Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 4, 2023 · 61 comments

  1. I went to the dented vegetable store and bought a big package of organic mixed greens for $3 and was mildly annoyed that it wasn’t $2 like it normally is. A few days later I shopped at the Thriftway on Mt Hood and paid $9 for the same thing. No longer upset with the $3! My step mom later informed me that she refers to this store as “Theftway.”

  2. My daughter continues to gift us with random free food from her grocery store, which results in our fridge being a jumble of unrelated items. It’s quite the creative challenge as some things can be frozen, but most of it needs to be prepared in a timely manner. Just today I pressure cooked a huge batch of black beans in my Instant Pot for black bean soup as she’d gifted us with a package of thickly sliced ham.

    Here’s what else recently showed up:

    • An entire pumpkin pie
    • Baked brie
    • Smoked salmon
    • Ginger snaps
    • An assortment of deli meats
    • two packs of Beef hotdogs and two packs of turkey hotdogs

    Every now and then I end up letting the food go bad, as it’s already on its last legs. But I don’t beat myself up too badly, as the food would otherwise have been thrown away.

  3. I stopped by one of my favorite Goodwills and walked out a happy woman. Not only did I buy two pairs of half-price pants for myself, but I also picked up a ribbed cotton Uniqlo sweater for my son. This is his favorite brand and he’s a sweater guy, so this was a major score.

    Unfortunately, the sweater had an unusually strong perfume-y disinfectant stench smell which seemed to intensify after washing. (I promise I didn’t put it through the dryer!)  In the end I washed it four times, the last two times with Dawn detergent and baking soda. I then put it on a rack outside to air out for a couple of days. This finally neutralized the smell enough that my son was willing to wear his new sweater.

    I’m fine with Goodwill spraying some kind of disinfectant (deodorizer?) on their clothing, but I wish the scent wasn’t so overwhelming.

  4. I printed two more free eBay labels at the library, I started listening to The Bookshop on The Corner by Jenny Colgan through the free Libby app, I spent a little under an hour tidying, sweeping and wiping down the inside of our 18-year-old minivan, (with a few exceptions the most frugal possession is the one you already own!) I mentioned to my step dad that I wanted an air purifier and it turned out that he had one that he’d never even taken from the box and I did visible mending on a wool hoodie that had sprung a dozen or so holes. Unfortunately it turned out super goofy, so it’s now designated as a sweater to wear inside the house.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or set up a GoFund Me for a fraudulent animal charity.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan January 4, 2023 at 6:05 am

Your second item reminds me of that show on the Food Network, “Chopped,” where contestants get a basket of 5 mystery foods that they somehow have to combine into a dish! Except you don’t mention items like octopus or wax lips or the other crazy things they have to use.


Katy January 4, 2023 at 10:15 am

I’ve never watched that show. Wax lips in a recipe? Blegh!


Bee January 4, 2023 at 1:34 pm

This used to be one of my favorite cooking shows. I always said it mirrored my life. Some of the things they make are extremely creative. I love it when they use leftovers.


K D January 4, 2023 at 6:57 am

Mine are mostly food this week:

1. Organic chicken was marked 66% off at Sam’s Club which made it about half the price of non-organic. I bought three packages and cooked it all before the use by date. Some was frozen in lunch size portions for DH’s work lunches.

2. We walked to the local Breadery and bought four loaves of “day old” bread. It was cheaper, $3 loaf, than buying bread at he grocery and it has that yeasty smell/taste that I love. It’s probably not quite as cheap as homemade but I’ll take it.

3. I went to Lidl to use my $20 credit for buying a gift card before Christmas. They had Libby’s organic pumpkin on clearance for $.99/can. I grabbed some of those, some Celestial Seasoning herbal tea for $.99/box and some produce. They had a lot of holiday items on sale, like Pillsbury cake mix/frosting for $.49 but I don’t use that stuff. They also had holiday treats but nothing tripped my trigger.

4. I bought a package of turkey chops using the Flash Food app. They were half price and I’ve never seen them on sale. I marinated them in a mixture that was inspired by an online recipe, including cranberry juice which we had languishing in the refrigerator, then baked them in the toaster oven. Bonus points for walking to the store to pick the chops up.

5. DH rescued stuff that was going to be thrown away at work and I found new homes for most of it using Freecycle. I also gave away some items we no longer use including a set of dominoes that were stored in a Chubs box (a type of baby wipe that was in a plastic box that looked like a Lego). The box must be twenty-five years old and it’s still fine.


Amy January 4, 2023 at 7:52 am

My aunt , who cloth diapered and and used wash cloths not wipes, collected about 50 of these containers and glued them shut so that my younger cousins had a large size set of blocks. Yes they are still around and being played with by about the 5th round of kids.


Jill A January 4, 2023 at 2:37 pm

I gave my Dad Chub’s boxes to use in his workshop. They were still there when he passed away.


Katie from Buffalo January 4, 2023 at 7:59 am

Happy New Year, everyone!

1. I am participating in Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month challenge again this year. I always helps to reset.
2. We visited friends in DC for New Years. Every time we spend time with these folks, I always walk away coveting multiple things in their home. I often will make a large Amazon purchase after discovering a new cookbook or a handy kitchen gadget that they have. This time, I tried to focus on how much I enjoy spending time with them, and then how happy I am to return to my own home. My partner still ended up buying a few things, but I walked away, wallet intact.
3. Despite getting home and immediately having to return to work, I managed to batch cook dinners for the week (a freaking delicious ham and potato casserole using potatoes from our farm share, ham from the freezer, and I threw in some frozen peas) and prep salads for lunch.
4. I miss belonging to a yoga studio, but I don’t have enough time to really make use of a membership at this point. So I’m participating in a free 30 day yoga challenge this month to get back in the groove of a home practice.
5. I’m keeping an eye on Flashfoods and working on eating through my pantry and freezer. My partner did make a good dent in the stockpile while he was snowed it during the Christmas blizzard. I’m grateful he had enough food and that our apartment never lost power.


MB in MN January 4, 2023 at 8:44 am

Katy, I’m so glad you can use things that your daughter gets from her grocery store. It’s astonishing the amount of food thrown away by grocery stores (and restaurants, too).

1. One of our Airbnbs came with an electric golf cart. We used that to go into town for groceries on a couple occasions.

2. Friend gave our pup a bag of gingerbread dog treats. She loves them.

3. Before the final leg of our trip, we used up as much food as possible at the Airbnb and then packed simple snacks and meals for the two-day trek. Took full advantage of hotel complimentary breakfast.

4. The hotel waived our pet fee – completely out of the blue. Nice!

5. Received a huge bag of mandarin oranges from our current Airbnb owner’s farm.


Katy January 4, 2023 at 10:10 am

You must be traveling somewhere nice and warm!


MB in MN January 4, 2023 at 4:19 pm

We were warm when we were in Arizona for a couple weeks. Now we’re in Sacramento for two months and let’s just say there’s wet and windy weather here this week. Nicer than what we left behind in Minnesota though.


dawnelle January 4, 2023 at 8:48 am

Katy, if you soak your clothing in the bathtub with a mix of washing soda, borax and tide (the real stuff)- just small amounts- but let it soak for about 8 hours, I have almost 100% success getting things smell-free. I bought vintage sheets from the 70’s that were almost waxy with build up. Soaked them all day and then washed in hot- smell free and perfect!


Katy January 4, 2023 at 10:09 am

Thanks for the tip!


Eee January 4, 2023 at 1:40 pm

After my son completed the Appalachian Trail and later the Pacific Crest Trail, I soaked the items that could be salvaged in dawn, baking soda and vinegar.


Dmarie January 5, 2023 at 6:53 am

yes, thanks for the tip, dawnelle! I’m confused about why so many folks choose to smell like cheap perfume — laundry detergent & fabric softener odors are hard to get out of used clothing/fabrics. ugh!


Heidi Louise January 5, 2023 at 7:02 am

I agree with your confusion! Sometimes I walk up to a yard sale with all the clothing smelling of detergent, softener, or fabreeze, and walk right away.


Katy January 5, 2023 at 10:13 am

And they even smell extra additives so that the small of “fresh laundry” lasts even longer!


Ruby January 5, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Those scent additives to laundry are too much. Before I retired, my work office was right next to a student laundromat. Between the detergents, additives and dryer sheets, the smell often gave me a headache.

Ruby January 4, 2023 at 9:44 am

I am doing a No-Spend January, during which we’ll be working on what’s in the freezer and pantry.

1. Last week our local grocery store had the much-anticipated BOGO sale on my husband’s favorite bagels. I bought eight packages in one trip and two more in a second one, for a savings of $20.

2. My entire household came down with colds between Christmas and New Years. It made for a very quiet holiday season at home.

3. Hung my laundry on drying racks in the laundry room and positioned the racks around the portable dehumidifier. The clothes dried in a few hours instead of taking a day to two days. The room was due for a visit from the dehumidifier anyhow: we move it from room to room in the cold, damp side of the house, so that was a nice side effect.

4. Due to illness, we did not finish a pot of delicious spaghetti. I plated it up in lunch-sized portions for the freezer.

5. Made a use-it-up dish of pineapple rice pudding with a bowl of cooked rice and a small can of slightly out of date pineapple found in the back of our pantry. It was a bit too tart, but got eaten.


Cindy in the South January 4, 2023 at 9:52 am

1. I used dried red beans and made a red bean coconut soup. My goal is to eat beans every single week. 2. I bought eggs at Dollar General. I dropped said carton of eggs on kitchen floor. Four eggs were slightly broken. Lunch suddenly became a large egg sandwich made from slightly broken/cracked eggs. 3. I flew home from the very snowy West and packed myself a lunch and dinner because I suspected (rightly so) that the plane would be delayed in takeoff. I managed to not throw up said sandwich during a very turbulent plane ride across country. I drove two hours from airport and arrived at my youngest son’s house to spend the night at 3:30 am his time. I arrived home to 75 degree weather and tornadoes. I was tired and slept through two warnings…..sort of. All was well. Not the smartest move as my phone and weather radio both kept going off with warnings and I would just roll back over and go back to sleep. I packed my lunch for work so that my bleary eyed self would not go out for lunch. I guess that is a #4 and #5 combo. Oh, and I did wash my jeans and clothes out in the bathtub in the middle of all the tornado ish stuff. My back yard looks like a lake so no mowing for a while.


Katy January 4, 2023 at 10:08 am

Not vomiting up your meals is always a frugal choice.


Tiiu January 4, 2023 at 9:53 am

I love lightly salted salmon, but it is rather expensive. So when I saw salmon fillet pieces on sale for 12.99€/kg I grabbed two nice thick pieces and salted them at home like my mom told me: 2 tbsp of sal to 1 tbsp of sugar, mix thoroughly and then press the fish flesh into it. Make sure the whole surface is covered, then shake off whatever falls off – you don’t need that. Sprinkle liberally with dill and press two halves of the salmon together (it is important not to leave any air between the halves). Then wrap it in aluminium foil and put into your refrigerator overnight. (Do not freeze!!) Boym is it delicious! And I love how I can turn a 12.99€/kg fish into something that costs 29.99€/kg in a store!

I also sashikod my son’s socks as the heels had become threadbare. Was it worth the time? Definitely not, a pair of socks is cheap. Did I make a pair last longer and delayed the production of another pair? Definitely yes!

A supermarket in our village has a reusable shopping bag tree – bring your extra bags and hang them from the tree; if you are shopping and forgot your own reusable one you can take one from the tree. So I made the first bag from a pair of jeans.


