Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 24, 2020 · 66 comments

  1. I sold just two things last week, specifically a Goodwill “bins” T-shirt and two yards of some thrifted but brand-new fabric. Yawn . . .

    However, a neighbor down the street has been cleaning out his basement, (or so it seems) and I lugged home a set of expensive ski bindings as well as a jumble of rough Thule bike rack parts. (This is the same neighbor who put out the ski gloves last week.) I scrubbed the roof rack parts, which are admittedly rough, but I should still be able to sell some of it to a local shop that specializes in second-hand bike racks. The ski bindings are listed on eBay.

    Even if only some of this stuff sells, it was all free to me and all it took to ready it for a new owner was an hour or so of elbow grease.

  2. My sister flew into town last week for a short trip for our aunt’s memorial service. Although the reason for her visit was a sad one, we still enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together, as well as to see family — both nuclear and extended.

    We ended up indulging in multiple restaurant meals, all of which were on the dime of our parents, (Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Dad!) but I think I’m ready for a week or so of deliberately healthy home cooked meals.

    My sister is just as big a fan of thrifting as I am, so we ended up hitting two Goodwills over a three day period. I didn’t find anything to buy, but my sister nabbed the above stack of colorful Fiestaware bowls, as well as a ceramic Starbucks tumbler to replace one that had broken. Come to think of it, the bowls were also purchased to replace a dwindling stack due to breakage. (Her last house had tile floors in the kitchen, which was hostile to both sore feet and crockery!)

  3. I gave an an interview for a Nerd Wallet/USA Today article titled, Having a Baby? These Are The Money Saving Items You Need. I’m very pleased that the author, Laura McMullen quoted me liberally throughout the piece including this important point:

    “We owe it to future generations to take a step back from the consumer culture and think about how these purchases are affecting the planet.”

    I often give interviews where I make this type of statement, and then get quoted as saying “Wolk-Stanley encourages people to check out their local thrift store.” Sure, that’s one thing I said, but I also talked about big picture issues such as the environment, overmanufacture of consumer goods, buy nothing groups and the utter ridiculousness of needlessly gendered baby items.

    It’s good to get my message across.

  4. I gave away an unused queen-size duvet on my buy nothing group, my friend Lise picked up four loaves of bargain bread for me at the Bob’s Killer Bread outlet store, (I did reimburse her) my daughter cleaned and decluttered her bedroom, which unearthed an excessive amount of straight-up garbage; but our lovely next door neighbors let us put an extra bag in their outgoing can, (Thanks, Nancy!) I fed a neighbor’s cat while they were out of town, I renewed library books before they were overdue and I picked up a Blu-Ray of Star Trek: Generations as we’re currently rewatching all The Next Generation movies.

  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.

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa M. February 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Only 4FT: Looking Forward to a Spring Thaw!

1. This one supersedes all others: Plugging away at my annual 16-day full-time schedule while the owner vacations in a topical resort timeshare. Hoping to go full speed ahead to get online CE maximum completed during down time for next licensing period. Very frugal as one-year unlimited access started shortly before the end of one period & now working ahead to complete for the next period, making the online CE cost ridiculously inexpensive.

2. Will be stopping by card store on way home 4 concurrent Fridays that I work, to pick up a free card on Free Card Friday. Promotion beginning 2-21 running through 6-26. Need to stock up a supply of sympathy cards, as have been using them at an alarming rate.

3. Earned a free gourmet coffee when DN (Neighbor) cancelled our coffee shop socialization at the last minute. She asked to cover the cost of our drinks when we eventually reschedule d/t the inconvenience of a late change of plans.

4. Following complimentary CE program, ate at restaurant in same complex with my friend & her colleagues. Previously perused menu online to determine frugal selections. Did not factor in the fact that due to everyone else in our party drinking alcohol, we were eligible for Happy Hour food prices. My bill was less than I had anticipated & ended up being about the cost of one of their drinks. Two of the people’s tabs were literally 4x mine. It was shocking to see how easily seafood & drinks can add up. I spent dramatically less than the other members of my party by ordering soup & an appetizer but was the only one who had leftovers to take home.


A. Marie February 27, 2020 at 1:04 pm

I hear you on your #2, Lisa M: We’ve lost three friends since New Year’s. But, not having the excellent card store promotion you’re using, I’ve decided just to use the large supply of blank cards with floral photos I have in house for sympathy cards, and to hope to heaven I say the right things. (No significant gaffes so far, it seems.)


Lisa M. February 27, 2020 at 4:39 pm

It is the thought & the sentiment expressed that counts. I don’t rely on mass produced sentiments although they are starting points. I chose cards with simple, direct wording & include written wishes to personalize my message. I don’t believe the bereaved give a flip about the card manufacturer but heartfelt, individualized expressions while in acute mourning are incredibly meaningful. Blank cards that are personalized would be equivalent to an actual sympathy card in my opinion.


Lee February 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm

I had a pass to the Nike employee store last week. I spent a couple hours there and bought … nothing. I’m proud that I resisted the urge to buy stuff I didn’t like or need. I looked around at the other shoppers and it seemed that they were piling their carts high with stuff because they were caught up in a bargain shopping frenzy. Guess what? If I’m not going to wear it, then it isn’t a bargain at any price!


