Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 1, 2020 · 76 comments

  1. I sold a few things here and there through eBay, including a pair of Starbucks mugs, a Mary Engelbreit magazine, (I used to subscribe, and have been slowly selling them off) a Jonathan Adler holiday ornament, a baboon puppet, some pretty midcentury-style Japanese fabric and a long sleeve merino wool shirt that was gathering dust in the back of my dresser. I also sold a cool vintage chair through Facebook Marketplace a mere 18 hours after snagging it at Goodwill.

    No single sale will make you green with envy, but it still added up to a tidy little amount.

  2. My fridge was overly full of perishable food that fell under the unfortunate category of “ingredients” rather than “grab-n-go,” so I dedicated an evening to assembling meals out of available supplies. I managed to pull together a ginormous pot of chicken soup, as well as pans of enchiladas and twice-baked potatoes. It probably took an hour or so of hands on work, and we’ve been enjoying the meals ever since.

    I love it when past Katy does favors for present day Katy. Not only did this save me from the daily drama of “Blarg, what’s for dinner?!” but it helped us avoid the temptation to get takeout or make unnecessary grocery store trips.

    I’m not someone who loves to cook, so I pat myself on the back for even a modicum of extra effort.

  3. My college pal Maura and and I hit up a Vancouver, Washington Goodwill that neither of us had been to. I snagged the aforementioned vintage chair as well as a midcentury footstool with dynamite brass-footed tapered wooden legs. Total cost? $12.98!

    I think of the drive to Vancouver as being a big ol’ schlep, but it actually took just 25 minutes. We went to the Orchards location at 14201 N.E. Fourth Plan blvd, which was amazing. Super clean and organized!

    Afterwards Maura and I caravanned to her new house where she fed me lunch with multiple cups of coffee. January/February in the Pacific Northwest is super dreary, so anything we can do to brighten our days is an accomplishment. Seasonal Affective Disorder is no joke.

  4. I dropped off library books right before they were overdue and picked up a book that I’d put on hold, my friend Kristen from The Frugal Girl mailed me a book she thought I’d like, my son came home for the weekend and we’re feeding him homemade meals rather than using it as an excuse to eat out, I met with a city official to determine whether our property qualified for a free rain garden, (it didn’t) and I put all the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies on hold at the library to help put the Picard show in better context.

  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.”

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

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Momma L February 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

1. Eating down the freezer, making interesting casseroles. DH loves mixed up food with sauce, he’s not picky.
2. Took a pantry inventory and since I’ve started using lazy susans, I don’t overbuy, because I can see everything I’ve already purchased at a glance (or a twirl!)
3. Making hot wings to a friend’s house for the Superbowl. I had everything on hand but the chicken, which was on sale. Potluck parties are the best!
4. Didn’t eat for DAYS, got that stomach bug. I don’t want to fly during flu season ever again. Spent less on groceries last month though…
5. Updating my photos, with frames from Goodwill and using Walgreen’s sales on photo printing. Makes my adult children happy to see the pics updated on my shelves. Cheap decorating and the pics make me happy too.


Kathy February 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm

January ended in a horrible note
1. I had the upper respiratory flu thing. Spent over $25 on OTC meds only to discover today that hubby had multiples in his bathroom
2. Dishwasher had a leak which went into tile and dining room carpet. This involved service calls from
Plumber, repair guy and carpet guy
3. Ultimately new dishwasher installed today
4. Dog in for annual lab work plus hematoma on ear. $347 later
5. On the upside my birthday is next week so lots of freebies from desserts to meals


Bee February 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm

1. Although I had my flu shot, I have developed an insidious case of the flu. I went to the doctor and was prescribed Tamiflu along with some OTC medicines. Fortunately, I was able to pay for these unbudgeted expenses using my Health Savings Account (HSA). I am so glad we started taking advantage of this option many years ago when they were first offered by my husband’s employer.
2. I also have a refrigerator full of “ingredients” that I hope will keep until I feel that it is safe for me to go back in the kitchen. My dear husband is exceptionally challenged in the kitchen, and I am not sure how much he can deal with. However, we did have one success. Like many of you, I have been trying to clear out the freezer a bit and took out a turkey to defrost. (It has been purchased inexpensively at Christmas.) Because I fell ill, I did not have a chance to cook it, but DH pulled up a YouTube video to learn how to roast a turkey. It came out perfectly and I was thrilled that it did not go to waste.
3. I went to the bins at the end of last week to hunt for items for resale. I found an adorable Diane Eichler polka dot elephant bank that still had its tags and labels. Although I was unsure that it would sell for much, It was too cute to leave behind. When I was photographing it for eBay, I noticed that something was in it. I took out the stopper and found a $10 bill!
4. I have been staying in bed and haven’t felt much like reading. I have been using the library apps- Overdrive, RB Digital, Hoopla— to download audio books, magazines and soft music. So blessed to have this wonderful resource!
5. Despite being sick, I have sold a couple of items on eBay which DH packed up for me and shipped. I am drinking plenty of fluids and getting lots of sleep which is almost feee. We took care of my eldest son’s dog while he was out of town. (Frugal for him) and DH has success successfully avoided takeout.
Have a happy, safe and thrifty weekend!


Kathy February 1, 2020 at 1:46 pm

I too had a flu shot so mine was mild. By the time I saw the doctor it had run its course. I did have an eye infection and by the time the Rx was filled 3 days later it was better just by using artificial tears. Plus the Rx was $138 No thanks


Dee February 1, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Wow, Bee. Your husband should feel accomplished. Great job on saving the turkey.


Cindy in the South February 1, 2020 at 6:44 pm

I am so sorry you are sick Bee, especially after getting the shot… wow


Patricia Koernig February 2, 2020 at 3:36 am

Feel Better, Bee!


Bee February 2, 2020 at 9:35 am

Thank you for all the kind words and good wishes. I hope all of you NCA readers who are feeling poorly are back on your feet soon. Wishing everyone good health!


Mary in VA February 3, 2020 at 8:33 am

Wow, Bee, that’s great, finding $10 in the elephant bank! Sorry to hear you’ve been sick, hope you feel better soon.


Cindy in the South February 1, 2020 at 1:16 pm

Fabulous chair and stool! 1. I went to doctor, since I launched into a coughing fit in the middle of a murder hearing last week. Glad I have insurance. Co paywas still $50… sigh. 2. I made beans in crockpot and used them in various dishes. I also made pumpkin. I am trying to follow the Native American trio of beans, squash, and corn as my basics. I team it with tomato products, and greens. I haven’t lost weight but since the above foods are cheap, my pocket thanks me. 3. I purged my dog’s room. Yes, he has his own bedroom. He needed new thrifted bedding. 4. I took a nap. I am sick so that is my story and I am sticking to it. 5. I am rocking my thrifted duds like a boss.


Lisa M. February 1, 2020 at 1:31 pm

5+FF: Wintertime Thaw

We’re enjoying an extremely rare winter thaw in the upper Midwest, making it easier to inch towards spring.

1. Following annual blowout of Asian fusion deliciousness with coworker friend from previous job, frugalities included splitting bill, having adequate leftovers for lunch for DD & myself the next day, leftovers for DD to take home, & leftover rice to repurpose into other meals. Enjoyed complimentary candy & lotion while walking around the mall before & after but no purchases other than meal. Frugal misstep: Had discovered restaurant rewards account inaccessible but failed to contact program until after meal. Server able to locate account so received points but unable to utilize free birthday month app. Frugal fix: Contacted Customer Service about rewards issues. Eventually able to reset password & access account, along with receiving complimentary entrée for frustration & inability to use birthday reward.

2. Since DH is out of the country & trash for 1 was very minimal, repurposed large plastic packaging in place of trash bag.

3. DD took her pet geckos to her new apartment, saving me time not needing to care for them & reduction of food & electricity costs on my end. When someone was home, they used a heat lamp during the day & a heated rock at night, translating into 24-hour electricity consumption. Only reprieve was when they were home alone.

4. Always buy wall calendars after the holidays at steep discount, as this is a consumer purchase that my family heavily utilizes but refuse to pay exorbitant full price. Found several quality items including calendars for each family member, holiday cards, an ornament for DD & a small, lovely smelling candle for myself, all at 75% off at bookstore.

5. Taking advantage of multiple socialization opportunities with friends while DH is gone. They have all contained frugal aspects including: dining at local restaurant with gourmet yet affordable food & having soup & side; visit to coffee shop to meet with 2 friends & garnering perk points towards future freebie; & trip to restaurant offering a free plant-based burger with the purchase of a beverage with a friend.

6. Pulled out the winter/snowman decorations that have been accumulated & used over the course of many years. Lot of memories.

7. Heading back to the airport soon to provide taxi service for DH, avoiding a Lyft or Uber expense.


Lisa M. February 1, 2020 at 1:44 pm

An addendum: Unlike the 4 previous posters, I am healthy but after reading their posts, I am also now paranoid about when the illness ax will fall. I have actually exercised 14 out of the last 21 days which inevitably brings on some type of sickness & kicks me off any wellness routine. Stay healthy NCA community!


K D February 1, 2020 at 1:54 pm

1. A neighbors husband is felling poorly and waiting to see a specialist. DH and I did a few things outside for the neighbors today. They had over bought berries so we accepted some of their surplus.

2. The local grocery had coconut based “ice cream” marked 75% off. I bought some for future use.

3. When I have the slightest tickle in my throat I either suck on a Cold-eeze (zinc lozenge) or mix Emergen-C and Airborne with water. Crossed fingers, so far we have been healthy this winter.

4. I’m reading Junkyard Planet, borrowed from the library. It is an older book but it details where the over abundance of waste that Americans produce goes. While much of it has been reused the environmental cost is staggering, and the working conditions unconscionable.

5. We have been enjoying Acorn TV shows, accessed for free through our public library.


A. Marie February 2, 2020 at 9:42 am

Re: your #4, KD: Junkyard Planet is Adam Minter’s first book (Secondhand, which I have recommended in previous comments, is his second). JP is also excellent, mainly because Minter brings his family’s background in junk/recycling to bear on this topic. After reading the book myself, I gave it for Christmas to an 80-year-old friend who still collects and recycles scrap metal. He loved it.


cathy February 2, 2020 at 12:48 pm

I requested Secondhand from my library. Have moved up to third on the hold list. Thanks for the recommendation!


Lindsey February 1, 2020 at 2:09 pm

All my frugal successes went up in smoke this week. When it is 30 below or more, even triple pane windows get frost on the inside of the house, especially in the kitchen with all the moisture. While cooking, I saw a large spider on the window so I hit it with a magazine. The corpse fell onto the icy ledge and instantly froze to the sill. I could not stand the thought of seeing the dead body there until it gets warmer, so I tried to pry it off. No luck. I finally pulled out a knife, to carve the corpse off the sill, but that didn’t really work so I stabbed harder…and the window cracked. Now the corpse is still resting on the sill, behind the 6 mil plastic my husband taped over the window to keep the heat loss down until it gets warm enough to take down the window and put in a new piece of glass.
Some of the savings that will now be used on the window replacement include gathering eggs while my neighbor is on vacation so over 5 dozen free eggs so far and a week to go, using the library for books and a puzzle, eating meatless meals several times this week (hard for committed meat eaters), making a gallon of hot tea that used only 3 bags and was kept in the fridge and heated as we wanted hot tea, and finding a coupon for free cat food that our hedgehog loves.


Mary Beth Danielson February 1, 2020 at 6:56 pm

I just read your frozen spider story to my husband.. who sympathetically remembers the time he tried to press the rear view mirror back onto the windshield of our very old car (things would just fall off). He pressed hard.. and the whole windshield cracked.

Life is just once adventure after another.


Nancy from mass February 1, 2020 at 7:32 pm

And your spider story reminded me that one time my husband went to kill a spider that was crawling across the windshield and he tapped his wedding ring on the windshield and it shattered the window. Oops.


KJD509 February 1, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Not much to report, but we keep trying:

1) Finally remembered to cancel the PBS Masterpiece add-on to our Prime video account. I’ll be happy to re-up if there’s another season of Endeavour though.

