Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 5, 2020 · 91 comments

So sorry that my blogging schedule has devolved to the far side of infrequent, but my focus has been on family, health and hearth.

  1. I’ve continued to sell things here and there on eBay, including a handful of items pulled from “free boxes,” (ski gloves, ski bindings, a book, a Christmas stocking and a set of brand new bathroom handles) as well as a few goofy Goodwill finds such as a Miller Lite Christmas sweater, a pair of brand new (but still creepy) “Five Finger” Vibram sneakers; plus a $25 mug and a $35 mug, both of which sold to international buyers!

    My favorite sale was a high-end Nyjah Huston skateboard that I picked up for $30 and sold for $165. This one was through Facebook Marketplace.

  2. I’ve barely even started any holiday shopping. I have a couple of ideas, but am otherwise completely uninspired to gift for the sake of gifting. We have whittled down the number of people with whom we exchange gifts, which helps.

    As an agnostic Jewish person who practices non-consumerism, the “holiday season” doesn’t really speak to me and I struggle with this disconnect every year. There are certainly elements of the holiday season that I enjoy, so I’m hoping to take the opportunity of this bizarro year as a reset. Keep the traditions that my family enjoys and ditch the rest.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. I’m been pretty much staying home all day every day, which is what needs to happen in the Covid era, but is a challenge for someone who enjoys being out and about. My husband and daughter are essential workers and my son is a full-time university student, so I’m the one coordinating everyone’s lives.

    Housewife? Life coach? Couch potato? Laundry fairy? Leaf gatherer? Morale officer? Mediocre chef? Titanic deck chair rearranger? You name it, I’m that person!

    However, I maintain that staying home all the damned time counts as a frugal win as gas station fill ups have dwindled, as have expenses adjacent to doing anything outside the house. I don’t have an online shopping habit, so pretty much all of our purchases fall under the category of “grocery.”

    This may sound depressing, (and at times it can be) but there’s always enough to keep me occupied. As long as I have my healthy body, quality streaming television, a telephone connection to family and free library audiobooks I cannot complain about being bored. Especially when I live in a 2200-square-foot house on a biggish lot. I am constantly aware of how lucky we are to be healthy in our safe home, so I have no right to complain about anything. Seriously.

  4. I listened to a couple different audiobooks through the library free Libby app, (they were neither good enough to recommend nor terrible enough to complain about) we happily gobbled up all the Thanksgiving leftovers, (even though I purchased a smaller turkey and parceled out extra servings for my mother and step father) my son went through some boxes from the attic and donated a ton of stuff to Goodwill, my hair hasn’t been cut for about a year, (I’ve decided that I’m starting to resemble a “sister wife”) I used the targeted free coupons from Fred Meyer (Kroger) on dull items such as eggs and broccoli, I went for a few socially distanced walks with my friend Lise, I’m wearing my free Patagonia fleece jacket that I pulled from a free pile last summer and we continue to treat ourselves to $1 tacos from a local cart every Tuesday!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold plated apartment in the sky.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

nalani December 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Interesting post, Katy! Your life of intention is led with health, wealth and grace. In 2020, that’s saying a helluva lot!


Kristen | The Frugal Girl December 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Ok, this is an impressively long list of frugal things considering you just told me you have nothing interesting to write about. Ha.

Always happy to see a post from you!


Kristen | The Frugal Girl December 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Also, I am jealous of your $1 tacos!


isa December 7, 2020 at 5:41 am

Me too!!!!


Midwest Beth December 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Always welcome when you do post Katy, keeps me on my toes and in the loop of striving for non-consumerism! Post when you can, I for one am very thankful to have found your blog as I have learned so much over the years about non-consumerism, saving money and finding the support here to do so and so much more.

1. Through the Non-consumerism Facebook page and others I came up with 25 advent calendar things my senior teen and I can do that mostly doesn’t involve money. As we are stuck at home and this will probably be her last year being at home for all of December I wanted to take it one step beyond candy surprises. I made little notes written in red and green of things we can do together such as cutting out snowflakes, looking at lights, making cookies, etc. So far her favorites I think have been last nights pizza/pj/movie night and the night before we took a box full of food and filled a little walk up food pantry. I am including a candy item (75% off after Halloween mini candy bars I bought and some how didn’t get opened) or holiday tea for us to have tea together. Its cute seeing her go for the little notes first before the candy.;-)

2. Teen daughter was cleaning out a shelf and came up with tons of Bath and Body products she hadn’t used or didn’t care for anymore. I posed the items in front of our Christmas tree and listed it as a giveaway in our local Buy Nothing group. This was the first time I have done a post and within four minutes four people said they wanted it.

3. Listened to audio books on hoopla for book clubs – Virgin River, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters and I am currently listening to The Queen’s Gambit. Lillian Boxfish was so interesting, now I need to see the movie.;-) I also checked out from the library Trains, Planes, and Automobiles to watch in memory of my Dad who loved the movie.

4. Made use of free entry to our art museum as I was downtown on another appointment and needed sometime to myself just enjoying art. I signed up online in advance as required but must say it slightly weirded me out, hardly anyone was there which is good.

5, Daughter and I discussed today we are going to go through our books and donate to one of the little walk up free libraries.


Jill A December 6, 2020 at 5:12 am

I love your #1. The best things aren’t things.


Bee December 6, 2020 at 5:41 am

I love #1. That is a lovely way to celebrate the Christmas season. Children grow up so fast.


janine December 6, 2020 at 9:35 am

You sound as though you have a great relationship with your daughter. Great ideas for an advent calendar especially this year!


AuntAli December 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm

I loved Lillian Boxfish. You say there is a movie?


Mati December 10, 2020 at 11:46 am

I love your Advent activities. I have a 19-year-old and am realizing how precious this likely last at-home holiday is.


Shevaun December 5, 2020 at 3:54 pm

1. I have finally learned how to cook dried beans (I used to rely on canned. Why? Why? Why?) I’ve been adding whole or mashed beans to every cook-double/eat-one freeze-one dinner and have managed to freeze TWO.
2. Gratefully received seven garden surplus butternut squashes. Cut, roasted, scraped and mashed. Froze in batches. Have been adding to every dinner where they would disappear into a saucy mass.
3. All of DS and DD’s Christmas gifts have been harvested from our homeschool box. Puzzles, books, manipulatives (toys that are “educational”), craft supplies, etc. We’ll buy some candy and sillies, but Santa is chillaxing this year.
4. Bought a bushel (like, a total farm bushel) of duplos for $2 from another family who was decluttering. I’m scared of graduating to legos because of the foot-injury potential. But duplos are sort of large enough to avoid.
5. using a lot of my cook-doubles and bake doubles to support covid ill or covid quarantined families. Making care packages of audio books bought at library sales for folks who are lonely, bored, sick, and too tired to read books.


Kara December 5, 2020 at 3:56 pm

I’m firmly staying at home also. I have been sewing so much for my shop, all the while listening to high school math being taught on the other side of the wall! Who knew that I was going to get a refresher in trigonometry this year?
I, too, and the family coordinator, emotional support person for an angst-y college senior, receiver of many packages for older daughter who has made a cross country move, babysitter of the same daughter’s cat, encourager of the neighborhood moms who would like to give up on zoom school for 8 year olds, cook, cleaner, and now gift wrapper.

I’m also jealous of the $1 tacos.

We added aforementioned moving daughter to our AAA. She has already paid us for her portion. It would have cost her $91 to have a plan by herself, and only $26 if she was added to ours.
I was so tired last night, but scraped together skillet burritos and nachos for a delicious dinner. It seems little point to work if I then spend the money on takeout.
I have a rack full of clothes drying outside, at 59 degrees. They will come inside tonight to finish drying.
We draw one name for our immediate family gift giving, which has been delightfully simple. I ordered the book (requested by my recipient) from Target for $16. Target was running a “spend $20 on books and get $5 off.” I needed a child’s book for a gift next year, so adding that put me over the $20 and my total for the TWO books was $17. I am very careful not to get sucked in by ‘upselling’, and I’m always so pleased when I can make it work in my favor. 1 book for $16 or 2 needed books for $17 is definitely a good deal. Target also has free shipping and my first gift book is going across the country. So that saves me more money. The second book I picked up for free at my local Target store.

My husband cleaned the floors using water and home made vinegar.
I made coleslaw to go with baked potatoes for dinner tonight. After dinner we will walk around the neighborhood and look at the lights.

Katy, would your husband or one of your kids cut your hair? My husband has been cutting mine since March. My daughters thought it was a very bad idea. But he has done a good job, and I tease him that I’m going to train him up to be a pretty good hairdresser and then I won’t ever have to pay for haircuts again. The cheapest haircut around here is $50 +tip. It’s considered a BARGAIN at that price. I can save a lot of money if I train my husband well. I have wavy hair that resembles a bush if it’s not cut regularly! I haven’t paid for a cut this whole year. And I’ve had numerous complements on my hair!


Barbie December 5, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Kara, I share your joy and finding out that my husband cuts my hair better than any salon ever did! He is picky and meticulous and I love it. I don’t plan to ever go back to overpaying for the salon hair cut that was often hit or miss.


Susie's Daughter December 8, 2020 at 11:51 am

Dear Wife has kind of a tricky haircut – short and well styled, so back in the late spring when she was desperate for a return to “good hair” we made a Facetime “appointment” with our stylist. She is in the big city where we lived for 6 years and (until Feb 2020) DW returned regularly for work purposes and could get her hair cut. The amazing Ms. Vivian coached me through the cut and we have now done it three times with successful outcomes! We pay Viv directly (who was laid off by the frou frou salon at the beginning of the pandemic), DW gets a haircut and I gain skills every time. I asked for “real” haircutting scissors for Christmas. 🙂


Lisa M. December 5, 2020 at 4:29 pm

5+FF: Post-Thanksgiving

The holiday was no different than usual for our family. We stopped making the 1000-mile round trip to my home state 11 years ago after a treacherous return amid an ice storm. The temperature is not extremely cold this time of year & therefore amenable to the formation of ice versus snow. ☹

1. Redeemed coupon for free monthly card to replace the same thinking of you card just sent. My need for sympathy cards has been non-stop. Redeemed a Thanksgiving coupon that covered the cost of a New Year’s card for my F-I-L. Found a mini Halloween ornament on sale 75% off regular price.

2. Credit card company built a local branch in my town some time ago & it occurred to me that it might be possible to make payments while out doing errands versus mailing. Contacted Customer Service & then made my 1st stop @ the branch, easy payment 24/7 via ATM which will save $6.60/year in postage.

3. Did massive grocery shopping to take advantage of holiday sales, some of which were calculable & some not. The easily countable savings via receipts came to $34.50 alone, not including sale prices. The gas station rewards program has recently been generating freebies like crazy: 3 cheeseburgers, a frappe’, a fancy coffee & Ritz Cheese Crispers.

4. Thanksgiving is typically a frugal time for our family with prepping the entire meal @ home & not participating in Black Friday purchases. Enjoyed leftovers while completing Christmas projects like putting up the artificial tree that was gifted free on Nextdoor & decorated with lights also gifted via Nextdoor, along with composing annual Christmas letter.

5. 1st year in the last 20 years that I did not send a photo or photocard of DD with Christmas cards. She is college-age & we no longer have frequent photos, so it was a major savings. Finished cards purchased @ $1/box @ church mega-sale & opened cards purchased @ 50% off after last Christmas, along with stationary bought in bulk many years ago @ office supply store. Used current Christmas stamps, a no-cost decorative touch since remaining stamps are always used after the holiday.

6. Sent box of holidays food/coffee to my DD (Dad) using repurposed box & packing materials from items recently received. Many purchased items came from big box or grocery store with coupon, as well as Chex Snack Mix & Spiced Pecans recently made with items originating from Aldi & nuts on sale @ home supply store.

7. Since our current health insurance may not continue after year-end, made December Saturday (!) appts. to complete annual physicals for DH & myself.

8. Former boss asked if I could work full-time for a week in December. Extra cash flow? Why yes, thank you!


Ava December 5, 2020 at 4:42 pm

It seems that I don’t have anything dramatic to list. We are still dealing with my husband’s back injury. Between that and the virus, we do not eat out, seldom buy gas and only go to the grocery, pharmacy and doctors’ offices.
1. I saved $23 on groceries with coupons plus a $10 rewards check from the store.
2. I made yogurt for the first time. It did not go well. It was very thin but I am mixing in some jam and eating it anyway. It is almost gone.
3. I have made several sales from my Etsy shop. I am really thrilled about that.
4. We didn’t see any family for Thanksgiving, except through Zoom. We had a much smaller, cheaper meal that the usual Thanksgiving feast and all left overs were eaten.
I can’t think of anything else. My husband pointed out that our only extravagance in normal times is travel and we can’t do that now anyway, so we have extreme frugality whether we want it or not.


Roberta December 6, 2020 at 8:16 pm

How long did you let your yogurt “cook”? I usually leave mine in the oven for 8-18 hours (when I finally remember it’s in there), and mine turns out thick enough for us. If it continues to be too thin and you are letting it develop long enough, you can also strain some of it (and add the liquid to bread dough).


Ava December 7, 2020 at 7:06 am

I left it in a warm spot for 4 hours as the recipe recommended. I don’t think that was long enough.


Peg December 5, 2020 at 4:54 pm

Are you no longer working as a delivery/maternity RN?


Lilypad December 5, 2020 at 5:05 pm

I was wondering this too, thinking I must have missed a post explaining it.


Barbie December 5, 2020 at 7:15 pm

Katy has retired from her nursing career.


Beth December 5, 2020 at 4:57 pm

I’m curious Katy (or anyone else who sells and ships), what do you use for a payment platform and shipping to keep costs of doing business down?


Karyn Woodard December 5, 2020 at 5:03 pm

As a long time reader, I ALWAYS look forward to your posts. They are inspiring and so real. I can very much relate to you as I am an RN and I have a non-binary child. Would love to hear your perspective on those topics as well as your current nursing endeavors in this weird COVID era. Thanks for being so inspiring!


Lilypad December 5, 2020 at 5:19 pm

I have been the home coordinating person—because I am German, I like to use the word Hausfrau instead of housewife—since my now 19 year old son was not even 2 years old. (Before that, I worked part time.) He’s always had health problems and it was just easier and happier for all of us if I was home to take care of things, schedule things, cook things, clean things. Just yesterday I was talking to the nurse at his doctor’s office trying to come up with a cheaper drug to put him on—the one they prescribed was $625. For one month! (Of course it would be thousands if we didn’t have insurance and not covered at all if we were on Medicaid.) I thought I had found a “copay assistance card” deal from the manufacturer and told her about it, in case they need it for other patients. She thanked me for doing the legwork on this and I replied “it’s my full time job”. We’ve had over $25,000 out of pocket medical costs in recent years, so part of what I do by staying home is keeping track of all this, saving money in other places so we can pay these bills without going into debt. It’s exhausting and depressing (think of what we could have done with that $25,000, even how great it would be to have that much more in our retirement or college funds, for example). Since my son has a lifelong, incurable (with current medical research) condition requiring expensive drugs ($100,000+ a year if we had to pay on our own), he’s actually researching going to college in Germany (free) and immigrating there permanently afterwards if he likes it, so that he’ll not have to worry about health care costs like we have in the US. It’s pretty sad that almost 100 years after my grandfather came here seeking a better life, his great-grandson could head back over the ocean because life would be better for him there.


Lilypad December 5, 2020 at 5:42 pm

p.s. I also wanted to say thanks to you and everyone else who stays home and limits their contact with others (and thank you for wearing masks!!!!) because when you do, you are protecting someone like my son. He’s taking immune-suppressing drugs and has barely left the house (except for medical appointments and procedures at the hospital) since March. Thank God for the internet, so he can keep in touch with his friends (and study when he’s feeling up to it). I am a natural introvert and total hermit, so staying home is easy for me, but I know it’s very difficult for others. I appreciate your sacrifice.


t December 5, 2020 at 5:47 pm

I laughed so hard at the pillow arrangement picture you posted. It’s covid pillow placement! Everyone and their family, friends, and neighbors are piled together living in lockdown. That pillow arrangement allows three to a bed instead of two, with an attempt towards social distancing and privacy!

I have a cot in my front hall with a sheet at the end of the hall to make a door/wall. Living room corner wall sleeping bag bed that stashes behind couch, couch has bed covers that stash behind couch. Thanks to free antenna TV, DVDs, everyone’s personal devices, and open endless outside walking, everyone is still sorta sane and if jobs ever open back up they are saving enough to go wherever, whenever, and start all over again.
People who were doing well and lost everything to covid and are now working hard all day cleaning up after those who refuse to stay home and consider others welfare are tired when they get home and appreciate simple things. Food, shelter, bathroom, shower, refrigeration, cooling and heating, a place to sleep, and I’m told a simple electrical outlet is a prime commodity in a homeless shelter. I
have plenty of wall sockets in my tiny place.


Cindy in the South December 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm

1. Youngest son offered a large scholarship for law school. That is certainly frugal. He is trying to see what other schools will offer him.2,3,4,5 I just diluted ketchup, ranch dressing, hot sauce, dish soap. That is all I have.


Bee December 6, 2020 at 5:58 am

You must be so proud of your son. That is awesome news!!!!! Will he go to your alma mater?


Cindy in the South December 6, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Thanks Bee. He has not decided yet. It depends on any other offers. I went to law school in another state and he really does not want to leave this state.


rebecca December 5, 2020 at 6:28 pm

1. Had a small Thanksgiving with my parents. Saved some money as we had chicken because I couldn’t find a small turkey and travel $$.
2. Using up my pantry and freezer stash and haven’t been to the grocery store since before Thanksgiving.
3. I bought a few things I needed on sale this week but no gifts. We have cutdown as a family.
4. Watching Empires of New York on CNBC. So interesting.
5. Lost a few lbs and have been able to fit into some different clothes.


Marie December 5, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Very tough times for all.
Nothing exciting happening.
Had a 2 year old turkey in the freezer. Thawed it, slight freezer burn, so I put it in a brine. Very good, and moist, though a 17 lb bird for 2 people was a bit much.
Ate on it for 4 days, then turkey soup for 4 days. Done with Turkey anything for quite awhile.
Posted excess Christmas items, sold half. Yay.
The weather has been drier, so having been taking my lone dog for a daily 2 mile walk. My Aussie, we had to put down in October, so my lone dog, and I have to mix things up, to stay happy. She’s very lonely! As an I.
Working on Christmas gifts, not much motivation, as we haven’t decided if we are getting together as a family, my daughter, son in law, and grandson.
Cooking way too much, eating too much too, but we must soldier on.
Somewhere, there will be the end of this!
Merry Christmas


Texasilver December 5, 2020 at 7:21 pm

Starbucks has another promotion in December for front line workers which is a Free tall brewed or iced coffee. Your husband & daughter can enjoy a daily treat on Starbucks’s dime.
I’ve had a bummer of a fall. My husband had both knees replaced in Sept. In Oct a drunk driver hit a telephone pole in front of our house. The pole fell & crushed a car in our driveway. In Nov my beloved cat had a freak accident in my home & had to be put down. I was left with a big fat vet bill & dead cat. In Dec hubby went back to hospital to get scar tissue released. My birthday is in January. I wonder what next unpleasant event awaits? I think I’ll go get a free coffee at Starbucks to cheer myself up.


MB in MN December 6, 2020 at 7:41 am

Texasilver: That is a lot in a short period of time. Here’s to a happy birthday and better days ahead!


Texasilver December 9, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Thank you MB in MN. Got a new kitty, husband has new knees, a new year arriving soon.


Mand01 December 5, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Really all of mine are the same as they have been for the past few months: staying at home, working from home, not buying clothes, not using much in the way of petrol due to staying at home, cooking mostly at home, reading books I already own or borrowing on the Libby app. Cancelled Netflix and swapped for Amazon Prime – so saved half what we were spending on Netflix. We have a two streaming service rule.


Patricia Koernig December 6, 2020 at 1:32 am

I so appreciate your posts, and everyone’s comments: I laugh, I cry, I understand and feel understood. Thank you!
Sending each of you encouragement, and love. Be well, and safe.


Ellie December 6, 2020 at 11:13 am

This is so well said. I almost never post, but always read. After 86 years of honing frugal skills, I still learn.


jann in Maine December 6, 2020 at 3:30 am

2020 is the year that keeps on “giving”,right?
Still doing what I do here in Maine…trying to stay safe and sane,
We rarely go out but last week went hiking at a new spot and brought my trusty cooler and sandwiches and drinks. Still have not waded into the restaurant scene even for takeout. We did buy ice cream this summer,however.
We decided to stop Christmas gifts to each other and the kids except for the granddaughter. I am making each set of kids (wife or partner) a box o their favorite f cookies and homemade granola for a gift and sending them with a check. I gotta do something!
Still harvesting kale and Brussels Sprouts from the garden even in the snow. Yummy added to omelets or as part of a stiffing for eggplant.
My FB marketplace sales have ground to a halt though I do have 2 items people have paid for and not picked up including a very expensive Victorian umbrella stand . Dunno when they will come for that.
Snow but will put grippers on my boots.
Will do laundry tomorrow as it will again be sunny, Have not used my dryer for more than a handful of times since last winter. Keeps our electric bills down.
DID get a spendey new kitchen faucet which changes the entire look of the kitchen and does not leak. I gotta say it makes me happy every time I see it.
Reading library books but did buy some books at yardsales this summer in anticipation of another stretch of time we won’t get out.
And we did put up a vintage aluminum tree I bought at a yardsale from the 50’s and was pleased it was all there, We could have harvested one on our property but this is different and pretty with vintage balls I have thrifted over the years.
Praying 2021 is better I mean its gotta be,right???
And Katy thanks for helping make 2020 better with this forum to share thoughts with like-minded people. You rock.


Louise December 6, 2020 at 5:18 am

Hurray! From London. Hell in a basket here.


Christine December 6, 2020 at 7:31 pm

Oh Louise, keep yourself safe over there. Things are no better here in the states as we wait with anticipation for the vaccine and/or for better days ahead. Hell in a handcart over here.


Lindsay B December 6, 2020 at 5:33 am

1. Have been trying to eat down our pantry and freezer in preparation for moving back to the US in 3 months. Need to inventory things, then plan how to best use foods while still having variety.

2. Tried to make applesauce a month ago with the last of the apples, but they were just too dry. Instead, made an apple cake that my husband really likes. After all the work to cut out the bruised/wormy bits, we couldn’t bear to compost them so I’m glad to have found a use for them.

3. Found a buff/neckwarmer on one of our walks, and hung it over a post to make it more visible for the person who lost it. After several weeks of that, I brought it home and washed it to have as a spare.

4. Continue to be grateful for Libby and endless free library books.

5. While we bought Christmas cards to send to family in the US (can’t fly home to visit, unfortunately), and postage costs an arm and a leg, I am taking the opportunity to put in a bunch of stickers for our nieces and nephews. The kids are routinely over-gifted IMO so I’m not sure they will care about simple stickers, but at least I have them out of my inventory and will not be moving them back home in a few months. And, maybe the kids will like them.


Christine December 6, 2020 at 7:33 pm

Sometimes it’s the little, simple things like stickers that make for the most fun. Happy Holidays to you!


Joyce December 7, 2020 at 8:04 am

Our silly local postmaster puts stickers on the boxes we send to grandkids! I didn’t know that u til my daughter commented as to how much the kids enjoyed the outside of the box!


Jill A December 6, 2020 at 6:20 am

1. We have been planning meals around what needs to be used up. We’ve made a delicious curry with discount rack and sad produce from the refrigerator. We’ve had some interesting meals of odds and ends and also some new delicious concoctions. Note: yogurt is delicious with leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.
2. I have taken advantage of sales to purchase some necessities such as new socks for my daughter. I realized I haven’t purchased new basic socks for her since she was a child. She had sensory issues as a child and new sock purchases were always traumatic so for years I bought the same exact gold toe socks. These are now very sad and holey. Luckily she’s outgrown most of these issues and sock and clothing purchases no longer make us both cry.
3. I also took advantage of Meijer’s gift card sale. Buy $50 in various gift cards and get $5 off your next purchase. I bought gift cards intended as gifts and one Qdoba card for us to enjoy a night of take-out since I also have a free entree reward that I’ve been hoarding.
4. My kids helped me put up my artificial tree. It was a pre-lit tree I purchased many years ago and already rewired with new lights once several years ago. Some of the “new lights” are now burned out so I’ll need to redo it again at some point but for now it will do.
5. I donated to the local food bank as well as Habitat for Humanity and SPCA. I printed out receipts for taxes ** This year as a side note to the CARES act people who don’t itemize can deduct up $300 in charitable donations as an “above the line” deduction.**

Not necessarily frugal but non-consumerish- I purchased on Etsy some beautiful mittens made from recycled wool sweaters as Christmas gifts for loved ones. I’m trying to purchase less from Amazon and more from small businesses especially if they are local or Michigan based.


isa December 7, 2020 at 6:05 am

I’m so with you on #2!!
My daughter, who is now 8, also has sensory issues around clothes (and other issues too, that are getting so much better as she’s aging). For the longest time getting her dressed was a nightmare! She would only wear one kind of leggings, that needed to be shipped from across the country. Now she’s ok wearing different kind of leggings, but still I don’t think this child has never put anything else on. Can she live forever in leggings??!
Bless her little heart!


Jill A December 9, 2020 at 6:32 am

It is a struggle. Hang in there.


Bettypants December 6, 2020 at 6:28 am

1. I picked up a silver lamp and a huge quantity of plastic hangers (in a really nice reusable bag) from a free pile. Bought a pack of zip ties from the dollar store and made 2 big snowflakes from the white hangers using an online tutorial. Adorable flat, but they buckled when I picked them up, so a fail for me. At least I have that nice bag to reuse!

2. Sold a Lularoe cardigan for $10 and a dress on ebay for $18. I have one dress left from the bunch that I bought at $5 each. They didn’t sell like hotcakes, and I will avoid cheap Lularoe for resale.

3. Sold several items on ebay and FB, including 2 hardcover books I have had listed for a loooong time, and a pair of sparkly toddler Converse I bought at a yard sale this summer and were worth as much as I had thought.

4. My favorite resale store had 50% off store wide. I was working on Friday, but went as soon as they opened on Saturday. Oh, my. That is the most people-y place I have been since Covid started. I bought a $3 purse and a $6 Eddie Bauer cardigan for myself, and two big bags of stuff to resell. My checkout gift was to choose any scarf for free, and I lucked out by finding a Ralph Lauren Polo wool one. Pleased with my finds, but unhappy with how close other people stood to me and each other. Masks under noses, ladies chatting and hugging each other. No more Saturdays for me there!

5. Today I am busy listing all my finds from yesterday. Sold 5 like new Junie B Jones books on FB right away for $10. I had paid 85 cents for the set.


MB in MN December 6, 2020 at 8:01 am

Katy: I am grateful for every one of your posts. Thank you for keeping this community going.

My five:

1. After a many-year hiatus from Christmas-y things, we decided this year needed extra cheer for ourselves and others so we bought tree lights, cards, and CDs at the thrift store – all for around $10. And for the first time I think ever, I bought special Christmas stamps for the cards.

2. Asked my sister for childhood Christmas items (ornaments, candle, etc.) that she had stored away after our parents died. It’s been 12 years since these items have been used by anyone. My favorite time of the day is when it’s completely dark and all that’s lit is the Christmas tree. I just stare at the lights like I do a bonfire.

3. MacGyvered a tree stand using a metal minnow bucket filled with washed rock from our garden path to hold it in place before filling with water.

4. Improvised ornament hangers out of extra colorful paper clips.

5. For my husband’s 2021 calendar, I printed off monthly calendar pages from a free online site, punched holes and inserted in a slim three-ring binder (along with a section for his to-do lists). He struggles with organizing and I was practically born with a PhD in organizing the heck out of anything, so this made both of us happy.


Jo December 8, 2020 at 7:35 am

Loved the end of #2!


Jenzer December 6, 2020 at 8:49 am

Kudos to you for staying the course, Katy. I had a rash of “F*** It” spending earlier in the fall, when the stress of All the Everything got to me. I’m still nudging myself back into my usual frugal habits.

DH brought home ten pounds of smoked chicken legs from an outdoor event in October. We ate several and froze the excess for future dinners. The broth from the bones makes fantastic cooking liquid for green beans.

Our county parks department is offering naturalist-led hikes at the county nature preserves this winter (no cost, limited to 10 people, masks required). I joined a botany hike last month and learned a lot about identifying trees by their bark. Next up is a winter birding hike, if spaces are still available.

Fourteen-year-old DS asked if he could swap out the quilt on his bed for a solid-color one (the print on his old quilt might best be described as “toddler choo-choo train”). The toddler quilt became new filler in one of our dog beds. It replaced the egg-crate foam that was disintegrating into yellow dust every time I took the cover off to wash it.

I compared prices on several personal care products between Walmart (store brands at regular price) and CVS (store brands + 30% off coupon). Walmart’s prices were cheaper even with the CVS coupon savings factored in. Now I know to plan regular stock-up trips to Walmart and ignore the CVS coupons that come in the mail.

We got a Republic of Tea catalog in the mail. Their tea prices are too spendy for me, but for some reason I held on to the catalog to browse through it — and discovered a sample holiday tea bag inside.


Joanne December 20, 2020 at 2:24 am

Jenzer you have made me laugh out loud this morning and urge myself to slow down when reading. I read naturalist as naturist and wondered why anyone would hike naked in the woods!!!! xx


Ruby December 6, 2020 at 9:14 am

Katy, thank you for every post. We frugal folk need a community of the like-minded to celebrate and commiserate with, and love what you do here.

I am just keeping on keeping on: wearing thrifted outfits to work every day, brown bagging leftovers, snacks, and coffee/cold drinks from home. The $3.99 Goodwill coffee maker I scored for the office had been seeing daily use on these cold mornings. I have mended stacks of clothes for my family.

My work office has a steady influx of packaged healthy snacks. Those that no one wants I gathered up recently and took to the food bank. People seemed to get burned out fast on the tropical trail mix and cherry fruit cups, but I bet kids will like them.


Mary in Maryland December 6, 2020 at 10:18 am

1. Just not spending money. I was considering a no buy year in 2021, but I looked over my records and found I’ve spent $240 in 2020 (excepting food, taxes, and donations.) My list–a nightshirt to replace one that’s 17 years old, two pairs of cross trainers, two replacement pressure cooker gaskets, reusable canning lids, and a tool to make bias tape for sewing into masks.
2. Vegetable triage. As part of hunkering down for the winter, I bought forty pounds of spuds, 30 of yams, and 20 of onions. I’m storing them in a cool place, but go through them every couple weeks to see what really needs to be eaten.
3. Did some quilting for a friend who paid me in garment weight wool and linen. Tunics coming up.
4. I freecycled two differently abled printers—one scanned, the other printed. I’m helping others be non-consumers as well.
5. Folks who picked up the printers offered me garlic and peppers. I said yes.
6. I’ve been pandering to my husband’s sweet tooth by baking galettes. They sound fancy, but are basically one crust pies.
7. Financial hit—last night I woke up to feeling my pulse in a tooth. Experience suggests I’ll be having a root canal tomorrow. Grateful for dental insurance, but I hate to leave the house in the winter of the virus.


Cynthia December 7, 2020 at 8:16 am

Your #1 is VERY impressive! Way to go!


Mary in Maryland December 6, 2020 at 10:31 am

Oh, I also bought a six-pack of new underpants.


Christine December 6, 2020 at 10:37 am

Happy to hear you and your family are all staying healthy. Same here and like you, I realize how very lucky we are.
1. I’ve been finding change on the floor at work (a deli) and in various parking lots adding up to .42. DH found a dime on a trail hike. I no longer pick up discarded cans and bottles due to Covid. We shall see after the first of 2021 how much I gathered.
2. I pulled out my Christmas decorations. I decorated with the items that I find bring me some joy and the rest I bagged up and will drop off at The Salvation Army Store. Just because they are not my cup of tea anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t someone else’s. We are not putting up a tree this year as we have cancelled our annual Swedish Christmas Eve get together with our four kids, spouses/significant others. four grandkids and various friends and they are the ones we put it up for. Too many households to keep it safe. We can sacrifice for a year…or more if needed…but I’m hoping not.
3. Cooking all meals at home due to various reasons, frugality being #1. Added to that is not visiting restaurants due to Covid and I find I just generally feel better if I prepare meals at home.
4. I read a great memoir “Dancing With the Octopus”…can’t think of the author offhand and the book is in my car waiting to go back to the library.
5. Happy Holiday Season everyone! Enjoy as best you can!


K D December 6, 2020 at 1:10 pm

1. Lots of staying home at our house. I attend an occasional outdoor yoga class and have a friend I walk/visit outside with weekly. I also walk by myself and/or with my husband rain or shine daily.

2. We have been cooking almost all meals at home. We have done takeout just a handful of times in recent months. We find we miss the dining out experience more than the actual food served.

3. I baked Spritz cookies and it helped me feel like life is more normal. We have put up the usual decorations. I love putting out the stuff we’ve had for years, there are good memories.

4. I listed a bunch of stuff on Freecycle this afternoon. It is time consuming compared to going to Goodwill but I feel as if the landfill avoidance level is much higher. I’m happy to give multiple items to one individual when they are requested.

5. Most things are frugal these days at our house. I will let my hair get shaggy again, we barely drive, we don’t shop,…


Bee December 6, 2020 at 1:22 pm

I must admit that I am not as accepting of the current situation as many of you are. Although I wear my mask everywhere, avoid group/social gatherings, social distance, don’t venture into restaurants and have given up the gym; I absolutely hate this. I’m especially sad going into the holiday season as family and friends will not be together. However, I know this too shall pass. Although I’m a bit whiny, I recognize that I’m very, very lucky. I also appreciate the positive outlook that so many of you have. It helps me to reframe my negative feelings. But no matter the circumstances, I do have my FFT
1. A Buy Nothing Group was finally started in my little beach town. I am thrilled!!!!!! I have a stack of things to post and I have picked up a stack of boxes I needed. ( contact-free) I love the concept of Buy Nothing!
2. My husband forgot to use a $5 off grocery coupon when he went to the store. When I was nearby, I stopped at the service desk and was refunded the $5. I then used the money to purchase a few things needed by our county’s homeless coalition.
3. I did take advantage of Black Friday sales to purchase two blankets online for the Homeless Coalition mention above. I also bought my legume-eating daughter an Instapot. I then used Target’s drive-up, contactless pick-up to get them. This saved the cost of additional shipping charges and was super convenient.
4. I continue to sell on eBay. Fourth quarter sales are slower than last year which sadly may be a reflection of our current economic climate. Strangely, however, I have sold several high ticket items including two boxes of sealed Pokémon cards. If you are cleaning out your children’s things do NOT give away these things or similar items
5. I put up my artificial tree that I purchased a few years ago and I am reusing my ornaments as always. I am walking Rescue Pup miles and miles instead of going to the gym. She is my personal trainer. I mended several puppy toys rather than buying new ones. I am doing the usual things — drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my coffee at home, cooking from scratch , wearing thrifted clothing, watching streamed TV and reading library books (Silent Patient).


Katy December 7, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Hooray for Buy Nothing groups!


Jo December 8, 2020 at 7:39 am

Bee, I am whiny and grateful, too:)


Bee December 8, 2020 at 1:50 pm

So glad I’m not alone. Wishing everyone good health, peace and frugality.


Shona December 6, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Years ago I decided to opt out of Christmas gift giving and never looked back. I am happy to have spearheaded our family giving to charities instead. No small ones in the mix, all adults, so it’s worked out well. None of us really needs more stuff, but this year we decided our local food banks need donations.

Hunkering down, as Eric Garcetti suggested, even though I’m no longer in L.A. and under no stay at home order, nor familiar with the phrase hunker down until I left L.A.

Eating from the pantry and made a pot ‘O matzo ball soup from the stock from our Thanksgiving chicken. With Hanukkah this week, matzo ball mix is on sale.

Moved line drying our clothes indoors using my 3 drying racks placed over the heating vents.

Found a penny


Roberta December 6, 2020 at 8:40 pm

1. Made Katy’s red lentil soup this week. I bought a 25 pound bag of red lentils a long time ago for much less than $1/pound. I aim to use them in one recipe every two weeks (but I haven’t been hitting my target). Enough for leftovers, which were appreciated by my son who took the leftovers to work at Target.
2. Got through an unplanned power outage Thursday without spending any money or losing any food. The electric company posted that they may not have the power back on until Sunday (they got it on Thursday night instead). We had grilled cheese, cream of tomato soup and pickles for dinner. Lunch was leftovers in the microwave at school. My husband had to go back to school for a meeting, so he took all our freezer goods to the empty school freezer (and they came back the next day). He even took my daughter to school with him, so she could use the WIFI to take her midterm that day! I’m proud of how we were creative and thrifty with our resources.
3. Decorated the house for Christmas. We bought new lights this year for the outside of the house (significantly reducing our electrical usage) but everything else is old. We are focusing on things we can do to be cheerful. Yesterday we watched Miracle on 34th Street streaming on Disney.
4. I finished all the knitted hats and neck gaiters for my new-to-snow-country niece and nephews for Christmas. Also included a chocolate bar each (Tony’s Chocoloney bars found at the discount store!) I will have to ship them, but at least they won’t be coming out for Christmas. I have one more to do, for my dad, then I am done with knitting for this Christmas. Then I will start knitting wash clothes for next Christmas. (I am substitute teaching and I do a lot of knitting while I watch the kids work. I only have 2-5 kids in each class, so they have been very quiet.)
5. Sold one thing on ebay that I bought for a Christmas present years ago. It will go to be someone else’s present this year.


cathy December 6, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Katy, I appreciate your posts here as well as on Instagram, no matter the schedule. Re holidays: You might find that this year provides a unique opportunity to reset what you and your family find most meaningful and jettison the rest.
1. I cooked a ton for Thanksgiving because I wanted everyone (husband, kids, myself) to have their favorites. We were diligent about eating leftovers–Thanksgiving dinner bowls, turkey salad, and a huge pot of chili made from cooking down the carcass.
2. Listening to music free on Pandora.
3. Reading library books and e-books. The library is closed, but you can place books on hold and schedule curbside pick-up.
4. Almost finished shopping for Hanukkah and Christmas gifts. We mainly do stockings for Christmas, and almost everything is consumable in one way or another. Hanukkah will mainly consist of lighting the menorah (plenty of candles left from previous years) and having a latke night (and possibly another latke brunch). I picked up a jigsaw puzzle for the family (not on sale, but purchased from our local indie bookshop to help it survive). We also take one night and each pick a non-profit we want to donate to, then make the donations as a family.
5. Started our annual December Harry Potter movie marathon. We own all the movies, so no expense. It did bring up the question of whether one can appreciate art or music or literature when the creator has really hurtful, prejudiced views. In this case, I think the movies have a life of their own outside of JK Rowling. Sadly, my daughter can’t enjoy them anymore.
6. Not frugal for me, but giving away all sorts of random things in the Buy Nothing group. Love it!


Katy December 7, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Yeah, Harry Potter is ruined for our family, and we’ve also had the conversations about “separating the art from the artist.” For my daughter that line is not to be crossed and I support her.


Isabelle December 7, 2020 at 5:37 am

* I’ve started a one year shopping ban on November 27th and it’s going extremely well so far. I’m not even tempted, I already have all that I need and wish for, and if it’s something I really NEED then I’ll buy it. Otherwise, I’m sticking to what I’ev got
* In the same spirit, I’m challenging myself to reduce the amount we are spending on food (groceries and restaurants). We now average 975$\month (family of 4, in Canada, so still very decent), and I’m aiming at 700$\month. Will see!
* Entertainment is costing pennies : books (free from public library), Netflix (10$\month), swimming (rec. center, almost free), badminton (rec. center, almost free), walks (free), board games (already owned, so it’s now free), painting (I have all I need), scrapbooking (using what I’ve got). So, yeah, veruy cheap!
* I did a big clean out and gave most of it away, but I kept a couple key items for sale and I did make 110$ so far.
* My “maintenance” is so cheap : No hair styling (poney tails), no makeup apart from the occasionnal lipstick, no facial or body treatments, no nails, etc. Yet, I still look presentable, lol!


Shona December 7, 2020 at 7:16 am

Congratulations on taking this year long shopping ban. I took this challenge a couple years ago with a friend and for me it was fun and at times a bit of a challenge. I got to 4 months and then got back on the wagon.


Jenelle December 7, 2020 at 6:58 am

I am glad to hear that you all are healthy!
1. Thankfully Ebay has been selling items on a regular basis and I can pull money from that account so we can make it to the next paycheck. I”m not sure what we would do if I didn’t have that.
2. My son’s cub scout group went bowling yesterday. I don’t need to bowl, so I saved us money by sitting out and just watching. The kids did not care because they were bowling with friends.
3. the next girl scout badge my Daisy Scouts are working on is the “use resources wisely” I decided that the girls could make gingerbread houses out of cardboard (that I had laying around my house) and could be decorated with items they have in their house (candy or other stuff). I thought it worked beautifully for this time of the year and the badge we needed to do!!
4. We are trying to decide if we should save money and allow my FIL to replace our garage doors OR pay someone to do it. Now, the obvious answer is to save money. However, this does not SAVE patience or time in any way shape or form. It could be months until the project is done.
5. I’m continuing to flex my frugal muscles and buckle down to make each dollar spent count.


Christine December 7, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Great idea on the gingerbread houses. The houses are probably sturdier made with cardboard and easier to decorate. I’ll bet the kids had a blast making them…Kids + Togetherness + Crafts + Holiday Excitement = FUN!


Christine December 7, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Great idea on the gingerbread houses. The houses are probably sturdier made with cardboard and easier to decorate. I’ll bet the kids had a blast making them…Kids + Togetherness + Crafts + Holiday Excitement = FUN!


Christine December 7, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Oooops…hit it twice…


janine December 7, 2020 at 5:12 pm

I am always so happy to hear from Katy and others about efforts to make 2020 as livable and interesting as possible.
1. Thanksgiving leftovers from large turkey went on seemingly forever, but I finally froze what was left for a future when it will all seem more palatable. Frugal meals in the future!
2. Husband found a book for me by a favorite college professor in a free library. Hardcover and in good shape.
3. Client gifted husband with two grocery gift cards. Not sure of the amount, but it should be enough for a few luxury holiday items.
4. DH and I enjoyed a trip to the other side of town in pursuit of a burger advertised in our newspaper as one of the best in the area. Found a line at least 50 people long, many of whom were not social distancing or wearing masks. Bought $2.50 tacos across the street from another street vendor who didn’t have much business. He served a fresh lime slice which sparked it all up. Yum. (This counted for an exciting adventure. We spent another hour driving around looking at the street life, people walking their dogs, and discussing which restaurants we plan on patronizing when this grunge ends!)
5. Free Christmas tree from our realtor. There is a shortage of live trees this year . Neighborhood boards have been asking about where to find them. To be honest, this is the smallest tree we have ever had, but at least we scored one – and for free!


Hawaii Planner December 7, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Let’s see, what have we been up to:
1) Sold a few things on eBay. Sales have picked up a bit.
2) Used a coupon code to order my husband a photo calendar. It’s not something I typically do, but I feel like 2020 needs to be commemorated! 😉
3) Clicked through to a credit card offer & combined with an expiring promo code, saving about $130 for a flight. I’m hoping to be able to fly at some point in the future!
4) Came up with a free “experience” gift for my husband. My parents are taking the kids for a few days ahead of Christmas. They are very excited for the bonus time, and my husband & I will have some kid free time. After all of this together time in 2020, it will be a welcome break on all sides.
5) Made lots of creative meals out of leftovers.


LB December 8, 2020 at 7:34 am

Hope your job as “cruise director” for your family is going smoothly–and don’t feel bad for intermittent blogging. Hope all is going as well as can be.

1. Future SIL had a shirt and leggings on her Christmas wish list. Found both on Poshmark for below the rate they were going on the retailers website, NWT. Feels good to buy off a specific person instead of from the business.

2. Passed along my old fitbit gathering dust to my mom. I considered trying to sell it, but given its outdated features and slightly worn bands, it was better going to a friend or family member. She popped it on immediately and I hope it gets some good use.

3. Have worked through the turkey leftovers and now we are back to meal planning. This week’s menu requires no food shopping (and also doesn’t have a whole lot of vegetables, oops) which feels satisfying.

4. The heat is still off, 1/3 into December. Feels like a victory! We had been still using the AC intermittently and haven’t winterized it yet, so no sense warming the place up before doing that. We will winterize it today to get rid of the chilly breeze so we can know when we finally do crank the dial it won’t all leak out.

5. Finished reading through my dad’s manuscript for a book he is writing and I’m back shopping my bookshelf. Felt good to give him my feedback and see how happy he was to comb through it and discuss it. In this weird, helpless time it felt good to spend time on something for someone dear to me. Not to be too corny, but it’s more proof that the best gift we can give each other is our time.


AuntiAli December 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Sometimes I think covid will go on and on forever but then I have to believe there will be an end.
1. Called my lab today about a question on my lab work not being paid. Found out I’m only allowed this particular test 2x a year. Anyway by calling the customer service rep told me if I paid the bill via the phone call I would get a discount. Saved over $50.
2. Fighting with insurance company to pay for hubs colonoscopy. No, I’m not paying $14,000 when we have insurance. Big snafu as no one pre certified it but I will prevail.
3. I’m finding no joy in giving my niece and nephew money for Christmas and their birthdays which are around the holidays. I get an in person thank you but like I said no joy and they are 29 and 28 yrs old. I will buy a few small things for dsil (dark chocolate peanut butter anyone?) as she is divorced and struggling a bit. She’s getting consumables.
4. Had a 30 something deck replaced in the last couple of weeks. Money was saved up to pay for it and felt good about having construction guys employed.
5. Closing credit card that has an annual fee. It’s for frequent flier miles and art this point I don’t know when I’ll be flying again.
6. Watching the Empires of New York City also. I live across the Hudson River in New Jersey and followed all that was going on in NYC in the 80’s. John Gotti the “Teflon” don.


Lisa M. December 9, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Aunt Ali –

#2. I am scheduled for a screening colonoscopy next week, so your description of non-coverage was terrifying although I did call my insurance to confirm coverage prior. Still…

#3. I can relate as I have a niece & nephew, 31 & 34. I have literally given them $ their entire lives. 1 is married with 2 kids & the other is divorced, both are college graduates with full-time professional careers which they have maintained during the pandemic. I started sending birthday cards omitting the $ a few years ago after discussing with my sister. This is the 1st year I will not be sending them holiday $. It’s time…


debranurse1 December 8, 2020 at 10:43 pm

Still working 9 nights every 2 weeks at my nursing job. Management keeps adding more mandatory ppe, this time goggles or face visors. So glad I’m on nights and get little patient interaction.
I’m struggling to get in the holiday spirit too, so I’m going to have my granddaughters over Friday for a cocoa and decorating party. I need reinforcements.
I still hit a thrift store or 2 about every 2 weeks, stay a short time and slather myself with hand gel after. wanting to go more.
Really wishing this crap will be over soon.
Wishing all of you health and hapiness in the New Year.


geri elkins alexander December 9, 2020 at 4:29 pm

This year, in the middle of the pandemic, my boyfriend, who works from his home these days, decided he would like to learn to bake. His learning wishlist included challah and babka{chocolate, of course, the greater rather than the lesser babka.} Although we don’t celebrate Christmas, his family does, and so we’ll be making and gifting challah and babka for the holidays, perhaps along with jars of homemade chicken soup or chili.


betta from daVille December 10, 2020 at 5:52 am

1. Returned 2 abandoned carts at Aldi to make $.50
2. Will turn off work apartment’s internet during winter intersession saving me $48.99
3. I was pondering how much Netflix cost these days (my partner and I share it but he pays for it) and realized that he still pays for the MAILED DVD OPTION! I don’t think we’ve gotten a DVD in the mail in 10 years! I cringe at the thought of how much money he has wasted…. (I removed the service from his account – so that is the frugal part.)
4. We live in a small-ish condo and so we decorate our rosemary plant that winters indoor. We’ll cut some evergreen branches for decorating.
5. Convinced partner to try the store brand bread which looks suspiciously similar to the name brand that he likes.


Michelle H December 10, 2020 at 9:01 am

Your #2 – I cancel our internet service each June since we travel most of the summer, and when I reinstate in August I am technically a new customer and quality for $20 off per month for the first year. Well worth the hassle of returning the equipment and re-setting up each year!


Katy December 11, 2020 at 10:38 am

WOW — I didn’t know that option still existed!


Michelle H December 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

1. Hit Goodwill yesterday for the first time in almost a year, and found a few treasures. Vintage Fiesta chop plate for $4, that I promptly sold for $30 on Marketplace, new Kenneth Cole boots for $6 that fit my teen perfectly, and an adorable never used handbag with a Monet water lillies design for $6 I bought for myself, but once I saw they’re still being sold for $139 retail I listed it on Marketplace. If it doesn’t sell I’ll use it myself – it’s so cute!

2. Breakfast for dinner last night to clean out the fridge. (I can’t seem to stop buying eggs when they’re on sale for less than 50 cents a dozen here, and I was up to 6 dozen in the fridge.) Scrambled eggs, a can of biscuits with a sell by date from October, and fruit smoothies featuring yogurt that was free with Ibotta that my kids didn’t like, clearance OJ, brown bananas, and leftover fruit.

3. Meal planning from what I have on hand this week. Need to use up some of the loss leaders I picked up around Thanksgiving, to make room for upcoming holiday loss leaders.

4. My middle kid wanted a PS4 for Christmas to replace the failing PS2 we received as a hand me down several years ago, so I asked on Facebook if anyone local was upgrading systems for Christmas and the neighbor kid is selling me his PS4 system and all the games for a great price, and putting that money toward the PS5 he wants.

5. We’ve been enjoying jigsaw puzzles in the evenings, and I picked up a stack for $5 each on Nextdoor. As we finish them I’ve been listing them for the same $5.


Jill A December 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Love your no. 4. Win for everyone.


Bethany December 10, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Canceled cable. The bill kept going up and our package kept getting smaller. Found free LG channels already available for free.

Keeping the heat off. We use less lotion that way and we make use of our terrific sweaters and blankets.

Only had a few scraps to throw away to get our fridge ready for our Christmas travels. Put the tail end of our bread and our shredded cheese in the freezer.

Made breakfast sandwiches that we’ll warm up and take with us in the morning. We also packed some snacks for the flight. Mom is making some soup for our dinner.

Kids are taking along some activity books that the charter school bought. A little free fun!


Amy December 11, 2020 at 11:41 am

Whew! More Lear jets for the rest of (not) us.


Jennifer December 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm

Trying to maintain frugality in such a spendy time has been hard but I have severely limited Christmas spending and stuck to it.

1. had to replace the dishwasher (the 5th major appliance we have replaced in the past year). We did everything we could to salvage the old one and after a last ditch effort of taking the entire thing apart, cleaning, etc and many youtube videos we gave up. We washed by hand until we found a Black Friday sale. There are no salvage stores near us and we couldn’t find anything used that would work. We did the best we could and saved $300 on it, installed ourselves.
2. Pulled a ham bone with some really good meat on it from the freezer for soup. When I went to use it though there were some odd brown spots and it smelled. It went in the trash and my ham soup became white bean and potato soup. It was not tasty at all but we ate it and it filled us up.
3. I really wanted to purchase a live tree this year as I am in charge of the Boy Scout tree sales for my ds’s troop. But after the dishwasher replacement I just put up the artificial tree. In the end none of our lights worked at all or just worked partway and I had to replace them. Didn’t save me as much as I thought to use the fake one, but still saved some.
4. Cashed in some rewards points from a CC that we pay off each month to get each child a $25 gift card to go in their stocking
5. Submitted for a reimbursement from work for a pair of tennis shoes I bought in September. Not sure why I saved the receipt but I did and my employer offered a healthcare reimbursement for equipment and the shoes counted. $40 to go towards the dishwasher.


Virginia Allain December 12, 2020 at 2:54 pm

1) Cut the backs off Christmas cards received last year and am using the fronts like a postcard. Saves postage.
2) Planted cabbage seeds in grow-bags for my winter garden in Florida and they are thriving. I foresee lots of coleslaw in our future.
3) Discovered that plastic Amazon mailing bags work for temporary “pots” for giveaway plants as I thin my elephant ears and Persian passion plants.
4) Used a free birthday coupon from our local supermarket to get a half-gallon of frozen yogurt. Didn’t buy or make a birthday cake or go out for a birthday dinner, just enjoyed the frozen yogurt.
5) Buying very few groceries. Mostly eating from our freezer and pantry. No eating out, not even takeaway.


Gina in KY December 14, 2020 at 5:13 am

I am always happy when there is a post! I love reading through everyone’s 5FTs and have gained innumerable tips and tricks for frugal living through the years. I took a FB break some time ago and left all my groups, but maybe it is time to come back to the FB group as well.

1. I am basically an agnostic pagan, so Yule is really the only symbolic holiday for me this time of year. I no longer put up a tree, but I still purchase gifts for my Catholic sons and the grandparents on both their dad’s side and mine (my ex-MIL and I are great friends despite divorce). I am happy I no longer exchange gifts with siblings. Due to Covid we are not traveling this year, so I am sending gift boxes which is not frugal, but I found some nice things on sale and it is still less than gifts + travel.

2. I do bake or make things for local friends. We are all thrifters and frugal, so gifts can happily be regift items as well. I found an extra copy of Women Who Run with Wolves while purging books this autumn. I also made her a lovely wreath made of foraged greenery (spruce, pine, holly, magnolia seedpods, and other evergreens).

3. I baked banana bread and gingerbread using all items already in the pantry. This will be the extent of my holiday baking.

4. It’s been unseasonably warm here in KY and I turned off the furnace. I had a BRACA2 prophylactic hysterectomy back in June and I have a great internal furnace. My 13 yo son has a lot of quilts and a great space heater for when its a bit chilly in the morning. Oh, we also have two dogs that make great bed warmers.

5. Working on a 2021 budget, I have a lofty goal to move out of the city, but I need to do it with as much cash as I can. My current house is 100% mine, but the neighborhood is challenging. I really want some peace and quiet in a semi-rural area. I will need a mortgage, but I do not want to pay 30 years for a bank CEO or investor’s jet or gold-plated toilets.


Momma L December 19, 2020 at 8:09 am

1. Staying at home. We have one couple that we do things with about once a month that don’t go anywhere either, they were gifted a dinner and they are sharing it with us.
2. Using Facetime all the time. I miss my children and grandchildren, and this is the best thing for my heart. Almost like being there. Almost.
3. I was gifted a “Cooks Essentials Pressure Cooker” a few years back. I guess its a knockoff of the instapot. The directions are terrible, so I never used it. I pulled it out of my cabinet and I’m trying a dried lentil soup recipe right now. I’m afraid to leave it alone, memories of my mother’s crock pot in the 60s are still pretty vivid. I’m googling directions. This is to prevent me from going out and buying an Instapot like so many other people. Any tips, links, recipes would be appreciated for this particular appliance! Not sure if Instapot recipes would work on this, I’m still learning.
4. My lit up reindeer finally doesn’t light. I’m going to list it on a free site, I’m sure there are people that won’t mind rewiring it. I don’t have time for that. My candles in the window are enough.
5. Same every year: reusing bows, gift bags, tissue, wrapping paper, and the gift tags are cut out from last year’s cards. I keep them for a year, look at who sent me cards, then a year later, I cut up all but the most sentimental ones into gift tags. They are so much prettier than the stick on tags from DT.
6! I’ve been looking for ways to cheer up, and found the Blob Opera to be very entertaining. It makes me smile every time. I sent the link to my grown kids and grandkids and they all love it too. Works on phones and computers. 🙂


Stephanie January 26, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Did you retire from nursing due to Covid? I am trying to get caught up. I actually have worried about all my nursing friends throughout this.


Katy January 27, 2021 at 2:31 pm

I actually retired in 2019, just under the wire.


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