Lindsey January 4, 2023 at 1:26 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post the recipe for lightly salted salmon. We live in Alaska and always have an abundance of salmon, so I try to find different ways to fix it. I am going to try your recipe this week. You can tell your mom her recipe is being eaten in Fairbanks, Alaska!


Jill A January 4, 2023 at 2:46 pm

I love the shopping bag tree


Frau Rosen January 4, 2023 at 11:32 am

Happy Birthday, Katy!

I am SUPER sensitive to smells and that disinfectant-y smell in thrift stores makes it hard for me to even spend time looking around. I have to be really careful about what I buy and how I clean things after I bring them home. I can’t use things like Dawn or Tide or Febreze because I can’t tolerate the perfumes used in those products. I read a tip recently about soaking things with diluted Dr. Bronners’s liquid Castile soap, which I always have on hand since it’s our go-to soap for all our hand soap dispensers. I used the lavender scent. It worked well on some items my daughter had.


Q January 4, 2023 at 12:41 pm

Happy New Years, everyone!
Here are my Frugal Five:
1. For Christmas, we exchanged far less gifts with friends and family, and that went really well. Much more relaxing, less wasteful, more emphasis on each other’s company. I gave my daughter and sister watercolors that I framed. The grandchildren got fewer gifts and were still very happy. The next day, we had a fun day of bowling, followed by homemade airfryer yeast donuts, which made a big impression! I gave their mother some money for them to have skating lessons when they got home, channeling my inner Katy, gifter of adventures. A week before Christmas donated some of the gifts, candy and stocking stuffers bought to a children’s advocacy/ shelter, and the counselor was very appreciative.

2. For the meal itself, we greatly simplified, and it was delicious and fun. We have almost 30 family members who came, and assigned categories to families like “bring appetizers” or bring “vegan sides” and told them what I was already making, coordinating via text. There were plenty of leftovers for people to bring home. Last night, dinner was “tapas” style small plates of lonesome leftovers that were fun and delicious. Some unused food went to a little food pantry, even left eggs (we are vegan but had eggs for children to cook with over holidays) as the weather is cool enough but not freezing.

3. I used my calendar to save money, and it worked! Last year, I entered into Dec. 1 for this year to remember we don’t need any more wrapping paper or paper plates, etc. Similarly, I used the calendar to schedule in: check to make sure I return eyeglasses for refund.

4. I was going to re-weatherstrip our front door, but rediscovered that if we keep the front door locked, the draft is much less. And while we had fires some nights in the fireplace, last night I found that just putting a candle in the fireplace was also cozy. This week I also chopped more wood, which will be good for next year.

5. We are taking a trip to Florida this year, and got a great deal on fares and airbnb. At first I used Costco to book a rental car, but today pursued an ad from Kayak, and found one for about half the price. The second half of our trip we are just using bicycles from our airbnb, which will save us further. We will use the mini kitchen a little bit, too.

Lastly, we are cooking from scratch (the yeast donuts in the air fryer were amazing and very popular: a combination of a fun experience of making them and then eating them), trying to be good neighbors (My daughter brought some outgrown but very nice winter snow clothes for a friend of a friend who just got a young foster child, mending for a friend, and really bundling errands, reading library books, sending family home with snacks for road trip, and even froze soup so they would have a nice dinner when they returned home that night, etc.

Here’s to a great 2023.


Lindsey January 4, 2023 at 1:20 pm

1. My accordion group rehearsed last night and I served them free sodas and chips that I had stockpiled from mystery shops, so all were free to me. It depleted my store of junk food so today when I noticed four gasoline shops that got me free gas plus I had to buy either 2 bags of chips or 2 pops, I snapped them up. I now have 8 bags of chips and several gallons of gas for free, plus $20 payment. Each shop took me about 15 minutes, so worth it since I did these while I was waiting for the husband to finish a doctor’s appointment.
2. Was really hungry for ice cream. Instead made a smoothie out of berries I picked and froze last summer, using milk that was close to expiration date. Made it really thick so it was like eating ice cream and satisfied the hunger for zero dollars. Probably healthier, too.
3. Took down my Christmas cards. Took the ones with winter scenes that could be repurposed into new cards for me to send and used them to send all the holiday thank you cards that I owed out. Four family members sent me a case of toilet paper each, per my instructions/begging going on 25 years ago when I lived in bush Alaska and sometimes could not get toilet paper. I want to thank them so they keep doing it instead of switching to a less useful gift in the future! (And I really, really am thankful they keep doing it, so need to express that.)
4. Husband cut my totally unruly hair. Saves me money by not having to pay for a cut, plus I use less shampoo when it is short. (He is an okay hair groomer, but not as good as I once thought, given how many times over the years a friend has said, “Oh, I see your husband cut your hair again.” Apparently I should look at the back of my skull, too. )
5. One of my gifts to my husband this year was four pedicures over the year. He likes having his feet massaged and his nails cut but he will not go to “a stranger” to have it done. He had cancer in his late 20s and while it cured what they thought was an incurable cancer at the time, it left his feet without feeling from the knees down. Giving him a pedicure means I get to make sure he has no cuts or infections that he has not felt or noticed (how many people look at the bottoms of their feet to see what’s up?) SO, I save money by doing the pedicures, I am happy knowing he really enjoys having it done, and I make sure to keep him healthy for another 40 years together.


rebecca January 4, 2023 at 2:38 pm

I enjoy Jenny Colgan books. Little Beach Street Bakery and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery are good. Her other books are on my list.
1. I am eating through my pantry and freezer. I haven’t been grocery shopping for 6 days.
2. Had family over to enjoy New Year’s Day brunch and football. I used ingredients I had on hand.
3. Driving family to the airport. Frugal for them and I enjoy the time with them.
4. I haven’t driven my car for a few days.
5. Cancelled going out for dinner last night. I just didn’t feel like spending money and it was pouring.


MW January 4, 2023 at 2:56 pm

1- I was gifted several large boxes of fabric. I’ve sorted out the bits that are the most useful for me (beautiful wool! lining fabric! fun shiny fabrics!) and I’m looking for a place to gift the remnants. I’m hoping a sewing class at a local school might be interested.
2- On that subject, I noted over the holidays that my sleepwear has crossed the line from “frugal” to “indecent”, so I’m in the process of creating winter and summer sleepwear from remnants of fabric. A coat of many colors, as it were.
3- I snagged a few strings of white lights that were deeply discounted. My husband keeps taking apart our lights for his art projects, and the tree gets dimmer each year. I’ll hide them for next year.
4- I’m leaning into the lentils and beans to stretch the meat this month. We got walloped with some surprise expenses this month, and some known ones are coming up fast.
5- Still making my coffee, making my lunches, taking the bus and rocking the thrifted (and me-made) look.


Bee January 4, 2023 at 2:59 pm

We are trying to get back into the swing of things. The way the holidays fell this year, we had 10 days without any structure.
1. My daughter visited over the holidays. She is a doctoral student and is often short on time and money. She really needed some clothing, so I I took her to our favorite thrift store after Christmas. I bought her $80 in clothing. She now has a nearly new wardrobe – 10 items- and the money we spent at this thrift store will go towards stocking the local food pantry. We then went to the coffee shop next door and enjoyed chai Tea and talked. The profits from this shop also go to the food pantry and other such projects in our community.
2. I needed a new white t-shirt – a wardrobe staple. Because I am messy, I replace my white tees more often that I’d like to. (Maybe I should start wearing a bib.) Unfortunately, when I am able to find these plain white t-shirts at thrift stores, they often look just as bad as the ones I already own. So these are now one of the items that I allow myself to buy new. I bought two on sale after Christmas. I used a promotional code for free shipping and an additional 30% off. I also ordered online through ibotta and received 5% back.
3. We had the extended family over for a traditional New Year’s Day lunch – pork roast, black-eyed peas, rice, greens and corn bread. I used the bone from our Christmas ham to season the peas. I turned the leftover pork into bar-b-que sandwiches for dinner last night. I froze the leftover greens to use later in vegetable soup. Finally, I saved the cooking liquid from the black-eyed peas. I am also going to try this in my vegetable soup. I’m trying to get better at using cooking water which often add flavor and nutrients to broths and gravies.
4. I surprisingly sold two items on eBay between New Years and Christmas. I sold an owner’s manual for a 2012 Mustang Convertible and a midcentury set made up of a matching salt shaker and pepper grinder. I used some recycled packing items to prepare these items for shipping.
5. When my adult children are home for any length of time, things seem to get disorganized. Food get pushed to the back or the refrigerator. Grocery items end up in the wrong part of the pantry or on the wrong shelf of the frig. They open multiple bottles of ketchup and mustard. Vegetables are in the dairy drawer. Some things never change. I have cleaned out and reorganize the pantry, the refrigerator and freezer. I’ve combined open containers and put things where they belong. I hope this will prevent food waste and allow me to spend a meager amount on groceries this month.

I will continue to do all the usual, frugal things as I move into 2023. Happy New Year!


Jill A January 4, 2023 at 4:32 pm

1. We celebrated Christmas again on New Year’s day since everyone was finally healthy. We had a great time. We sipped mimosas made with last years Christmas gift of prosecco while we prepared a simple dinner.. I purchased a not frugal rib roast but instead of buying extra for leftovers as I normally would there was just enough with a tiny bit leftover for youngest daughter and I the next day.
2. I sold a few items on Ebay and thrifted a few more items to sell. One thrift store had a free cart of Christmas decorations. I chose an ornament that should sell for a fair amount of money.
3. My daughter cut my hair and her fiance gave my youngest daughter’s car a jump. He’s a mechanic and very handy to have around.
4. My daughters gave me practical favorite box wine, a shampoo bar and pot holders.
5. I’m trying to hold back on buying too many groceries. I have just one kid at home now and the two of us don’t eat things fast enough before they spoil. It’s a struggle to adjust to my new life.


Bee January 5, 2023 at 5:13 am

Adjusting to cooking and grocery shopping for just 2 can be a challenge. After my youngest went away to school, it took me months to cook the right amount of food for just two people. I ended up cooking on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We then ate leftovers the remainder of the week. I now have the opposite problem. I don’t want to cook at all.


Katy January 5, 2023 at 10:14 am

I think we’re going through this as my fridge is jam packed, yet I haven’t done a big grocery shop for over a week.


Christine January 4, 2023 at 5:19 pm

1. We had Christmas Eve at our house with our kids, their spouses/significant others, grandchildren and one friend of a grandchild. I love to entertain on Christmas Eve. Lots of fun with our family and on the frugal side, we always end up with lots of leftovers. DH and I ate 4 meals each from the leftovers, plus he made numerous sandwiches for himself from the leftover spiral ham and Swedish meatballs.
2. I am reading a library book, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton. It’s a graphic memoir about her time working various jobs in the oil sands of Canada. This is only the third graphic book I have read but am hooked. The first two were the Maus books by Art Spiegelman, also excellent. The last graphic books I read before these were the Peanuts Gang books in 5th grade. I think because of this I always assumed graphic books were meant for kids or young folks. If you haven’t picked one up, you may want to try one.
3. I’m turning the Christmas cards I received into gift tags using a fancy pair of craft scissors I found in the street on my old mail route.
4. We put our credit card bill under the microscope and thinned out the television apps we rarely watch. Also, a music channel we no longer listen to. $30 in our pockets every month.
4. A friend brought firewood and we provided the beer for a night around the campfire in our backyard with said friend and his wife.
5. I was happy to see our electric bill didn’t rise as much as expected. We’ve been super careful about turning things off and strictly using the dryer only during off peak hours. We hang clothes outside from April through October, but the position of our umbrella style clothesline keeps it in the shade during the shorter days of winter. I hang some clothes in doorways on hangers too. Keeping my eye open for an indoor clothes rack.