2) Successfully cash flowed the final dual-tuition term. I’ve been talking about this for awhile, but it took the entire month to actually accomplish it.

3) Ruined a pot of black beans – don’t know if I used way too little water or if the lid was slightly ajar, but they were dry, burned and stuck to the side when I got home from work. Littlest lobbied hard for delivery Pad Thai but we survived on frozen bits and bobs warmed up in sauce and served over biscuits.

4) This is performance week for that daughter, and we are lucky enough to have lots of extended family near enough to come cheer her on. In years past when a kid was performing, we’d go out for multiple meals as part of the viewing and celebration, but this year we skipped the post-show meals on school nights, served comfort food at home last night because she had an interview for a magnet program this morning, and will go out for pizza tonight for a joint event to celebrate her performance and her brother’s birthday. So. Much. Cheaper. And easier!

5) We’re back on a count-every-penny budget with some huge anticipated expenses in the next couple of years. This morning I transferred every unspent cent into savings and accounted for it by category. It wasn’t very many cents, but knowing there’s a bit set aside specifically to replace a car, for example, helps me stay on track and sleep better at night.


Mand01 February 1, 2020 at 3:32 pm

1. I had tonnes of zucchini and summer squash from the garden so I have been planning meals and baking with these: zucchini bread, stuffed squash, zucchini pizza, zucchini risotto etc
2. The risotto I am making tonight will also use up Arborio rice I have had in the pantry for a while, and chicken stock from the freezer.
3. I found watermelon on sale and bought a giant piece (the melons were so enormous that even the cut pieces were huge). I love watermelon but it’s not worth me growing because of the water requirements. It’s cut up in the fridge for cheap healthy snacks.
4. My husband and I made fermented carrots. They are really delicious. We have been snacking on them all week. We used one kilogram of carrots (2 pounds) for $1.50. I received a Kilmer jar for my birthday.
5. I worked a lot more in January than I anticipated and I am still really busy, which is good.


A. Marie February 2, 2020 at 9:44 am

Glad to hear that your summer gardening is going so well, Mand. I wish you and the rest of Australia more rain–and no more bushfires.


Jennifer February 5, 2020 at 5:17 am

If your family loves sweet, fudgie brownies this is an excellent recipe for using up zucchini


Stephanie February 1, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Frugal things
1. Stocked up on bags of almonds when Walgreens has a great sale and I had coupons. I saved 56 percent … said my receipt.
2. Cooked up a big skillet of past time greens and veggies. They are now in my freezer waiting to spruce up an egg frittata. None went into the trash! Woooo!
3. Saved 44 dollars this week for a fun trip to Toronto.
4. Went to a fun college basketball game today with FREE TIX.
5. Did not buy a limousine this week!


tracy February 1, 2020 at 4:17 pm

1. Made a new batch of Greek yogurt using a gallon of milk purchased on sale for $2. So delicious, so easy and so much cheaper than buying it!
2. Made a big pot of Tuscan Bean Soup today, using up some iffy carrots and onions and some parmesan rinds I’d been keeping for that purpose. Used dried beans as much cheaper than canned and less packaging. used rosemary from my garden. Yum!
3. Made it through the first month of my buy nothing new year. My main issue is clothes and shoes and I bought none! Only things I bought (besides groceries) were a can opener, a sweater de-piller and a brush to wash dishes.
4. My Mom has seasons tickets to a theater in town and gets one extra free ticket per season, so she took me to a play which was great.
5. I picked two of my three super bowl party contributions based on what was reasonably priced or what I already had on hand (deviled eggs and guacamole, chips and salsa). I splurged on the third, buying a pound (shelled) of Dungeness crab meat for a hot crab dip…


Ava February 1, 2020 at 4:26 pm

Bronchitis here for both of us, and a long bout it has been.
1. Finally staggered out for a major trip to the grocery store. Prior to that, for the duration of the sickness, husband was getting us one fast food meal a day and we were searching for pantry crumbs for the rest of the meals. Now we actually have ingredients to prepare some food at home. Today it was keto granola, veg soup and baked sweet potatoes.
2. Organized all gift wrapping supplies and found out I don’t need to buy any for at least 3 yrs.
3. Had part of our screened porch converted to a sun room. The process was not frugal in the least but has added to the value of the house and to our enjoyment of it. We also bought a couch for the new room. Also not frugal. The frugal part is that all other furnishings cost nothing. Other items making the room cute and comfy are: large plants we already had in pots and stands, gifted and thrifted, a flea market table bought several yrs ago and newly spray painted. It holds a lamp we already had, family pictures, a large Goodwill tray of shells. Tray and shells were items we already owned. The couch came with pillows we did not like. We gave those away and replaced them with pillows we already had, stuffed into covers my daughter was getting rid of. For puzzles and painting, we also have a table my mother made 50 or so yrs ago with two mismatched chairs, one that was $2 at a yard sale many years ago and one that was destined for the dump because it needed a repair.
That’s it.


SRK February 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm

1. Like many others here, I have also been sick with a nasty bronchitis 🙁 I am a CVS rewards member and have been spending lots of $$ there this month (I will use my health savings account to pay for uncovered expenses). They sent an email saying “hope you feel better soon” and gave me a coupon for a free can of soup (I got a can of Annie’s Organic black bean soup – usually $3.85). They also sent a 40% coupon which I used to save $8 on toiletries.
2) I unsubscribed from a credit monitoring service that was charging $20/month each for hubby and myself and now use a free one (Credit Karma)
3) My work provides snacks and light lunches, so I used it to supplement my packed lunches from home.
4) I repaired a broken taillight (I accidentally backed into our recycling bin!!) with a repair kit of transparent tapes from an auto repair store. Cost $3.89 instead of $500 mechanic quoted me to replace the whole thing.
5) Signed up for Healthy Advantage program through my Blue Cross health insurance which reduces copays to $10 and deductibles to $0! But I need to see Dr (made appointment!) and either use a Fitbit to track steps (they provide) or go to WW to increase my fitness levels/lose weight. They pay for either one. Win-win. Healthier me and less $$$$ spent on healthcare.
To good health for everyone!


Marybeth February 1, 2020 at 6:15 pm

1. Paid for my youngest’s second semester of college. No loans have been taken out so far.
2. Hubby wanted to get Chinese. So we made it instead. Plenty of leftovers for lunch one day.
3. Washed laundry on cold cycle and hung it up to dry by the heater.
4. Decluttering the office. A box of DVD’s went to Hubby’s work free table. A box of books went to friends with younger kids.
5. Bought bananas from the reduced rack. 12 Bananas for $1.50. My youngest has been making smoothies to take to school. We made banana pancakes for breakfast too.


Ruby February 1, 2020 at 7:06 pm

1. Have needed new pajamas forever. The thrift gods responded with an adorable new without tags set. I love it when people get rid of Christmas gifts that didn’t fit by donating them to the Salvation Army.
2. Made homemade kibble topper for the dogs out of canned fish, mashed potatoes and salt free green beans. This saves about $15 a month over buying canned dog food.
3. A wonderful shirt bought for my husband at the humane society thrift store a few years ago developed a hole in the elbow. It is otherwise in perfect condition, so I decided to spend the money on elbow patches for it.
4. Earned $8 in gift cards through Fetch. Now my husband understands why I pounce on every receipt that comes into the house.
5. Made a vat of chili last week for lunches that almost got us through the whole workweek.


Nancy from mass February 1, 2020 at 7:41 pm

1. Needed a notary for two items (the last two 401(k)s that my husband had) so I could switch them to my name. Went to the bank my son has an account at since they do it for free.
2. Finished the sweater I was knitting for my son. Came out a little bigger than I was expecting. So I took a deep breath, and washed and dried it. It did shrink up a tiny bit but not enough. Next load of laundry I’ll try it again. (It’s super wash wool, so it can go in the washer and dryer)
3. I’ve already crossed three things off my “20 wishes“ list.
4. Found .12 so far this week.
5. Needed another pair jeans, so I stopped in at savers. An almost brand new pair of Lees for six dollars.
And 6. Having a lot o fun with my kittens. They are getting so big so fast.


Bee February 2, 2020 at 1:10 pm

I read about 20 wishes. It is an interesting idea. I don’t mean to be nosy, but I did you implement this on a personal level.


Nancy from mass February 4, 2020 at 5:47 am

My 20 wishes are always a mixture of personal things or things I’d like to do to help other people. My best friend is getting her house ready to put on the market, so I’ve put aside a day to help her finish up. Could be volunteering, finishing my son sweater, consigning some of my moms stuff, things like that. So it’s always a mixture of personal for me and helping others. I also have things on it that I procrastinate to do. Like cleaning up my sewing area. It’s very time-consuming so I kind of procrastinate that one. If it’s on my list, I’m more apt to do it because I want to cross that off


Susie's Daughter February 1, 2020 at 7:42 pm

1) Lots of food related frugality using up things we have had hanging around. Old potatoes are perfectly good when mashed with butter and sour cream. Single package of chocolate instant breakfast works just fine in chocolate pudding cake (as does an intractable lump of instant espresso powder). Declining apples became apple crisp.

2) Several issues have resulted in a cleaner kitchen. An unfortunate fish thawing incident led to a sparkling clean and deodorized fridge. A newly discovered leak under the sink means the whole cabinet has been emptied and inventoried. Mice seeking warmth and crumbs means I have cleaned behind the microwave (for maybe the first time in four years…).

3) After Christmas break, I went through all of DS’s clothes and happily reached into the “too big” bin to compensate for all the clothes he has outgrown in the last four months. Bag of clothes went to the next boy in our hand me down chain.

4) Used a free Redbox code to rent a movie for family movie afternoon tomorrow. Also watched “Book Club” and “Call Me By Your Name” courtesy of the library this week. And when I returned those two I borrowed “The Chaperone” for later watching.

5) Using our living room wood stove on very cold days and nights to ease the burden on the furnace. Wood was free for the taking from my parent’s property and has been drying out for several months in our mud room. Wood heat is my favorite.


kate February 1, 2020 at 9:54 pm

1. made a big vat of soup tonight for lunches all week, as well as finished up things that were lingering in the fridge/cabinet instead of buying groceries. i have a tendency to do that and am trying to eat more of what i actually have.
2. thrifted some vintage boots that were a great price and also on sale. i am pretty sure i can sell them for 10x + as much as i purchased them for.
3. continued to use my grocery outlet gift card i received for the holidays to buy the bulk of my groceries (and i still have a bit left on it.)
4. purchased wooden hangers at a thrift store near my mom (this was awhile ago) and now was able to unload my velvet flocked ones on my buy nothing group this week.
5. today i found a free bottle of higher end shampoo in my boyfriend’s ‘free area’ of his apartment building. it’s a huge bottle and over half full, so i took it because i’ve been running low and i hate spending money on things like shampoo.


Roberta February 4, 2020 at 8:07 am

Have you considered going no ‘poo? I gave up shampoo several years ago, and my hair is better for it. I just use a cider vinegar rinse when I rinse my hair in the shower. I have curly hair, with a tendency to dandruff, and the dandruff has gone away with this strategy. (Google no ‘poo for more info.)


Jill A February 2, 2020 at 5:10 am

I love the chair and ottoman. I’m having thrift envy. My daughter has been sharing all her great thrift finds (in Reno) with me. I have plans to go thrifting next week with my Mom & sister for an inexpensive outing.

1. I’ve been eating all the leftovers. I’m trying to reduce my food waste not only for fiscal reasons but environmental reasons also. This included eating leftover quinoa with milk and cinnamon sugar for breakfast two mornings.
2. I’ve sold a few small items on Ebay and one item on Facebook. Money in, crap out. My favorite thing.
3. I used a $10 off store reward coupon to buy a Christmas gift for next year.
4. I’ve also received a 15% off your entire purchase coupon from Tractor Supply which I’ll use to buy my water softener salt. It’s already the least expensive that I’ve found so I consider that a win.
5. It’s going to be an expensive year for me so I’m trying to decrease my expenses a little here and a little there where ever I can. Every little bit helps. I’m collecting all my paperwork for taxes and will contribute to my HSA as needed to avoid paying more taxes.


M EM February 2, 2020 at 5:43 am

1. I made yogurt in the Instant Pot using whole milk – and strained it to make Greek-style. It takes a good bit of babysitting, what with taking its temperature at multiple stages of the process.
2. Sold a pair of new, pink Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers on Poshmark – they’ve been sitting in my closet for over a year. Didn’t make a profit on them but $25 is better than nothing.
3. Printed out a list of the 1,000+ books on my Kindle – Amazon really, really needs to add a function where you can easily create a PDF or Excel spreadsheet of the books in your library.
4. Sold a “tea bundle” on my local Facebook yard sale page. I tend to buy tea in multiples and then decide I don’t like the tea or it irritates my bladder. Everything I sold was unopened. Food pantries here in the Boston area prefer gift cards rather than food as donations.
5. Do not plan to leave the house until work on Monday. Will also be listing a few more things on Poshmark. I still have not attempted to sell on ebay. Too intimidating to me.
6. Wearing my fleece jacket in the house since we keep the heat at 65 during the day and 62 at night.


tracy February 3, 2020 at 6:04 am

Re your #1, I am now making yogurt regularly in the crock pot. After doing it a few times, process seems much simpler and I really just go on times (heat for 2 hours on high, let cool for 1.5-2 hours before adding yogurt “starter”, let sit wrapped in towels 8 hours, strain in colander 4 hours. It does require me to be around to perform these tasks but the first time I felt much more like I had to take temps etc. Now I am more on auto-pilot.


Roberta February 4, 2020 at 8:11 am

I was intimidated to start on ebay, but they have really good online help to get you started. I very patient person will call you (if you submit a request) within a couple of minutes, to help you walk through the process.

I am successfully selling pieces of my wedding china that way, and otherwise it would linger in my house until I die, useless to anyone.


Marilyn February 2, 2020 at 8:31 am

Ah yes, it is a pretty gloomy time of year in the Pacific NW. What works for me is to light a candle or 2 in the evening and stretch out on the couch with a good book. Don’t know why but I lose the SAD on evenings when I do that. (Of course, I bought my supply of candles at yard sales).


Marie February 2, 2020 at 8:43 am

1. Sharing my daughter’s Netflix account to watch The Crown. She shares my Hulu accy.
2. Making bone broth for the dogs. Save up bones, cook, freeze in containers. Obviously, it’s good for them. The vet said my 14 yr old border collie was in great health.
3. Someone posted on our local site free meat for dogs. I asked for the beef, she also had a turkey, and pork. Turns out, she empties her freezer every six months. We brought home over 15 lbs, of wonderful butcher paper wrapped, steaks, roasts
4. Got a free Shark vacuum on a free site. Going to use the dismantle it for the hose. Mine has cracks, and new is expensive. I knew it I was patient, I’d find one.


Marie February 2, 2020 at 8:45 am

Argh! Autocorrect


isa February 4, 2020 at 5:47 am

“”Turns out, she empties her freezer every six months””

Whaaaaat?! Like, she gives out perfectly good meat because it’s been frozen for 6 months? I have meat in my chest freezer that’s been there for over a year, I would not get rid of it. Maybe it’s just me…


Kacy February 2, 2020 at 8:47 am

Ohh, how do you talk to city of Portland about free rain garden?


Julie February 2, 2020 at 9:42 am

1-Still using fresh rosemary from the garden. I have never had a plant survive this long and I live in Canada so this is pretty awesome imo, I suspect because i place the pot close to the house and we have had some milder weather.
2-forcing myself to use random odd things purchased for recipes and never used, next up a can of artichokes? Any ideas…
3-used our 25 year old bread machine to make pizza dough last night for homemade pizza and resisted the temptation of take out.
4-January was a more expensive grocery month than December because I spent half of what I would typically spend in December & because we spent next to nothing on restaurants, so still a win.
5-was very pleased with my 19 yr old as he needed several herbs for the meals he was prepping and when he realized that there would be leftovers he planned more meals and then froze the leftovers. this one has my frugal gene.


Lindsay B February 2, 2020 at 11:18 am

Some ideas for canned artichokes– all include draining and chopping them up smaller:
1. On pizza (either homemade, or add to a purchased pizza)
2. In a dip– hot artichoke dip, or search online for Chicken Artichoke Gift Box dip from Southern Living– so delicious!
3. In a spaghetti or lasagna. When the pieces are small, they “disappear” a little better but add really nice flavor

Good luck! Let us all know what you end up doing with them.


Julie February 2, 2020 at 11:44 am

Oh, I never even thought of pizza and I love them on pizza. But the dip sounds delish too.


Nancy February 3, 2020 at 1:17 pm

For the artichokes I second the pizza and pasta. But artichoke hummus is also wonderful


Morgan Willhite February 3, 2020 at 4:37 pm

So this is going to sound strange, but pan fried pickled artichokes are AMAZING. Just drain and pat dry. then fry up in a little oil til the outsides are browned and dip into something garlicy. delish


A. Marie February 2, 2020 at 9:56 am

FFT, “I Don’t Want to Do It But I Must” Edition:

Although DH and I are staying healthy (apart from a mild bout of bronchitis apiece in early January), I’ve been so bummed out by recent U.S. and international news, DH’s continuing decline, and our endlessly gray Upstate NY weather that I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to do anything. Still, life doesn’t wait for my motivation to be at acceptable levels, so I’ve been getting my big-girl panties on and dealing with it:

(1) Tax paperwork. (Blech. But this is my third year of handling this on my own, and I’ve more or less got the routine down by now.)
(2) Office cleanout, in between editing projects. (One downside of being a telecommuter is that I do have to be my own charwoman.)
(3) Continued decluttering. Took three boxes of books and CDs to one of the local libraries for its book sale yesterday, and intend to keep on sharing the wealth among other local libraries. (Don’t worry, Barbara, FFL’s turn is coming!)
(4) Continued eating at home. We’ve only had one meal at a restaurant in the past two months. (In part, this is because DH finds eating out increasingly confusing, but it’s also saving $$$.)
(5) And, on a brighter note, collaborating as usual on a seed/gardening supplies order with the Bestest Neighbors, to save on shipping/handling charges.


Patricia Koernig February 2, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Sending you love, A, Marie. Much love.


Barbara February 2, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Hi A.Marie!
Looking forward to seeing you at our first sale of the year in April and delighted that you are thinking of us for donations!

I’ve been squirting away some interesting Jane Austen items especially for you.

Don’t despair….it’s getting brighter earlier in the mornings and there’s grass peaking through the snow here in the east side.


Barbara February 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm

Sigh…that would be squrrieling…..stupid autocorrect.


Barbara February 2, 2020 at 6:55 pm

Big girl panties are definitely called for in these times we are living in. I admire your grace and grit in light of your DH’s memory loss.

Please be good to yourself.


Jill A February 3, 2020 at 9:21 am

Thinking of you. Also in the same boat as far as motivation. It is hard when you are sad and stressed to keep going. I’m sorry.


MB in MN February 2, 2020 at 4:29 pm

1. Enjoyed a weekend vacation in “the Hamptons” (aka the Hampton Inn in a small Wisconsin town). Watched nephew play two college hockey games. Generous sister-in-law paid for our stay! Also enjoyed the free breakfasts – to which we brought our camping plates, bowls, cups, and utensils to avoid single-use items. Took home all the really brown bananas out of the complimentary fruit bowls to freeze for future banana bread.

2. So grateful that our neighbor regularly gifts us with potatoes from the hundreds that they grow each year.

3. Took advantage of the free sun that appeared for the first time in many, many days. I read by the window, ate by the window, played cards by the window, and so on.

4. Bought bulk tea using my own jar and used French Press to make it. Inexpensive and package-free = win-win.

5. Thinking of what I can sew using the still-good flannel from my beloved jammies that are beyond repair.


Jo February 3, 2020 at 5:34 am

LOL your weekend in the Hamptons! Seems to me this group of thrifty folks is abundant in humor.


Juhli February 2, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Had a dinner buffet party for 16 and it was fairly frugal because:
1. Almost totally used washable dishes, cups, silverware after stocking up at Goodwill.
2. Made the food myself except for the ice cream and biscotti.
3. Cleaned the house ourselves.
4. Son and DIl were invited as guests but volunteered to be our “kitchen help” which was great (not that I ever thought of hiring someone.
5. All leftovers will be eaten by us or son and DIL.


cathy February 2, 2020 at 10:11 pm

I don’t know if you’re interested, but making biscotti is incredibly easy. In fact, I just took a batch out of the oven! It also freezes really well, so it’s a good thing to make in advance.


Hawaii Planner February 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm

Let’s see:
1) Took advantage of free meditation & yoga classes at a work retreat
2) really, really considered UberEats on Friday, after I got home late from the airport. Instead, heated up a super eclectic group of freezer items & served it with a salad. Saved $66.
3) Continued to make aggressive payments on our mortgage, so we can be at the half way point soon.
4) Sold another item on eBay. I bought a few Helly Hansen items at the beach (Oregon Coast) a few days before Christmas. Buying new items is always risky. Have already sold a few.
5) Made a few frugal Superbowl appetizers, using things we already had on hand


Jenzer February 2, 2020 at 7:24 pm

1 – Made a trip to the food service store and stocked up on big bags of plain “ingredients” for our freezer: broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, roasted corn, Brussels sprouts, boneless chicken thighs, and uncooked shrimp. Avoided the trays of frozen prepared foods and the giant boxes of packaged snacks.

2 – Figured out that our local Sam’s Club had moved the less expensive, store-brand raw almonds to an end cap display, away from the more expensive, name-brand nuts in the center aisle. Glad I caught that before I paid more per pound than I needed to.

3 – Used about-to-expire Marriott points to book a two-night hotel stay for DD’s high school robotics competition at the end of the month. Picked a Residence Inn so we could have a kitchenette space available to us.

4 – Tried a new recipe for making pie crust from scratch using a food processor. In the past I’ve avoided homemade pie crust because I found the mixing process tedious and annoying. With the food processor, the mixing was simple — and the end product was much tastier and flakier than store-bought crust.

5 – Helped DD list a few items for sale on Ebay.


Jann in Maine February 3, 2020 at 5:41 am

Everyone who is sick feel better SOON~
Having a pantry to eat out of and a freezer with some pre-made meals is a godsend when ill.
Brown rice and quinoa both freeze well. I freeze in 2 cup measures to use in recipes.
Hung laundry out this AM taking advantage of a sunny day even though it is below freezing.
Made a large pot of turkey chili and had a friend over for dinner. Ate the last of several tasty refrigerator items that we used up including the homemade caramel sauce that I make at Christmas time. Sent her home with some as part of her delayed Christmas present.
Brewed coffee,turned heat off, and will have an at home day except for a FB pickup 1 mile away.
Sent the kids Valentines from the dollar store where they are 2/$1. Also bought a pile of cards from that rack to have on hand for condolence and birthdays. Buying 10 at a whack sames me time and money knowing I have a card when I need it.
Vegan dal meal for mid week. Only thing I needed to buy was cilantro. That will be repurposed for the dal and will put some on the leftover chili.


Betta from daVille February 3, 2020 at 7:26 am

1. Found .11 in the grocery store parking lot.
2. Substituting in recipes with what we have on hand.
3. Found fresh thyme and garlic greens in the garden to avoid purchasing fresh herbs at the store for dinner party recipes.
4. Opened a new credit card with a great introductory incentive as I know I have to make a number of work-related purchased in the next three months, which will mean a free plane ticket.
5. Cashed in Ibotta, Fetch, and Swagbucks for Amazon, which I turned around to purchase a gift certificate for Airbnb for an upcoming trip. We rarely buy name brands so it takes forever to *earn* $20 on these apps.


Michelle H February 3, 2020 at 7:50 am

1. Tried for a “no spend” Saturday, and was able to make it a no spend weekend. Gorgeous spring-like weather, so we hiked, biked, walked, and visited with neighbors on the porch.

2. Middle son is about to outgrow his tan Boy Scout Uniform. Our Troop has a free uniform closet that hardly anyone takes advantage of, and I was able to get him a like new uniform shirt in the next size up, as well as a Troop tshirt. His old uniform shirt was passed on to a younger friend.

3. Limited grocery shopping in January and menu planned from pantry and freezer. Still have a lot of stockpile left and am going to see if I can make it another 2 weeks.

4. Set a goal to read 52 library books this year, and I’m already on book 8. I love to read, but had gotten out of the habit when I had kids, and was doing good to get a magazine or newspaper read, much less an entire book. Now that they’re older I’m able to get lost in a book without constant interruptions, and it’s been wonderful.

5. On the plus side, more reading has led to less TV watching, and going to bed at a decent hour rather than getting sucked in to a show and staying up too late. Better rested has made me productive during the day, and I’m getting stuff done!


Mary Beth Danielson February 3, 2020 at 9:19 am

I wrote this about a new strategy for buying groceries that is saving my husband and I $100-200/month. It’s not rocket science and it won’t work for everyone. But if you are a “stock-up” grocery buyer, maybe it’s worth a look.
Some of my frugz from Xmas till now:
1. My husband showed off his new Cuisinart to me on our first date. It broke recently, husb discovered the switch had broken, looked up switch selling companies, found one in our area, bought it for $7, fixed the Cuisinart. That first date was 40 years ago. As Janis Ian says, “I’m not surprised at how old I am, just at how fast it happened.)
2. We picked up friends to go into the city for a birthday dinner. Our “gift” was mostly the ride to and around the city that evening – with our car’s interior lit by a string of Xmas tree lights.
3. Who here suggested William Kent Krueger mysteries? I love them and have read 5 in two months. I have a list on my phone of book recommendations. At the library I look them up which is how I’ve discovered Krueger plus SJ Sansom (15th century detective!) plus Maria Doria Russell (Based on true heroics of northern Italians who saved many Jewish people during WWII).
4. Instead of buying a mat/tray to protect our wood floors from wet boots, we are using the lid from a big plastic box. It’s Wisconsin – we gotta have something for the boots.
5. Bought a 600-yard roll of brown kraft paper plus 2 dozen white bakery bags for my Xmas presents – and all presents in my foreseeable future. The total was less than $20 and it’s all non-toxic and recyclable. Tied them with lovely thrifted ribbons.


Roberta February 4, 2020 at 8:27 am

You might also like the books of Margaret Fraser. She writes mysteries about a cloistered nun during the reign of Henry VI. One of my favorites, I am slowly collecting them at used book sales.


LB February 3, 2020 at 9:27 am

Vacation is next week, so every dollar spent this week feels like I’m robbing vacation-Lauren. If only I could keep this attitude without a trip coming up I would be my most frugal self!

1. Went home this weekend to see my parents and grandparents (4 hr drive). Brought snacks for the drive up. Left yesterday around dinnertime and stopped quickly to use the bathroom–managed to avoid temptation of a diner grilled cheese and ate a granola bar in the car. Didn’t taste great but did the trick until I got home.

2. Have leftover soup my mom made for lunch today. She combined two soups from the freezer and added frozen vegetable to make what we’ll call “Ham and bean minestrone.” My 93 y/o grandma loved it, so we’ll call it a hit, and I’m excited for leftovers today.

3. Feeling some sort of tickle in my throat, so I’m fighting it off with massive mugs of tea and lots of sleep. I have a plan that if I don’t feel better tomorrow I’ll go to urgent care. Having a plan feels good and lets me plan for how much my copays and medications will be.

4. Coworker brought in delicious chocolate babka this morning…feeding my sweet tooth on a budget!

5. Leaving for 2 weeks means getting creative with what’s in our fridge and freezer. I’m up for the challenge! Going to be a lot of veggie burgers and peas from the looks of it.

6. Burning through books on Libby. I love all the book recommendations you all have; keep em coming!


Christine February 3, 2020 at 2:37 pm

1. While excavating the freezer for meal planning, I found a container of homemade chicken soup. I had been feeling crummy so it was discovered at the right time.
2. We went to a birthday party yesterday and had a terrific meal cooked by the birthday boy (guy) on the grill. Delicious cake followed.
3. I bought the birthday boy a new cookbook from my friend’s book store using credit I had from bringing in books for her to sell. She carries both new and used.
4. Finished a jigsaw puzzle I had received as a gift and passed it on to a friend.
5. Again lucked out by not having to make any major purchases this week.


Lindsay B February 4, 2020 at 2:42 am

1. Slowly using up a face cleanser that my mom didn’t like but left sitting on her bathroom counter for the last several years before giving it to me. I like it and it’s fine, despite being old.
2. Finally, made broth from veggie scraps stored in the freezer for months.
3. Enjoying roses that I received as a welcome gift for signing up for the free club at the local chain garden shop. In a few weeks, my husband will sign up too to snag us another bouquet.
4. Finally thrifted the perfect size and color white tablecloth to cover the seats of the white couch that came with our rented apartment. Looks so much better than the ratty blanket we’d previously used, and good peace of mind knowing we can more easily wash the tablecloth than spot-clean the white couch!

5. All the usual things: wearing thrifted clothes, doing laundry in cold water and hanging to dry (even in the middle of winter it still dries inside within 24 hours), eating mostly vegetarian meals, brewing loose-leaf tea in French press, reading frugal blogs, etc.


Jenelle February 4, 2020 at 5:24 am

Saturday my hubby had to work, so I found some frugal ways to keep the kids occupied.
1. Used our local library’s museum pass to take the kid’s this weekend. I was very thankful that it was free because I wasn’t super impressed with the exhibits. The kids enjoyed it for about an hour. So free fun for an hour is OK with me.
2. We ate lunch at home before heading to the museum and had a treat of ice cream after and then dinner at home.
3. The kids had Target gift cards from their birthdays, so I allowed them to use one gift card toward a toy. They learned very quickly that there isn’t much to buy for $15. One even asked if he could save his!
4. Celebrated the super bowl by attending my church’s chili cook off (and watching the game on the bring screen). For the cost of my chili and two bags of snacks (that we already had on hand) We ate very well, the kids got to play with friends and I was able to socialize with some other church moms. I even took second place in the Chili cook off and brought home a tub of chili supplies.
5. Lots of the normal stuff: packing lunches, always having snacks and water in the car when going places and making my coffee at home.


Roberta February 4, 2020 at 8:44 am

1. Due to all the sickness going around, I have been getting lots of sub assignments. Most teachers get a prep period, to prepare future assignments and do grading, so I have been mentioning to the secretary that I am free during a particular period, and she has been giving me an extra class — and I am compensated for that extra period! She’s thrilled to have an extra person to sub, and I’m happy to use my time productively. (Yesterday I filled in for a teacher who had to go home after lunch due to food poisoning!) I am also using my time in class to knit. I finished socks for Christmas, and I am using up bits of yarn for a wool blanket to send with a kid to college. I just need a plan now for all the cotton yarn I have.
2. At the clearance store, I picked up seven pounds of brie for $5. I couldn’t pass it up! We had grilled brie sandwiches for dinner, with cranberry sauce I made from freezer cranberries. We also had brie as a snack the next night, when the kids had friends over. I still have half a wheel of brie in the fridge! I also found a 20 pound bag of polenta for $3, which we will use for chicken feed (as no one else in my family likes polenta *at all*).
3. My son had a robotics event an hour away Saturday morning. We took a picnic lunch (brie, apples and $3.99 cashews) instead of going across the street for burritos. My husband washed and hung out laundry while I was gone. It was the best day this week to do laundry, so I am really grateful to have it done (and not have to resort to the dryer!).
4. Still using homemade oat milk instead of store-bought flax milk. It is zero waste and more frugal, but it tends to settle to the bottom of my cup, which I don’t love. I will continue to work on this.
5. Making makeup remover pads out of a flannel sheet that tore. Better than disposables, and better than buying a bunch of wash clothes to do the job.


Christine Joiner February 7, 2020 at 2:58 pm

My husband washes and hangs laundry outside too. I’ll have to let him know he has a brother-in-frugality. Today he actually told me he misses hanging laundry outside and is looking forward to Daylight Savings when the day is long enough to dry the clothes. Our clothesline is in the shadow of our neighbor’s house and until the sun clears the peak of their roof, the clothes hold onto their dampness. This usually occurs around Daylight Savings and ends around the beginning of November.


Elizabeth February 4, 2020 at 10:06 am

1. I got to take home leftover doughnuts from a church event.
2. My mom gave me 5 Redbox codes she had from buying Jiffy pop popcorn.
3. We ate over at my mom’s for a pre-Super Bowl dinner. It was a potluck affair so I brought macaroni salad and roasted green beans to counter balance all the fried food:)
4. My husband is getting to go on a retreat for free. Apparently someone had cancelled, but didn’t want the money back so they offered his spot to my husband. It’s a manly weekend affair with kayaking, hiking, and fishing.
5. We have been enjoying warmer temperatures in northern Alabama lately, so my power bill has been amazing for January.


ouvickie February 4, 2020 at 1:35 pm

1) The Tortellini and roasted chicken I made over the weekend has provided several meals for both me and hubby.
2) The snacks, bananas and popcorn I keep at work help me stay on track and not waste money on vending machines, or picking up stuff at convenience stores.
3) We’re going to end up with free day at home tomorrow, due to bad weather. So no using fuel to drive into work and I won’t have to use PTO for the day off. YAY!
4) Fuel at the station, where I trade, is $2.19 per gallon right now. I hope it stays that way. It’s so much easier on the pocketbook when it’s down around $2 per gallon
5) No gold plated anything or luxury items bought this year. Keeping it frugal in 2020!


Mary in VA February 5, 2020 at 9:40 am

1) Used $2 in CVS ExtraBucks, paying 23 cents for a small bag of nuts. CVS’s regular prices can be outrageous, but I’ve found that by judiciously using ExtraBucks, percent-off coupons, and manufacturer coupons, sometimes the prices are comparable to Walmart, or even a little better. Also, CVS has some store brands I prefer.
2) The last time I purchased BOGO vitamins at CVS, an hour later I discovered that Walgreens had exactly the same offer–only $4 cheaper! Bummer, but I learned my lesson. This time I checked Walgreens first and saved several dollars.
3) While at Walgreens I took advantage of Senior Discount Day and saved 30 percent on several non-sale items.
4) On a recent trip to Harris Teeter, I discovered by accident they have a Senior Discount on Thursdays. Normally I use the self-checkout lane because it’s faster, but this time I didn’t. The cashier gave me the discount without asking (I know it must be awkward for them to bring it up if they’re wrong :-). I was thrilled. From now on, I’ll use the cashier lanes on Thursdays (and bringing up the topic myself, lol).
5) I recently started consigning again, starting with items I already owned. Little by little I’ve begun purchasing thrift store items that I hope will sell at the consignment shop. I love checking their website every night and finding out if anything sold.


Susan February 6, 2020 at 5:08 am

1- Listed a ton of stuff on eBay and Marketplace. Slowly selling things bit by bit.
2- On spending lockdown as we have a large investment purchase coming up next week. Really limiting grocery purchases this month, which is fine as we have plenty of food in the pantry and freezer. Being very conscious of food waste. Only bought 1 coffee out and used a gift card. This is an accomplishment for me!
3- Taking my vitamins, supplements, exercising and getting enough sleep so I don’t get sick.
4- Cancelling my Instacart membership for now. I may restart it after the new baby comes but for now, I haven’t been happy with the service and it ends up being a pretty big up charge.
5- My business slows down a bit over the winter. Using the time to get caught up on old projects that will pay off in the long term, as well as doing more social media advertising, even though I’d rather slack off.


Lauren February 7, 2020 at 11:32 pm

1. We are counting down until we move house early May so we are eating down the freezer.
2. I used up bits and pieces of fruit to make a big fruit salad we enjoyed for 2 days. The fruit wouldn’t have been eaten otherwise as it didn’t look very appealing.
3. I helped my friend pack to move today. She gifted my children 30 DVDs she didn’t want to take with her.
4. My mum and I went thrift shopping and I found a new with tags handbag (my old one broke). I also received a discount at two of the stores we visited.
5. I made a sale on Facebook and on eBay.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: