Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 12, 2022 · 100 comments

  1. I thrifted a plain grey sweater from Goodwill to recreate the $375 “Oh Darn Sweater.” This sold out sweater features colorful darned patches that serve no purpose beyond being decorative. So elite shoppers can emulate the aesthetic of street urchins people who mend instead of replace their clothing.

    A month of groceries or a faux raggedy sweater?

    So you know I had to attempt a facsimile. Sure, the Neiman Marcus version was cashmere and not cotton, but that’s just a matter of laundry practicality. Plus Goodwill’s plain grey cashmere sweater inventory turned out to be limited.

    My cost? $3.49, down from $6.99 as mine was the half-off tag color. Sadly it’s not my size, but my 18-year-old niece will be receiving a very interesting gift for Chanukah.

    Click HERE to see the details on the original Lisa Todd “Oh Darn” sweater. And here’s my son modeling my version:

  2. My son and I stopped at the main Goodwill to browse and I picked up a $1.99 needlepointed Christmas stocking, even though it was embroidered with the name “Hannah.” I’d sold a couple needlepoint stockings in the past and knew them to be a “BOLO.” (Be on the look out.) I figured it was a Land’s End or LL Bean item, plus the name “Hannah” is very common.

    I got the stocking home and did a little investigation to find the brand to be Sferra, which was a brief disappointment. Instead, this brand of stockings sells from $75 to $250 on eBay and I made the decision to unpick the embroidered “Hannah” and get my stocking quickly listed. I ended up accepting a $100 offer from an eBay buyer and am very happy with the sale, as $1.99 into $100 is an excellent profit margin.

    Click HERE to see the stocking.

  3. My husband and I drove to Ikea for lunch and he ordered two individual kid’s menu items as it cost $2 less than buying a single adult plate. I chose their $1.15 veggie hotdog, which I ordered by the registers and then ate upstairs in the cafeteria. (I’m not a vegetarian, but this hotdog is delicious and enjoyably sprinkled with pickled beets and crunchy fried onions!) Add in mugs of free coffee and the cost of lunch for two was under $8.

    I am the definition of a cheap date.

  4. My friend Lise and I shopped together at Goodwill and Trader Joe’s, I signed up for two months of 99¢/month Paramount+ streaming service so my husband and I could binge watch all things Star Trek, (specifically Strange New Worlds, which is chef’s kiss amazing!) I set an alert on my calendar to notify me in time to cancel before the regular price kicks in, I printed four eBay labels at the library, I sold last week’s $9.99 SmartWool shirt for $40, I thrifted a box of menorah candles, and I stopped at the Franz Bakery outlet for bread and realized after the transaction that I’d agreed to pick up a lemon fruit pie for my son, but the cashier told me to just take one.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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    Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs you nothing extra.

{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

K D December 12, 2022 at 5:30 am

1. I bought autumn flavors of herbal tea at Lidl for half price. They had both Celestial Seasonings and store brand so I bought a few of each to compare them. My taste buds are not that season specific. I also picked up on sale bagged apples and blackberries. Peanut butter was 10/$10 so I bought some to donate.
2. The weather was cold and damp yesterday but rather than walking inside at a mall (as we might have done pre-pandemic) we walked in a local state park. The weather kept most people away so it was a wonderful time to be there. It was also closer to home saving the time and expense of driving.
3. We celebrated our daughter’s birthday with take out and cupcakes leftover from my husband’s birthday (they’d been in the freezer). One of her gifts was a certificate to take her vehicle in for an oil change so I’m currently waiting for that work to be done. Doing routine maintenance on a vehicle is frugal in the long run and it is non-consumer-ish.
4. I pay a monthly fee for yoga and Pilates classes. Last night I finally tried out a restorative yoga class. The focus was on releasing the hips and it eliminated a lot of my lower back pain. It was also relaxing. It’s definitely something I’ll make time for again (attendance it is included in my monthly package).
5. We did not undertake a major remodel of the bedrooms area of our house shortly after a major kitchen remodel was finished. That would be our neighbors.


K D December 12, 2022 at 5:32 am

I guess the “Oh Darn” sweater is an extension of the ripped jeans phenomenon. I love that you created your own version.


Jill A December 12, 2022 at 6:16 am

I had the same thought. My daughter owns a Goodwill bins gray cashmere sweater with a hole in it. Maybe I need to learn how to darn.


Amy December 13, 2022 at 5:33 am

Darning is pretty simple and has the plus of (if you use virgin wool) kind of melting together. My grandma taught me and said I needed to work on it. I haven’t and most of my projects are just to keep the sweat together. Read this as train wreak. No cashmere. No merino wool ones though.


A. Marie December 12, 2022 at 6:22 am

Good job, Katy! I might do something like that with some of my own clothes this winter. In my case, it’d be “I’ll take Ancient History for $1000, Alex”: I was embroidering around the holes in my tie-dyed bell-bottom jeans back in 1972.


Jill D December 12, 2022 at 8:05 am

“Everything old is new again.” At least as far as clothing fads. Not as far as me!


Katy December 12, 2022 at 11:02 am



Bee December 12, 2022 at 9:01 am

I love the darned sweater concept. I have a gray merino wool sweater that I wear around the house in the winter months. It has a few holes in the sleeve and past it’s prime, but I love it. I may try my hand at darning with that cardigan. Do you use special thread, Katy?


Katy December 12, 2022 at 10:52 am

I use wool embroidery floss, as wool will felt up with regular washing and usage.


Carolyn Arnett December 12, 2022 at 4:44 pm

What is your source for wool embroidery floss? Is it like crewel floss? I need to darn several wool sweaters.