Krissy in Sacramento, CA January 4, 2023 at 8:10 pm

Christine, I’ve been following Kate Beaton for many years, starting with her Hark! A Vagrant! comics online. I read Ducks last month and it was wonderful. Cried numerous times. She’s an incredible artist and storyteller.


Christine January 6, 2023 at 6:32 pm

Glad you enjoyed Ducks too. I’m going to look into Hark! A Vagrant! She really is a terrific writer, raw and real. Wonderful memoirist.


Bee January 5, 2023 at 5:26 am

Just a heads up — I had a very difficult time cancelling apps. I ended up calling the credit card company and asking them not to pay a particular bill any longer. Cancelling it through the individual company did not work.


Christine January 6, 2023 at 6:35 pm

Thanks for the warning, Bee! I will examine my credit card statement carefully to make sure I’m still not being charged for things we’ve hopefully cancelled.


Ashley Bananas January 6, 2023 at 12:53 pm

My son loves graphics. He’s 13 and a very good reader. He read Moby Dick, and the Odysseys by graphic. Moby Dick had extremely beautiful graphics. It really made the book come to life. After reading the Odyssey he wanted to see the original manuscript, when I brought it home from work he said, ‘A picture is really worth a thousand words’….;)


Katy January 6, 2023 at 1:16 pm

You have one terrific son!


Christine January 6, 2023 at 6:39 pm

My kids are in their 30s now, but I remember them reading the Illustrated Classics version of Moby Dick and they absolutely loved it. A graphic version of it I think would be even better. What a thoughtful statement your son made about the Odyssey!


Jennifer January 4, 2023 at 5:48 pm

I love making use of free food!

1. No after Christmas shopping for me!

2. Trying to use up leftovers in various things, but also trying really hard to use up produce. We had baked potatoes for dinner. And I have been actually eating the salad rather than buying it, eating 1 salad and a week later throwing out the remains.

3. Paid a college tuition bill with my CC to earn points (there was no fee) and I will pay it off when the bill comes.

4. Adjusted our thermostat to lower the temp when we are at work. I have a blanket covering our fireplace which gets drafty in the winter. Paid the heating bill online to save a stamp.

5. I’ve been making homemade mochas at home with hot chocolate and coffee. I have stopped having my nightly glass of red wine to see if it helps with my stomach issues. Both of these things are saving me money!


Katy January 4, 2023 at 9:58 pm

I’m sure that you’re tried this with your fireplace, but do you maybe just need to close the flue?


Norma January 4, 2023 at 6:32 pm

1. Found a quarter in a shopping cart at Aldi and one on the ground. In an effort to pay it forward, offered our cart to someone today and did not take their quarter.
2.Disputed an unpaid claim from August with our dental provider. Pretty sure they were going to deny it but got a very helpful supervisor on the phone. They agreed to pay the whole claim. . You really can get more bees with honey than vinegar.
3. Got a dollar a gallon off of gas at Kroger before our 300 mile trip to spend Christmas with our sons. Helped soften the blow even though gas was considerably cheaper at the time.
4. Had to buy eggs today at $4.48. Not frugal but I am on Weight Watchers and these account for a good amount of my protein. Getting healthier will definitely be more frugal.
5. Did not buy my husband a Lear jet for Christmas.


Tonya January 5, 2023 at 10:48 am

Happy New Year, to all my frugal friends!

My five:

1) Had a free home energy audit through our electricity provider. The auditor replaced many light bulbs and weatherstripped the front door, for free!
2) College kids were home and I was off of work. We cooked and had so many delicious meals, and had lots of hot drinks at home. I did more grocery shopping, of course, but I think it was a win since we ate out so little over the holidays.
3) Just reduced my work hours to 30 per week. I’m grateful that my frugal ways allow this reduction. I’m looking forward to a better quality of life, more rest, and more time to connect with loved ones on my work-free days!
4) I signed up for a culture pass (through our local library) for free museum passes this week. Looking forward to an outing that won’t cost much more than gas and maybe a coffee.
5) Denver just passed a $0.10 per bag charge- I need to get better about taking my reusable bags to the grocery store. I got out of the habit during COVID, since our local stores refused to bag items if you brought your own bags. Time to re-enact this frugal habit!


Mary in Maryland January 5, 2023 at 11:18 am

I find that leaving my reusable bags in the car rather than the house means they are where I need them.


Tonya January 5, 2023 at 4:51 pm

Mary in Maryland, good idea! Thanks for the tip!


Mary in Maryland January 5, 2023 at 11:23 am

1. I washed my viyella (wool cotton blend) kimono in the washing machine for the first time. I quilted it myself in 2004 and have always found it awkward to handwash it in woolite. After reading Patrick someone’s book on laundry I decided to give it a try. Worked well.
2. I shortened the elastic by too much when I revised my long underwear. I did it right for the third pair. This morning I transplanted the elastic from a pair of men’s briefs to a second pair. I will Franken some elastic for the last pair this afternoon.


Katy January 5, 2023 at 11:27 am

Nice use of “Franken.” gold star!


Mary in Maryland January 6, 2023 at 6:54 am

I puzzled about how to conjugate Franken but knew this group would get it.


Katy January 6, 2023 at 12:05 pm

As an eBay seller, I will often create a “Frankenbox.”


MB in MN January 5, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Mary in Maryland, I bet you read the same book I did: Patric Richardson’s “Laundry Love” –


Mary in Maryland January 6, 2023 at 6:53 am

Yes, that was the book. Patric has made me an even bolder woman.


Liz B. January 7, 2023 at 10:50 am

@MB in MN,
I listened to the audiobook – fascinating information. I have definitely tried washing things that I never would have before listening.


Ashley Bananas January 5, 2023 at 2:42 pm

I should designate a household member to work at a grocery store just for the discount and mark down items…..frugal finds, I’ve been thinking of getting a freezer…..not frugal but at this point I really enjoy buying clearance meats only. I’m super excited for health food to be on sale as it’s January and I’m eating a lot of protein items for my diet.


Ruby January 5, 2023 at 5:18 pm

We bought a small chest freezer in the mid 1990s that is still working fine. It’s about the size of a clothes dryer and has paid for itself many times over with giving us room to store discounted food, bulk purchases and leftovers. It’s a super tool for frugality.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl January 5, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Ummmm, can I request that we get a picture of the visibly-mended top??


Katy January 6, 2023 at 10:24 am

For you, anything!


Mati January 6, 2023 at 6:02 am

Not a great week for frugality.
– Two whole pounds of precious venison went into a couple of lasagnas that just, somehow, didn’t turn out. Just meh. I’m going to re-bake the ingredients with more sauce and cheese.
– We lost a ton of money in our FSA after missing a deadline we didn’t know we had. It’s a LOT of washed Ziploc bags.
– a hard freeze/quick thaw got some of the winter squash and apples that should have lasted.
– we switched internet providers and forgot to cancel the old provider for almost a month. Same with several streaming service Black Friday deals.
– I didn”t get a pile of freelance billing out in time, so it will be taxed at a higher rate in 2023.
– I missed a letter from our insurance requesting odometer updates, so it renewed at $800 more per year. Now I have to comparison shop and am dreading it.


Anne January 6, 2023 at 7:10 am

I occasionally like to read other people’s frugal fails. It makes me feel like I’m not the only fool in town.


Katy January 6, 2023 at 10:24 am

Ugh, I feel your pain! I’m so sorry.


Mati January 9, 2023 at 1:19 am

Haha, glad to be of service! 😉


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