Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 19, 2022 · 61 comments

  1. My husband was able to replace a valve piece coming from the top of our 25-year-old hot water heater, which was infinitely preferable to replacing the entire thing. I’d come down to switch laundry that morning to discover the overflow pipe dribbling water all over the floor, which was a decidedly unwelcome sight. (Luckily, we have an unfinished concrete slab floor, so there was no harm.) My first thought was “well that’s another thousand bucks,” so I was greatly relieved when the entire job cost around $50 and only took a couple hours to complete, including the trip to Home Depot!

    Hooray for YouTube tutorials!

  2. I thrifted a midcentury Danish end table for $4.99 in May and finally sold it for $75. This may sound like it wasn’t worth the effort, but the hard part was finding it, identifying it, cleaning it up and then putting together the Facebook Marketplace listing. After that it’s just hitting “renew this listing” every week or so. And boom, seven months later . . . a $70 profit!

    All jokes aside, brick and mortar stores don’t expect to sell their entire inventory on a weekly basis, so why should I?

  3. I followed specific directions from this Michael Saves YouTube video to score a free year of premium Netflix for free through my Verizon account, as long as I signed up for an additional subscription service. The trick is to pick the cheapest subscription, which is the $24.95 NFL+ plan. Mind you, I’ve never once watched a football game in my entire life, but who am I to let that stop me?

    This hack will pay for itself in two months, which I consider to be worth the effort. I just need to make sure to cancel the NFL+ subscription before it renews!

  4. I read a library copy of Christmas at Rosie Hopkin’s Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan, my mother let me sneak a couple gifts into a package she was already mailing off to my sister’s family, I sold a board game for $50 (and then printed the eBay label at the library) and I lit my menorah using Chanukah candles I picked up at Goodwill.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

    Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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    Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs you nothing extra.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

K D December 19, 2022 at 5:32 am

Wowza! Great deal on the one year of Netflix.

1. I think we have mostly been saving on food which is a good thing given the inflationary price increases. I shopped for a few sale items at Lidl and also purchased a $100 gift card which should give me $20 off in the near future. They had discounted a lot of holiday items, especially baked goods and candies but I didn’t need/buy any.
2. I bought a $5 Flash Food produce box. It contained several apples and summer squashes, a few bell peppers, two bananas, and two cucumbers. The cucumbers were sliced and put in leftover pickle juice. I’ll saute the veggies today with the addition of a partial onion and some carrots. Bonus points for walking to the store to pick up the produce.
3. CVS has been giving me ExtraBucks because I didn’t shop there for 2+ years. I drive by the store at least twice a week. I used $4 ExtraBucks to get a large bag of on sale trail mix for $1 out of pocket. I used $5 ExtraBucks to get a bag of on sale snack mix and a bag of on sale popcorn for $2 out of pocket.
4. I needed something to wear to a winter wedding. I ordered a dress from ThredUp. It was less than $10 and shipping was free. It needs a slip underneath it. I have an old half slip that is too long. I am going to tack it to my bra and then it should be the perfect length.
5. A Jeep parade came through our neighborhood Saturday evening. We walked down to the location it would pass through and spent some time talking to neighbors while we waited. Free entertainment, fresh air, some extra exercise, what’s not to like?


Katy December 19, 2022 at 9:34 am

Bonus points have been added to your account.


Ruby December 19, 2022 at 10:28 am

I am finally in a group where I can tell this story: For our extremely low-budget wedding, I borrowed a full-length half-slip to wear under my wedding dress. The slip was way too long on me — I am quite short — so I carefully rolled the waist of it up a little and safety-pinned it to my bra. The dress was not skin-tight so it worked.

My husband also borrowed the shoes he wore to the altar from a friend at work. We had such great friends: anyone who will loan you their shoes and undergarments are true friends!


Katy December 19, 2022 at 10:43 am

I applaud your ingenuity!


Kathy December 19, 2022 at 6:54 am

1. We’re on vacation so enjoying reading books I brought with me.
2. We were upgraded free to first class for one leg of our flight. I enjoyed the free adult beverage plus the deluxe nut mix
3. Sold something of my sisters and got it in the mail before we left
4. Cocktailing hair care products to use up what I have
5. Working on Christmas Day dinner menu with daughter in law. We’re having eggplant Parmesan vs meat. We had beef tenderloin for thanksgiving so trying to cut the budget


BettafrmdaVille December 19, 2022 at 4:21 pm

I recently came from from an international trip, and I decided to order a drink with liquor every time that the man in front of me did. They give you the nip, separate from the mixer, so I just popped them in my bag. I especially like to order the liquor that we only use for baking/cooking as it tends to be small amounts & it means that I won’t have to purchase a large bottle.


Anne December 19, 2022 at 10:23 pm

Very clever.


Hawaii Planner December 19, 2022 at 7:54 am

Nice score on Netflix!

-Sold a reffing shirt on eBay, and a huge dresser on FB marketplace
-Gave away a bunch of stuff on Buy Nothing, including a few new things, that others will use as Christmas gifts. Not frugal for me, but frugal for others. Plus, having a decluttered house is always a win.
-Dealt with a few returns. My five year long search for a comfortable but supportive sports bra continues. It really, really shouldn’t be this hard. Forgot about people mailing Christmas packages, and stood in a lengthy line. But, it’s done!
-Meal planned, ate leftovers, continued on my “use five random freezer items in December” plan.


Heidi Louise December 19, 2022 at 8:10 am

Good luck on your search! I need support though not enough for what might be called “sport.” Have read of people wearing two different bras at the same time, which provide support but that seems like more work than it should be.


Katy December 19, 2022 at 9:33 am

Yes, that package that my mom was sending to my sister? I offered to take it myself to the post office and stood in line for a full hour and a half. I was full-on best friends with the woman in line by the time I got to the front.


Jenn H December 19, 2022 at 9:58 am

My husband stood in the crazy post office line last week but needed to mail one more thing. I took him over there at 6pm yesterday (Sunday) and introduced him to the joys of the self serve postal machine! There is no good time at our post office, even at 6 on Sun there were 2 people ahead of us at the self service machine but still better than an hour and a half human line.


Katy December 19, 2022 at 10:24 am

I print my own USPS labels and have the postal carrier pick up the packages, but this was an act of service for my mom. Sure made me appreciate that I know how to avoid these lines!


MB in MN December 19, 2022 at 8:17 am

1. Hemorrhaged money due to our move, including a last-minute $1,500 heating repair.

2. Opened a higher interest savings account to park our house proceeds which we’ll be using when (if!) we ever find another house. The interest earned also helps offset our travel costs over the next few months.

3. Brought the remaining contents of our refrigerator and pantry on our trip and used that to cobble together meals and snacks.

4. Took full advantage of complimentary breakfast at hotels.

5. Redeemed credit card cash back rewards via a statement credit.


Bee December 20, 2022 at 4:30 am

You must be happy to have the move behind you. No matter how organized I have tried to be in the past, it always seems stressful.


MB in MN December 21, 2022 at 11:52 am

Sure am! Moving is ginormously stressful no matter how prepared and organized one is.


Ruby December 19, 2022 at 8:24 am

Katy, I really like your long view on moving your thrifted merchandise. So often stuff just takes time.

My recent FFT:

1. Cut our son’s hair, saving him him $15.

2. Finally after six months filed for out of network reimbursement for my hideously expensive glasses. It was almost as big of a pain in the rear end as I feared, but maybe money back would be good.

3. Went to the grocery store with some store coupons, scoped out the clearance rack and had the lately unusual experience of not paying full price for anything purchased. Floated to the car on a cloud of frugal bliss!

4. Dropped a bag of donations at our tiny local Goodwill and popped inside for a super quick look around. Came out with two much needed winter shirts for a total of $5.28.

5. Made treats for our dogs that used up some of the puree from the abandoned Halloween pumpkin I rescued at work. The treats use peanut butter, so I finally blenderized the jar of natural peanut butter in the pantry — my hands are too arthritic to stir the oil in manually now — and then mixed up the liquid portion of the treat recipe in the blender jar afterward so no remnants of peanut butter were wasted.


Jill A December 19, 2022 at 8:24 am

1. I joined AARP for $12 the first year and paid with my credit card which gave me a credit of $8 as a reward for joining.
2. I used my AARP discount to book a hotel room on Mackinac Island next year for a few nights saving over $100.
3. I made marinara sauce in the crockpot using tomatoes I’d cleaned out of my freezer. I now have several servings of marinara frozen for future pizzas.
4. I’m watching Home Alone on a free Disney + subscription from Verizon and wrapping presents using estate sale purchased wrapping paper. Several of the gifts are thrifted items including a whole set of Cutco Utensils I’ve been trying to find for my daughter for a few years.
5. I’m filling my adult children’s stockings with mostly necessities – socks, underwear, protective phone cases…rum. Many of these gifts are also thrifted.


Katy December 19, 2022 at 9:30 am

I always pick up Cutco when I find it at the thrift, it sells very well on eBay.


Amy December 20, 2022 at 5:29 am

Even if they are trashed.


Jill D December 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Mmmm…rum! Even thrifted rum would be appreciated at the moment.


Bee December 20, 2022 at 4:34 am

Estate Sale wrapping, ribbon and stationery are huge money savers! Huge! I have seen rum on rare occasion too.


Jill A December 20, 2022 at 5:18 am

I should clarify…Rum, socks, underwear and phone cases were new except for one exception of thrifted new novelty socks. I should have said many of the other stocking stuffers were thrifted or estate sale finds. I would have no problem buying estate sale rum but honestly I don’t think I’ve come across any alcohol at an estate sale.


Selena December 20, 2022 at 8:15 am

In my state, you’d have to have a liquor license to sell it. A friend’s deceased father collected various liquor in various containers/decanters (which we hardly see these days). The family was told if they wanted to garage sale the items, they’d have to open and dump out the liquor (hence decreasing the value). Not sure what they did with it all but it wasn’t garage saled!


Katy December 20, 2022 at 10:07 am

How would the liquor commission know about what’s being sold at a garage sale?


Bee December 20, 2022 at 11:31 am

I think that licensed estate sale companies are very careful about selling booze, firearms or other dangerous items. However, I have been to sales where it was sold. At one house, the seller found 10 cases of Jack Daniels under the stairs. I suppose if you were reported it could be a problem, but I wonder if there is a temporary license available in some states.

Jill A December 20, 2022 at 1:18 pm

A few years ago I did find wine at a garage sale for $1 a bottle. It was leftover from the daughters wedding and they didn’t drink. I bought a whole case. Now I’m sad that I didn’t buy it all. It was so good and made a great gift.

Lindsey December 19, 2022 at 9:51 am

1. My best frugal win, perhaps my best ever, happened without any effort. I did a grocery store mystery shop that involved placing an internet order and then picking it up. I got home to find everything I ordered ($50 worth) plus what looked to be someone else’s entire grocery order. I called the store but they cannot accept returned food so they told me to keep it and wished me a Merry Christmas on them. These other folks eat a lot of name brand items and I am stocked up with enough peanut butter, almonds, kielbasa, apples, mayo and vinegar and bread to last for weeks! There was also fancy cat food that I am giving to a friend.
2. It is 37 below zero and has been several nights running. We have a heater in the chicken coop but it was still pretty cold out there. Borrowed a small heater from a friend, rather than buying one, to keep the chickens warmer. It is one of those that can’t catch fire.
3. Received my brother’s Christmas gift, a case of toilet paper. I have my family trained to get us that if they insist on buying gifts, so I get four to six cases every December. Believe me, I LOVE this gift! My gift to them is cookies that Grandma made and no one else besides me bothered to learn the recipe.
4. Library, library, library…books and puzzles.
5. Sold three books and a Christmas quilt on eBay.


Lynda December 19, 2022 at 10:41 am

I love your #3!


A. Marie December 19, 2022 at 9:55 am

Five Frugal Things, FFT Soup Edition:

I’m about to construct a soup with these ingredients:

(1) A quart of homemade chicken stock from the freezer.
(2) Homegrown garlic and locally grown onions.
(3) Two ears of corn passed on to the Bestest Neighbors by their next-door neighbors (going out of town for Xmas). The BNs passed these on to me in turn, and I’ve sliced the corn off the cobs.
(4) Ham left over from the .99/lb. ham shank I bought at Price Chopper last week.
(5) Spinach and mushrooms that aren’t getting any younger. (Just like me.)


A. Marie December 19, 2022 at 10:34 am

Oops, I forgot the cooked potatoes that were left over from something else and the slightly wilted carrots and celery. That’s eight frugal things.

Also, Happy Chanukah to Katy and all others who celebrate it!


Katy December 19, 2022 at 10:42 am

Thank you!


Jill A December 20, 2022 at 5:22 am

That sounds so good. I love soup in the winter…frugal and delicious.


janine December 19, 2022 at 10:51 am

We are trying for some unique gifts for our family this year:
1. Our expensive grocery store has been offering 3-day specials for “members”.
Scored a $40 “Coffee Break” gift box for $19.95 +tax. Caught the cashier trying to charge us full price just in time. Son loves his coffee and box included treats, coffee, cup and cute wrapping. Figure I might have paid full price if I didn’t figure in the expensive brand and fancy wrapping and bow.
2. DH and I stopped in Harbor Freight this morning to check out the deals and ended up with scissors, nightlights, and flashlight key chains. Also moving blankets that I think will be great for the trunks of kids’ cars in case of getting stuck in the snow or needed for extra covering. These will be their stocking stuffers . Nothing cost over $6.
3. Borrowed this month’s book club selection from the library. It is about an insurrection in 1898 in Wilmington, NC. entitled ‘Wilmington’s Lie’ by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Zucchino. Not an easy read, but thought provoking about our racial history.
4. Ordered groceries from Walmart. Did this mostly during the pandemic, but have largely returned to brick and mortar stores. Due to time constraints, decided to order on-line for pickup. Just to let everyone know, their policy of substitutions has changed from not charging extra for substitutions to a new policy of charging the new price . They do warn you about new policy. I received a different brand of ice cream which cost about $2 more and wasn’t anywhere near the flavor I originally ordered. During the pandemic we were amused by the sometimes crazy substitutions, but if I order again, I will opt out of accepting them.
5. Made vegetable soup and apple-cherry crisp out of less than fresh produce that other wise might have gone to waste for the win.


rebecca December 19, 2022 at 10:57 am

Happy holidays Katy and everyone!
1. I have not bought any gifts for people this year. We all decided that time and experiences together are the most important thing.
2. I used a coupon to get a free burger at Wendy’s with a purchase of any other product. I am so ready for my kitchen to be done and cook again.
3. Still drinking .20 a cup coffee. It is actually pretty good.
4. Donating some things-a lamp and some never used cookbooks. I hope someone else can use them.
5.Watched the World Cup for excitement and entertainment. The final was so exciting.


Katy December 19, 2022 at 11:33 am

I am no soccer fan, but agree that the final game was extra exciting!


Selena December 19, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Not for those of us fervently hoping that faux would switch soccer to FS1 as to *not* bump the local NFL game. For those old enough to remember the “Heidi” bump, we were ready to email/call lol..


Cindy Brick December 19, 2022 at 11:29 am

You need to try THE CHRISTMAS BOOKSHOP next…I read some of Jenny Colgan’s other bakery novels, but thought them slightly goofy. Some of those flavor combinations were a little weird. But LOVED the Bookshop novel. (In fact, looking for a cheap copy to add to my permanent library.)

1. Got a free meal on Veteran’s Day at a very upscale Rodizio Grill. Entered a fishbowl contest while there — and won 2 free meals, plus a bottle of wine! Those will be used for our anniversary Dec. 26.

2. Made bacon-and-cheese quesadillas out of 3 strips of bacon, the scrapings out of a package of Cheddar, and a handful of finely-minced onion. The secret: fry the quesadillas in the bacon grease. Delicious.

3. Got reimbursed $60-plus for a hotel night we had to cancel…when my teaching gig was cancelled.

4. Found that we’d left our Christmas decorations back in storage in Michigan. (We’re spending the winter in our home state of Colorado. Long story.) Cut a tree in the backwoods ($22.50 permit), used lights from our friends’ stash (we’re housesitting for them), got a $1.25 wall sign from Dollar Tree, a $4.50 wreath from the thrift shop (all Christmas was half-price)…plus set out candles (thrift shop and presents) and our friends’ ceramic village set. I wish we had the full-size Nativity…but it all still looks lovely.

5. Found ham (97 cents and $1.27 a pound — a steal) and prime rib ($4.77/lb), thanks to Safeway. Plus a free dozen eggs, which are like gold now — $5 dozen for the basic large generics!
I enjoy your frugal things columns so much… thank you, and Merry Christmas.


Katy December 19, 2022 at 11:32 am

I read “The Christmas Bookshop” earlier this year and agree that it was beautifully written. I went to Edinburgh for a short winter holiday when I was living in London in college and could picture everything, which made the book extra special.


Cindy Brick December 19, 2022 at 11:37 am

Happy Hanukkah, too…from your slightly clueless non-Jewish reader.

(Husband has a bit of German Jewish blood, though…)


Jill D December 19, 2022 at 7:54 pm

Happy Anniversary! And, really … Fry anything in bacon grease = delicious.


JC December 19, 2022 at 11:44 am

I don’t feel like many of my frugal five change much.
1. burning the wood delivered by the sawmill, it’s the off cuts and and they are great about making sure they try to use all parts of the logs they mill out.
2. broccoli cheese soup made to use up broccoli and milk, can’t drink milk but I do cook with it.
3. making the Christmas Chex mix with on sale and store brand cereals and crackers. Chex mix is my expected contribution to the Christmas festivities.
4. using the hard plastic trays that came from DD’s office party fruit and veg trays for under house plants.
5. Leftover veggies from said trays are bagged and frozen for use in winter soups. I soaked all in vinegar water and drained/dried well before bagging.
As ready as I am going to be for Christmas,


Michelle H December 24, 2022 at 1:52 pm

Chex Mix is my go-to holiday treat every year also. I make a ton to give give to family, friends, and neighbors. Nice to give something that offsets all the sweets.


Jennifer December 19, 2022 at 12:01 pm

Happy Hanukkah!

We are currently hemorrhaging money on groceries. All my kids are coming home, along with 1 significant other and my parents will be here for 3 days before Christmas. One of my children is battling an eating disorder so having high calorie and easy to grab snacks and caloric beverages is very important (we pretty much only drank water, tea and coffee prior – now I am buying juices, gatorades, chocolate milk, and more every week). Yes it is worth it, but it is very hard to drop hundreds of dollars at the store (she will be here a month and I am hoping that many things will last). Anyway….

1. A dear friend is turning 50 and having a party. I had several bottles of wine from a winery in Canada that my dh put on the top shelf of my closet where I can’t reach so they have not been drank yet. Turns out she loves this winery so I will make dh pull down a bottle and I have a nice gift. Only had to buy a gift bag as all mine were Christmas. This is her birthday and she is Jewish so I paid $0.98 for a wine gift bag.

2. 2 nights this weekend I walked in the door after 7 and managed to put a home cooked meal on the table. Alas the 3rd night we stopped for Chipotle on the way home. But 2 out of 3 nights is pretty good. It was just a very busy weekend with lots of unusual activities.

3. Went to Meijer for the $0.89 a lb spiral sliced ham. They were out….ugh – but I did buy blackberries for $0.99 a pint and 5 lb bags of grapefruit were B1G1.

4. I worked a hockey game Saturday and Sunday and dh worked Sunday as well. We get meal tickets and we cashed ours in for hummus/pretzel cups. We came home with 3 of them. Oh and we also earned money towards college tuition by working the games and will get tips eventually.

5. Made a double batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for breakfast and froze most after we ate this morning. Mailed my 2 Christmas packages early enough to mail parcel post rather than priority mail. Paid several bills online.


Isa December 19, 2022 at 12:53 pm

* Got a free tourtiere on Buy Nothing. Gave me 2 meals. Same with a home made meat loaf : 3 meals.

* Actually using the pantry and freezers content at the moment, instead of SAYING iI will use it and then go out to buy more food instead. It’s not frugal since I paid for that food, but at least it’s saving on food waste I guess…

* Arranged my work schedule to be able to leave early for a 7h drive on friday so I don’t have to debate getting a hotel room at night (it’s going to be ugly – snow storm). We will just take our time. It would be silly to pay 150$ for a night at a hotel room when we get lodged for free where we are going (family)

* I thought about going back to university to finish a certificate in social work “”just because””, but I loathe the required work to get there (exams, studies, group projects) so what’s the point? There would be no benefits related to getting this certificate, apart from the satisfaction of saying I have a certificate…. So I’m saving about 3500$-4000$ by not doing it (and a good amount of stress). I decided to volunteer at the food pantry instead for 4 hours a week and will get a small food basket as a thank you after each shift, so there ya go!

* I don’t usually give gifts to friends for Christmas, but I wanted to give a little something to 3 co-workers. I choose 3 chocolate bars, 2$ a piece, put a nice ribbon on it. The small gesture was appreciated 🙂


Beth Forrest December 19, 2022 at 4:32 pm

1. In Nov. I bought a $50 gift certificate at a farm (meat) for the in-laws. It was the first of the season sold, so the clerk had some trouble. Looked at my statement carefully and realized that they had charged me twice, once for $50 and another for $100! I had become lax about checking, but will be more careful moving forward.
2. I had ordered 6 lbs of red hull-less popcorn (Amish Country) from Amazon (got $150 credit for opening an Amazon credit card, that I will not use). Amazon, however, put the wrong bar code on it & so they sent me the wrong type of popcorn. I tried to return to get the correct type but they credited the amount and I got all 6 lbs for free (and kept the free credit from the credit card offer)
3. Realized that the hall where we hold our extended family holiday party is well-stocked with plates, cups & utensils. After speaking with my cousins, we all agreed to just use those and wash them rather than buying disposables every year.
4. Used some leftover salad (from last night, undressed but a bit wet) for tonight’s dinner. Tried to mix in enough fresh stuff to not notice (semi-successful).
5. My uncle volunteers for food recovery and got 80 tins of smoked trout. Happily took half, and have been giving it away to friends/family who want it & putting the rest in our neighborhood free pantry.


Christine December 19, 2022 at 6:29 pm

1. I worked at my church’s thrift shop on Saturday. It was fun working with a couple of my friends and seeing customers happy with our very low prices. It makes me feel glad that the items bought will be getting a new “home” instead of ending up in the landfill or incinerator. While working there we all shop during our shift and each of us has a pile going that gets added to as the day progresses. My pile added up to $4 and consisted of the following:
1 new or almost new linen dish towel
1 Gingerbread Man Christmas pin
1 roll of wrapping paper
2 Easter cards
3 paperback books
2. I made peanut butter cookies today for Christmas Eve but a few burnt on the bottom so DH and I had those for dessert tonight. I also made a pan of fudge. Tomorrow I’ll make a batch of Toll House cookies and a batch of Spritz and that will be it. Cookies always seem very Christmasy to me while pies always seem to go with Thanksgiving. That being said, I wouldn’t turn down pie at Christmas if someone else made it.
3. I made an arrangement for my front porch using pine branches, Rhododendron branches and red berries cut from nature and put into an old crockery container.
4. We’ve decided to stay home on New Years Eve instead of going out with a group. I’ll make us a special meal here at home and honestly I don’t like being out on the roads with so many impaired drivers that night.
5. Bundling up and walking the neighborhood for exercise, cooking all meals here at home, decorated the house for the holidays with decor from years past…no new decorations purchased, reading library books, for holiday entertainment I attended a terrific free program at the library: Ghosts of Christmas Pasts and attended a free holiday concert at church featuring a locally renowned acapella group.
I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!


Regina December 19, 2022 at 6:40 pm

My five frugal things this last week–
1. Stacked shell rewards to save $0.50/gallon & paid $2.49/gallon (about $0.70/gallon cheaper than next coty over) for up to 20 gallons= $49.98 almost tank of gas.
2. stacked coupons at Meijer & paid $2.48 for groceries which included largest laundry soap, 3 quarts blueberries (on sale $0.99 each), 6 boxes cereal with 2 free bag marshmallow, 6 bags dark chocolate baking chips.
3. Picked up sale groceries at Family Fare– 8# potatoes $1.49, bag dark chocolate chips $1.49, each, organic honey bear $3, cereal 2/$4 & Free marshmallow.
4. Redeemed my free card at hallmark (& only paid tax).
Returned previously bought water heater blanket & remote controlled extension outlets & brought again with rebate/gift card. The outlets had additional $3 each rebate.
5. Used xmas gift $ recieved to utility pay bill since doubled from last month & had to pay $42 to ship xmas gift box to family out of state.
6. Picked up new lamp & baking dish from free store. Son using leather dress shoes & American Eagle sweaters picked up last week.

I’ve made 2 double batches of rice crispy treats that lasted hour each day/time made. Teen eating lots of cereal, bag at time for snacks.


Jean December 20, 2022 at 5:43 pm

I am interested in how you stacked coupons at Meijer to save that much! Very impressive.


Ecoteri December 19, 2022 at 6:58 pm

1. I found and am now actually USING a $500 visa gift card that I got at the beginning of the pandemic – redeemed a travel visa points before I cancelled the card, knowing I wouldn’t be travelling. I got a number of Gift cards and used most, this one was being saved ‘for later’ and I just remembered that it expires 01/23. Which sounded like such a long time ago! Anyway, have used at the grocery and Canadian Tire for a few slightly frivolous items, the found money makes the items feel free… Sometimes I have to remind myself to not save things until they go bad, and that includes coupons and pre-paid visa cards.
2. I bit the bullet and called in to find the balance on another one of those Visa cards- the system to get the balance got ‘broken’ if I try to do it online, so I have to pay out of the card to find the balance. I have written that measly $20.73 onto the card with sharpie and will use at the grocery next time I am in. Spending $2 to get back $20 that otherwise wasn’t available to me was hard but it is done.
3. I have been filling my amazon cart then moving things to the wishlist and not ordering.
4. I also ordered the amazon credit card and promptly used the signing bonus to buy a couple of books and a pair of haircutting scissors. The scissors will replace the ones I currently use when cutting my kids’ hair – and the books were a lovely indulgence as I mostly use the library.
5. I loaded up another amazon $10 gift bonus from another credit card and it is sitting waiting for my next purchase
6. I opened an hours worth of un-urgent mail (while listening to a free libby audiobook) and discovered a $63 Costco cash back coupon, as well as a (!!!!) over $1000 cheque from a cancelled life insurance policy!!!!Way to encourage me to open my mail
7. I went to our local discount veggie store on the way home from a trip to town, checked out their discount rack and decided to not purchase anything,as I do have some veggies still in the fridge. Went to my local lower-cost grocer and bought a turkey for $1.87/lb, instead. I already had one but we have a bird-flu turkey shortage and I don’t know what our options will be at easter.


Deana December 19, 2022 at 8:26 pm

Hi, add the gift card visa to your Amazon account, then purchase an Amazon gift card for yourself with the funds from the gift card visa.


Michelle H December 24, 2022 at 1:59 pm

What Deana said! I usually put those prepaid gift cards into my Amazon account because I forget how much is on them and they don’t get used.


Bee December 20, 2022 at 4:25 am

Happy Chanukah, Katy!

YouTube is certainly a wonderful resource. I have used it to learn how to do many things. I also have my favorite antique and thrifting videos.

1. It is not the most frugal time of the year. Sometimes it is about passive frugality. We were invited to spend Christmas out of state. As much as we wanted to do this, the flight alone for four people was going to be $3600. I couldn’t make my points work in any significant way. Thus, we declined. We will have a quiet, but meaningful Christmas.
2. When I made my family Christmas Cards, I took advantage of Shutterfly’s free reprint offer. I had several prints made. My SIL scanned a photo of my husband’s father and I had it reprinted. I bought a beautiful frame at the thrift store and am giving it to my husband for part of his Christmas. He always wanted a copy of this particular photo where his father is young, smiling and handsome.
3. I borrowed my book club’s selection from a friend, The Midnight Library. There was a long wait at my county library. At her request, I will pass it on when I’m done.
4. I have been watching silly Christmas movies on our shared Netflix account. I’m trying really hard to feel festive this year, but it is difficult for lots of reasons. Silly Christmas movies do make laugh, and they are sometimes very touching.
5. I didn’t hire Sam Bankman-Fried to manage my retirement account.


Bee December 20, 2022 at 5:09 am

Wishing everyone a Joyous Holiday Season!


Selena December 20, 2022 at 8:33 am

#5 – no kidding. I about lost it when a company employee asked if anyone was interested in having crypto as a 401k investment option! NO THANKS


Lauz December 20, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Whilst a holiday was not frugal, but experiences over things are important to us – here are some frugal option we used to make our anniversary trip to Hawaii from Australia easier
1. Maui hotels were expensive, we hired a campervan on outdoorsy and booked beautiful campsites (bonus at Hosmer camp site we spent most of the day with the I’iwi feeding at a tree next to us, heaps of birdwatchers were tramping off down the path to look for it and when they came back past we would point it out to them, many scoffed that the people with aussie accents didn’t know what bird they were looking for and then were amazed! I think it was the perfect flowering time for that bush as the bird was there most of the time).
2. Shopped at the grocery store and cooked food in the camper, for us we got to try some American style things/brands we see on Tv shows etc
3. We have had a lot of travel this year for good and not good things and had purchased an Accor hotel pass, used this to book into hotels as much as possible during the trip to maximise the extra discount and freebies you get as members but only if they hotel was a good price and cheaper than airbnbs (which it mostly was surprisingly)
4. Had purchased an airline lounge pass on discount. On leaving Australia it gave us a tranquil place to wait in two different airports with free food and drink. ON return it provided us extra luggage and we were given vouchers as the lounge was not open in Honolulu. Adding the cost of food, drinks, etc luggage from this one trip meant we have got value from the fee already and now have another 11 months to use it
5. On return home, went to do the big grocery shop where i get 10% off one shop per month as i also have an insurance policy with them, when walking into the store i checked the app and there was a sneaky 10x bonus points available if i activated it. So extra points for shopping for what i needed and now have more reward points to go against another flight later on. Happy days
Happy holidays everyone!


Katy December 21, 2022 at 4:17 pm

I’m curious which American style foods tempted you?


Mati December 20, 2022 at 8:47 pm

1) Thanks, we signed up for the Netflix deal! I dithered a little and finally decided to buy the AMC+ package rather than the NFL package, once I realized that it also includes IFC and Sundance Now. My best friend is a film nut, and we’ll definitely use it. The difference between the two packages was $4.90/mo. I took the opportunity to cancel several services to see if we miss them. I’m thinking about replacing our Disney+ subscription with the $2 add-on to Hulu, which we share with a friend, but… ads.

2) Bringing in the huge heirloom squash bought for 50 cents a piece after Thanksgiving, because most people buy them for decorating, not eating. I like the quality better than pumpkin, and they’re denser and take up less space. They’ve been hanging out on the porch looking decorative, but it’ll be 20F tonight and I want them to last.

3) Did the math to choose health insurance from multiple different options, all of them pricey and designed to make finding covered care a crapshoot. I will never, as long as I live, understand why Americans put up with this shit. But, since DH just started at this job, we were able to get the $800 employer match for the HSA without paying a lot in premiums, we’ll be able to dump in a lot for 2023, and it’s looking as though DH’s needs early next year will burn through the deductible and OOP early, leaving us plenty of time to take advantage of that sweet, sweet free healthcare (which really isn’t, since our base cost is already double what we’d pay in any other country).

4) Two discounted organic chickens = six meals plus stock. Tonight’s creamy wild rice mushroom chicken soup and salad was made 100% with marked down gourmet everything.

5) I’m replacing our tents with two from Buy Nothing, still making applesauce out of the food bank’s excess (they put out a call to keep literal tons of MacIntosh apples out of the dumpster), babysitting some wonderful kids since my college student is booked (the pay goes into their college fund), fighting our old COBRA HSA to get the kid’s orthodontia reimbursed, assembling a spicy combination of gifts that are cool vintage/thrift, found new at awesome prices, or handmade locally, and nursing the hundreds of dollars’ worth of tropical plants others didn’t want to bring inside/had no space for.


Katy December 21, 2022 at 4:16 pm

I love homemade applesauce, but haven’t made it since apple prices went up.


Pat Gaudreau December 23, 2022 at 3:26 pm

A 25 year old water heater is probably about as inefficient as they can get!
There lifespan is generally about 12 years.
Time for a new one,I would think.


Heather December 29, 2022 at 10:04 am

Thanks for the Netflix/Verizon tip. I tried it yesterday and was still able to get it. The instructions from the video didn’t quite match up with my user experience, but with a lot of searching, I was able to find the deal and get it to work. One year of netflix for $25 was well worth it!


Katy January 1, 2023 at 9:07 pm



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