Kathy February 24, 2020 at 3:35 pm

1. Stopped by library to check out a book to take on my trip this week
2. Put my name in the waiting list for a new James Patterson book
3. Gathered a bag for consignment store tomorrow
4. Sold a couple of things last week on Facebook marketplace
5. Switching to Dish from Direct TV saving $70/month


Bethany M February 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm

My thrifted and second-hand gifted outfit today cost me $1.44! And I’ll probably get dozens of wears out of them because they’re in excellent condition.

Sold my ugly spider mite infested plumerias. The right products will restore them, but I’m realizing I need lower maintenance plants. Kind of enjoying the cleared out space on the front porch.

Made a simple soup of salsa, homemade bone broth and black beans for lunch. Everyone also got a couple wedges of quesadilla too.

Got our taxes done so we can get our money in the bank. Going to finally wall mount our tv, and save the rest for a rainy day.


Madeline February 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm

1. Instead of expensive “go out” date night with husband, decided to invite 3 neighbors over and made an Italian dinner and one of the friends put together a slide show of her recent trip to India to show us.Fun,frugal,friendly, good for mental and spiritual health! Oh, and a healthy meal too!!

2. Avoided going to thrift store.. have had the urge to “go shopping” for clothes,which I DO NOT NEED. The urge does pass if you just stay home!!

3. Got three new books on the Cloud Library onto my computer.Awesome.


5. VOTED in the primaries.I pray that my choice will bring more true prosperity and security to the working classes . Voting is an investment in my future.


Beth Ann February 25, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Dear Madeline,
Thank you for voting. We all need to exercise our right to vote!
Beth Ann


Christine February 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Yes, it is our voice. Especially since we women were denied that right until 100 years ago this year.


Susie's Daughter February 24, 2020 at 3:58 pm

1) Ground turkey out of the freezer became “Taco Nachos” with some shredded frozen veggies, salsa and guac. Gifted pinto beans became refried beans in the Instapot. Instapot makes me LOVE refried beans again. We use chips instead of taco shells since they are a) almost always in the house and b) tastier (IMHO) than the shells

2) Was delighted that the library called to say that the “Downton Abbey” movie was in! I had forgotten I had put it on hold. More than half way through with multiple Maggie Smith LOL moments.

3) Making delicious and expensive (comparatively at .65/cup) coffee at home with my French press. Though part of me is judgy about the fact that I have mail ordered small batch roasted coffee, I have decided that life is too short for bad coffee and uncomfortable underwear.

4) Cross country skiing and walking for exercise. Longer days, more daylight!

5) Reacquainted myself with my grown up ocean themed coloring book and colored pencils from several years ago and have enjoyed some peaceful coloring. Make your own fun for the win.


KJD509 February 26, 2020 at 9:06 am

Your #4 – lol!


KJD509 February 26, 2020 at 11:26 am

Sigh. That was #3. Exercise is admirable, not amusing.

It’s been that kind of week. . .


K D February 24, 2020 at 4:05 pm

1. Bought the annual state park pass. I use it with both family and friends. We have a lot of great parks in the area and paying once is both easier (and most likely cheaper). We love that we are supporting the system.

2. I went to lunch with some friends at a local fast casual place. It was great catching up, then we all scurried home to enjoy the beautiful spring-like day. Do anyone know the rules for tipping at fast casual restaurants. There are a couple local places that have gone to electronic payment. They suggest tips starting at 20% but it just takes a few minutes for the food to be assembled. What is the proper amount to tip in this situation?

3. I cut up a pineapple and a cantaloupe, both purchased cheaply on sale. I also had bought a bag of bananas that were marked down. I used those to make muffins, adding a bit of pumpkin that was leftover to cover for the one banana I was short.

4. I picked up Secondhand by Adam Minter while near the library today. I also have several ebooks on my six year old Kindle that I borrowed from the library.

5. I am looking to replace our current credit card with one that has better rewards.


Bee February 25, 2020 at 4:10 am

It seems like request for tips are in all sorts of establishments. I always tip 18-20% at full service restaurants. However, I am also stumped at places like Panera and Starbucks where service is minimal. I usually just add a dollar or two which is often 10% -20%. I also would love to know if that’s the right thing. Restaurant work is not easy, but sometimes they seem to be asking for tips when no service is involved.


Roberta February 25, 2020 at 7:49 am

I don’t tip if I order at a counter, but I live in California where restaurant workers get full (minimum) wage. I know other states allow them to get less, because tipping is assumed. If I end up needing something beyond the basics I tip cash afterwards.

I just finished Secondhand, and it was wonderful! Very educational!


tracy February 27, 2020 at 7:49 am

I tip 20% (unless service is terrible) at sit down restaurants, 15% at restaurants if I order at counter but they bring food, around 10% for places where they make something for me but do nothing else (to go food at lunch for example). I tip change at starbucks if I pay cash but generally not if I use a card because they don’t give an option for it. I refuse to tip if all I’m doing is buying something like a muffin or a scone, that’s just a commercial transaction IMHO


Laura February 27, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Oh my… one of greatest fears in overseas travel – tipping! We do not do it here in Australia or my home country NZ (except for exceptional service in proper restaurants). Our minimum wage is AUD$19.49 which is about US$12.83. Not sure how that compares.


kathleen February 28, 2020 at 6:38 pm

In my state, minimum wage is presently $7.25 an hour, but wait staff is only required to be paid $2.15 an hour I believe. When both of my children were waiting tables, I became (and have stayed) a much more generous tipper.


Cindy in the South February 24, 2020 at 4:36 pm

1. I made mulberry cobbler with my free mulberries from the tree in my yard. It went well with the bargain ice cream I purchased from Walmart.2. I cooked yet another one of the 57 pumpkins for $5 ( I am down to 25) so that is pennies for vitamin A and pumpkin seed. 3. I packed a sandwich for lunch at work. 4. Since we are still having monsoon rains and water logged straight up muddy yards, I wore my $3 thrifted weather boots with my skirt at work. No one cared because the water is ruining everyone ‘s shoes. 5. I took a nap which is always my fav thing to do on weekends.


Bee February 25, 2020 at 4:14 am

I wear my thrifted rain boots often too. I actually get compliments. ( Go figure) Leather shoes are expensive and I hate to ruin them. Stay dry. More rain is coming to the South.


Beth Ann February 25, 2020 at 2:19 pm

I love my rain boots, too! Ever since we moved to the southeast, I have gotten a lot of wear out of them. So glad to go all day with dry feet. The puddles are so deep!


Christine February 25, 2020 at 2:44 pm

I also have thrifted rainboots which I picked up at a church sale brand new for $5. Don’t know how I got through without them before! And Bee, like you, I have received many compliments on them. I’m just happy my feet stay dry!


Ava February 24, 2020 at 4:50 pm

1. Entered all our charity contributions into It’s Deductible so husband can finish the taxes.
2. Had some long expired steel cut oats. I ate them a few times but there was an “off” taste. Husband suggested cooking them for the dogs. Dogs hoovered them up with great happiness.
3. Am taking a painting class at the senior center. My first picture was on a gessoed over canvas given to me by a friend who didn’t like how her effort turned out. I got a frame for it for 2.50 at Goodwill.
4. Bonus son started watching “Sherlock” and recommended it. I saw the first season on the library shelf today and checked it out. Now bonus son and I can bond over discussing it.
5. We stopped at a little country grocery store and found shelves and shelves of books, all free. The owner collects books from the community and then gives them away. We got several classics for teacher son in law’s classroom.


Whitney February 24, 2020 at 5:07 pm

Life has been very unfrugal lately in the big things (new job, grad school, big expenses), but more frugal on the little things. Thankfully, the money is there for the big stuff and it’s all important!
1. Used my diva cup for shark week. I love that thing – wish I had discovered it sooner!
2. Been taking my lunch (in reusable containers) to work and avoiding the cafeteria. Except for the day when my lunch container rolled out of my lunchbox unknown to me and hid under my car seat. When it was lunch time, my lunch was gone! And it was spoiled later. Thankful for a good cafeteria with four dollar sandwiches.
3. Finally listed a bunch of small items on ebay and bids are coming in.
4. Painting a thrift store find ($5 booksellers shelf – I love it) with paint I already had.
5. Found (slim! adjustable waist! stylish!) dress pants on clearance for my son – he needs a nice look for family wedding this summer.
5. Cleaned out the weirdness in my freezer, took stuff back to the library, mailed ebay sales, and been working on a sewed quilt as a wedding gift.


Nancy from mass February 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm

1. Went to Maine for a baby “sprinkle“. I made some cute baby booties with yarn I had on hand. And yes, people get lots of things for babies….
2. My best friend came with me (it was a sprinkle for a cousin‘s daughter) after the shower, there was a dinner dance in town with a really good live band. We stayed, ate the food that came with our tickets, and danced. We didn’t get home till 1 AM Sunday. My friend drove.
3. I pulled out some cotton yarn that I inherited from my mother-in-law and started knitting some washcloths. I finished one and I used a pattern that was the cousins grandmothers. I’m going to mail it to her as a thank you for letting us hang out at her house. I started the second one which I will give to my best friend. She had never seen homemade knitted washcloths before.
4. Bought some organic chicken breasts on sale. There were two in the pack and they were so large that I was able to cut them into six serving pieces. I made them tonight with lemon butter sauce and 40 cloves of garlic. Mmm. Plenty for leftovers.
5. Brought home a boatload of sliced French bread from work. (Leftover from Panera catering) I just took a batch of cinnamon raisin bread pudding out of the oven and I made a maple glaze that I scattered on the top. I’ll bring that to work tomorrow. Everyone will be very happy.


A. Marie February 27, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Enjoying the new slang I’m hearing from Nancy from Mass. and Whitney. I definitely prefer “shark week” to “that time of the month.” And I’m assuming that a “baby sprinkle” is a shower for a baby who’s not a first child; am I right?


Nancy from mass February 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Yes, A baby “sprinkle“ is for when you have another child years after your last one, so you don’t have anything left over.


Ruby February 24, 2020 at 6:29 pm

1. My husband took on the task of switching our cell service and saving us $65 a month. He traded in his iPhone to do it, which means not spending money on podcasts as well. I feel bad because he enjoyed those, but not that bad.
2. A local grocery sells a lot of nice basic cuts of meats on a 5 for $19.99 deal. I always look for the heaviest packages to increase the discount. Got $3.63 in free meat that way the other day.
3. The used dress shoes I bought for job interviews are a little too long but another local grocery store sells inexpensive generic heel pads that made them fit much better. Those heel pads were less than half the price of name brand.
4. Revived an old Nook e-reader with a charger cord bought off eBay. I gave it to a friend who needs a gateway drug to technology to repay him for spending $13 at the bread outlet to stock our freezer with sandwich bread. In less than 24 hours, my former Luddite buddy is using his e-reader like a pro. It is funny to think that there are people who don’t use computers out there.
5. For my husband’s birthday, I gave him a card made by an artist friend, baked cupcakes from scratch, and did all his chores for him so he could have a relaxing day. He really enjoyed it and it cost nothing but time.


Ruby February 24, 2020 at 6:33 pm

That should be “and to repay him”


susanna d February 24, 2020 at 7:53 pm

1. Back in January, Lindsey posted about tracking every penny, keeping track of freebies – and shared her amazing freebies total for last year. I was inspired to try keeping track for this year. And for the month of January, my freebies total was $649.60. I don’t expect to have totals like that every month, because January included two free hotel stays, several free restaurant meals courtesy of gift cards we’d received, a Penzeys order from another gift card ($50 gift card, my total was $49.90 – I didn’t want to pay anything out of pocket so I was happy with that), credit card cash back check, $40 in Walgreens Balance Rewards, advance purchase of dump tickets for the year (cheapest way of getting rid of garbage around here), etc. You get the idea. But if I hadn’t been tracking, I wouldn’t have realized how much I’d gotten for zero out of pocket. Thanks again, Lindsey!
2. At the grocery store today, I glanced over at the Coinstar machine (which I always do, since I’ve found a lot of money in that particular coin return). There were quite a few coins in there. I scooped up a handful, and left the rest (another handful at least) for someone else to discover. The two seconds it took me to scoop up coins gave me a return of $2.57. If I’m bored later I’ll do the math and figure out the “hourly wage” for that.
3. There were a bunch of seriously tarnished pennies in the coin return (no surprise why those were kicked out). I just happened to have some old, off-color looking lemon juice that would have gotten tossed out anyway. A good soak in the lemon juice has those pennies looking shiny and new. I know I could have just used the pennies in stores but some of them were so ooked up and tarnished they hardly resembled pennies. Besides, spiffing up pennies amuses me.
4. I’d gotten a gorgeous Sierra Club calendar for free last year, and it included photos from two of the parks we visited on our family vacation back in December. I cut them out, went through my stash of dirt-cheap yardsale frames, and came up with some really pretty artwork for our bedroom wall.
5. Cancelled XM radio before the latest promotional rate expired. Despite the offer of another year at that rate, we stuck to cancelling, period. We get plenty of music through our Prime subscription – promotional rate may be cheaper than the regular cost, but it’s still money spent.


Lindsey February 26, 2020 at 8:07 pm

I stand in awe of your January total, Susanna!


Mand01 February 24, 2020 at 8:54 pm

1. I wanted some more houseplants. I used a gift card I got for Christmas to buy some, then I started some from plants I already had. I have four new houseplants. I already had the pots.
2. I am also redecorating with prints. I use basic black frames, which are also the cheapest, and frame all prints the same. Some prints are free, or gifts, or some I buy. My whole lounge room looks different for less than $100 (including some prints I bought at an exhibition).
3. I divided rhubarb plants and gave the divided plants to my friend. She gave me peaches earlier in the month.
4. I picked eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and chillies.
5. Still off social media. Well over a week now – I am saving a lot of time!


Beth Ann February 25, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Good for you for staying off social media and finding time for more productive things. I’m not much on social media myself, but I manage to spend a lot of time reading the comments in this blog!


Mand01 February 25, 2020 at 4:12 pm

That’s different! That’s learning!


Marilyn February 24, 2020 at 9:36 pm

Ants invaded our kitchen and one bathroom. Used frugal homemade remedies
1. Borax, sugar and water on cotton balls scattered around
2. Orange peels here and there
3. Stopped using dishwasher for a week.
Something seems to have worked as I have not seen any ants in 3 Days.
4. Cancelled various subscriptions in anticipation of retiring in December. I think I’ll be fine with watching videos and reading magazines from the library. If not, I can always resubscribe.
5. Was courageous enough to make a dentist’s appointment. Yes, I am one of those people who fears the dentist. But neglecting dental care can get very costly.


rebecca February 25, 2020 at 5:11 am

1. I have had no spend days on Sunday and yesterday. I wanted to grocery shop as a few things were on a weekend sale but I realized the food I had was enough. I even made a homemade mushroom, onion cheddar pizza that was delicious. I need to work on the crust though….
2. Watching a lot of history channel programs on the presidents and on western expansion. So interesting and I didn’t spend $ going out.
3. I love my dog so much for so many reasons. One of them is because she gets excited about frozen green beans as a treat. A $1 bag is full of treats. I wish I got so excited about them.
4. Had a chat with my financial planner yesterday. I need to buckle down so I can retire before 92….
5. Used points on my credit card for a free flight to go visit my parents.


LB February 25, 2020 at 7:27 am

Sorry to hear about your aunt’s passing, Katy. I’m glad you’re able to see the positive in these kinds of situations that bring our families together.

1. Back from vacation and immediately made lunches for the week. Eating out while traveling is a favorite indulgence of mine, but it feels good to eat more than one vegetable a week!

2. Travel gifts are almost all consumables, reducing waste and knick-knacks for people who expect gifts but don’t need more things.

3. Office got an espresso machine, which will continue to drive down my purchased coffees! So excited!

4. Sat down to reconcile my budget after vacation and proudly stayed under my expected spending. I saved for two months beforehand (including a beautifully frugal holiday season) and am happy to say that while I used my credit card while traveling, I was able to pay off the entire trip balance once I got home. Now for the rest of my credit card debt…

5. Generally enjoying being home after being gone for two weeks. I missed my cats and my apartment. We cleaned out our bedroom (why do I insist on throwing receipts on my dresser?) which has made it a much more welcome space again-and reduce the need for additional organizing infrastructure!


Bee February 25, 2020 at 7:27 am

Katy, my condolences to you and your family for the loss of your aunt.
This week’s FFTs include:
1. As always, I continue my side hustles to earn some extra money. I have been working hard and am using this right now to help out my younger son who has been going through a tough time. I sold six items this week on eBay. Two were from the Bins.
I also worked three hours – not expected – at my friend’s business. I earned $20 from Ibotta —FINALLY!!!! Lastly,I put together a box of books to sell using my BookScouter app.
2. My elder son had us to dinner on Saturday night. We cooked out and watched the Florida-Kentucky basketball game (huge BB rivals). I brought a key lime pie that made with items I had on hand. This is his absolute favorite. He sent a bunch of food home with his younger brother. Elder son hates food waste!
3. One of my son’s oldest friends is a therapist that works with autistic young adults. He is working on a gardening /farming project with them. They have a farmer’s market on Saturday to sell the produce and eggs. We could not attend this Saturday, but he brought us a few leftover items — Bok Choy, baby carrots, Asian cabbage and collards. I made stir fry last night to use up most of these veggies.
4. One of my friends gave me a pair of Cole Haan zerogrand shoes. She purchased them NIB at an estate sale, but found they were too narrow for her. They fit me perfectly!!!! She is a frugal friend, and we often share our found treasures.
5. All the usual things – brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered tap water, cooking from scratch, reading library books, streaming TV programming and wearing thrifted. I also took a trip to the Bins this week which is always interesting — I bought items to sell on eBay, items for the vintage market, odd and ends for my home as well as a clothing for myself and family members.
Have a great, frugal week everyone. Blessings.


Cindy in South February 25, 2020 at 12:44 pm

I help my grown children also, when needed, especially when they are having a hard time. Best wishes for your son.


Julie February 26, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Our parents often helped us when we were newly married and it was so appreciated and now the financial tables have turned so we are able to help them.


Michelle H February 25, 2020 at 8:19 am

1.  Spent an hour working with my husband to list several items from his shop on Marketplace. and so far have made $150 off 2 sales.  Hoping for some more sales this week – once he decides to sell something it needs to go before he can change his mind!

2.  Friend is clearing out stuff that’s been boxed up since she divorced and downsized several years ago, and I am handling all the listings and sales for 25% of the profit.

3. Got a free “big city” library card as a new perk at my part-time job.  Excited for access to a lot more books than my local library, as well a ton of electronic books for free!

4.  Still working one day a week helping on a big project at part-time job.  Packing my lunch, drinks, and snacks, bringing my own coffee, and taking advantage of the small on-site gym to work-out on my lunch break.

5.  I’m going to count the mental health boost I get from the part-time job.  I need the sense of accomplishment from completing tasks there once a week.  Being Mom has it’s own satisfaction, but dishes, laundry, and the 8 million other things that I do ALL the time at home are never really “done”.  


MB in MN February 25, 2020 at 10:09 am

1. Went to Noodles & Company twice in the last month. Pretty inexpensive and seemingly healthier than other places. I get a full order and then bring half home in my own to-go container. I also love their fresh lemon slices for tap water and that they use real dishes and utensils. Plus they have a policy where they don’t accept tips.

2. Replenished my homemade vanilla extract by adding more vodka to the existing vanilla bean and vodka. Bourbon also works.

3. Bought a pair of much-needed, like-new jeans at thrift store for $5. Am loving the bit of spandex in the fabric. Gave my really old jeans to Goodwill’s textile recycling program.

4. Running down my makeup supplies before going mostly au naturel as I’m tired of the products and maintenance. Women should be able to enjoy the benefits of a makeup-free face as much as men do; we are all beautiful as is. I plan to continue using lipstick given to me by my teenage niece who is on a dance team (they use quite a bit of makeup so that it’s visible to the audience).

5. Found a free online daily crossword puzzle from the Washington Post. Since I prefer to complete puzzles “the old-fashioned way,” I print it in draft mode using the back of a sheet of paper destined for recycling.


cathy February 26, 2020 at 9:21 am

Re your #5: That’s exactly what my husband does, but he prints The Guardian cryptic crosswords. I call them head-exploders because the clues & logic are ridiculous. His memory will probably last longer than mine lol.


MB in MN March 2, 2020 at 5:33 am

I hear ya! Crosswords make me feel both dumber and smarter.


Roberta February 25, 2020 at 10:45 am

I have been spending money like a drunken monkey. I appreciate the chance to focus on what we have saved.
1. Had to buy a new water heater. It ended up being about $1000 more than we were anticipating, but the tankless system will save more than it cost (compared to going with the less expensive option). It will reduce fuel costs and atmospheric impacts. But it did not feel good to write that check! My old water heater died Thursday night, and we had a plumber out to replace it by Friday when I got home. I saved money by not taking a cold shower that morning!
2. I saved 3.5% by writing a check instead of using my card.
3. We went to Disneyland for the day. We drove up and back the same day, instead of staying overnight. We went on the lowest-tier ticket day. We ate at home before we left, and brought snacks for dinner (so we could eat in line and save time, as well as money). This is probably the last time we will go until we have grandkids or surrogate grandkids.
4. I redeemed credit card awards for cash into my account. This will go a long way toward recouping water heater costs.
5. Still trying to eat down the pantry. I am surprised at how long it is taking — which means I overbuy, especially foods that look interesting or fun but don’t have a definite purpose.


Jill A February 25, 2020 at 10:50 am

I’m sorry for your loss.

1. I stocked up on allergy medicine for my daughter while it was discounted at Costco. While I was there I also filled my car up with gas saving 30 cents a gallon.
2. I’m eating inexpensive meals at home – overnight oats will gifted cherries and granola, egg salad sandwiches and burrito bowls.
3. I treat my daughters to dinner and inexpensive ice cream from the dairy store on youngest’s college campus where they make the ice cream.
4. Disposed of old pool robotic vaccum after selling all the parts that I could. I delivered it to the Hazardous Waste Disposal which is provided for free (paid for with taxes).
5. I’m washing laundry in cold water and hanging dry, keeping heat low, driving my hybrid car all the little things that add up etc. etc.


Lindsay B February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Sorry for your loss, Katy, but glad your family could enjoy time together.

1. Cut my husband’s hair- it’s always a bit of a gamble as to results, but it usually works out tolerably well.
2. Mended two long sleeved shirts, a wool blanket, and a wool headband. I feel like I am always mending since the majority of our clothes are thrifted. I don’t particularly enjoy mending but I do enjoy the feeling of giving something new life.
3. Cut open a tube of moisturizer- amazing how much more you can get out that way.
4. DH called customer service several times re: a travel credit card that has a $95 annual fee to see if they could waive it (which they have in past years). No one up the chain could do so, so I looked online and found a no-fee card that would work better for us. We will close the previous account and be refunded the $95 since it was within a certain time frame of being charged. While DH and I don’t generally play the revolving credit card travel-hacking game, we do try to occasionally get one when there are good bonus offers, of course being mindful of our credit score.
5. Trying to eat from the pantry & freezer for the rest of the month. While our food budget is always on or under budget, the past few months have seen our regular budget go over. If I can save a little on our food this month it will help balance things out.


Jenelle February 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm

1. I live in a college town and work at the college. I’ve found many wonderful resources and activities from the campus. The Art Education department offered a Friday night out for my kids where the student teachers (who are going to be art teachers) offered a 2 hour art class for $5! It is a drop off, so I don’t have to stay. $10 for two hours and my kids are entertained (and many of their friends were there)
2. My Daisy girl scout troop is having four college students (who are going to teach students with visual impairments) visit their meeting tonight. They are going to play games that teaches visual impairment awareness. This will fulfill one of their badge requirements. Each of the college students has the required clearances and this is a community service project for them! Free!
3. Free lunch today at work!! (an event for the college kids over the lunch hour and they fed us too!)
4. I need to remember to use my ID to get 10% off at the local supermarket. Students and employees get this discount. I just keep forgetting to use it.
5. Fat Tuesday: lots of people brought in donuts and such to celebrate!


Nalani February 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm

1. I have the flu, despite getting a flu shot, which means no leaving the house, no gas used, no spending. The bad thing is that months ago I signed up for a 10K that I won’t be able to run so the race fee is wasted.
2. I have insurance so the tamiflu was only $10 vs $130 without insurance.
3. I don’t have much of an appetite so saving money on food.
4. Enjoying free snuggles from my cat while I am camped out on the couch.
5. I feel bad about not being at work as it’s deadline time but trying to tell myself I would only feel worse being there and I don’t want to get anyone else sick (someone else also tested positive for flu, despite getting the flu shot, which is what made me go in). I have faith that my office can get it done even with several of us out sick.


ouvickie February 25, 2020 at 2:12 pm

1) Brought a leftover biscuit and a sausage patty from home, to make myself a sausage biscuit for lunch – yummy!
2) I finally went had the oil changed, in my vehicle at lunch, and they refilled other fluids – the car was way overdue and the engine light had come on. Wasn’t certain if that would take care of it, but apparently it did. I, also, received $10 off, since they had an online coupon.
3) Listening to the The Baker’s Secret on Overdrive – love free audiobooks and it’s an interesting story.
4) Hoping our income tax refund comes in this next week, so I can pay a bill or two.
5) The handy free black, flannel jacket I received a few years back for answering a Vendor survey is quite nice to wear when the weather is chilly and I don’t need my heavy coat. Gotta love free swag!!


Iris February 26, 2020 at 8:35 am

Apologize if this seems too forward but from reading your posts, we both live in the same area, probably within ten miles of each other. But I thought since we both enjoy this blog and saving money, that I would tell you about Public Wholesale and Food Market if you have not heard of it as of yet. It is off of NW 16th and May. It is awesome. I have been twice when I am up that way. They have different level of baskets you can buy to get vegetables and fruits. I have done the $10 one. It can last me two weeks and is fun to plan meals around. Anyway, thought I would share and you might check out their facebook page. Take care!


ouvickie February 28, 2020 at 7:15 am

Hi Iris – thanks for the reminder!
I have heard about that market, but I’ve yet to go there. I need to tell my daughter about it, too, since she lives in OKC. That would be really handy and save her money. Thanks so much!!


Beth Ann February 25, 2020 at 2:13 pm

Sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt, but glad that you got to spend time with your sister. That is the only silver lining of funerals…we get to connect with those still living!


Christine February 25, 2020 at 2:32 pm

1. I found .35 on the floor at work today.
2. The weather here in southern New England was Spring like for the past two days so I took advantage of the temps and the breeze and hung three loads of laundry over the two days.
3. I am reading Meet the Frugalwoods (borrowed from the library, of course) and am loving every page. I especially like how Liz describes herself letting go of makeup, hairdressers, new clothes and the worries about others’ opinions of her. I am working on the makeup still, at age 60. Sigh. I’m a very pale Scandinavian-Irish girl. I’m trying to embrace it. I’m doing well with used clothing and goods and have found a very cheap but great hairdresser who cuts my hair at $12.00 a pop.
4. DH and I are still walking the trails for free exercise.
5. Looking forward to a free movie at church this Saturday. I’ve agreed to oversee the teens who are running the concession stand. Yikes.
5. Making my own coffee and ice tea, hanging clothes and still on the lookout for found money and deposit bottles and cans.


Christine February 25, 2020 at 3:07 pm

My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your aunt.


Lauren February 26, 2020 at 12:43 am

1. I attended paid work training twice this week and will again tomorrow. I drank the free coffee and packed snacks and lunch.
2. I’m enjoying a 30 month free trial of Prime Video. Not enough to pay for it in the future though.
3. I made a sale on eBay. First one in over 2 weeks.
4. I only did a half grocery shop as I will be out of town for 3 days. Free accommodation and meals as I am helping family move towns.
5. The other night I got lazy and ordered takeout delivered. Half of the food was inedible and obviously not fresh, so I contacted Uber Eats and had my entire meal refunded.


Rebecca February 26, 2020 at 8:23 am

Hi Katy,
I hadn’t seen this before and wanted to share since it aligns so well with your message.


cathy February 26, 2020 at 9:42 am

That Buyerarchy of Needs is interesting (and the graphic is pretty useful). It’s too bad they didn’t put in an actual spot for the Gifting Economy, though. I think things like the Buy Nothing Project, Freecycle (which was mentioned), and the free section of sites like Craigslist and Nextdoor can fill a lot of needs. I’m also not sure I agree with the placement of “Make” just before “Buy”. Making doesn’t always involve the purchase of raw materials and, in the case of making your lunch or your own coffee, you have to buy groceries anyway.
Thanks for the link. Plenty to think about.


Frugal Fannie February 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Condolences to you — being with family at funerals is always bittersweet.

1) I’ve been needing a long, warm parka and have been searching thrift stores for over a year in hopes of finding one that’ll work. A coworker was gifted one that didn’t fit her quite right, so she gave it to me. It fits perfectly, is a style I like, and is very warm. New, it costs over $400! We have a ways to go with winter where I am so I am very much looking forward to several more cold but cozy weeks.

2) Been bad about eating out for lunches but good about making my own coffee at home in the mornings. The routine is comforting to me and the coffee tastes better than some I could buy in town. (Not to mention there’s no trash and I can compost the grounds).

3) Getting into Libby again, a free app that many libraries offer to provide access to their digital files. I have a commute so audio books are excellent company. Anyone who lives, works or goes to school anywhere in New York State gets free access to the New York Public Library, making all of their electronic books available to those far from the city.

4) Still using my aging phone even though I am sometimes tempted to upgrade.

5) I still like to have a written calendar and rather than buying one each year, I make my own with basic paper and a template I bought once on Etsy for a few dollars and can reuse every time. I make inserts that fit my traveler’s notebook which is made to last a lifetime, allowing for new notebooks to be added and removed as needed. I do the same with my writing journal. Both fit in the same cover together. I like that this reduces trash while also keeping things together in my purse. Also that I can make the notebooks in whatever color and line/dot/grid format I like.


JJ February 26, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library also permit any NY State resident to apply for a library card. Between my local library for hard-copy books and the three NYC libraries for electronic media I always have a steady supply of books and magazines online.


tracy February 27, 2020 at 7:59 am

1. Had been perfect and had a shopping lapse and bought a “bargain” sale pair of boots. Didn’t need them, felt bad, returned them, so still no clothes/shoes purchased in 2020! Feel grateful that I realized this was NOT a need. Not even close.
2. Hosting a baby shower for a few couples in a couple of weeks. Going to make lasagna with things I have in freezer to save $
3. Picked my Mom up from airport yesterday. Not frugal for me but frugal for her! She will keep my little dog for me when we go to California in March which IS frugal for me — boarding or hiring a house sitter is spendy!
4. Have been crazy busy at work lately. Have been eating “whatever” (cereal, quesadilla, fruit and yogurt) for dinner instead of succumbing to takeout…
5. A friend helped Hubs with a minor repair at our home, avoiding need to hire someone.


lulutoo February 29, 2020 at 9:11 am

I went to my first Goodwill Outlet (pay by the pound) and spent $3.49 for a few tops, an apron and three books (all books were .15c each regardless of weight). I mentioned to the checkout clerk that it was my first time at one of their outlets (though not the regular Goodwill, of course) and she said, “You’ll be back.” I said, “I don’t think so; I live three hours away,” [I’d been driving and spotted it near a freeway exit and zoomed off the freeway, thinking of Katy all the while.) The clerk then said, “Oh, you will. It’s addictive.” She said that employees used to be able to shop in their home store but can’t any more (due to a few bad apples who hid stuff for themselves till the end of their shift); she also said her husband is thrilled about that since she loves to read and her house was filled with 15c books!


Katy February 29, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Cheaper than a library fine!


Texasilveraq February 29, 2020 at 9:28 pm

1. Used hotel points to pay for hotel when attending a conference. I did leave the maid a 5$ tip as these workers are poorly paid.
2. Was charged for 4 cans of cat food instead of 3. On the way home stopped & got the 4th can I paid for.
3. Made an extra sandwich from the leftover food at the conference lunch. Took it back to the hotel for dinner.
4. Filled up car with quality gas that was cheaper in price than in my home town. (My husband is a mechanic. The advice from him & the Toyota dealership is to buy top tier gas. The gas @ SAMs, Walmart is poor quality. It is not good for the engine.)
5. Drove home on slower route that was free of tolls.
That’s all I can think of for now. Tomorrow is a new week of opportunities to save $.


Texasilver February 29, 2020 at 9:26 pm

1. Used hotel points to pay for hotel when attending a conference. I did leave the maid a 5$ tip as these workers are poorly paid.
2. Was charged for 4 cans of cat food instead of 3. On the way home stopped & got the 4th can I paid for.
3. Made an extra sandwich from the leftover food at the conference lunch. Took it back to the hotel for dinner.
4. Filled up car with quality gas that was cheaper in price than in my home town. (My husband is a mechanic. The advice from him & the Toyota dealership is to buy top tier gas. The gas @ SAMs, Walmart is poor quality. It is not good for the engine.)
5. Drove home on slower route that was free of tolls.
That’s all I can think of for now. Tomorrow is a new week of opportunities to save $.


Amy Marie March 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Gifted 2 backpacks and a pair of Ugg boots to my buy nothing group. Heard back from one mother who received a Lululemon backpack that needed a little zipper TLC- she gushed about how thrilled her teenage daughter was to have this “Lulu” backpack… the taker of the leather Ugg boots sent a note and told me she was surviving the Minnesota winter in a pair of clogs and was so thrilled to have warm feet. Usually I don’t think much about the stuff I give away to my buy nothing group but these notes were a nice surprise and were just a further incentive for me to get rid of the many things that I no longer need. I gifted a friend some black charcoal shampoo and conditioner from Whole Foods that my hair did not like. She tried it and, nope, didn’t work for her either- she then gifted it to another friend (we are determined to find a home for this overpriced stuff). I also gave her some fancy loose tea and ginger flavored sugar that had great packaging but would probably just sit in my cupboard. Better to give it away now then wait until it gets old and I end up throwing it out! Other than that, it was 49 degrees in Minnesota today. I went without a jacket and saw plenty of people out in shorts (yes, shorts weather here).


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: