Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 28, 2020 · 96 comments

  1. I’ve sold a ton of stuff through both eBay and Facebook Marketplace. My son’s very last college tuition payment is due on January first and I’ve been madly scraping together all I can to pay this looming bill in full.

    It would be great if I could source a couple of thousand dollar items at Goodwill, but so far this holy grail has eluded me. Until then I’ll have to enjoy the sales of these $90 shoes, this $45 vintage fabric or these $50 antique botanical prints. Better a fast nickel than a slow dime.

  2. I had a plan to hold out on haircuts during the pandemic as an experiment to see how long it would grow, but I reached my snapping point today as it was constantly tangled and braids made my scalp ache. (How Willie Nelson does it I’ll never know!)

    So I handed my 22-year-old son a pair of haircutting scissors, (a splurge from when the kids were toddlers) and gave him loose instructions for a below the shoulders blunt cut. I’ve had my son trim my hair before, but this chop job was a matter of eight or so inches. I have to say that he did a terrific job and I am 100% satisfied. No more “sister wife” aesthetic for me . . . well, except for my demure and respectful calico smocks.

  3. We gave minimal gifts for the holidays, and most of what we did give were consumables or practical gifts. Our son had asked for an expensive digital drawing tablet in November, and we’d said “sure” as it was school related. However, we let him know that this $300 purchase would serve as his “anchor” gift. (We’ve traditionally done an “anchor” gift, along with a smattering of “satellite” gifts.) He was super happy to receive such as substantial item, and my husband and I decided to gift the same thing to our daughter who also studied digital art in college. This electronic tool will help both kids to level up their skills and digital art careers as they transition into adulthood.

  4. My son and I drove through McDonald’s for some free McNuggets as the local basketball team had scored more than 100 points, I paid the bi-annual $86 to my neighbor as our half of the shared garbage bill, I cut off the back of my shredded Keen slippers and sewed blanket stitches over the raw fabric to transform them into “slip-ons,” I signed up for a free 30-day subscription to CBS All Access so my family could watch the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery, (I also made sure to add “cancel CBS All Access” onto next month’s calendar) my husband fixed a leaking spot on our roof rather than hiring out the job, I gave away a calendar and some card games through my Buy Nothing Group and also received a couple bags of bubble wrap from said group, my husband brought home catered leftovers from his all-day Christmas shift and we’ve been keeping up with our Taco Tuesday tradition with $1 tacos from a local cart, even though I’ve mostly abstained as I’m happy to eat what we already have.

  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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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Robinson December 28, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Katy, the sister wife comment had me howling!! Your son did an amazing job! And I’m counting the days until January 20th when we no longer have to worry about that vulgar, gold plated apartment and can start living again!! May you and your family have the best year of your lives!!


Christine December 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm

DH and I had a low key, low cost Christmas with just the two of us. One of our adult kids had suggested we all don’t exchange gifts this year as we were not getting together for any holidays. I gave cash to the grandkids, them being all teenagers now and not into the joyful ripping open of gifts as in the past. They all appreciated it. One is a college student, two in high school and one in middle school, all but the college student without jobs. For Christmas Eve dinner I bought two prime rib meals to go from the deli I work at and the boss gave me so much we had more than enough for Christmas Day dinner too. We napped and watched movies and ate.
2. Opening my oven door after baking and keeping the hot water in the bathtub after bathing for the BTUs.
3. Shoveled our own snow after a recent snowstorm although we are finally considering getting a snow blower. ( both in our 60s with not so great backs)
4. Reading library books and magazines which were gifted to me from two friends. My splurge was a subscription to Alaska Magazine which I read years ago at the library in my former town. My town library now doesn’t carry it but I’m thinking of asking them if they would consider it.
5. Have a frozen pizza in the oven because DH wanted pizza tonight. They’re usually saved for nights when I’m too tired to cook but he doesn’t ask for too much. Sweet, frugal man I have!


Carolyn Arnett December 28, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Your son did a fabulous job. I am a short hair girl and live alone so it is just a bit of a challenge but I used to cut my own when I was young and penniless. Muscle memory is a marvelous because all the tricks I had learned back then came right back. I use my late husband’s electric clippers for all of the rest with guards from 1 1/2 inches on down. I am also almost completely isolating except for curbside pickup so I really don’t have to worry about the results. But I am more than pleased with it.


Ruby December 30, 2020 at 7:03 am

I also have short hair and cut it myself when I too was young and penniless. Busted out those skills again and have been sporting a pandemic pixie cut since March. I did get my husband to even up the back for me this time, in return for me cutting his hair and our son’s hair. He did a nice job!


Carolyn December 30, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Cutting short hair is definitely much harder than trimming long hair. My husband has mentioned that a few times that giving my teen boys their short haircuts is more detailed than trimming my long hair, as he uses the different attachments, plus he does the clippers over the comb cutting on the longer hair on top and to blend with the shorter hair on on the back and sides. Back in the summer a couple friends of mine visited to grill on the deck and the discussion about closed hair shops came up as one friend complained that the mullet thing on her neck was bugging her big time as she hadn’t gotten her hair cut in a few months, and she really needed one. I mentioned that hubby had been giving us our haircuts on our regular schedule, so we were not impacted. She looked at my two boys’ haircuts and complimented on how nice their haircuts that they had gotten the evening before looked. She said she wished she had been there as she would have taken a turn getting a haircut. I looked to my husband and asked his thoughts, and he said that he could give her one now if she wanted. She gave an enthusiastic yes, so he got out his haircutting tools and set a stool on the deck and caped her. She said cut it really short, so he did her full haircut with the clippers, taking off a good 3”, cutting it boy short. She was extremely happy with the results, and even offered to pay him, which he refused. So I fully agree that home haircuts are a staple of a frugal life style, and having a friend or family member that has a knack for cutting hair definitely makes the choice to forego expensive visits to the salon and barbershop a no brainer.


Mary in Maryland December 28, 2020 at 4:17 pm

1. We didn’t exchange presents, but each did a couple of annoying tasks for the other—without any swearing.
2. I unraveled a hat whose color I love. Alas, having been knit with two strands of bulky the hat had the drape of a cardboard box. I hanked the twisted curly yarn and gave them a warm, gentle bath.
3. Not having a drying rack for hanks, I rigged a broom handle across two laundry lines and hung a hank on each end. I now have two skeins of beautiful bulky yarn—probably two hats’ worth.
4. Our grocery delivery failed, but I whipped up a pumpkin rich week. Pumpkin chipotle soup, black bean and pumpkin enchiladas, roast pumpkin stuffed with millet pilaf.
5. Drinking tap water, cooking at home, reading on my kindle, knitting with gifted yarn (sleep mitts for the Mister’s birthday in January).
6. I’ve been doing clothing repairs for neighbors and serving as a source of needlework supplies. Keeping the elderly out of stores.


Gina in KY December 31, 2020 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the pumpkin ideas. I just started processing the Halloween ones!


Mary in Maryland January 1, 2021 at 9:33 am

I had planned on using them all to supplement the dog food, as pumpkin seems to settle his stomach. Thought they were too bland for us humans, but with strategic use of chipotles (from the can I bought for a birthday party nine years ago) they were surprisingly delicious.


Lindsey December 28, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Love the hair! You should hire your kiddo out and bring in some extra income! (That is a joke, although if you lived nearby I would trade eggs for a haircut…)

I want to thank the person who mentioned Playbills selling on eBay. I have 35 years of Playbills form London and NYC shows, all lovingly preserved in boxes, and am about to list them. I was planning to throw them away as part of cleaning out stuff; it never occurred to me that some people collect them. It also brought back some great memories as the husband and I spent Christmas Day drinking eggnog and looking through them, amazed as some of the leading lights we had forgotten we’d seen in person.

