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Five Frugal Things | I sold the Cookie Monster tree

1. I sold our blue Christmas tree

I initially thought about keeping it and then selling it next November, at prime time.

But then I realized that I am really not interested in storing a tree for a year for the sake of getting a few more dollars for it.


Cookie Monster Christmas tree

So, I listed it and sold it for $40, half price since it’s on clearance at Wayfair for $80 right now.

It’s out of my house and another household will have a fun Cookie Monster tree next Christmas.

That makes me happy!

Another benefit: so many people on the Facebook group got a chuckle out of just seeing the tree in the listing. Lisey’s crazy tree idea has made lots of people smile.

(Here’s the post where I explained the story of how we came to have a Cookie Monster tree.)

2. I submitted an eBay appeal and I won

I helped Zoe buy a Christmas present for Sonia (a DVD set) on eBay, and it was supposed to have arrived a few days before Christmas.

But, it never did, despite tracking showing it as having been delivered.

After chatting with UPS, it became clear that this seller is a scammer. I think they’re shipping fake (probably very lightweight) packages to places in the buyer’s city so that the UPS tracking shows it as delivered.

(UPS tracking just shows the city.)

padded envelope package

But when I talked to UPS, they told me that the package was sent to another address in my city.

The seller had good reviews before Christmas, but now their profile is filled with negative feedback with the same story as mine.

Anyway, eBay initially refused my claim, but once I appealed with the info from UPS, they issued a refund.

We made a purchase from a different eBay seller and now we have the DVDs in hand. Whew.

3. I bought Sonia’s English books on eBay

One of her spring 2021 college classes is a literature class, and it requires several novels. I found all of them on eBay for a few dollars each.

And of course, at the end of her semester I’ll promptly list them all for sale on eBay.

4. I made banana muffins with two old bananas

I’d stuck them in the fridge once they got brown spots, and by this week, they were looking much worse. But I mashed them up and they made a perfectly good batch of muffins.

5. I made my bag of bread cubes into French toast casserole

When I notice that there are some heels or a dry roll or something like that, I cut the bread up into cubes and put them in a Ziploc back, which I keep in the freezer for this purpose.

Once it’s full, I use them for Pioneer Woman’s French toast casserole.

French toast casserole

Which means that this casserole is always made up of a variety of bread types (this time there were some orange squash roll cubes) but it  works out fine.

Now, if you tried to put everything bagel cubes in there, that would be a different story!

(By the way, I use coconut milk in place of the dairy milk so that Sonia can eat this. I do still use the heavy cream it calls for, since Sonia tolerates that just fine.)

Your turn! Share your frugal five in the comments.

P.S. Remember my recent efforts to get Cigna to cover a bill for a service that happened way back in July? I got the check this week! Very happy about that.

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Thursday 14th of January 2021

Glad I'm not the only one who saves bread ends!!! That is a great recipe. Love Ree. I bet I have enough bread ends to do it, too. Here's our five frugal things for the week:

1. Made veggie scrap stock from the various ends and scraps I have been saving up. I had enough for nine containers to freeze. There were a lot of scraps this time around!

2. My husband started composting coffee grounds and then cleaning out and recycling the little plastic coffee pods from our keurig. Our middle daughter was taking them to use for starter plants, but told us she had enough. So now it is our job to dispose of them responsibly.

3. Our microwave blew up....literally. I'm glad I was standing near it to extinguish the flames. Luckily, the fire damage was contsined to the inside of the appliance. No, I didn't put metal in it. It was old and decided it had had enough. My coworker knew someone who got a new one to match her kitchen and was no longer using her prior one. She gave it to us and refused to take any money for it. It's a really nice one. As a thank you, I gave her a $25 gift card to Kohl's (knowing she likes to shop there). Even with the gift card, I figured I saved about $125 if I purchased a comparable model brand new.

4. Our youngest daughter goes back to school Sunday (so sad). We went through the two pantries and bathroom supply cabinet here before making a shopping list for items needed. She is a vegetarian and we purchased a lesser meal plan because the school doesn't offer many options for her. We supplement with food from home and gift cards to the local grocery store. She eats better and we save money. Anyway, we had most everything she needed here and have only a few fresh items to buy before she goes back.

5. My daughter turns 20 on Monday and it is tradition for her and I to go to a local crepe restaurant for brunch. We are doing this tomorrow (take out instead of dine in this year). I was mentioning this to my sister who said her boss gave her a $50 gift card for the place for Christmas. She doesn't eat crepes and offered it to us for her birthday. She wouldn't let me pay for it, so I am making her a sweater in her favorite color.

Liz B.

Thursday 14th of January 2021

I'm not sure I have 5, but here goes.....

1. Hubby filled out the appropriate form to have our insurance company reimburse us for the $100+ fee they charged for my pre-op COVID test. He knew it was supposed to be covered - I did not. Thank you, WilliamB, for bringing it to my attention! 2) Used a store coupon for $14 off a grocery purchase of $140. Our groceries are usually less than that each week, but stocked up on things we use all the time. 3) Received a total of $25 for two professional surveys I took online. 4) Froze some fresh blueberries and cranberries before they got wrinkly/mushy/moldy. 5) Started finding ways to use up some pantry odds and ends...shelf-stable chocolate almond milk in over night oatmeal is a good start. Will make chocolate chip cookies this weekend to use up a mix. Not sure what to do with the jar of dulce de leche yet....but I'm sure I'll find something.

Happy saving!


Thursday 14th of January 2021

Use it to make a tres leches cake. Super yummy!!!


Thursday 14th of January 2021

Congrats on the Cigna check! It has always boggled my mind how places can charge something immediately (hospitals, md offices, etc.) but take forever to get a refund! Hmmm

I don't have any major frugal happenings this week, only small stuff.

1) Earned a $5 GC from Swagbucks. 2) Received a gift of a Target GC...And it's not even my birthday...Very sweet. 3) I found hubby's fave butter cookies, you know the ones in the blue tin, on clearance for 75 cents. He usually says he "doesn't need it" when I ask if he wants any treats. But for these, he'll take them... 4) Our youngest needs books for college and we have found them on amazon and other online bookstores. One is very cheap at $15. 5) The college sent an email of the tuition bill for our youngest and he pays it on his own. I told him to wait until it's due...He applied for scholarships and who knows if he might win one?. Sure enough, he got another email stating the revised bill is $300 cheaper..... We will still wait until February to pay the bill, just in case....

Cyndi R.

Thursday 14th of January 2021

My FFT: Used our credit card points that I have been saving for a $50 Amazon gift card and a $25 Cabelas gift card for the husband. 2. Cancelling my Prime account was a good thing. Not mindlessly spending and practicing patience. Plus trying to shop small and local. Now if i absolutely have to buy off of Amazon i buy a gift card or use gift cards from credit card/surveys and wait until i have the $25 minimum for free shipping. 3. Continuing to look for a smaller house outside of town. The Boise area is hot right now and houses are selling in minutes and over asking price so its hard but not going to let it stop me! 4. Sold a cast iron dutch oven and skillet on FB Marketplace for $60 5. Continue to shop my pantry!

Jaybee Martin

Thursday 14th of January 2021

I can't believe Sonia is already taking college classes. Where does the time go?

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