap (and we usually buy used cars), but all the new anti collision technology really works! And I did choose a car that cost half the amount of the car I actually wanted (I know, I know — champagne problems!).


Michele January 23, 2020 at 9:35 am

1. Using my own homemade detergent and pouring “Downy” on baby washcloths for softener.
2. Always use cold water for laundry.
3. Using up the last little bit of sunscreen in my bottle for daily protection. It’s a conspiracy to make it hard to get the lotion out of bottom.
4. I always have a bunch of hand towels to cut down on paper towel use.
5. Packing my bkfst, lunch, and snacks every day. I pass by two towns with all sorts of places I want to stop every day!


Kathy Sell January 23, 2020 at 10:15 am

About the beans: I remember reading that “old” dried beans need to be pre-soaked. Fresher dried beans (current season?) don’t. Just a thought.


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