Listed a piece of furniture on Marketplace and not only sold that but had a woman contact me saying she saw an antique sewing machine in the background of the picture (I never even noticed it was there!) and did I want to sell it, too. Why, sure. Talk about making a sale with no extra effort. While here picking it up, she saw the chickens and asked if I sold eggs and paid for two dozen fresh eggs, too. A dozen humanely raised organically fed eggs goes for $4.99 in town so she got a good deal at $1.50 a dozen and I was happy to reduce my stock of eggs. At four eggs a day average, you can end up with dozens pretty quickly.


rebecca December 29, 2020 at 8:07 am

There is definitely a market for these. I sure wish I had saved mine over the years. Good luck with reselling!


Christine December 31, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Re: the market for old playbills…my son, now 34, got together his old collection of sports cards (which had been languishing for years) to sell online. He also bought literally thousands of sports, wrestling and television show memorabilia cards from someone online for $30. The guy just wanted to get rid of them. The best find? A card worth $400. Many more ranging in price from a few dollars up to the $400. My son was also fortunate to have a friend who is experienced buying and selling cards. My son wanted to have a hobby for something to do during Covid. He has already made a little over $1000. Not bad for a hobby!


Mand01 December 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm

1. Had an overall lower waste Christmas than ever before. We no longer give gifts to adults on one side of the family, and only do a Kris Kringle on the other side, which heavily reduces the waste. Several kids just wanted cash, so that also reduced the waste. We tried to give gifts like lego to kids so that they can play with them multiple times. Other gifts were plants or consumables (like tea) as much as possible. I managed to convince my family to give up the Christmas crackers (bonbons), which are one of my most hated, wasteful Christmas traditions that my family could not seem to quit, and my sister in law made some for the other side with little thrifted gifts.
2. Our apricot tree produced about ten kilograms (20 pounds) of apricots this season. We made jam, stewed some, gave some away, ate some fresh, and made apricot ice cream with our own fresh eggs. The apricot ice cream is amazing. We had so many apricots we basically did not have to buy fruit for three weeks. It is an easy tree to care for, so it does not cost much to grow all of that fruit aside from a bag of sheep manure and water once a week in Spring and Summer. Plus obviously the space to grow a tree.
3. The garden is producing tomatoes, capsicum, onions, basil and eggplants. Cucumbers and zucchini are on the way.
4. Wore a gorgeous thrifted dress to a Christmas party – total cost, $16. Received compliments. The rest of my Christmas outfits were from my closet.
That’s about it.
I would like to be able to follow comments like before – is that option no longer available?


Katy December 28, 2020 at 5:19 pm

I guess I should have added that my husband and I don’t exchange gifts. Although we do exchange birthday gifts and mine is next week.


Mand01 December 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm

I should also add that due to no local cases of COVID in our State of Australia, we do not have any restrictions on Christmas gatherings. We are not having huge family events this year as we have in previous years, but had small gatherings.


Katy December 28, 2020 at 6:11 pm

I wish I could say the same about the U.S.


Carolyn December 29, 2020 at 6:27 am

Trying to go without trimming your hair for a long time will result in a lot of split/damaged ends, no wonder you had tangling. Even if you intended to grow your hair long, like I did, I still got regular micro trims. Mine reaches my elbows and I love my hair braided as my husband gives me French, Dutch, fishtail, wraparound and variations of different braids. They don’t make my scalp itch. Being that your son has trimmed your hair for you previously with good results, I suggest you have him trim your hair for you on a regular schedule, like every couple months as my husband trims mine, to remove splits/damage and keep my ends neat. Home haircuts save a lot of money and are worth doing if you have a friend or family member that has a knack for cutting hair. I am glad that you are happy with the results, and you aren’t trying to hack your own hair.


Shevaun December 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm

1. Gave homecooked meals (delivered in baskets to porches, in a socially distanced way) as Christmas gifts. Discovered that Alexa has an item timer feature, like “Alexa, set potato timer for 20 minutes, set bread timer for 60 minutes, set preheat timer for 40 minutes”, which maybe other people already know, but I was gobsmacked.
2. Using kids’ christmas gifts from relatives as homeschool mainlessons. We had a solar system mobile to color and assemble, a clock made out of a lemon to build, and sparking candles to light and observe.
3. Using PBSKids, DisneyPlus and AmazonPrime as our childcare. DH works from home, we homeschool, but we always “planned” on lessons, sports, clubs, etc. So thoughtfully curated screentime gives us 3 hours (1 hour, 3x/day) to shower and self care, home and business care, and cook dinner and not die. No babysitter, daycare, nanny or family on our covid horizon.
4. DH got attacked and bitten by a dog while on his solo exercise in an abandoned field. We decided the realistic risk of rabies was greater than the potential risk of covid, so he got the owner’s info, went to urgent care for antibiotics and tetanus, and followed up with animal control.
5. Have been using our deadfall wood for outside socializing fires. The pine won’t burn safely inside in the fireplace, but it’s fine outside and we are keeping all gatherings outside only for the time being.


Stephanie December 28, 2020 at 5:10 pm

1. Frugal: I was the Scroogiest Scrooge this xmas. My kids are 25 and 20. Corona. Etc. I spent very little. No guilt.
2. Cooking and eating at home
3. I keep shopping at ALDI. It saves me time and money.
4. Watching movies streamed or from library
5. I am experiencing corona Fatique


Bee December 29, 2020 at 4:03 am

I also have Covid fatigue. But there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there!


MB in MN December 28, 2020 at 5:34 pm

Wishing everyone a hopeful, healthy and happy new year!

1. Darned socks using a hard-boiled egg.

2. Helped a friend’s elderly father donate 30(!) boxes of treasures to the Goodwill. He is a foodie, so mostly kitchen items – and nice ones, too (e.g., KitchenAid mixer, Krups espresso machine, high-quality gadgets, etc.). It was fun to see the look on the Goodwill manager’s face when she saw what was coming in.

3. Finished a 4-lb. bag of shredded lettuce purchased for $1.49 at a discount grocery store (I think it was originally from Burger King). I even had salad for breakfast on a couple occasions so as not to waste a single shred.

4. Bought multi-colored yarn at the thrift store to see if I could rescue a rag rug type pouf/ottoman that was coming apart at several seams. It worked!

5. Took the 55+ refresher driving course online to continue receiving 10% off our auto insurance. Learned that only the primary person listed on the policy (me) needed to complete the course in order to receive the discount, so we also saved the second course registration fee.

Offsetting the frugal wins were a few frugal falters including ordering a Pyrex lid that doesn’t fit the intended dish (grrrr, so now I’m on the thrift store hunt for the dish it fits), thrifting a Christmas CD that was missing the CD (lesson learned to look inside at the store), and breaking several large mason jars containing frozen veggie stock. I saved the stock by thawing it and running it through a fine sieve.


Roberta December 29, 2020 at 8:40 am

I do the same thing when jars of broth break, but I don’t have a fine enough sieve, so I line the sieve with a floursack towel to prevent glass shards coming through.


Tonya December 29, 2020 at 10:47 am

1) Got my first COVID vaccine!
2) Exhausted with life and tasks, staying in bed today. I’m calling it, “bedcation”.
3) Spent an hour and a half on the phone trying to get a repair person out for my hot refrigerator. See number 2 above as a result.
4) Said repair should be covered under warranty.
5) Trying to think of things we can eat that don’t require refrigerator-have had takeout twice, and a lot of peanut butter, oatmeal, nite, and tuna.


Jill A January 2, 2021 at 7:47 am

Congrats on receiving the vaccine. I’m very happy we have both and soon more.


Shona December 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm

1. I got my husband property taxes and he covered the deductible on our new progressive glasses (Plus carries the insurance). We are a practical Christmas gift giving pair.

2. We’ve had a periodic warm-ish day which has allowed for line during here and there, otherwise it’s drying racks over the heating registers.

3. Christmas dinner For 2 cost just under $20. I shopped the pantry/refrigerator first and filled in the rest. Leftovers for 2 additional days.

4. 2 positive COVID cases in my office (I keep to myself with my office door closed) has shut us down and we’re working from home. This means no driving and thus saving gas & wear n’ tear. My 2 coworkers are recovering at home.

5. Found .27


Michele Davidson December 28, 2020 at 5:54 pm

1. Had to go to landfill and recycling center and batched several errands.
2. Reorgamized the fridge. If leftovers are portioned out and visible, they get eaten!
3. Cancelled gap insurance on my car and had $670 applied to my loan!
4. Finished my refinance application- should save LOTS in interest.
5. Used my crockpot to cook a bunch of chicken for many meals.


Bee December 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

Your haircut looks wonderful! I don’t know if I would trust my son with the scissors.

1. I sold a great deal on eBay earlier in the month of December. However, I am taking a break from this platform for a bit. I had two really awful experiences with eBay’s Global Shipping Program. This combined with excessive USPS shipping delays and the reduction in eBay’s customer service support had me totally stressed out. I am disappointed in eBay right now. I guess this isn’t really frugal, but I want to caution others who sell to look carefully at the Global Shipping Program. There is a great deal of financial exposure for the seller when using this service.

2. Christmas was quite small — just 4 of us – and honestly it felt a little sad. However, if I try to find a bright side, I can say spending was down considerably from years past. I did spend time, however, to make Christmas Eve dinner feel special. I fixed my husband’s and son’s favorite meal, pulled out my grandmother’s china, polished my MIL’s silver, arranged flowers and lit candles. It did not cost much, but it felt like a true celebration.

3. As the year comes to a close, I have spent a little time looking over my budget and goals for the coming year. 2020 was NOT the most productive year that I’ve ever had. In fact, I am surprised that I achieve much of anything at all, but I miraculously have. Some how I have managed to reduce my fixed expenses slightly, save a little money and pay off a small debt that I had. Other more personal goals were elusive. I didn’t lose that extra 5 pounds. In fact, I now have 10 pounds to lose. Isolation is not good for my waist line.

4. Right before Christmas, I re-homed a few items utilizing my local Buy Nothing Group including 7 Dr Seuss books that I had picked up at the Goodwill Bins prior to Covid and a Melissa and Doug giant floor puzzle. This simple act of giving, along with others, made me feel less “grinch – like.” I have been a bit whiny.

5. I have been doing all the usual things: eating up the leftovers, cooking from scratch, wearing my thrifted clothing, drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my own coffee, and reading a library book (A Good Neighborhood). I am watching the series Yellowstone on old-school DVD which I also checked out from the library. I continue to find joy in my rescue pup who walks long distances with me everyday. I suppose that it is the little things that count most.

Wishing you all health, peace and frugality in the coming year!


Bettypants December 31, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I am interested in hearing more about your warning on the global shipping on ebay. I have used it in the past with no issues.

I got my first negative feedback thanks to the post office. The package was delivered on 12/24, but the buyer had already left his feedback (without contacting me first) and ebay refused to remove it.


Bee January 1, 2021 at 1:20 pm

I am sorry that my reply is so long. It’s hard to explain in 250 words or less all that has happened.

I hate hearing that you received negative feedback. The situation was out of your control, and you should not be penalized. I sold 3 items that took more than 22 days to deliver thru USPS. I have another package that was shipped November30th and never has arrived. I had to refund the buyer. Since the package was sent Priority Mail, it was insured, and I have filed a claim with the post office. Maybe I will get my money back. Maybe I won’t.

I also had used the Global Shipping Program in the past with success. I had one problem 3 years ago and eBay helped me to resolve it quickly and fairly. But this year ….grrr it’s 2020. I am helping to liquidate the estate of a family member who was an avid collector. I decided to sell some of the items that were not collected locally on eBay. I was hoping this would increase the size of the buyer base.

Issue #1
I sold a pair of 19th-Century Chinese Export Rose Medallion Vases to a buyer in Thailand for $400. When the buyer received them, he claimed that the vases were not as described and asked for a return. As you know, under these circumstances, you must accept a return and issue a full refund.

However, the buyer’s claim was absolutely not true. Since these pieces were more than 150-years old, they had some honest wear. I made sure it was described in detail, supplied 12 photos of these vases and highlighted the flaws on the photos. Also, they had been in my family for more than 30 years. They had been purchased from an antique dealer in Atlanta, and I had their provenance. So I called eBay for help.

The customer service person who helped me initially reviewed my listing and the buyer’s claim. I was told that I had been thorough and the item was as described. She advised me to email the buyer, tell them that I would not accept the return and then I could ask eBay to step in on my behalf in 3 business days. I followed this direction.

However when I asked eBay to step in, the person from eBay who reviewed the case refunded the buyer. I asked why, what evidence had the buyer produced, and had the photos been reviewed by an antiques expert. However, eBay refused to answer these questions. I have even appealed the decision by email. I spent several hours putting together an appeal in which I asked them to clarify 5 issues. Their response was one sentence long.

To make matters worse, because the vases are in Thailand, there is no way to supply a return label through the eBay system. You have send money through PayPal to the buyer to cover shipping to the US. The buyer claims this will cost nearly $400. There is not a way to track the return of this item. So unless I want to take this risk, the buyer gets to keep the vases for free. I’m left between a rock and a stupid place.

Issue #2
This also involves a different pair of antique Rose Medallion vases that were sold to a buyer in China. When they arrived at the Global Shipping Center, they were not forwarded. I received an email saying they were a restricted item and could not be shipped. I asked if they could be returned. I was told no, but I was allowed to keep the funds from the sale of these vases.

Although I really wanted the items back, this seemed fair enough until I ran across these beautiful vases listed on eBay by the agent of the GSP. This listing used my photos and my description. What’s more, they were listed for 2X what I was given for them. Although I knew that I sold these items for less than the value – this happens when you are liquidating an estate — I find this whole situation problematic.

The list of restricted items usually covers things like pornography, weapons, food items, seeds, liquids, and so forth. There is no information anywhere declaring antique vases are contraband. If there are restrictions on items such as this, the eBay system should be sophisticated enough that you are advised prior to shipping.

Also as a general seller, you are not allowed to use photos and descriptions that are not your own. Yet, an business supported by eBay is allowed to do this without penalty. It is wrong to attempt to profit off of someone else’s work. I have reported this violation.

Furthermore,because any item can be deemed restricted and the seller cannot ask for an item to be returned, I feel that this opens up the seller to abuse. There is nothing stopping the GSP from keeping items that they know can be resold profitably. In this case, the selling agent should turn a profit of about $300 on my “restricted antique vases.”

So considering all this — combined with issues involving customer service at eBay and PayPal in the last month — is why I’ve decided to take a break from reselling and re-evaluate my strategy.


Bettypants January 1, 2021 at 4:31 pm

Oh, your experiences are AWFUL. Ebay is so notoriously poor at supporting the sellers. They only care about their buyers, which is so short sighted and ridiculous. I have had a couple minor issues over the years and customer service was no help whatsoever. Thankfully mine were for low dollar items, but still aggravating.


Jill A January 2, 2021 at 7:23 am

Thanks for this explanation Bee. I’ve only sold a couple of items through the GSP but I will be rethinking that. I also am annoyed with Ebay since I feel like they do not support their sellers at all.


Kara December 28, 2020 at 8:03 pm

A great haircut! And congratulations on that last semester of college for last kid!! Our last is also starting her last semester in January too.


Sophie December 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm

1. Christmas dinner was a roast bought on sale several months ago and frozen, so pulled that from the freezer – it was 7 lbs so it lasted us several meals.

2. Made a giant pot of red beans and rice and have using up bits of whatever is in the fridge as toppings.

3. Someone was giving away firewood on Buy Nothing since they were moving; got enough for 3-4 fires in the fire pit.

4. My neighbor has four apple trees. She gave us a giant bag of apples which we’ve been storing in the fridge and not needing to buy fruit has been nice.

5. Been purging books and putting them on the Buy Nothing where they are getting snapped up. Mostly children’s chapter books and cookbooks.


Midwest Beth December 28, 2020 at 11:51 pm

1. Bagged and boxed all gifts with reused gift bags and boxes. Re-used tissue paper when I could. Sadly stopped myself from grabbing the tissue paper as my daughter opened each gift as I wanted to smooth it out and properly fold it.
2. Made lasagna for Christmas Day dinner with food we already had. Splurged and bought a $2 box of Texas garlic bread and Ricotta for the lasagna.
3. My daughter received a wonderful Columbia winter coat from my mom that didn’t fit her. This coat will be perfect next year for walking to classes on campus on those oh so cold Michigan winter days.
4. Made Christmas cookies. Like my mother and her mother before her and now my daughter who cut up a brown paper grocery bag reusing it to cool the cookies on and to absorb any extra grease as well as helping to keep the table clean and free from crumbs and grease.
5. My daughter and I gave away Bath and Body products through a Buy Nothing group on Facebook and we filled a free food outdoor kiosk with food items- this is the second time we have done this and we enjoy it.
6. Today I took care of several errands batching them together and planning the best route to save gas. Also thought ahead and threw in my purse a granola bar and a pack of craisans for lunch. Used a $5 off $30 coupon at Pet Supplies Plus and managed to save another $10 on our dogs expensive dog food as it was on clearance; went to Discount Tire and got air put into the tires for free; saved 3 cents per gallon of gas at Kroger and participated in the vets prescription rewards program using $11 rewards towards the dogs expensive allergy pills; checked out from the library Die Hard for my daughter and I to watch Christmas Eve (she was amazed by the hair styles); read about people getting the Tightwad Gazette books as gifts – I reserved it through the library for me as well as Edward Scissor Hands the dvd for my daughter; watched Scrooge the 1970 musical and loved it through a tip about watching movies/tv shows for free through tubi which I loaded to our TV; listened to City of Girls for my book club while driving 2 hours each way to see my mom- yes compliments of the library and I also used a personal hotspot I checked out through the library.


janine December 29, 2020 at 7:21 am

I remember hosting a dinner party in the early days of our marriage when we all went to the musical Scrooge movie after dinner. Still remember that magical snowy evening.


Susanne Galligan December 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Fifty years ago! Me too!


Midwest Beth December 29, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Sounds like a wonderful night. Looking forward to fun evenings like those again hopefully soon. 🙂


Bee December 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Three cheers for the library!!!! It is such a wonderful resource.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl December 29, 2020 at 7:13 am

The last college tuition payment!!!!!!

There are not enough exclamation points in the world for that one.


Julie December 29, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Awesome! I am happy for you!


janine December 29, 2020 at 7:41 am

Lookin’ good, Katy!
Small Savings which hopefully will add up into some $$
1. Eating meals from previously frozen items. Tonight is Turkey Casserole with broccoli and mushrooms.
2. Used only last year’s knockdown priced wrapping paper for Xmas gifts. (Have enough to last me through next year too!)
3. Both kids received a ‘Goody Bag’ for Xmas of items such as paper napkins and kleenex plus fresh fruit, cheese , cold cuts and soda. Since we are mostly ordering stuff on -line these days, invention was the order of the day.
4. Enjoy reading some used books from seller other than amazon.
5. Will make “courageous” move and trim my own hair which is now out of control. I have fine unruly locks which desperately need the skilled hands of a hairdresser.


MommaL December 29, 2020 at 7:44 am

1. Very small Christmas, had my SIL and her husband, they never go anywhere, so it felt safe. We shared meal duty, watched movies we already owned, played Christmas music on CDs we already owned and free Pandora.
2. Made stockings for each, with some re-gifted items, treats gifted to me from work, tea bought on sale, and homemade potpourri. First time learning how to dry fruit. It took several hours in the oven, so I might invest in a dehydrator. I could dry my herbs as well. They are expensive though. Looking at the assortment online is overwhelming me.
3. Our town finally has a Buy Nothing group on FB. 🙂 🙂 🙂 On that site, I got rid of some jewelry that was pretty but not my style, and a wifi extender. Since this group is fairly new, there are some members who, when they read an “asking for” post, they keep suggesting where people could purchase things, so I’ve been reporting those statements to admin. I hope it stays the positive group its meant to be, I’m so happy we have one now.
4. Turkey breast for Christmas dinner, made a large pot of soup from the carcass and some old veggies still in my fridge.
5. I’ve been gifted a good assortment of glassware (ok, wine glasses) over the past 15 years. I reorganized that space and now it makes me smile. Things I love are within reach, and things that didn’t get used or make me smile are in the Goodwill bag.
I’m running out of spaces to organize…its been my therapy in this pandemic. My other therapy is giving away items given to me by former friends or family members who have not been good to us. It feels good to get that negative energy out of my house.


Robin January 2, 2021 at 12:24 pm

I bought a Cosori Premium in amazon this year and I’m very happy with it.


Momma L January 3, 2021 at 9:00 am

Thank you Robin, I’ll look into that. 🙂


rebecca December 29, 2020 at 8:24 am

Katie, your hair looks pretty either way. Congratulations on your last college payment.
Primary gift giving this year was cash. My family and I don’t give to each other except for the kids. The kids are in their 20’s and cash still is king. Easy and low impact wrapping paperwise.
1. Making a pot of soup each week with canned beans and vegetables that I froze from my summer csa and others that are frozen or need to be used. Since working from home, it is a warm, healthy, quick and easy lunch between clients.
2. I baked holiday cookie trays for friends and neighbors from ingredients I had one hand and had purchased on sale. I used containers and cards (cards purchased on sale after christmas over the years) I had on hand and bows that were purchased on sale for .75 a bag after 2019 Christmas
3. I have been watching old movies on tcm for entertainment.
4. Socializing has been taking walks with friends and my dog. I look forward to other kinds of socializing when it is safe again. This is something I hope to keep up.
5. I got a bonus that was totally unexpected. Needless to say, it is nice to be appreciated and it went right into my savings account.


Michelle H December 29, 2020 at 8:36 am

1. My oldest wanted to start playing Pokemon Go with his friends, and its been inspiring us to get out for more walks, and in different areas. Put it on my phone for the younger 2 kids to play and now instead of whining when I force them to go for a walk, they’re asking to go and to try new parks.

2. Hubs and I donated blood a few weeks ago, and received gift cards to big box store good for a free turkey, ham, or vegetables.

3. Used one of the free cards for a big ham we cooked for Christmas Eve dinner, and then used leftovers for Christmas dinner and several meals since. Will be using the last of it in omelets tonight to take advantage of 39 cents a dozen eggs at the grocery store this week.

4. Hung at home for the holidays, cooked our own meals, watched movies on Netflix, and read our library books.

5. Continuing to use coupons, sales, and cash back rebates to cut my grocery bill; making my own coffee at home; drinking tap water; and eating up all our leftovers to avoid food waste.


Ava December 29, 2020 at 8:45 am

1. I got a $25 Amazon card from Swagbucks.
2. My husband and I have very different taste in holiday foods. Since we weren’t seeing family for Christmas and had no need for a big meal, we talked about what easy thing we would both like. For our Christmas dinner we had homemade subs, chips and ice cream. It was totally a treat.
3. I wanted a big strong gift bag to keep my husband’s presents together. I bought a red Goodwill table cloth for $1.89 and used half of it with ribbon I already had to make a Santa bag. Now I have a gift bag to use for many years, plus a piece of fabric to make another.
4. I sold some more items on Etsy. I am happily getting rid of things I bought for resale, things from my kids’ childhood and things from my childhood.
5. One week’s produce box never showed up. I informed the company and they gave me a full refund as well as 10% off the next order. I have been very happy with Misfits Market.


Jill A December 29, 2020 at 8:51 am

The haircut looks great and as always I am impressed by your thrift finds. I’m looking forward to a return to normal and maybe a girls thrifting trip to the West Coast.
1. Christmas was low key and very relaxing. My youngest helped me with all the wrapping. We used up every inch of the old wrapping paper gifted to me by my mother…even the ugly stuff. I saved all the wrappings for Ebay package filling and saved gift bags and tissue paper for reuse next year. Dinner was a splurge with an on sale rib roast as well as some homemade carrot cake for dessert. I baked my kids favorite cinnamon rolls for breakfast which we shared by delivering to grandparents who couldn’t join us this year.
2. I had my vet office transfer my dogs Heartworm medicine to Costco which will save me $40 a year. I used coupons to buy dog food which saved me almost $10.
3. I’m enjoying free books on my kindle and have been watching free tv on my Roku. My daughter and son-in-law shared their HBO Max password which is a nice Christmas gift to all of us.
4. My county has now provided dog license renewal online which saved me two stamps or a trip.
5. Took my daughters to a used book store in town for a little Christmas shopping. They have a nice mix and new and used books. They gave us a each a free wrapped grab bag type book which the girls enjoyed.

Mostly staying home and taking walks, watching movies and eating too much. I am looking forward to the new vaccine and a new president and hopefully some sort of end to all the crazy. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year.


Val December 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Your hair looks great, Katy! Your son did an excellent job. Wish he could cut mine!


Ruby December 29, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Hooray for the last college tuition payment! And your hair looks great. With both your children being artists, it’s probably pretty safe to have them trim your hair. Also, my husband and I do not exchange gifts. We have long given each other permission to get something we need or the house needs instead.

This year I needed a good light for my sewing machine table, which I bought after Christmas using a gift card my brother sent me plus a $10 gift card earned through Fetch Rewards. We bought our Christmas ham with a store coupon earned by being loyal customers all year. The coupon covered almost all the cost. The ham was a bit expensive, but it was pre-sliced, delicious, and the right size for our family. Not a scrap was wasted.

I repaired the back of our entertainment center with a piece of beautiful tongue and groove wood paneling found discarded at work. Also been enjoying heating up my brought-from-home work lunches in a resurrected microwave that was discarded and making tea using an electric kettle that was also dumped in the trash room. It worked fine and just needed a good cleaning.


Marie December 29, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Happy Holidays!
1. Just us two for Christmas this year. Splurged on a rib roast, had 2 nights of French dip sandwiches, now making bone broth for the beef stew I’ll be making soon. So though more expensive than a ham, Nary a crumb was wasted.
2. Our library is once again closed due to covid. I found that our local hardware store has an unofficial little library outside the building. Great big cabinet, with books. So I will be sharing my excess paperback s, from paperback swap, and we can read, and return. Win, win.
3. Bought most presents online, so no use for much wrapping paper this year. I did need curling ribbon. So the day after I bought some at 70%0ff. It was .80 cents.
4.Have two crockpots going today. One with the beef broth, one with a large tuna fillet, that got lost in the freezer. Slightly freezer burned, but cooking in liquid, and will make homemade tuna casserole, with some, and tons left for sandwiches.
5. No new year plans, usually visit with a neighbor, but will be tucked in early, dreaming of a better 2021!


Mary December 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm

It sounds like you gave your kids the same gift that I gave my youngest daughter. She told me it was the only thing she really wanted, and I know she will use it daily. She’s very artistic and occasionally earns a commission drawing for her fantasy writing group…takes it out in points on the site. I’m not really sure how that all works, but it means it doesn’t count against her SSI. I told her it was her Christmas AND birthday gift (Jan birthday), as it is more than I think I’ve ever spent on her for Christmas! I gave cash to the rest of my kids and grandkids, so I actually spent more than I normally do…frugal fail, but pandemic win, I guess, as we didn’t get together for Christmas.

1. After shutting off DISH several months ago, I wondered if I would want it back on. Well, the answer is NO! I wish I had done it much sooner. No matter how I tried to cut the package and still get the local channels and CNN, the monthly cost would soon go up again. When it hit $109/month for the handful of channels I actually watched, I knew something had to change. Between YouTube, Prime and intro offers to Britbox (now canceled), and now Acorn, plus a few news apps that allow me to listen to those channels, I have everything I had before and more, for a fraction of the cost. I plan to switch off Acorn when the 7 day trial is up and keep trying various streaming services on their free trials until I figure out which I would like to keep, if any. I’m spending between $15 and $22/month….a pretty good savings over $109!
2. We had lasagna for Christmas dinner, and have been eating the leftovers since. I’ve found that Stouffer’s makes a very good lasagna, and when purchased on sale, the price is comparable to homemade, with a lot less effort on my part! The aluminum pan and lid are very handy, too.
3. I’m planning my 2021 budget and getting a handle on what I’ve been spending. I used to keep track of every penny, but have fallen out of the habit. I want to get back on the budgeting bandwagon. I know I spend less when. I track my spending.
4. With Covid still raging, I’m sticking to home more than ever. When all this started, it seems like everyone I knew was planning to learn a new language or learn to play an instrument while they we home. Well, I’m finally getting around to the instrument part. I played clarinet in band, but haven’t played in about a million years. I bought a clarinet a number of years ago, but procrastination is my middle name, lol. Now I’m using my clarinet as part of my lung function exercises (had pulmonary emboli in September). I don’t know if my lungs are improving, but my playing is getting better, lol. Being able to rehab at home and entertain myself is frugal.
5. Doing all the usual stuff – burning wood to heat the house, staying home, planning my town trips carefully, staying home, looking forward to a new president that will do more than tweet and play golf, and looking forward to seeing the current WH squatter in chief in a jumpsuit to match his face paint!


Mary December 30, 2020 at 2:48 pm

That first paragraph was meant for Katy…re: artist’s computer tablet.


Carolyn January 2, 2021 at 7:43 am

We don’t have cable or satellite television, we have internet only, Amazon Prime and my husband put an antenna on the roof , so we get 26 local channels free with a better picture than you would get with cable services.
Here is a website that will tell you what channels you can get.


Mary January 2, 2021 at 2:02 pm

Carolyn, I wish that was an option for me, but I’m in a mountain valley out in the boonies. When the world was still analog, I could get some fuzzy stations from two major cities, one north, one south. Reception wasn’t great, but at least I could keep up with the semi-local news and watch PBS. When everything went digital, I lost my fuzzy stations to the dreaded blue screen, even with the largest antenna on the market, a signal booster, extra tall mast and rotator. We are also not on cable…it doesn’t come down our road, so the only option for years was satellite. We finally got internet through the phone company that is usually fast enough for streaming services.


Lindsay B December 30, 2020 at 5:50 am

1. In preparation for moving from Scandinavia back to the US in Feb or March, have been slowly working to use up odds and ends of toiletries, spices, foods, etc.

2. In light of #1, also realized that some clothes and shoes did not need to make the trip home with us due to their age and wear. No reason to pay for excess baggage to fly home hiking boots with the soles coming off! Will use them as much as possible while here, then donate them to the local recycling program.

3. Recently read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, and it is an excellent read– talks about how the usual “calories in, calories out” model of weight loss is not evidence-based and we all know it doesn’t work. He recommends balancing the hormonal drivers of obesity, particularly insulin levels, by reducing carbs and adding in intermittent fasting (and backs this up with robust evidence). I always thought I shouldn’t/couldn’t skip a meal, but to my surprise I actually feel great! Have lost a few pounds so far, but far better is feeling a sense of control over my eating… and it’s of course frugal to not eat as much. Seriously recommend checking this book out.

4. Our friends gifted us some deer meat for Christmas which we are grateful for.

5. Have been able to release some still-good clothes for local thrift shop, as well as supplies for several hobbies I didn’t get into. Even though I consider myself as not being very attached to things, I’m amazed at how much work it took for me to allow myself to get rid of these things. The underlying guilt for not having worn/used things can be a big block for me, but I do feel better once I realize I don’t have to feel badly for every little thing. We all make mistakes when buying things on occasion, but it helps to think about what I would do differently next time.


Lesley December 31, 2020 at 7:26 am

Lindsay, I follow Dr Fung and agree wholeheartedly that intermittent fasting (which many don’t even realize is as easy as skipping breakfast) has changed my health completely for the better. Got rid of joint pain and brain fog and sugar cravings and also extra weight. I believe in science! And when it overlaps with minimalism and frugality, I consider it a slam dunk. Great post!


Lindsay B January 4, 2021 at 12:44 am

Lesley, thanks for sharing your story with IF! I’m so glad you’ve had such good success with not just weight but with joint pain and brain fog, too. Keep it up!


K D December 30, 2020 at 8:12 am


You hit the before and after pictures perfectly. The differences in the lighting, wardrobe, and facial expression are spot on. Your hair looks great. I have short hair that is normally cut in many layers but I guess I’m getting shaggy again since it has not felt safe to get a haircut the past couple months.

Congratulations on having the last college tuition payment being imminent (except for the actual expense part).

1. I have been staying out of stores so had placed an online grocery delivery order (free delivery promotion). The store’s system had some kind of issue yesterday and my order was cancelled. Last night I received a promo code to save on my next order. It was a generous discount and I already placed another order to use it. Customer service done right.

2. I’m still walking as a major social outlet. There are a couple friends I usually see, separately, every week for a masked and distanced outdoor walk.

3. Eating home cooked meals. Trying to add more variety but sometimes it’s just food.

4. We’re getting things out of the house by listing them on Freecycle. I had a new experience the other day. I’d listed an item and someone that wanted another item had extra of the listed item and left it on my porch so that I could give it away as well. It was a highly sought item and it worked well. This is not frugal for us but good for the environment.

5. Reading and listening to digital books borrowed from the library.


t December 30, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Over 300 million people with as many stories about 2020. Many here have had loss of pets
and forced distance from friends of family. Hardships were endured by everybody. At the end of 2020 I wrote it down hoping I can leave it in the past.
I planned and saved for years leading a very frugal life to one day live my dream in a small place equal distance between the mountains and ocean I loved. After a stint with a very bad realtor then with a very great realtor I thought I was on my way. Under contract the first day of listing! Finding exactly the place I wanted and making an offer! woohoo. Then my buyer stalled and stalled. By the time my buyer got it all together my seller had backed out. So I put stuff in storage and went to find a new place. Little did I know how many floods had been in the area and owners just ripped everything out of a flooded house and with new paint and flooring it looked great. And laws did not require disclosure but some inspectors would be up front with you. I had always wanted to camp in the mountains in winter so I did. Beautiful. And every day I would house hunt. Late January, early February many peeps from China wearing masks were among the tourists on the trails, building snowmen, throwing snowballs having fun but always wearing masks. I had no phone, TV, or radio up in the mountains so just thought it odd. By early March I was ready for some warmth and headed for the beach. Ahhh beautiful beautiful seafood and sun. But I had radio, phone service, and TV. I now knew why people left China and wore black face masks in the snow. Spring breakers started showing up at the beach and things started closing. I couldn’t stay there or go back to the mountains either, even the trails were shutting down. Lockdown orders were slowly moving across America. I’d find a place for a few days and have to move on. It was going to be me in a car at the side of the road with three cats and a displaced Appalachian trail hiker and a shovel for a bathroom and a menu of canned goods. My latest campground gave notice of closing so I found a realtor willing to meet with me in parking lots and found a small place to shelter in place during the lockdown. Far from where I wanted to be but the best scenario I could come up with. I remember thinking I had found gold when I unlocked the owners closet in the place and found it packed with toilet paper, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and Lysol, bleach, and cleaners. I was now excited about chemicals. I never was able to get in touch with my storage locker. Travel to the state was banned, no one answered the phone, and they just shut down for good. I moved on, my hiker eventually left with cat to hike again and was replaced by displaced relatives who lost jobs, homes, and transportation. I had to re-home 1 cat but he got a good place. We all had covid and survived. I thought it was my get out of jail free card but no, I’m still supposed to wait it out till they figure it out. They just showed a convention in the local news where hundreds were packed together with guest speakers maskless. Mostly people under 30 who may get sick but won’t die. Meanwhile they carry the disease to loved ones and strangers who will die. Heartless. My whole life has been uprooted because of covid but the youngest among us, who people glorify as such a wonderful generation, can’t be bothered. I will continue to follow science and stay put, wear masks, and social distance until the all clear. My frugal ways are habit now so I’ll continue, although I will probably never go in a thrift store again. It just makes me think of those who died and their belongings dispersed by grieving survivors. And I will always remember how people show their true colors in hard times.


Christine December 31, 2020 at 3:40 pm

This was a very interesting post. Have you ever considered writing a memoir about the year 2020 beginning with your total lack of awareness about the looming virus? I remember hearing bits and pieces about it while it was still in China and feeling an uneasy sense of impending horror. But most of us while impacted by Covid haven’t been upended by it as much as you. Your writing style is very readable and each sentence keeps me hanging on for the next one. BTW, it infuriates me too when I see these simpletons without masks and gathering in large groups. The selfishness is without comparison.


t January 1, 2021 at 7:45 am

I watched a video about a woman living on a Navaho reservation. When she first heard of Covid 19 she thought they would be safe being so isolated. She and her husband and son kept themselves in their home and are safe. But 35 members of her extended family and close friends have died. Many were craftsmen and artists, their tools lying still and silent with no one to take them up again. Her whole world has forever changed around her and she never left home.


Christine January 1, 2021 at 3:44 pm

I have heard the Navaho Nation has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Sad commentary on the current state of our nation and an even sadder statement on the hardships faced on the reservations by Native Americans.


Tonya January 2, 2021 at 11:38 am

Navajo with a j is the correct spelling. What a tragedy COVID has been for the Navajo people.

Christine January 3, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Tonya. I realized it was misspelled after typing it. I should have corrected it sooner.

Jennifer December 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Your hair looks great Katy! I am scared to go to the hair dresser or the dentist, though I might cave on both soon. Way to go on the college payments! I have 1 done, 1 a sophomore and 2 in HS. There will be a year I will have 3 in college at once and I am dreading the cost!

1. Dd and girlfriend are here for break from college and are both vegetarian. I have been cooking a lot of meatless meals which is good for everyone. I do miss meat and won’t convert full time, but it is helping keep my grocery bill down for now.

2. Same dd got a raise at work at college – she transfers back and forth from Starbucks there and at home. She had hoped to find another job at college but no luck at all and with the raise she is staying. Guaranteed 20 hours a week. The more money she makes working the less I shell out on her living expenses which save me money.

3. Brother gifted us a Netflix subscription and we have been finding shows to watch for evening entertainment. Also I had bought a Christmas puzzle for my MIL last year and she didn’t want it. So we are doing that to pass the time as well. I love free entertainment.

4. Ran errands with dh (2 banks and library – all drive thrus) and added hot chocolate to coffee before we went so we could enjoy a treat while we drove our circle route. 2020 date day covid complete with lots of purell at every stop lol.

5. Everyone liked their Christmas presents and we only had 1 return. I stuck to my budget of $100 per kid + $25 for each stocking. I cashed in CC points (we pay off each month) to get them each a $25 gc to give the stockings a little boost. I included useful items like socks and toiletries with food treats.


Virginia Allain December 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm

1) Finally getting around to listing books on Amazon to sell and clear out. No room on the bookshelves and the boxes were taking up space in the clothes closet.
2) Cut up old Christmas cards to make postcards so saved on cards and postage with the cheaper postcard stamp price. Ended up not finishing my list, so people will get a New Year email and an apology from me. I can blame it on the pandemic.
3) Paid off our home equity loan. Feels good to have that gone.
4) Used up some of my 30-year-old stash of wrapping paper and gave some rolls away. Obviously, I had grand ideas back then on how many gifts I’d be giving.


Julie December 30, 2020 at 1:35 pm

1-Finally dealing with a few issues for items under warranty, it feels good to get this off my to do list and keep the product out of the landfill.
2- Spending my week off selling random things and posting lots to give away. It’s nice to make a little cash, but even nicer to get rid of unwanted stuff. 
3-Cashed out lots of points and rebate apps in December to keep the holiday spend low, but much was purchased from local shops so we still went over budget. This year it seems like the right thing to do.
4-Working on the 2020 budget wrap up, lots of categories were much lower but then others like restaurants were much higher. So the 2021 goal is to pay attention to this, We are back in lockdown and that makes me want to support small businesses so I need to find a better balance.  
5-Using my local little free library a lot this winter. It looks like I have neighbours with similar interests to me & as soon as I am done with the book it goes right back. 


Cindy in the South December 31, 2020 at 8:33 am

Love the haircut! 1. I made ham with sweet potatoes and long carrots cooked in the juice, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, corn casserole, green bean casserole, spinach dip, peanut butter candy, and pumpkin pudding for Christmas Eve and drove it one and a half hours to my two somewhat local kids and relatives. I had packaged it up individually and dropped it off on porches and blew kisses to everyone. 2. I made with leftover hambone, turnip greens, black eyed peas (dried), tomatoes with green chilies, garlic, broth, spices, etc. turnip green soup for New Years good luck. I consider after this year, we all need it!. I also made corn bread to go with it. 3. I gave my rather frugal and low key gifts to my kids, wool blankets, summer sausage and cheese, and paid a utility bill for each of them. 4. I did a socially distanced birthday visit to my my oldest son, who has had severe health issues this year. I am just glad he is alive after spending a week in ICU about six/seven months ago (non Covid.) I blew him lots of kisses from six feet back and outside. It was an unusual visit but hey, separate cars, standing outside with masks, six to 10 feet back, was all worth it. It was a long drive there and back in one day, but at least I got to lay eyes on him and see how he was doing in person. Last time I saw him he was hooked up to lots of machines and I was really lucky they let me into the hospital to see him. I can tell he is tired but doing so much better. Stopped for gas only. 5. I am taking a nap and cleaning my house. The end.


Christine December 31, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Happy to hear your oldest son is doing well. What a big difference than seeing him hooked up to machines. I remember a line from the movie Riding in Cars With Boys when Drew Barrymore who plays the part of the mother is trying to cheer up her son after her and the boy’s father split, yells: “When does this job ever end?!” I guess in truth it never does…we always think about and worry about our kids. Glad you got to see yours. Happy New Year!


Cindy in the South January 5, 2021 at 9:32 am

Truth! The job never ends!


Bee January 4, 2021 at 3:57 am

I also made black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread on New Years Day which I shared with my son. I hope that it brings luck and good fortune this year. I must not have eaten enough last year. 🙂


Cindy in the South January 5, 2021 at 9:38 am

I know the feeling! I made lots of black eyed peas, and greens to go with hambone this year!


Jenzer December 31, 2020 at 8:41 am

Cleaned out the fridge by making a dinner concoction I dubbed Pizza Rice: onion + green pepper + celery + ham bits + leftover sausage, sauteed in a bit of oil; then added leftover rice + 1/2 cup pizza sauce + a handful of sliced black olives. It was tasty.

FINALLY sold a Lenox holiday ornament that had been listed on Ebay for almost a year. Glad I held firm on the asking price.

Wearing thin summer socks that have lost their stretchiness under wool crew socks during the cold winter months. Keeps the thin socks in circulation a bit longer (they’re too saggy to wear alone), plus it puts a base layer under the wool to reduce the itchiness.

Teenaged kids and I are enjoying fancied-up coffee at home, after I treated us to drive-thru lattes in November and was aghast at the $17 expense for three small drinks. 🙁 I’ve found reasonably-priced flavored ground coffee at Sam’s Club, and big bottles of coffee syrup at the local food service store. DD got a battery-operated frothing wand for Christmas that whips up foam right in our mugs.

Thanks to a reader tip on The Frugal Girl’s blog, I was able to re-purpose some unused WeatherTech floor mats from my minivan to use as muddy/wet shoe mats inside the house.


Jennifer December 31, 2020 at 8:13 pm

I have been treating us to homemade mochas as well, though I don’t have fancy syrups. I buy the swiss miss chocolate indulgence hot chocolate for around $1 a pack and add it to coffee. Delicious – and so much cheaper than Starbucks – which we are definitely addicted to but are now limiting more since my discovery.


Bettypants December 31, 2020 at 12:30 pm

1. Ebay sent me a $15 coupon code for switching to Managed Payments. My son used it to buy a video game he had been wanting. My sales have definitely increased since making the switch. I guess it is more versatile for buyers than Paypal.

2. Kohls had a beauty box on sale for $10, which contained an ELF eyeshadow quad, beauty blender, Julep lip balm, PUR lipstick, Essie nail polish, brow pencil, and a $10 Kohls cash card. I bought one, and used the Kohls cash inside to buy another box. Repeated that a few times.

3. My local thrift store had 50% off store wide a few weeks back, where I bought quite a bit. I listed everything right away. $210 profit on what I sold, with 3 listings remaining.

4.The same store had another sale this week. Spent $42 on a Harley-Davidson shirt, 6 books, a cashmere sweater, a Xmas ornament, an Elf on the Shelf, 3 BCBG knit leggings, and 2 sealed Nuskin Epoch mud masks. Keeping the sweater for myself, and working to get everything else listed this weekend.

5. My work had an informal potluck yesterday and the dish I brought was very well received. Fun to try what everyone else brought and pleased to go home with an empty dish.


jodi January 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm

That Kohls deal sounds like it would make a great gift. What’s the expiration date on the card that comes inside?


Bettypants January 1, 2021 at 4:18 pm

The Kohl’s cash inside is redeemable Dec 26, 2020 to Jan 31, 2021. If there are any sets left near you, it’s a great deal. The Julep balm alone is $12. I’m sure Kohls intended that people would pay the regular price of $20 for the set before Christmas, and then have to come back later to spend the $10 inside.


jodi January 2, 2021 at 9:24 am

Thanks for the info, I’m going to check it out!


AuntiAli December 31, 2020 at 1:19 pm

I’m never in the mood for Christmas and this year was no different. Got annoyed at 26 yr old daughter who still lives with us. She didn’t get hubs and I a gift. I would be happy with lottery tickets but nope, nothing.

Frugal things:
1. ordered a prime rib from butcher and it ended up being huge again. Getting two meals out of it and dh had two lunches from left overs.
2. Saw that Walgreens had transport chairs on sale for $300. Figured out that if I bought one it would cost waaaay less than the $60/month I’ve been spending on renting one. Found one on Amazon for $215 so I ordered that. It was ticking me off paying for the rental since I’ve barely gone out since the pandemic began.
3. still being the electricity police as hubs keeps forgetting to turn off the kitchen light.
4. eating all meals at home. I make sure there is enough when making up the grocery list.
5. used recycled Christmas boxes and left over Christmas wrapping paper from last year.
6. Happy New Year to my frugalista friends!


Johnson AnnMarie January 1, 2021 at 11:23 am

How do you get 1 month free on CBS all access? My husband and I both looked it up recently and only saw 1-week free. Which wasn’t long enough to watch what we wanted (because I didn’t do it at the beginning of my vacation!)


Mary January 1, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Yes, I’d like a link please, too! I’m having to watch Stephen Colbert on YouTube, lol…wouldn’t mind a month of watching it all at once, instead of chopped up into segments.


Alison January 3, 2021 at 12:04 pm

I’m new to selling on Marketplace but am using it to help my parents declutter.
1. Sold an ancient GE floor polisher for $20. I remember my dad using it when I was a kid, 50 years ago!
2. Used a $10 rewards card from Eddie Bauer to help pay for two gifts, that were 50% off.
3. DH has gone to another internet provider to reduce our costs, not what they are as all tech is handled by him, as I have neither the knowledge nor the patience to deal with it.
4. Christmas dinner was roasted Greek chicken and potatoes, broccoli and green beans, pumpkin pie. I hate cooking turkey so this was both delicious and easy to prepare. Not sure if it was cheaper.
5. Gifts were scaled back. DH and I only exchange stockings with useful, consumable items.
6. purchased the book “ I am Malala” for $5 off of marketplace. Seller only asked $3, but I thought it was worth more as it was hardly used and hardcover. Finished it in a few days, it was a good read.
Happy New Year everyone!


Christine January 3, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Thanks Tonya. I realized it was misspelled after typing it. I should have corrected it sooner.


Nancy from mass January 5, 2021 at 7:00 am

Your hair looks great Katy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. But here goes:

1. Christmas was just my son and I so I made chicken, french fries and squash. Since he woke up late on Christmas Eve day, we opened our gifts after midnight. I was able to sleep in on Christmas day. I had already met my SIL a few weeks before and did a trunk exchange for the gifts. A few small gifts for nieces and nephews but mostly money. That’s all anyone wants anyway.
2. I had the last two weeks off for vacation so I spent it sleeping in, taking naps, doing some crocheting and cutting out the next quilt.
3. I’m using curbside pick up as often as I can and taking advantage of sales to stock up the freezer.
4. We still order out about once a week from local restaurants. Trying to help the economy.
5. Donated a portion of the stimulus money towards our local food pantry because I know my town has a lot of food insecure people

Happy new year to everyone! This year will be a better year. It Hass to be.


Nancy from mass January 5, 2021 at 7:04 am

*HAS*. not sure why that word always changes to Hass. I have never contacted anyone with that name or know of anyone or anything with that name. Drives me bonkers.


Tonya Parham January 7, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Aren’t they Hass avocados? I think that’s what it is changing it to! LOL

it’s a sign– have more quacamole!


reese January 5, 2021 at 7:27 am

I came here just to say YAY HAPPY LAST TUITION PAYMENT! You’re all done 😀


Carol Maskus January 5, 2021 at 8:29 am

I’ve been painting my nails a lot lately. Since it’s good polish, I just dash on one layer and replace once or twice a week.

Has anyone ever done the math on this? Internet says 200 nails per bottle, so that’s 20 manicures for about $8 or $10, if you’re buying good polish. So 50 cents per manicure….and about 5-10 minutes effort. Compare that to the time and money spent at a nail salon. $20 for a manicure…that’s like, 40 times as much.

I realize you get nicer nails at a salon, but if you’re just after a little color…geez. That’s a lot of money!


Tonya Parham January 6, 2021 at 8:58 am

1. Made a meal plan and have been sticking to it. Making meals that are at least two or three meals for me and my wife so it’s not as much electricity.

2. Making homemade bread. It’s easy. It’s fun. And, it keeps me from going to a store or ordering a grocery delivery!

3. Have to take the car to Memphis for a recall job and oil change so I asked for a loaner. Will pack a lunch and we can sit in the loaner rather than go sit in the waiting room with others. ( I don’t like to do either but since the dealer is an hour away, it’s the best option, IMO.)

4. Working to pay off my last credit card so have cut the grocery budget to $100 this month for the two of us. I’d paid off all my cards when the pandemic hit and this card hasn’t come down any….so since I see that I actually WILL have at least one class in the Spring, I will use that pay on my card and spend my $600 stimulus check to feed us the next few months.

5. I’m working a side hustle (that the pay got cut in HALF for with the pandemic!) that will give me another $2000 but that I won’t get until March or April (I personally think it should be illegal for them to take so long to pay but that’s ALWAYS the case!) and that will help over the summer months. My hope is that I will have my usual number of classes in the Fall. If not, I may have to give up teaching.


MB in MN January 7, 2021 at 8:30 am

Tonya: Good to “see” you again! Love the good news about more money coming your way.


LB January 7, 2021 at 2:05 pm

1. Similarly I have been avoiding haircuts, having gotten one safe one in August and avoiding them now that cases are spiking again. My hair has rewarded me by a full week of good hair days in a row.

2. Just got back from working the Georgia runoff election and have settled into my 14-day quarantine back in NY. Currently eating out of the freezer and will be ordering groceries to stay in compliance. Hoping to avoid the siren song of takeout!

3. In Georgia, a friend generously comped my hotel room with points from previous-life work travel, and I was able to get a cheap flight. Many volunteers opted to pay for our meals so my cost for a week, aside from a rental car, was almost zero. Of course, a flipped senate is priceless 😉

4. Staring at my libby subscription and the stack of books on my shelf and wondering how I’m going to get through all of them. Free entertainment for at least a year all around me!

5. Excited that I will be able to salvage a ski season this year (found a few mountains that are open safely) and am very worried about injury. Found a youtube series from some backcountry skiers that is 6 weeks reduce injuries and get strong for free. Excited for this resource and to put it to good use!


Bethany M January 8, 2021 at 1:37 pm

I’m converting old bins into container gardens and an old trampoline into a chicken coop. Listed the toys that were being stored on Varagesale.

Still doing without cable and enjoying some frugal YouTubers. Suggestions welcome. Loving Mary’s Nest!!! She’s like Mister Rogers for middle-aged women.

Sold some outgrown snow gear on Varagesale. Let a friend borrow some other stuff for her trip to OH.

Friend is having us over for hoseback rides. They got a cheap wild horse from Tahachapi that a family owned business will catch them, and train them to enter the trailer. So nice little free fun is always a delight!

Thinking about making some brownies. Thought about a lava cake, but I don’t have the right kind of chocolate. Life lately feels like it needs chocolate.


MommaL January 9, 2021 at 9:22 am

One of my new favorite You Tube channels is FrugalChicLife. I have a pretty good handle on being thrifty, and she shares tips on that, but she also shares tips on what to do with the money you have to make it grow.


Bethany M January 12, 2021 at 9:13 am

Thank you! I’ll check out their channel. Sometimes some of their tips are ones I know about, but then I somehow get lazy or something and I can get a little inspiration to buckle down again.


Colleen R. Kitchen January 10, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Where do you sell vintage fabric? I have tried several times and no one bit.


Katy January 10, 2021 at 3:02 pm

I sell it on eBay, although am specific about what fabric I pick up. I’ve done well with vintage barkcloth fabric, as well as old stock Ikea fabric.


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