Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 30, 2021 · 88 comments

  1. I took advantage of a rare Ibotta app deal before Thanksgiving that refunded 100% of the cost of a turkey and fixings if you bought specific items at Walmart. Mind you, I’m no Walmart fan, having shopped there just once in 2001-ish for a vacuum cleaner. (I’m lucky that Portland is rich with amazing supermarket options!) I carefully consulted the app to make sure I was choosing the precise turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cornbread, vegetables and gravy to qualify for the promotion and then promptly scanned the app as soon as I got home.

    However, there’d been an issue with scanning the smeared label on the turkey at the register, which predictably became a problem when trying to complete the deal. I contacted Ibotta about the issue, but had misplaced the receipt by the time they replied. Oh well, live and learn . . .

    Fast forward three weeks to me locating the receipt, and I was able to rectify the issue which completed the promotion! $20.38 into my PayPal account and I can let go of feeling foolish for chasing this deal.

    I’ve apparently been an Ibotta member for close to a decade, but hadn’t used it as I feel like companies like this track your personal shopping habits in exchange for pennies. Also, there’s a “pyramid scheme” vibe to the app, as the best way to make money is to recruit others. This doesn’t sit right with me, and is the reason why I haven’t linked to them.

  2. I’ve sold a number of things over the past month, although nothing too spectacular. Here are the most impressive sales:

    • An Ikea Lömsk egg chair that I thrifted for $9.99 and then sold for $100. I sold it locally through Facebook Marketplace as it was yuuuuugely heavy!

    • A Maker’s Mark Christmas sweater. Bought for $7.99 and sold for $75.

    • A vintage Pizelle waffle maker. Bought for $4.99 and sold for $100.

    • A lot of vintage Barbie dolls and clothing for $105. I bought a case full of vintage Barbie stuff for $14.99 last summer and already sold the case alone for $45.

    • A Coogi 3-D sweater that I bought for $12.99 and sold for $150.

  3. I’ve been reading up a storm, as my goal for 2021 was to read 52 books. I won’t make it, however, I still plan on cramming as much literary goodness as possible before 2022 rears her ugly head. It should be no surprise that I’ve been using my public library, both for physical books as well as audiobooks through the library’s free Libby app.

    I’ll post a roundup of my 2021 reading for y’all, but for now please enjoy that I’m listening to The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser, and it is delightful!

  4. Christmas came and went with minimal fuss. I didn’t really thrift for gifts this year and instead went heavy on food-based gifts (think big food baskets) and gift cards so that family members can pick out what they want and need.

    We winnowed down who we exchange gifts with a number of years ago, which really simplified our holidays. These weren’t easy conversations, but people ended up happy to let go of the pressures of rote and obligatory gift giving.

    I did send T-shirts with my son’s artwork to my sister and her kids, which were a hit. I’m perhaps a wee bit biased, but my son is a fantastic artist and he wins at T-shirt design.

  5. I didn’t go on an ego driven space jaunt with my fellow billionaires.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary in Maryland December 30, 2021 at 8:10 am

1. Bought five pounds of cabbage (two heads) to make sauerkraut. When I pulled off the slightly dried outer leaves, I realized they would be useful for cabbage rolls. Mixed together the last cup of chana masala and some leftover rice for the stuffing. Bathed in a quart of my tomatoes—delish.
2. The bonanza of pumpkins I brought home from church has turned out to be quite tasty.
3. It pays to not be fussy. A friend gave us four quarts of almond milk that she doesn’t like. So many folks hand things off to us whenever the online groceries deliver the “wrong” brand.
4. A friend gave me a blue cashmere cardigan for my birthday. She saw it at a thrift shop and knew it was for me. Very cozy in our 62 degree house.
5. A theatrical company that was in crunch mode with costuming hired me for a week of hand sewing.
6. No quilting purchases this year despite finishing 18 quilts for myself and gifts. Have also been quilting on the quilts my guild gives away. A chance to try new things that I won’t have to live with if they don’t work.
7. I knit my husband five pair of machine washable wool socks in 1995. In twenty years he wore out the toes. I replaced them with yarn not reinforced by nylon. He chewed through them in only a couple years. The feet and cuffs are still going strong. For his Christmas gift I’m reknitting the toes with reinforced yarn. The fact that it’s only the toes that we wear out suggests to me that I could knit the bulk of our socks with other softer, less expensive yarn I already own.
8. He’s also getting two shirts and a quilted vest all via Buy Nothing.
9. And . . . Buy Nothing gave me a boatload of IKEA shelf liner. I put down vinyl flooring as shelf liners when we moved here. The vinyl got amazingly curled and dirty in only 17 years! I’ve washed stuff and replaced liners in two drawers and two shelves today. I feel elated whenever I look at those two shelves.


Jill D December 30, 2021 at 12:00 pm

“Only 17 years!” You’re a woman after my own heart. Me with my 24 year old station wagon and 24 year old kitchen appliances. I was outraged — outraged! I tell you — when my oven quit working a couple of months ago. But it was my excuse for not hosting Thanksgiving this year. Or baking Christmas cookies. And the cooktop still works fine.


Mary in Maryland December 30, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Our stove is a Kenmore electric from 1985. The cleaning person wanted to take the burners out and clean them every time she comes. I nixxed that–I bet they don’t make replacements any more.


Mand01 December 30, 2021 at 7:57 pm

Our oven is a 1979 original electric wall oven. When we moved in to our 70s palace a few years ago I thought for sure we would have to replace it. It’s the best oven we have ever had. The handle broke off about a year after we moved in, but my husband did a little nifty work and screwed it back together. Now when it comes loose, I just pull out a screwdriver. I will cry mightily when (if) it finally gives up the ghost.


Katy December 31, 2021 at 10:03 am

Hold onto it long enough and it’ll come back into fashion.


Jill D December 31, 2021 at 12:54 pm

It’s not just a question of fashion; I hear from a lot of people that the newer appliances (especially dishwashers) just don’t do as good a job as the old Kenmore and comparable models. The problem is finding replacement parts and appliance repair people who know how to fix them.

Mand01 December 31, 2021 at 8:46 pm

It already has. Many younger people tell us our house is cool. It has most of the original late 70s fittings.

Monica January 1, 2022 at 8:38 am

Nope, I’ve got you all beat with my 1963 still functioning Flair ovens and retractable cooktop (the same one Samantha has on the ‘Bewitched’ tv show. There are Pinterest pages dedicated to the Flair. Just one burner that doesn’t work, We will sell it to a set design company when we renovate.


Jill D January 1, 2022 at 3:29 pm

You win!


bettafrmdaville January 2, 2022 at 7:29 am

Our dryer is from the 1970s, a hand-me-down from my parents. Luckily, there are only two of us, so we only have about 2-3 loads of laundry a week as we know it is not energy efficient (but, we are keeping it out of the landfill!). This past year, we did have to pay $50 to have a belt replaced. The outrage was real, but our cat has a strange affinity for workmen, so he (the cat) was delighted.


Lynda January 1, 2022 at 11:37 am

Mary in Maryland, my sister Mary is also a quilter. I’m so impressed with your making 18 quilts!


janine January 3, 2022 at 5:16 pm

Our Montgomery ‘Ward freezer dates from the early 70’s – bought shortly after we purchased our house. Still going strong in basement and will hopefully last for a couple more years.
As to our crappy new dishwasher – I yearn for those days when they actually cleaned the dishes!


Kathy December 30, 2021 at 8:24 am

1. Christmas was a fabulous dinner of beef tenderloin prepared by my daughter in law. We kept to a minimum spend on gifts as son and daughter in law are building a new home and we just bought their home.
2. I completed a study and was reward with $200 in gift cards of my choice
3. Bought raffle ticket for $20 at dog club show. Sold one of the figurines from the raffle for $90 on eBay
4. Decluttering I discovered I have 5 books that I haven’t read. Plenty to start 2022 with
5. Trip to consignment store netted $47 for daughter in law and $7 for me
6. Other than buying a couple of gift cards I “shopped” my stash for Christmas gifts (new thrift store or regifting items)


Christine December 30, 2021 at 9:57 am

1. I carefully saved my receipts from the library all year. The price of the materials borrowed prints out at the bottom. In 2021 I saved $1216.82 by using my library. I also picked up books from little free libraries and a few from thrift shops.
2. My found change cup didn’t yield as much as I had hoped. My yearend total was only $2.22 but it is money I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t picked it up. Free money is always welcome. I’m also hoping the 2.22 amount is a good omen for 2022! May the end of this pandemic be in sight.
3. We hosted Christmas Eve this year for our vaccinated family. Lots of fun. I got spoiled last year with giving gift cards only to the grandchildren and bypassing gifts for the adults since we wouldn’t be together anyway. It was nice not to have to have to shop. This year we also gave gift cards to restaurants for the adults. Easy peasy and it was all money I save specifically for Christmas and birthdays. The joy came from being together, eating Christmasy foods and playing Christmas Trivia as a group.
4. We ate leftovers from Christmas Eve all week and weekend. I finally had to make a meal last night.
5. My best part of Christmas came the Saturday before while working at my church’s thrift shop. A woman with custody of two of her grandchildren who, along with the two kids, had escaped an abusive husband with nothing but the clothes on their backs. It was wonderful to watch her face and reaction when we told her to take anything, no charge, for their new apartment. Tears of joy all around.


Bee December 30, 2021 at 11:38 am

I hope $2.22 is a good omen. I would be happy to see the pandemic in the rear view mirror! I love your Christmas story. It warms my heart.


Linda December 30, 2021 at 12:04 pm

I second your comment, Bee.


susanna d January 3, 2022 at 3:50 pm

I love your #5 – it brought tears of joy to my eyes when I read it, too.


Bee December 30, 2021 at 12:01 pm

The month of December was not the most frugal for me. I was especially excited after the Covid Christmas of 2020. Despite some splurges, I did all the usual things too.
1) I brewed my own coffee and ate primarily at home.
2) I borrowed my December book club’s selection from the library, but I had to buy our January selection. I was the 313th person on the waiting list at the library. Now that I have finished the book, I will either list on eBay or share it with a friend.
3) I enjoyed several magazines provided by my local library by utilizing the Hoopla app
4) I bought a set of 8 Waterford whisky tumblers (less than$10 each) for one of my children at an estate sale. This was a Christmas gift.
5) I feel like a spent a fortune on food, but I did scan my receipts to Ibotta and Fetch. I saw the Walmart deal offered through Ibotta, but I did not participate. I guess I’m not very strategic about using these apps. I buy what I need then I see if there are any offers that apply. It takes me forever to reach the $20 required for withdrawal.
Wishing everyone a joyous, safe and peaceful New Year!


janine December 30, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Loved the T-shirt Design!
1. A simple Xmas celebration. Work schedules interfered with our usual get together. Bought Gift certs. plus a few ‘under the tree gifts.’ Some were from my stash , some were re-gifted and some thrifted.
2. Found a piece of art done on Egyptian Papyrus on a back shelf of a local bookstore for a special friend. (This is the kind of thing she appreciates.)
3. Purchased all kinds of goodies on sale for a fraction of original prices after Christmas, including a Blueberry Pie , Julekaga and bags of rolls. Pie had been priced at $16.49!
4. I also received some gift cards and plan to splurge on British magazines I seldom buy, and also some great hand-woven baskets admired while holiday shopping.
4. Bookclub selection purchased at Half Priced Books – older edition but for a total outlay of $5.50, this small book entitled ‘On Tyranny’ was a real find. Easy read and the discussion on zoom by club members was terrific.
5. Putting together New Years Resolutions including: staying home for most meals, patronizing as many local merchants as possible, and despite the negative news out there, being grateful for my many blessings!


Ruby December 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Katy, my best frugal thing is that we paid off our house five and a half years early on Dec. 15. December has been very tight financially because we made two double payments plus the last $200 owed, but totally worth it.

Other FFT: I mended a sweater for my husband, used a $5 off coupon for paint, made a modest but delicious Christmas Day lunch that created leftovers for four work lunches, and spiffed up the dried-out suede on my sneakers so that they look much better.


Shona December 30, 2021 at 2:41 pm

CONGRATULATIONS on paying off your house! The best Christmas gift you could have given your family. A wonderful accomplishment.

We paid ours off August 2021 and still pinching ourselves.


Ruby December 30, 2021 at 3:21 pm

We are still just agog at having managed it. We went full-on black belt frugal for 13 months to pull it off. It’s still a wonder to wake up and realize that we (A) own our house and (B) can afford cheap haircuts again.


Katy December 30, 2021 at 4:01 pm



Ruby December 30, 2021 at 4:35 pm

Everything I have learned from you and your readers helped so much in reaching that goal.


Mary in Maryland December 30, 2021 at 4:09 pm

Paying off one’s mortgage is such a thrill. Congratulations!


Ruby December 30, 2021 at 4:38 pm

Thank you. My husband and I are just over the moon! We still have about six months of paying down some consumer debt before being debt-free, but that’s our next goal, if Fate allows.


Diane Crowley January 1, 2022 at 1:02 am

You prioritized mortgage payoff over consumer debt? Does the consumer debt have a lower interest rate than the mortgage did?


Ruby January 1, 2022 at 12:31 pm

The interest rate is roughly the same, but playing a 15-year mortgage off slightly more than 5 years early saves a huge amount in interest and frees us up to quickly pay down the consumer debt. We would have had both sets of debt paid off at the same time, had there not been a surprise infestation of roof rats in our attic – extremely costly to deal with – and we paid for a dear friend’s cremation in October when he died suddenly.

MB in MN December 30, 2021 at 5:50 pm

Ruby, congrats on such a huge accomplishment! What a great feeling knowing that your diligence paid off.


Bethany M December 30, 2021 at 6:29 pm

Congratulations, that is amazing!


Christine December 30, 2021 at 7:38 pm

Congratulations on your mortgage payoff!


Marie-Josée December 31, 2021 at 4:11 am

Congratulations, Ruby! What a wonderful accomplishment and source of so much peace of mind.


Ruby December 31, 2021 at 8:26 am

Thank you, everyone. It was a tough and amazing 13 months. I have to give a lot of credit to Katy, because that she was able to pay cash for her children’s college tuition made me realize we could do this.


Jill A December 31, 2021 at 10:08 am

Congratulations on paying off your mortgage. The best part of being frugal is the piece of mind you have when you can pay off your debts.


susanna d January 1, 2022 at 9:39 am

Congratulations! It’s such an amazing accomplishment to pay the mortgage off so early!


Linda January 1, 2022 at 1:38 pm

Congrats on paying off your mortgage! YAY!


Cindy in the South January 2, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Congratulations on paying off the house!!!!!


Shona December 30, 2021 at 2:37 pm

1) I quit coffee and thus returned the stockpile amassed based on my fear of coffee being a supply chain casualty.

2) Sent our end of the year family charity donation (in lieu of gifts) with a donation match coupon our charity of choice sent.

3) Decided not to attend a Christmas get together (I un-RSVP-ed early so our hostess didn’t have to cook for 2 additional people) and we baked a chicken from our freezer, spending less than $10 on items to fill the gaps. Chicken bone broth became matzo ball soup using matzo mix & noodles bought earlier in the year on sale.

4) Spent only $1.09 on a thing in the month of December. All other purchases were food, utilities & filling up the Fit once, in addition to the charity gift. This prompted my 2022 challenge- not buying any new clothes, shoes, or things, only food, gas & a bar of soap here and there. For now I’m going to take it month by month and not think of all those 12 months *gulp*

5) Happy New Year everyone!


MB in MN December 30, 2021 at 5:52 pm

Shona, I applaud your 2022 challenge and look forward to updates!


Ruby December 31, 2021 at 8:36 am

Good luck on your challenge! We will be continuing to live at black belt frugal level until our debt is gone (we are aiming for July), so I’ll be no spending along with you.


Shona December 31, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Ruby, the house was the last piece of our debt and we lived on a very tight budget leading up to our target pay off date. Unfortunately my 24-yr-old car finally bit the dust and I was without. I paid for a new to me used car in cash which set us back a couple months. My husband is an RN and was called up to a COVID unit so the combination of not spending money due to lock down and his bonus hazard pay got us to a new pay off target sooner than we expected. Good luck on your next six months, I know you’ll let us know when the day comes.


Linda January 1, 2022 at 1:40 pm

Lots of luck on your challenge.


Jennifer December 30, 2021 at 3:17 pm

It was a covid Christmas for us as 3 of the 7 people here had it. My dd and her boyfriend bailed back to college at the second positive case so they weren’t even here for Christmas day. This school break (my dh and I are in education) has not been great but it has meant spending less money.

1. I cashed in CC points to get 5 $25 gift cards to put in the kids stockings (4 + boyfriend). I tried to keep things simple and added pj pants, socks, favorite foods, and toiletries to each stocking. I have found having a theme has helped me keep things easier and under control.

2. I did a free grocery pick up and I think it ended up saving me a lot of money as my bill was about $30 less than normal.

3. We have not gone crazy buying covid tests. I was able to get a bunch from the schools when the first person tested positive. Dd and boyfriend were able to get 4 free tests by where they live and brought them to us. I have also scheduled PCR tests for free as well. Covid is going crazy here and people were spending so much money on tests here! Insane.

4. I have done no after Christmas shopping – not even online.

5. We have been working on a Christmas puzzle, reading books and magazines from the library and watching stuff free online to pass our time. I am totally staying on top of cooking and cleaning and laundry because I am paranoid that I will test positive next – I mean how could I not I have been swimming in it here as the caregiver! We are all vaccinated and the problem was people were testing negative for days prior to finally getting a positive even though they were sick. What a weird PITA virus.


Katy December 30, 2021 at 6:37 pm

I haven’t done grocery pickup yet, although I’ve been tempted to try it out.


Jennifer December 31, 2021 at 6:52 pm

I did it one time at a different store during quarantine and didn’t like it. I did it this time because we were all in quarantine. It was frustrating because they were out of things I had asked for – sometimes the entire thing, sometimes I had to get a different size which wasn’t necessarily on sale. I ended up not getting a few things that I had asked because the price was too much or they just didn’t have it. It worked for us for this situation but I don’t think I will do it on a regular basis.


Lindsey December 31, 2021 at 7:10 pm

I’m sorry to hear that because we have been using curbside pickup for some months now and love it. You can mark if you will accept a similar product by a different company or want them to stick exactly to your request (like you want only Ragu spag sauce). If they don’t have the size I want, we usually get the next size up or they compensate some other way. For example, yesterday I ordered an 18 pack of eggs, and they were out so they gave us two one dozen packs but still charged us the 18 egg price. I am often in a wheelchair so I really hope the service continues after the pandemic eases. Maybe a different store in your town would work better?


Bee December 31, 2021 at 4:20 am

I hope your family will soon be better. Happy New Year!


Bethany M December 30, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Cooked up a shepherds pie for the freezer and used up some carrots and some evaporated milk before they spoiled.

Salvaged the salt from the bottom of our bag of pretzels. Such a drop in the barrel but if nothing else it reminds me of my frugal goals each time I use it. And really, why toss a good resource just because it’s value is minuscule?

Bought 3 pairs of banana republic pants at the thrift store for $2 each. I thought I would hem up for my girls to wear to church. They didn’t like them so I listed them on EBay at a reasonable mark up. Could make $20 if they sell.

Kids had a sleepover. While they were occupied I batched up a pumpkin pancake batter, 4 loves of bread dough, and 2 pizza crusts for the freezer. Utilized used freezer bags that I washed. Pulled out a bread dough and some black beans from the freezer and made a killer soup with fresh bread and butter for lunch today. Kids liked it!

I wanted to hire someone to clean my gas fireplace. I was pretty certain the previous owners had never cleaned it. But I YouTubed it, got a $8 bottle of cleaner and tackled it myself. Looks remarkably better! I might try this cleaner on my shower door. It looks worse for the wear since this house needs a water softener and didn’t get one until we moved in.


Katy December 30, 2021 at 6:33 pm

I save the sesame seeds or poppy seeds from the bottom of the bagel bag to put on top of bread for when I’m cooking from scratch.


susanna d January 1, 2022 at 9:44 am

Since I was just contemplating the amazing quantity of poppy seeds left in an almost-empty bag of rolls this morning, the idea of saving them to use on top of bread is a wonderful and timely frugal tip. Thank you – I know I would never have thought of this on my own.


Mand01 December 30, 2021 at 8:12 pm

1. Hiding in our house from an Omicron surge in our State. Australia has largely avoided the worst ravages of COVID, but it’s all over now. Self-imposed lockdown does severely limit spending.
2. Worked all the way up to Christmas, then started working after the public holidays. As I am self-employed, that willingness to keep on working makes good economic sense for me, even though it is tiring. The good thing about self-employment is you can work as much as you want. The bad thing is that you will never know how much work there will be.
3. Refused request to buy new Christmas tree, even though our fake tree is about 15 years old. Bought at a half price sale many years ago, I cannot bear to send it to landfill when it still stands upright and holds decorations. It’s not yet a Charlie Brown stick.
4. Continue to eat Christmas leftovers (still have olives, sundried tomatoes and cheese left) so tonight’s dinner will yet again feature some version of leftovers. So far we have eaten reubens, pasta, quiche, a platter, and tonight it will be pasta again because it is too hot to cook pizzas, all made from Christmas leftovers.
5. Picking Summer fruits from our garden: blueberries, strawberries, apricots, mulberries, and the first early apples. Not having to buy much in the way of fruit right now, although I did buy some plums and nectarines, because Summer. My plum trees are too young to be fruiting yet – hopefully next year. I have barely spent any time in the garden due to my workloads, but was able to spend a minute out there this morning and came inside with a cup of perfectly ripe fresh strawberries. Pretty good.
6. I realised I made it through 2021 only buying some new jeans and underwear/socks, and a couple of items from the thrift shop (maybe two or three items). Aside from that, no new clothes or shoes. What’s in my wardrobe now is pretty much what was in there at the start of 2021. When I used to work in an office, I would certainly buy more than that, although much of it was secondhand. Now I work from home, I just don’t need much at all. Working from home is a much cheaper lifestyle. I hardly ever drive my car (we are now a one car family instead of two, as my husband rides his bike most places), and we hardly ever eat out.

Hope I don’t jinx it when I say Happy New Year.


Joyce December 31, 2021 at 5:25 am

Happy New Year, y’all! Stay safe and well.


K D December 31, 2021 at 6:00 am

1. Our holiday gift giving is very stripped down. We give money (cash/checks) to a few people and I also buy a favorite edible for our daughter and SIL. I do give cat treats to the grandkitties and I crocheted a couple of toys for them. Done. Finito.

2. Covid numbers in our state are through the roof. What little in person shopping we were doing has been reduced and we are wearing good masks despite being vaccinated and boosted. I am back to Zooming with a couple groups I belong to but am still getting together outside with a few friends.

3. I am continuing to work through my yarn stash to craft hats and scarves for those in need. It is amazing how little I have shopped in the past two years.

4. I am reading These Precious Days, a book of essays by Ann Patchett (of course borrowed from the library). One of the essays is My Year of No Shopping. It’s very well written. After the year was up Ann asked a mentor what she did after her year was up. The reply was “I realized I had too many decisions to make that were actually important. There were people to help, things to do. Not shopping frees up a lot of space in your brain.”

5. Tomorrow I will count my found change for the year. I think there is more than last year plus my husband found both $60 and then $5. Since I was with him both times I’ll include that in my count.


Shona December 31, 2021 at 7:37 am

My Year of No Shopping was a great NYT essay that was quite inspiring. Gasp! wearing an already owned dress to interview Tom Hanks? The horror.


Ruby December 31, 2021 at 1:03 pm

There’s a book by a British woman named Kath Kelly about how she decided to live on a pound a day for a year (less than $2) to pay off her debts and save up for a birthday present for her brother. She did it kind of spur of the moment, so there wasn’t any stocking up beforehand and she had to be extremely resourceful to make it work. It makes for fascinating reading.


Katy December 31, 2021 at 10:01 am

Ooh . . . that reminds me that I’ll need to take my Found Change Challenge jar to the credit union on Monday to have it counted in their free machine.


Jean January 16, 2022 at 1:44 pm

I am also loving Anne Patchett’s book and read that great essay too.


Lilypad December 31, 2021 at 6:13 am

Thanks for the tip on the book—I have a weakness for books like that with a cup of tea and a big, floofy kitty on a cold day. And man, it’s been cold lately. We’ve had snow on the ground for a week, which is practically unheard of here in Western Washington. I’m now #3 on the list for an e-copy with the King County Library System. (Seattle area outside of Seattle city limits.) Happy New Year to you and your family, and thanks for all the fun here on the blog and on Instagram this past decade plus!


Selena December 31, 2021 at 7:47 am

Pretty much practical Xmas presents here too. Mostly gift cards from local businesses but a few were from “corporate”. This was due to “corporate” having a store in a small town meaning very little travel time to get there. Plus all recipients love the store.
What has not been frugal is the new feline. Some cretin dumped him and while in what I call excellent shape for a dumped animal, vaccinations/registration, medications (parasites and mites) were in order. Also did blood work which increased the bill. Much to our surprise, feline is A LOT younger than we thought and of course, not spayed/neutered. So 2nd set of shots and spay/neuter costs upcoming. But he’s a keeper and we got him inside before the cold weather hit.


Liz B. December 31, 2021 at 11:34 am

Selena, thank you for rescuing and adopting the dumped kitty. I feel your pain about the vet bills – we adopted a stray that a friend caught outside of her home two and a half years ago – he is a Flame Point Siamese, so clearly he was someone’s pet at some point. We had all the health checks, shots, microchipping, etc., at the vet, and fortunately, he was skinny but otherwise healthy. He filled out quickly with plenty of food available to him, and is a full fledged member of our family.


Selena January 1, 2022 at 4:31 pm

He hadn’t been dumped very long – he weighs 11 lbs and is not a year old. He’s a big baby and such a good cat.


rebecca January 1, 2022 at 10:44 am

Rescuing animals and giving them a good home is priceless. You’re awesome!


Jill A December 31, 2021 at 10:44 am

Happy New Year to everyone!!

1. Christmas gifts were practical and included many consumables and all of my kids received at least one thrifted or estate sale item.
2. I gave as gifts some currant bread purchased at a dutch grocery store 45 minutes away. While there I made sure to get my money’s worth by stopping at the Goodwill Outlet and a couple other thrift stores. The items I purchased for resale will more than pay for my gas as well as the bread.
3. All of my kids are home for Christmas which means the grocery bill is high. We’ve been playing clean out of the refrigerator and freezer. Dinner last night was mac-n-cheese made with bits of cheese leftover from Christmas celebrations and what my daughter brought from her own fridge clean out.
4. I continue to keep my thermostat set at 62 during the day. We’re all dressing in warm clothing and snuggling under warm blankets when necessary.
5. My daughter brought home a ton of tea from work that wasn’t getting used up. We’re brewing it for iced tea and replacing this with soda since we all have a bit of diet coke addiction which is expensive and not very healthy.


Jill A December 31, 2021 at 10:46 am

#5 I meant to say we were replacing the diet coke with the tea not the other way around 🙂


Cindy in the South December 31, 2021 at 4:39 pm

Lovely t shirt! I visited daughter’s family for my round trip $258 ticket and (1)! I ate all meals at her house for the 12 days I was there (2) watched granddaughter’s gymnastics class for free, (3) looked at the lights for free at Temple Square in SLC, (4) paid for tickets to tour he University of Utah museum that had the visiting Egyptian exhibit, and the dinosaur exhibit from remains found in southern Utah. Tickets were $20 but still a good deal. (5) played in about a foot of snow, which for this southerner was a treat!


Lynda January 1, 2022 at 11:55 am

Cindy in the South, many years ago, we took my dinosaur-obsessed son to the Univ of Utah museum. We all loved it!


Cindy in the South January 8, 2022 at 6:17 pm

I thought the dinosaur exhibit was fantastic!


susanna d January 1, 2022 at 10:14 am

Great t-shirts! Your son is very talented!

1. While making spritz cookies a few weeks ago, my press broke. I wasn’t mad about it since cookie presses apparently hate me (the feeling is mutual) and never work right. To the point that my husband calls spritz cookies “Those cookies that you swear at.” But the family loves them – the cookies remind them of Grandma. Anyway, broken press + half a recipe of cookie dough left = time to get creative to avoid waste. I rolled out the dough really thin, used a small shot glass to cut circles, sprinkled the cookies with color sugar, and called them ornament cookies. The dough was used up, I will not EVER spend money on another cookie press, and my granddaughter announced “Ornament cookies are the best cookies ever!”

2. We’d bought a lot – and I mean A LOT – of potatoes from the farm this past fall, to avoid buying grocery store potatoes that seem to go bad instantly. Since it’s been a few months, I went through the bags in the basement to make sure there was no spoilage or pending disaster in those bags. Because the money I saved buying in quantity would decrease with every potato I throw away. Luckily, they were all good but there were a number of them that were set aside for use in the very near future.

3. As we do at the end of every year, we bought a year’s worth of dump/transfer station tickets. The cost per bag of garbage dropped off at the dump is $3 (recyclables are free). Dump tickets bring the cost down to $1.75 per bag. It adds up.

4. Saved $15 on gasoline courtesy of fuel points.

5. Took advantage of a couple of holiday sales on gift cards for things I use anyway ($50 gc for $35, buy $100 in gift cards and get a $25 gc free, etc.) Yes, I’m spending money – but at least I’m spending less money.


Selena January 1, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Old cookie press or a newer one? Mom’s early 1960s press works great as do other older kitchen tools of that era.
Great idea on using up the rest of the dough – and great self control by just not eating the dough lol.


susanna d January 2, 2022 at 10:13 am

This press was relatively new – maybe 4 years old. I had an older metal press that I managed to destroy prior to that one. The older one was marginally easier to use but also caused swearing. The “rolling pin and shot glass” method that I will use from here on is much less stressful.


Christine January 2, 2022 at 2:21 pm

Ha ha! I love the older one “caused swearing” too! Good laugh for the New Year.


rebecca January 1, 2022 at 10:54 am

I haven’t been very frugal lately and ordering out a lot of take out but will try…
1. Decided not to go to away because of high rates of covid. I got a refund on my ticket and will use it to go when the rates are lower after the holiday disease spreading season is past.
2. Watching “The Crown” (bingng really). So good!
3. A friend brought bagels over and we had a lovely visit.
4. Staying out of stores to keep away from the sales. I really don’t need a thing and am working on buying things on sale “in case” I need them in future.
5. Refinaced my house and got a lower rate.


bettafrmdaville January 3, 2022 at 1:57 am

1. Will use up FSA money by the end of the month that would otherwise expire. Went through medicine cabinet to figure out how best to spend the $58.
2. I had stopped doing Swagbucks for a while because it seemed that I always got kicked out of surveys after spending considerable time on them. For whatever reason, they were doing triple points, so I was able to make $75 worth of points, that I will spread out over three months to get the monthly discount. Using the money to buy gallons of liquid aminos & rice wine vinegar which are SO much cheaper than in smaller amounts from the grocery store.
3. Had nephew over and we ate leftovers from stew that I had made for Christmas Eve. Still the best darn stew that I’ve ever eaten, and most of the ingredients were found on sale.
4. My parents had 2 large jugs of brandy that they rarely use. They gave me one to take home, to resupply after using to make the stew (Dijon and Cognac beef stew from Smitten Kitchen, by the way).
5. Job offered that we go hybrid for spring semester (college) due to rising Covid numbers. This will save me $45.00 in gas based on present gas costs.
PS: I’m super-impressed by those who use the bottom of the bag bits!


Heidi Louise January 3, 2022 at 9:01 am

Bottom of bag bits– My Mom kept a jar of crumbs for when she would make pork chops. She would pour the stuff from the bottom of the corn flakes box, half a saltine, a few cheerios, some toasted bread crusts, or whatever else she had saved into an empty cereal bag liner, crush them with a rolling pin, and use them to bread pork chops.


Sharon January 6, 2022 at 9:16 pm

Where do you buy rice wine vinegar by the gallon?


Bettypants January 3, 2022 at 7:36 am

1. I bought an Abercrombie quilted winter coat this summer for $1 at a yard sale. One cuff seam needed a few stitches, which was an easy fix. My intention was to resell it, but because it is super warm, has a great hood, and a cozy flannel lining, I’ve been wearing it every day this winter.

2. Checked out Dorie Greenspan’s new baking book from the library, and made her English Muffins recipe yesterday. Shared a plate with my neighbor, who was appreciative.

3. We had a fair amount of snow last night, so I ran to the grocery store first thing in the morning while everyone was digging out. Stocked shelves, barely any other shoppers.

4. Qdoba sent me a free entree coupon, for “our anniversary.” which I used for a bowl of nachos.

5. Got my teen’s Covid booster and Rite Aid gave us a free bottle of hand sanitizer.


cathy January 3, 2022 at 1:50 pm

1. I read an insane number of books last year, and continued right into 2022. Checked out Katy’s suggestion of The Bookshop of Second Chances (ebook, library of course). I couldn’t put it down.
2. Repaired a small hole in my favorite, best-thrift-store-find-ever wool sweater.
3. Added another patch to my favorite (only) jeans. I’m a big fan of visible mending.
4. Making meals from what’s on hand. Last night was chicken chili (from cooked down roasted chicken carcass) and sweet potato fries. Tonight will be creamy chicken and rice (also chicken from the carcass).
5. Christmas was low-key as always. We mainly do stockings, but I always try to include useful goodies since none of us like silly tchotchkes. Some favorite gifts given: three vintage hat/label pins that were my grandmother’s, given to daughter; two pair wool socks bought with REI dividend for son; vintage English WWI brass compass received through Buy Nothing group (back in August) for husband who loves antique brass stuff.
Happy New Year all!


janine January 3, 2022 at 5:29 pm

Admire your #5 list of stocking stuffers. Original and conversation starters combined! A World War I compass – what background stories do you suppose happened in it’s past?


cathy January 3, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Janine, the compass is fascinating! I have no idea how the person in my Buy Nothing group ended up with it (so very far from England), and I was blown away that someone offered up something so amazing. If only the compass could talk!


Texasilver January 8, 2022 at 12:09 pm

My frugal strategies involved shoes.
1. I have only 1 pr of closed toed black shoes for dress wear. The rubber cap of the heels came off, 1st one then the other. I had a funeral coming up & needed my shoes. My husband ,who is a mechanic by trade, found a used black rubber brake pedal cover. He cut out replacement rubber heel caps & glued them on.
2. I then repaired shoes for my best friend of 50 years. The outer soles were very worn on her favorite suede slippers. I used Shoe Goo to cover the worn parts. I also reglued the inner parts of the soles to the entire shoe. Shoe Goo makes a waterproof seal that dries clear.
3. Did a small repair on my Nike athletic shoes with Shoe Goo. The repair is holding up well.
4. Reattached a sandal strap w/ Shoe Goo. I haven’t worn the sandals yet as it’s wintertime. I’m hoping for a secure strap.
I recommend the Shoe Goo product. It is quite useful to repair shoes. It is clear & thick. I used a toothpick to spread it & rubber bands to hold the shoe parts together until it dried.


Christine January 9, 2022 at 10:03 am

Never heard of Shoe Goo before. Thanks for the tip.


Ruby January 8, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Shoe Goo kept my child’s sneakers going all through elementary school. The school had an asphalt playground that ate the soles right off shoes. I pretty much rebuilt his shoes every few nights with Shoe Goo.


Texasilver January 8, 2022 at 8:47 pm

Shoe Goo rocks! My little brother told me about it.


Ashley Bananas January 21, 2022 at 8:46 am

Dear Katie, I was wondering why you are writing less frequently? I check in periodically. It’s always a treat when you do up date.


Katy January 22, 2022 at 9:13 pm

I’ve just been super uninspired. Sorry.


Bethany M January 23, 2022 at 9:51 am

I’m sorry! Maybe you don’t, but if you need to reach out, you have our email addresses!


Bethany M January 23, 2022 at 9:50 am

I usually just spray let sit and rinse. I replace before guests arrive. I’ll consider a full scrubbing next time we’re preparing for guests. It’s a worthy effort.


YIGII May 12, 2022 at 7:13 pm

Lovely t-shirts! I like its design.


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