Katy December 12, 2022 at 6:15 pm

I think my floss is leftover from when I was needlepointing in high school.

Mati December 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm

Crewel floss might be a little rough. You can unravel yarn or prospect the thrift store for needlepoint kits with wool floss – they often have great colors.

Hawaii Planner December 12, 2022 at 5:41 am

1) had to get up at the crack of dawn to take my son to his high school soccer match. Sat through a very, very cold, rainy & windy game. Almost stopped at Starbucks on my way home for a coffee, but waited until I got home & made tea instead.
2) Used a $20 grocery reward to pick up things we needed this week.
3) Set a “use up random freezer items” goal this month. I’m done with 2/5 so far. I’ve used enchilada sauce & spinach. Need to decide what I’m targeting next
4) We check our credit cards regularly, and noticed fraudulent transactions. Called quickly, got the account shut down & are working on getting a new card. It’s irritating, but a fact of life.
5) Shopped from a list, made menu plans, ate leftovers, etc.


Jill A December 12, 2022 at 6:07 am

Good morning. It always amazes me what passes for fashion and what people will pay for it.

1. I gave my mother a partial bottle of peppermint extract I will probably never use. She is making some peppermint bark and was turned off by the cost of the extract.
2. I picked up a couple stocking stuffers from the thrift store. Nice drink muddlers that were still new.
3. I decided against purchasing a new pre-lit tree this year. Instead I removed the lights on my tree that I already re-wired many years ago. I purchased LED lights but decided to use some that I already owned to re-light my tree. I’ll be returning the LED’s.
4. I’m sharing the cost and meat of a spiral sliced ham that my Mom purchased. It was too much ham for both of us. I’ll use the bone for split pea soup. We are planning to do this with other food items.
5. I’m eating oatmeal for breakfasts most mornings. Cheap and healthy.


A. Marie December 12, 2022 at 6:35 am

FFT, “Clean-Up” Edition:

By “clean-up,” I don’t mean that I’ve developed a sudden fondness for housecleaning (heaven forbid!). These are just either things I did earlier and forgot to mention, or things I usually do:

(1) I’m holding the line on my National Grid energy bill: My budget payment went down to $105/month a while back; my total actual expenditure for last month was $110; and I’m still $143 ahead of the company. Hee hee!

(2) Filippo Berio EVOO was BOGO for the 1.5-liter bottle at Price Chopper a couple of weeks ago. I kept one, and the Bestest Neighbors got the other one. We often split deals and bulk groceries this way, as Jill A does with her mother.

(3) Under the influence of Kristen and the community over at The Frugal Girl (which is better than being under the influence of a lot of other things), I’ve started buying groceries at Aldi more often. Some of the Aldi weekly specials simply can’t be beat.

(4) Winter is here, so I’ve resumed my winter practice of allowing my bathtub water to cool (thereby adding a few extra BTUs and a little extra humidity upstairs) and then bucket-flushing the upstairs toilet with it.

(5) And I continue, as always, hanging my laundry to dry on my trusty old wooden racks (all but one of which came out of DH’s rental properties). In addition to the other benefits, this too helps with upstairs humidity.


Mary in Maryland December 12, 2022 at 7:20 am

Your number 5–I hang our laundry on a rack in our bedroom all winter to up the humidity. It also means my husband doesn’t have to walk naked to the basement to get clean underpants.


A. Marie December 12, 2022 at 9:20 am

Not having to walk naked to the basement in the dead of winter is a definite advantage.


Mary in Maryland December 13, 2022 at 7:13 am

It’s my husband who walks naked to the basement. I enjoy watching, but I know it’s not kind.


Katy December 12, 2022 at 11:01 am

Kristen gives me such Aldi envy! No such thing here in Portland.


Karen Stitt December 12, 2022 at 4:25 pm

A. Marie both Katy and Kristen are my inspiration for so many things frugal!!


MamaMinou December 12, 2022 at 6:54 am

Wow isn’t it fascinating the things that people will pay a LOT of money for?!?
Here are my frugal 5:
1. Knit a hat and fingerless mitts as a holiday present with yarn I already had stashed away
2. Am staying out of my local yarn store until my carry on suitcase yarn stash is empty. Going “just to look” is how I ended up with a (wonderful) 90 lb lab at the animal shelter . I always find.
3. Shopped the 50% off distressed produce shelf at my corner grocery store and made soup
4. Bought split peas instead of red lentils for that soup since they were half the price
5. Scaling back gift giving for the holidays.


Ecoteri December 12, 2022 at 11:08 pm

@MamaMinou, OMG you made me laugh out loud with your #2 90 lb lab story. Like, really really laugh. I have avoided our local animal shelter, for a similar reason. Used dogs, the very best kind.


Bee December 13, 2022 at 3:44 am

My adopted 90lb Lab/ English Pointer mix is my best frugal purchase ever. I encourage everyone to look.


rebecca December 12, 2022 at 6:57 am

1. Taking on more clients because I need the money. I keep telling myself that walks and coffee will keep my energy up.
2. Keeping my heat at 65.
3. Enjoying free Christmas lights for entertainment. Some house are so gorgeous. I do wonder about their electricity bills, though.
4. It looks like my kitchen will be done by 12/31. I can’t wait to do real cooking again. Soup, roasted vegetables and roast chicken for the win. Can’t wait.
5. Still drinking my .20 per cup coffee, eating aldi bagels for breakfast and staying out of stores.


Cathy December 12, 2022 at 12:57 pm

We have decided to keep our heat at 65 degrees or lower as well. Husband wasn’t happy about it until the bill was 4x higher than last year for gas. Dang! By the end of winter, we’re both going to be walking around the house, looking like the little brother in “A Christmas Story” in his winter jumpsuit. 🙂


rebecca December 12, 2022 at 3:02 pm

Cathy, I am already beginning to look the michelin man. Nothing like layers! lol


Mary in Maryland December 13, 2022 at 7:15 am

Ours is set at 62. Any lower and I spend all my time under the down comforter. Even as high as 62, visitors decline to take their coats off.


Katy December 13, 2022 at 7:32 pm

I keep ours at 65 if we’re home and visitors complain.


Alison Hicinbothem December 14, 2022 at 1:33 am

I’ve got to go lower on my heat and just wear all the fleece pullovers and a flannel shirt to stay warm. I have used my shoulder/neck heating pad to warm up for 10 minutes.


Mary in Maryland December 14, 2022 at 6:48 am

One of my luxuries is a heating pad under my feet, behind my back, or in my lap while I read under a quilt on the davenport. In my long underwear and pants and sweater and scarf and handwarmers.

Marie December 14, 2022 at 6:03 pm

I can’t take the cold anymore. Our heat pump is set at 65, but we mainly use our woodstove for warmth.
In 16 years, we’ve only bought firewood once. We live in the forest, and always have around 10 cords of wood on hand. At no cost, other than physical


Katy December 14, 2022 at 11:10 pm

It heats you twice.


Ava December 12, 2022 at 6:58 am

Great job on the sweater. I do have a cashmere sweater from Goodwill. At the time I found it, I was looking for natural fiber sweaters to make Ugly Sweater Sheep for craft sales. After I bought it, I realized that it actually fit me so it is in my closet now. And whenever I see my granddaughter in ripped-on-purpose jeans, I question her about the bear attack and she tells me a story about her escape.
As for frugal things:
1. Brought home a cheap plastic yard chair someone left at the recycle bins. It replaces a broken one .
2. Saved $10 with grocery coupons.
3. Sold a thrift store Santa that was hanging out in a closet. I hadn’t used him to decorate for several years.
4. Picked up some free Christmas cards to use for craft purposes.

Can’t think of anything else right now.


Anne D Husk December 12, 2022 at 8:46 am

Love the exchange with your granddaughter about the bear attack.


Jill A December 12, 2022 at 12:56 pm

I also like your “bear attack” exchange with your granddaughter.


Mary in Maryland December 12, 2022 at 7:15 am

1. I bought two John Ashton cashmere sweaters for $4 each in 2002. I wear one or the other every day from October through April. Light and toasty. One now has a few small holes—I was wondering whether to do the mending visibly or not. Clearly to be as fashion forward as Katy, I need to go visible.
2. My long underwear and knit pants all came with saggy crotches. Today I’m altering them to fit better.
3. Our church meets and hosts the refugee bus from Texas (curse you, Greg Abbott) twice a month. The call for warm clothing was a perfect opportunity to unload the winter coats and sweaters we no longer wear. They are piled near the front door so we don’t forget them next Sunday.
4. I’ve been walking weekly with (counseling) a friend whose husband has had a disastrous year health-wise. She always asks if there is anything she can get for me from the grocery store. I have always said no. This time I said onion powder and celery salt—the missing ingredients in my recipe for vegan bouillon. She brought them. I am grateful and mixing it this morning.
5. Saturday morning walking home from picking up our CSA share, some neighbors came out of their house and offered us their pumpkins. (Last year we rescued them from their trash and then sent a thank you note with a mini pie.) We accepted. The soup I made from one was so bland that I revised it the next day with more sautéed onions, frozen peas, and a hefty dose of curry. On this morning’s dog walk we picked up three cans of diced jalapenos from Buy Nothing—the better to jazz up bland pumpkin dishes.
6. I inventoried all my dried beans and grains yesterday. Almost out of black beans, black-eyed peas, and quinoa. Will buy a 25# bag of each. I’m not going to restock millet or cannellini beans as we aren’t thrilled with them. Millet does cook well in the solar cooker, so maybe more next summer.


Ruby December 12, 2022 at 8:33 am

All my cotton knit pajamas had sagging crotches. It’s like they were designed as clown pants. I also altered all of them to fit better.


Mary in Maryland December 12, 2022 at 10:56 am

“Clown pants” is exactly the descriptor I was missing. Thank you.


Katy December 12, 2022 at 10:57 am

Visible for the win!


Nicola December 12, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Do you have a recipe you like for the bouillon? I’d like to make my own.


Mary in Maryland December 13, 2022 at 7:17 am

I got the recipe from these folks. Google “Homemade Vegan Chicken Bouillon Powder Plant Power Couple”. I skipped the salt, but it’s delicious anyway.


Christine December 12, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Your #3…what a wonderful thing to do with your unwanted coats. Those poor souls can certainly make use of them. Right there with you on Mr. Abbott.


geri December 15, 2022 at 6:58 am

Thank each of you for despising Greg Abbott. Shipping people off to use them as political pawns is not only cruel but unfrugal.


MB in MN December 12, 2022 at 7:45 am

Nice work on the sweater and stocking!

1. Cleared out some unneeded ice cubes from the freezer. Thawed them and used the water to fill dog’s dish.

2. After purging papers, I brought the medium binder clips to the kitchen where I use them in place of plastic bag clips. (Wooden clothespins work well, too.)

3. A week before our move and trip to a warmer climate for the winter, we had our car serviced and learned that our 11-year-old vehicle had a bad transmission and wasn’t worth repairing. Although we did spend $120 on the service, we’re glad that we learned of the problem beforehand instead of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. We decided to trade in the car and buy a used one. We knew this expense would be coming sooner than later.

4. Group of friends took us out to a nice restaurant ahead of our move and gave us several nice gifts. And then my brother- and sister-in-law treated us to lunch as a bon voyage.

5. Received a gift certificate to my local bookstore and a chocolate bar from the library where I have volunteered for the last couple years. I will miss everyone and everything about the library.


Jann in Maine December 12, 2022 at 8:10 am

While not frugal it might have frugal ramifications… we updated all our POAs and estate wills etc info to make life easier for our kids. We have a bright purple file with all of this info, attorney and account numbers. In addition passwords for our digital accounts. Peace of mind IS frugal.
Made soup out of turkey carcass and will have that for several dinners.
Am distributing the gift of homemade English toffee to friends and people who over the year are so very helpful in our lives.
Laundry is hanging outside in 21 degree weather.
Have been parking the car for days at a time and batching errands and appointments.
Participated in a Lyme Disease study, got a vaccine ( not sure if placebo or real one) and received a $140 check as a result.
My eBay sales are dismal this year. Actually thinking of canning it after 22 years in business but not sure if that is the direction I will go.
Drinking coffee from home, walking daily, using the library and cooking at home.


A. Marie December 13, 2022 at 7:37 am

Jann, your first item is not only frugal, but a great kindness to your children. One of my winter projects is to finish pulling all this info together for whoever ends up being my executor.


Anne December 12, 2022 at 8:52 am

Katy, it occurs to me that if you had discovered the “Oh darn” sweater some weeks ago you might have had a bit of a thriving business going for Christmas money. The basic sweaters simply need to be solid neutrals, and “dupes” are perfectly acceptable in the fashion world. You could do some tongue in cheek merchandising about high fashion dupes for the thrifty.


Katy December 12, 2022 at 10:54 am

It’s never too late!


Ruby December 12, 2022 at 8:53 am

Your eBay acumen is amazing, Katy!

My five frugal things include some purchases, but they were what I think of as good spends:
1. Every Christmas I give our son an ornament. This year I could not find any reasonably priced single ornaments. The grocery store had a package of tiny ceramic snowman salt and pepper shakers for $2.99. The only clue that they are shakers is the little holes in the top of their hats, through which I will run red string and turn them into ornaments. They are so cute!
2. Due to one of our dogs injuring her back, we had to do away with an ottoman in our den that the dogs liked to lie on and replace it with a big, soft nonslip rug. I found the perfect rug at an online home furnishings store, but could not afford the price. Did an internet search for nonslip rugs of that size, and the exact same rug turned up at a local retailer for 50% less with a 20% off promo code. That was much more like it. The dogs give it two paws up!
3. To match the new rug, I dug in my fabric stash and came up with enough fabric in the right color to re-cover our sofa throw pillows. This is the 2,000th and something time that being able to sew has saved money. This fabric was a remnant purchased years ago.
4. Because the old folding chair that has been my desk chair for years was causing extra pain in my bad knees, I went on a hunt for a good desk chair. Found one marked down at a local office supply store that fit me perfectly. It was not fancy, but it’s comfortable and was the amount I had to spend. They let me buy the floor model, so no assembly required.
5. Ran some elastic in the back waistband of another pair of jeans to take them up. They were falling off me, as I have lost 33 pounds since mid-May.
Bonus: Made a clean out the veggie drawer winter stew with chickpeas that used up all the aging veggies and some odds and ends from the freezer (leftover chicken stock, a tiny bit of sausage, a dab of tomato paste). It’s delicious and made enough for seven lunches for me.


Bee December 12, 2022 at 10:08 am

Ornaments are very expensive this year. I found A blown glass one at a department store that I wanted to purchase for my son and his wife. I kid you not, it was $89.50! Needless to say, I did not buy it. That seemed a little expensive to me.


MB in MN December 12, 2022 at 5:01 pm

Ruby, kudos on your ongoing weight loss – 33 lbs. is an impressive number!


Ruby December 12, 2022 at 5:38 pm

Thank you. It’s been happening at a good pace for my age. My arthritic knees already feel better. I will need all new clothes in the spring, but the offerings are a lot better at the thrifts in the lower sizes.


Bee December 12, 2022 at 9:46 am

I am afraid that my Five Frugal Things may be becoming a bit repetitive. But nonetheless, they do save money and allow to live better with much less.
1. I did some Christmas shopping for my new grandbaby. It was so much fun! I used the Target Circle App to save $26.73 on the purchase of some toys for him.
2. I went to an estate sale on the other side of the city. I was in search of items to resell. I didn’t have much luck with that. However, I bought two really beautiful Irish linen table cloths and 12 matching napkins for $21. I have a thing for linens, China, crystal and silver which are not popular at the moment. So I am able to indulge myself at little cost. I can spend an hour or two setting a table. A beautiful table makes even the most humble meal seem special.
3. I went to a neighborhood party Sunday evening. I used a gift bag and tissue from my collection of previously used wrappings to make a nice package for the hostess.
4. I am listening to an Andrew McCall Smith book, Expresso Tales, on my library’s Hoopla App as a putter around the house straightening, cleaning and decluttering. I grow to love his characters as I listen. I love the way he celebrates everyday things.
5. I’ve done all the usual things — cooked at home, brewed my own coffee, and batched errands. I have listed and sold a few things on eBay —nothing as impressive as a Sferra Needlepoint stocking I’ve scanned my receipts to Ibotta and Fetch. I checked and adjusted my tire pressure at the gas station with free air. (Sounds a little absurd)
Wishing you love, joy and peace this holiday season.


Mary in Maryland December 12, 2022 at 2:08 pm

Doing the same frugal things habitually is wonderful! Congratulations!


Christine December 12, 2022 at 2:09 pm

Andrew McCall Smith is my favorite author of cozy mysteries. I too love his characters and am sorry with the ending of each book that I won’t “see” them for awhile…that is, until the next installment of that particular series is in print. My very favorite character is Precious Ramotswe. I love how a simple cup of Red Bush Tea is somehow a wonderful event for her and how the time she spends sipping it often leads to answers to life’s questions.
Glad you had such fun shopping for your grandbaby. Love, joy and peace to you and yours too.


Kathy December 12, 2022 at 11:31 am

1. Was gifted a box of homemade cookies. Yummy
2. Sold an item for my sister
3. Mailed the few gifts I’m giving
4. Discovered nwt pants in my closet which I will have hemmed
5. Attended free holiday concert by the 375th army band


Selena December 12, 2022 at 11:49 am

I am the definition of a cheap date.
Well as long you are not the definition of easy, we won’t hold it against you lol.


Roberta December 12, 2022 at 12:03 pm

1. Received bags of peaches, shrimp and dog snacks from my neighbor who is moving. I will make the peaches into jam, and enjoy the heat from them. I’ll use some to make cobbler when my niece comes over to dinner. I am completely out of freezer space, but I’ll make it work. The down side is, I was planning to cook up the Halloween pumpkins to put in the freezer and I can’t do that now, so it makes my Christmas decorating look a little odd.
2. Spent a lot on a local Christmas tree, but I’m happy to support this city farm. I did take home a bunch of branches (for free) to make a living room wreath out of an old hoola hoop. It’s a beautiful addition to the living room decor, and I enjoyed the project of creating our own wreath.
3. We had play tickets in LA yesterday, but we were not looking forward to the drive in the rain after a long weekend. We ended up giving the tickets to my brother-in-law, and stayed home. Saved a tank of gas, and dinner out. I’m sorry to miss the show, which is supposed to be wonderful, but happier after a day watching movies at home and making gingersnaps (and eating them).
4. I bought books for my daughter’s Christmas present from Better World Books. Saved money and supported charity.
5. Finally figured out a Christmas present for my mom: new bath towels, fancy soap I found at a garage sale (new in package), a pumice stone that was a gift and surplus, and a couple of knitted soap savers. Probably a couple more odds and ends for the bath. She’s the hardest to shop for, and only getting the towels new makes me happy. She’s still using towels that I hated when I was in high school.

My husband teaches at a high school, and the kids love his visible mend jeans. So if teenagers like it, mending must be fashionable!


Christine December 12, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Roberta, try cutting the tops off the pumpkins as you would do to make a jack o’ lantern. Discard the top to the birds and/or wildlife who enjoy eating them along with any seeds or pulp from the inside. Then stick some greens and red berries in the pumpkin. Makes a nice decoration for a front porch. When I did this in the past, a neighbor would always tell me how Martha Stewardish I was becoming!


Roberta December 15, 2022 at 8:55 pm

Thanks! I need something to dress up the front porch!


Geri December 15, 2022 at 7:09 am

Never heard of Better World Books. Thanks! Just ordered a gift for my bf from that site and they donated a book with my order!


Bethany M December 12, 2022 at 12:27 pm

I thrifted 2 skirts and 2 pairs of shoes for my 2 girls and a book for my son to see if he likes the Encyclopedia Brown series.

I almost bought a tri tip marked down from $29 to $9 but I know I can do even better with ground beef and chicken and since the tri tip was pre seasoned, I wasn’t so sure how my kids would have liked it anyway.

I topped off my year’s supply of pumpkin from Aldi at $1.29 a can. Completed it over weekly trips with a few cans a week. I don’t buy a year’s supply of a lot of stuff, but one of my kiddos needs the extra vitamin a and she eats it like a serving of applesauce. The rest of the year you can count on it being $2.99+ per can.

My kitchen table had 2 chairs bite the dust. I wanted to replace the set, but I knew it wasn’t in the budget, so we’ve been making do with schlepping dining chairs over to the kitchen, and then it dawned on me that many sets have a bench in place of two of the chairs. I found a nice one for $89 and can now glance over Costco’s lovely $1,300 sets without discontentment.

We have a window/door by the kitchen table that streams in too much Sunshine for our family lunches on the weekend. I thought I could have Lowes measure and get a custom blind installed, but I measured myself and found the exact dimensions in a roller shade for $27. Hubby installed. Boom another problem solved on the cheap.


Nicola December 12, 2022 at 1:09 pm

Just for future reference, Home depot do in store, cut to size blinds. It means you can get custom sizes for budget prices.


Bethany M December 12, 2022 at 7:11 pm

Thanks! I’ll remember that!


Geri December 15, 2022 at 7:11 am

If there is a Dollar Tree store near you, they often have canned pumpkin at 1.25/can. If you are near a 99 cent only store, they usually have it for……99 cents.


Bethany M December 16, 2022 at 8:41 pm

Hey! My Dollar Tree doesn’t have it, and no 99¢ stores here. But maybe I could check into Dollar Tree ship to store in the future. Thanks for the heads up!


Regina December 19, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Dollar Tree does ship, but check to see if it is only by the box/case. I ordered years ago a few boxes/case of item needed for party (when it was actually still $1). Of course there is shipping charge.


Lindsey December 12, 2022 at 12:38 pm

1. Husband’s singing group performed at an activity and he was sent home with a box of 18 Dove bars. Free food. Free ice cream. Free chocolate covering on the ice cream. Thank you!
2. Did a mystery shop and received $36 in free food, and it was a pick up so all I had to do was order on line, drive to the store and open the back of the vehicle for someone to put the groceries in. Easiest mystery shop ever.
3. Felt pretty good so took the dog for a short walk. Found a Firehouse subs gift card in the street, somewhat worse for the tire marks ground into it. Came home to find it had $139 left on it!! Also found a knit hat and it washed up to a beautiful hat that I added to the stash of hats I collect and then turn into the local free hot lunch cafe we have for folks. They often arrive cold and with no hats, gloves or warm socks, so the cafe keeps a colelction of those items for the taking.
4. Sold one of my husband’s many ugly holiday sweaters for $25. It is about 20 years old but has been worn only about a dozen times so was in great shape. Husband has many sweaters left, believe me.
5. Turned off two streaming services after one month of binge watching favorite shows on each one. One of them was only $1.99 a month under a deal and I was tempted to keep it…sanity prevailed and I turned it off.


MB in MN December 12, 2022 at 4:57 pm

Lindsey, that gift card in #3 was quite the find!


Bee December 13, 2022 at 4:02 am

FYI regarding gift cards. I recently had some money remaining on a Visa gift card used fraudulently by another party. I needed to know the balance on the card and put in the web address on the back of the card. Once at the site, I filled in the info required and a message popped up that said they were having technical difficulties at this time. I put it aside and did something else. Later that day I decided to call the customer service number instead and was told I had a $0 balance. I knew this was not true. When I listen to the transactions, there had been one earlier than day that had used the remaining funds. I had been diverted to a fake site. I reported it to the card company, but they never followed up. So be careful make sure your website address matches exactly or call if you need a balance. Definitely a frugal fail!


Katy December 13, 2022 at 7:38 pm

That’s awful, I’m so sorry this happened to you!


Regina December 19, 2022 at 4:08 pm

If you have the store in your area just go to store & ask cashier for balance. They scan & print receipt of balance or tell you.


Peg December 12, 2022 at 1:45 pm

I didn’t read all the comments, so I’m sorry if someone already mentioned this. A person can cancel any of the free or extremely cheap subscriptions-streaming tv, amazon prime etc-immediately after subscribing. You’ll get a message that it won’t “renew” but it’s still good until the offer’s end date. That way a person doesn’t need to remember to unsubscribe at a later date.


Christine December 12, 2022 at 2:22 pm

Good to know. Thanks!


Marybeth December 12, 2022 at 2:12 pm

1. I got asked to make 200 pumpkin muffins for a friend of a friend. They own a small cleaning business and want to give them to their clients. I still had 3 pumpkins so I cooked them up and got baking. Made a nice profit on my day off. It will go right to the mortgage. There were 4 extra muffins which is how many people are in our house. I froze the leftover pumpkin.
2. My daughter made a double batch of pumpkin dog treats for all of the dogs in her life. They went in the freezer until it gets closer to Christmas.
3. Hubby had to take an online course for work. At the end it asked you to fill out a survey for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. He won.
4. Aldi had $2 off pizza crusts on several packages. I grabbed 2. We are having pizza tonight. My son made a large pot of sauce on his night to cook. Both kids (21&23) cook one night each week.
5. The only decorations I bought were candy canes for the tree.


Cindy in the South December 12, 2022 at 2:32 pm

I cannot decide which I like best, the fantastic Goodwill fake mended sweater for your niece, the gorgeous stocking, or the hot dog, which sounds fabulous bc I love pickled beets! Hard decision!


Christine December 12, 2022 at 2:43 pm

1. My sister in law gave me a platter full of homemade Christmas cookies and I gave her a homemade Swedish Almond Cake. I would much rather have the cookies than a gift and likewise for her with the cake.
2. Had to spend $5.97 for a bag of dirt to make my Christmas cemetery baskets today but besides the dirt nothing was spent. I would have gotten the dirt free from my yard if I had gone out to dig it before the snow came yesterday. Sigh. I clipped greens and berries, got the silk poinsettia flowers for free and I’m using the containers I used last year which I had purchased at the Salvation Army Store. While buying the dirt at Home Depot today I noticed their cemetery baskets started at $29.99 and went up to $49.99. I need two so that is big savings.
3. I bought a cookie press today to make Spritz at home. $19 but will save me money in the long run since I won’t be purchasing Spritz from a bakery and I just need Spritz at Christmastime.
4. Keeping our heat at 65 during the day and 60 at night or when we’re not home. Sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants and slippers keep us cozy. Large appliances only get run on the weekends or after 9 pm and before 6 am due to electricity prices going down at those times.
5. I’m going to a free program on Thursday at the library: Ghosts of Christmas Pasts. Apparently telling ghost stories was quite the form of entertainment at Christmas in the olden days. Also reading library books. Right now, I’m reading Black Snow about the fire bombing of major Japanese cities in WWII by B29 aircraft. Since my father was a bombadier aboard one during that war I have an interest in that time period. That’s my “downstairs” book. Upstairs, to read before sleep. I’m reading One Hundred Saturdays, an interesting read about a woman who lived in Juderia, an island off the coast of Italy who was forcibly removed along with every Jew who resided there and sent to the camps. As you can see, I have an interest in the WWII era. Some parts are hard to read but I like to learn as much as I can about that time period.


Jennifer December 12, 2022 at 5:40 pm

OMG the sweater – how is that expensive or popular?

1. 3 of my kids ended up home Friday to decorate the tree. I ended up making homemade pizza using up already browned sausage, a block of mozzarella that was languishing in the fridge and opened a can of black olives. Felt good to scrounge and come up with something they all liked.

2. My dh and I go on a cheap date every weekend to the local coffee shop. Sometimes we split a scone with our coffee. Our weekly dates cost no more than $10.

3. Worked the ibotta deals on stuff we need/use all the time and was able to get $10 in bonuses.

4. I didn’t spend money on fancy picture Christmas cards. I bought cheap holiday cards and printed off a photo of dh and I for 1/2 off at CVS. I haven’t sent cards in years but was feeling the need for an update to the elderly relatives.

5. A friend posted a pair of like new Converse on Facebook marketplace in my dd’s size for $25. I noticed last time I saw her that hers were not only way too big but falling apart. $25 is much cheaper than a new pair of Converse high tops.


Katy December 12, 2022 at 6:14 pm

The weird thing with the sweater is that I was initally mocking it, but grew to love by the time I’d finished darning it. For sure going to thrift for one in my size.


Amy December 13, 2022 at 5:49 am

This happens. All of the time to me.


Texasilver December 12, 2022 at 8:08 pm

1. Changed to a dentist who is a preferred provider in our insurance plan (I liked our former dentist & hated changing.) So far we like the new dentist & our out of pocket has gone down.
2. Made tasty French toast from dry bread slices & some out of date milk. Added an egg, some vanilla, 2 packets of stevia & voila!
3. Will gift my sister a leather purse I ordered on Ebay. It was not returnable. I think she will like it.
4. Used a Walmart gift card I earned from donating blood to buy some needed food items.
5. My school gave a Surface Pro to use. I have yet to buy a computer. First the school issued me an iPad. When it was outdated I was issued a Surface Pro. My colleague also gave me a HP laptop as she had one she was not using. I know one day I will have to buy a device but the loaners & free one work for now.


Ecoteri December 12, 2022 at 11:44 pm

1. my chickens are overproducing and my usual client is away – the two dozen she usually buys manage to keep the supply to a dull roar, lately my fridge is a scary row of cartons. I had purchased some yummy bread on discount (two loaves) and realized that I wasn’t going to finish them. I made a huge batch of french toast (14 eggs in the end!!) and after cooking them I cooled them on a rack, then carefully layerd on parchment paper and put in the freezer. Have been busy and tomorrow will go and slice the parchment paper to divide each piece, pack into the bred bags and tuck into my son’s freezer – he is the one going to work each morning, and this is way cheaper than cereal!
2. picked through the last of my cherry tomatoes that have been slowly ripening on a several layers of newspaper in a box. I probably saved 3/4 of what was there, the rest went to the chickens. Today I washed and de-stemmed them and roasted until a bit blackened. They have now been blitzed with the stick blender and tucked into a jar in the fridge – someone on here mentioned pizza and so I might make a dough on Thursday for a treat
3. Continuing to be much better about eating what we have in the fridge (althoguh I just found a hidden container that will go to the birds tomorrow.) I am proud of myself as this has been difficult for me, to eat something I am bored with until it is gone. however, my wallet likes it!
4. Not frugal at all yet it is so good for my peace of mind. Am investing in a lot of hours to pay a cleaner to do a room at a time, getting two bedrooms fully washed (walls, baseboards, curtains, floors, bedding…) and tidied and sorted and prepped for my Christmas guests. I am not physically able to do that and do anything else, so it is personal energy frugal for me to pay someone else. She is AWESOME and while she does that, i have been working away at the many harvest bins in my kitchen, sorting seeds and peppers and getting things organized. She will come into the living room and dining room (really just kitchen eating area) soon, and again start in one corner and work her way around, relieving me of an enormous load of overwhelm. I have been budgetting for this, including firing my usual cleaner 6 months ago as she wasn’t really doing a great job – the new cleaner is being paid with the money I have saved!
5. Coffee at home, as always. watching the sales and being far more conscious when I go to the store – conscious of my tendency to buy more than we need. The prices are helping me stay frugal – Sticker shock is terrible! So I am buying loss-leaders and really watching the flyers, noting in my phone what I want to get at what store, and batching my errands around obligations to save on gas


Hadilly December 13, 2022 at 9:15 am

If you see cottage cheese as a loss leader, buy a big container and try making Kitchn’s three ingredient cottage cheese pancakes. I think they are absolutely delicious, freeze well, and use an enormous quantity of eggs (12-16 if using the big container of cottage cheese, depends on your egg size). I do add a bit of baking powder per a commenter’s note. My husband likes thinly sliced apples added to one side.


Ecoteri December 13, 2022 at 8:01 pm

@Hadilly, thanks, I will keep this in mind, and the baking powder idea, too. Funny, I use Safari for my browser most of the time but the comments weren’t showing up so I had to go to Chrome, which causes my laptop to overheat if I forget to quit. Life, always a challenge when chasing pancake recipes.


Amy December 13, 2022 at 5:43 am

1. I made Christmas cookies with ingredients I already had on hand. My sister also gave me, walnuts, pecans and a half bag of chocolate chips to get rid of them.
2. Instead of convincing myself I had no cookie worthy baking sheets, I covered all of my sheets with parchment paper.
3. I used up random postage stamps for my cards. I think a few of these Forever Stamps are 10 years old. I also used cards I got on 75% off and 90% off.
4. Finishing a blanket for my daughter with “donated” yarn from my sister.
5. I haven’t had any “deer” damage to my car this year.


JC December 13, 2022 at 4:40 pm

I too had a pair of embroidered, patched bell bottoms in the 1970’s. My granddaughters would kill to have them now.
1. Made a big pot of broccoli soup and shard with family.
2. deboned a ham, saved the bone for Saturday ham and beans and glazed the ham chunk with old jam and mustard. Sliced thin for lunch sandwiches.
3. made up pizza dough for 6 pizzas, will make and freeze for heat and eat night.
4. having my washing machine repaired, buying a new one is out of the question.
the new ones are too technical, and I like just plain appliances.
5. going to try my hand at making chicken cordon bleu, on sale chicken breast, ham bits and some swiss cheese from the freezer.


auntiali December 14, 2022 at 2:04 am

My five frugal things:
1. Messing around with the thermostat to see what is the lowest temp we can stand.
2. A neighbor was throwing out a book shelf. It’s one that folds. I’m so happy I could manage to pick it up and get it in my car. Dh brought it into the kitchen. It was filthy but me and some store brand windex and rags made it beautiful.
3. Today is my one year anniversary of having gastric sleeve surgery. It’s been quite the frugal endeavor. I didn’t pay for surgery or hospital stay as I had already met my medical deductible. I ate waaay less afterwards. I’ve lost 103 pounds. I can now do many things I couldn’t do before. I can: pick things up off the floor, get around on my own two feet instead of a wheelchair, go up and down the basement stairs to do laundry, am able to stand on my feet to make supper. My medication costs have gone down cause I just can’t fit that many meds into my stomach. I feel great.
4. Wrapped Christmas presents in free sheets of wrapping paper that I got from Toys For Tots I think.
5. Hubby got me more stamps at Costco. They are Christmas elves. I’ll probably have these stamps for the next 2 years at least. I’m glad I got them as the price is going to go up again in January?


Karen Stitt December 14, 2022 at 5:02 am

auntali, What a wonderful accomplishment with your weight loss!! So happy it has changed your quality of life.Happy holidays to you!!


Jill A December 14, 2022 at 5:45 am

Congratulations on your weight loss and improved health.


MB in MN December 14, 2022 at 5:52 am

auntiali, your #3 is AMAZING! Not only frugal but life-improving. Happy one-year anniversary!


Ruby December 14, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Happy bypass anniversary! You have done so well losing weight and regaining your health.


Christine December 14, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Congratulations on your weight loss. I feel happy for you reading about your increased strength and mobility too.


BethC. December 14, 2022 at 8:29 am

1. I got selected to do a health survey by our state health department and received $16.25 for about 10 minutes worth of work. Qualified for a follow up survey and got a $25 Whole Foods gift card for another 10 minutes of work.
2. Went to a holiday brunch and contributed a quick bread that I made from this summer’s squash bounty that I had stashed in the freezer.
3. Used Madewell credits to score 2 pairs of free sale socks with free shipping. I will give 1 pair to my sister as part of her Christmas gift.
4. Used an about to expire IHG hotel free night certificate to stay in a NYC Holiday Inn Express for free. Broadway show that I am seeing with my sister were not free, but as a hospital nurse she got them at a discount via her employer.
5. Husband reported that in my absence, he found a slice of pineapple upside down cake that we had forgotten about in the freezer. He was beside himself and enjoyed it last night.


Katy December 14, 2022 at 11:13 am

Fun! What play are you seeing?


BethC. December 18, 2022 at 7:26 pm

We saw Moulin Rouge. It was awesome!


Marie December 14, 2022 at 6:42 pm

1. Roasted a 7 lb chicken that had been in the freezer since july. If I remember right it was .79 lb. Originally, $11.
Ate two meals, then made chicken salad from the meat. then made chicken soup, with carrots, and potatoes from the garden.
Now the carcass will make bone broth for my 2 dogs.
2. Have been looking forever for a new to me file cabinet. Found one on marketplace, 2 drawers, and bottom drawer is for filing. All wood for $20. The old beat up metal one will go for scrap.
3. Ran out of mailing package paper. Have to mail 2 gifts and don’t care to drive 10 miles to the nearest store. Will be cutting up paper bags, ( my mom’s trick, back when), to get them in the mail before fri.
Other than my highlights, doing the usual. Only buying food on sale, cooking at home!
Oh, I have. #4. Received a Bath & Body works gift card. Though I’m not a fan, it will make a nice Christmas gift


Susan December 15, 2022 at 12:48 pm

1. Sold a few items on marketplace and eBay, listed several more items. Money in, crap out.
2. Painted and repurposed an old wine cabinet into a much needed shelf at my office. Used paint we had on hand.
3. Baked pumpkin muffins from a trash picked pumpkin. Made sourdough bread for my kids teachers at school along with a grocery gift card. Made a big batch of bone broth with bags of random chicken/turkey bones/veggie scraps in the freezer. Found some frozen sugar cookie dough from a fundraiser last year, will make a small batch of Christmas cookies with it.
4. I wore a dress I had for my husbands work Christmas party. Pretty sure I wore it 2 years ago but oh well. Found out 2 other fancy dresses are too big on me so I’ll list them on eBay. We skipped our normal date night for the party.
5. Have resisted the siren song of holiday coffee drinks. I love coffee and I will enjoy one at some point but not every day or even every week.


Julia December 15, 2022 at 5:24 pm

I actually just asked for a sweater shaver and a mini mending loom to do a cool sweater like what you posted. I have a gray hooded wool sweater love. It was a thrift buy and had several holes already.
1. Found packs of turkey dogs marked down to $1. Bought 5!
2. Found a very warm and fluffy king size comforter that had been put out for the trash. One seam had come undone. I sewed it up washed it and now it’s a nice addition to our bed. Free is wonderful!
3. Needed two Christmas t-shirts for a play. Thrift store for the win. Total $4
4. Set up our electric fireplace in the living room. I found it last year out on the curb for trash. Nothing wrong with it .
5. Went to hear a wonderful Christmas brass ensemble at a local church. Free admission and they had cookies and other snacks! It was a lovely evening.


Katy December 15, 2022 at 10:43 pm

I love how both your garbage picked finds are about being warm and cozy!


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