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Five Frugal Things | some grocery shenanigans

My first two items this week are both grocery-related and they both were a bit of a headache!

1. I got a $50 Harris Teeter gift card

A Harris Teeter gift card.

This was not without hassle:

I saw that Harris Teeter was offering a $50 gift card with any transferred prescription, and luckily, I had one at CVS that was eligible for a refill.

I did the transfer on Harris Teeter’s website, but when I went to pick up the prescription, the pharmacist said, “Oh no, this is not a transferred prescription.”


So I politely said that it was, and then the pharmacist realized there had been an error in categorization. Yay!

But then the cashier was confused about how to give me my gift card, and eventually, she told me it would just automatically apply at checkout.

(Apparently, no one has ever taken advantage of this offer there! She said she’d never done one of these offers.)

I went through the checkout, but nope, no gift card credit showed up.

So THEN I went to the customer service desk and the person there had actually heard of this program, and she gave me a physical gift card.

2. I used some Safeway gift cards

Produce from a grocery shopping trip, arranged on a counter.

I had gotten some Safeway gift cards for 50% off, so I decided to go there to buy some Christmas foods, like my ham. And of course, I carefully looked through the sale ad to maximize my savings.

Well, when I got to checkout, the cashier rang up my gift cards, but he charged me for them! My total went UP by $50 instead of down. I tried to point this out, but he assured me all was well.

(Narrator: All was not well.)

I decided it was pointless to press the issue with him, so I paid and then went over to the customer service desk, where they took care of it.

3. I sold a pair of jeans on eBay

I had a pair of skinny jeans that I’d kept from an old Stitch Fix. I didn’t want them, but it hadn’t made financial sense to send them back, due to the discount you get if you keep all five items.

A pair of women's blue jeans, folded.

I listed them on eBay and they sold! I’m going to ship them off today.

4. I sent back a shirt I bought for Mr. FG

I ordered him a long-sleeved t-shirt that he’d asked for, but on the first trip through the wash, one arm seam ripped almost completely out.

I have no idea how this happened, since my washer is not in the habit of ripping up clothes. All I can think is that the fabric or the seam was faulty.

Happily, I was able to return it, so a new one will be on its way shortly.

And hopefully this one will survive more than one wash. (!!)

5. I helped Zoe modify/repair a thrifted blazer

She bought an 80s-style black blazer from Goodwill a little while back, and she needed help getting the shoulder pads out.

Sometimes you can just snip shoulder pads out of older clothes, but these ones were under the lining. So, I helped her take apart two lining seams, and then we were able to cut out the pads.

We hand-sewed the lining back shut, but we had a few mishaps where both of us caught the outside of the blazer in our stitches, and then we had to start over. Hand sewing a lining is a little tricky, apparently.

We also fixed a small rip in one of the hem seams, and now Zoe is all set with a super cheap blazer.

Your turn! What frugal things have you been up to? 

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Lindsay B

Thursday 30th of December 2021

1. Found a quarter on a walk. 2. Rescued three bagels from the trash at work. They are only a little dry and will be nice when toasted. Wanted to rescue the remnants of a fruit and cheese platter from the fridge, but since I am only “as-needed” I didn’t feel comfortable asking. There are a lot of other people in the office so I hope it gets eaten! 3. Remembered to use the last of a gift card for a haircut. I originally bought the gift card during a “buy $100, get an extra $20” sale, but of course remembering to use it is the only way to get the full benefit. ;) 4. Had parents in town for Christmas- they gave us a ham and lots of homemade cookies. We kept our food costs down by cooking at home. 5. I had foraged some shag bark hickory nuts earlier this fall, and it was a pleasant enough activity for people to crack them. They made delicious nut cookies that are a new favorite, but TBH if people weren’t willing to crack the nuts (soooo much work) I would just buy pecans. 6. We worked our way through a game and two puzzles free from the library for entertainment.

Sonia Lee

Thursday 30th of December 2021

I cut an old table cloth, free,mind you, down fron oval to round to fit the new table. I cut up an old bag that had lost its handles into clothes to be used to absorb grease from bacon and such instead of paper towels. They work fine and wash clean. I repaired my 20 year old sewing machine with a 6 dollar set of needle files. This was after taking it to a repair place twice spending over $100 each time to fix it and have it be in vain. I did spend 10 dollars on a book that helped me diagnose the problem. Well spent $10. Stayed out of stores and thus spent nothing on food and we ate well out of the spantry. Christmas was low jey and cost little as I only bought pj's for children and got 30 percent off those so all were less then $7.

Val C.

Thursday 30th of December 2021

1. This probably sounds awful to some (and common to others), but I re-gift throughout the year. I save gifts I am given for whatever reason (birthday, previous Christmas, holiday, etc.) and I save them in my "re-gift zone." Many times I love the item, but simply have too much of it and would rather see it go to someone else (AND save me money in the process). This year I re-gifted a pricey pair of earrings I received for my birthday as a Christmas present as well as a few other things. I just make sure to re-gift across different friend/family groups so as not to offend anyone.

2. I have made plans to make 2022 a "No Buy Year" and only buy 100% necessary/perishable items. I got a little to spendy this year and need to reset myself.

3. I ate leftovers for lunch all week at work.

4. I was super lazy and didn't want to make anything for dinner last night. Instead of stopping for El Pollo Loco, I heated up a can of soup for dinner.

5. I returned some sweaters I got for Christmas to The Loft for store credit.


Wednesday 29th of December 2021

I was a frugal failure in a myriad of holiday ways with travel and treats. I will be hopping back on the wagon Jan 1st.

Condo Blues

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

Mine are mostly shopping related. To be fair, I haven't needed much in the way of new clothes, shoes, etc. since the pandemic started and haven't gone anywhere until recently.

1. Save 40 bucks on sewing supplies at Joann Fabrics. I buy my basic colors of thread by the serger cone and finally had to go to the store when they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale on thread and cloak clasps. I also paired 2 coupons on the Joann's app on my purchase for extra savings.

2. Shopped in person for a pair of leather boots I saw online but wasn't sure about the fit so I didn't make the sale purchase on line. Good thing because I found I needed a different size than I normally do and it was a final sale with no returns. These leather boots will replace the pleather boots I bought long ago in the kid's department (I have tiny feet) and learned the hard way children's shoes are not built to last no matter the name brand or amount you pay for them.

3. Bought needed clothing at J Crew on line during their after Christmas sale and used a discount code to get an extra 50% off every item in my order.

4. Used Instantcart to buy groceries after coming home from vacation the start of Christmas week and avoided the temptation of buying holiday snacks, food, and too many clever cheeses.

5. Bought an adapter to use my current computer monitor with the graphics card on the computer I got last month for my birthday. My husband and I were going to buy a new monitor on after Christmas sale but now I don't have to

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