6 Frugal Wins & 3 Frugal Fails – November 2017


[This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclosures for more info.]

Oh, what an eventful month. Usually, it takes me 2 months to gather up eventful frugal wins and fails but we’ve got something in just a month already!

And it’s hubby’s birthday today! 🎀 We’re not doing anything special. I asked if he wanted to do something and he said: “do we ever do anything?” Ah, touché smart ass. My last birthday, he gave me potato chips.

Frugal Wins

Frugal Black Friday

We did not purchase a single thing on Black Friday. Black Friday isn’t my thing and I can attest to that from real experience. When my parents got wind of this “holiday,” suddenly I found myself in their friend’s minivan to sleep outside of a Best Buy for the night.

Stupid idea.

They made us line up in the dark to enter Best Buy so not much sleep was had. Green as I was, I was pretty excited. I needed a laptop for college and I suppose that was the best day to get it. I felt disappointed after seeing the deals at Best Buy. Like…wait, we’re standing outside in the cold for this?

The store was crowded and people were pushy and angry. Everyone was probably running on greed and adrenaline. Yeah, that’s exactly my type of crowd (sarcasm).

It was midnight; people were freaking out about $100 off monitors etc. Things were ugly. People were ugly. Financially secure people don’t have to fight over “deals.” Long lines, fake sales and a host of angry people even snapped my usually naive parents to become aware that Black Friday was a sham designed for those with a shopping addiction and low self-awareness.                   

This Black Friday, my husband and I went out to eat. Then we stopped by Joann Fabrics. I was wondering if I could craft a dog bed for Grace from scratch. We just needed memory foam pads and fabric to make a dog bed. But even with an in-store 50% off coupon, everything at Joann’s was ridiculously expensive. How are big box stores like Joann Fabrics not out of business yet? We left empty handed.

So yeah, continuing the tradition of boycotting Black Friday is a frugal win! You will never ever see me participating in Black Friday — even if they gave away computers for free.

Didn’t impulse buy at Michael’s

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet but my husband loves to bake. I once showed him a video of a finished Spanische Windtorte from The Great British Baking Show and his eyes kept twitching the whole time like he was having a food seizure.

I’m a foodie in the savory senses so his baking skills are lost on me. But I’ve always encouraged him to bake. Unfortunately, he is a software engineer by trade with a demanding job, 2 homes, and a long commute so there isn’t much time for him to spend an entire afternoon to craft a sweet masterpiece anymore. When we were first dating, he would spend afternoons making monkey bread, quiches, cakes, brownies, cheesecakes and cookies. His former co-workers loved him because he always brought in yummy desserts on Fridays.

Anyway, Michael’s art supply store has a baking section and that’s where I lost him. I walked around the store for a few minutes looking for him before a light bulb went off.

“Oh, he’s probably in…”

I got near the bakery section and cried from the next aisle “Honey, you’re stuck in there aren’t you?”

[mousy reply]


So I walk over and he’s visually violating a silicon rose mold meant for cakes and gelatin. Usually, my husband (ENGINEER) is emotionless and stoic but this is one of those moments where you can see his eyelashes fluttering and he’s trying to contain a smile.

This boy loves his craft. I got the both of us so busy with money making side hustles that he barely has time to bake anymore.

“Holy moly that’s cute!” I said, looking at the pink rose molds.

“I know, and look, shot glass molds!!!”


Next to the rose molds, there were silicone molds in the form of shot glasses so you can make edible shot glasses and be the creative drunk at any party.

“Get them!” I urged. I felt so guilty because I forgot how much he loved to bake.

“No, no impulse buys.”

“JUST GET IT, they’ll be 50% off with coupon.”

“When am I going to have the time and energy to concentrate on a tart? It’s not healthy either.”

This then leads us to a conversation of 20 or so minutes, going back and forth from the register to the baking section, discussing our plans for early retirement. I was rehashing my formula for maximizing happiness and potential. Baking is definitely something he should pursue. Plus, I want to hustle his brownies on Etsy someday!

In the end, we didn’t buy anything. I couldn’t convince him. We left the store empty-handed. I would have liked if he brought it. It’s a productive skill and it’s super cute to see him excited over fruit tart pans. He IS a fruit tart. He’s myyyyyy fruit tart. 🍒

Bought cheap carbon filters

Over a year ago, I read a fear-mongering article about air quality for those living within half a mile from a highway. Naturally, I became paranoid about our indoor air quality because we live near 3 (yes, 3!) highways.

I pestered my husband to buy an air purifier for our bedroom. The air definitely smelled cleaner with the air purifier. The HEPA and carbon filters need to be replaced every 6 months according to factory instructions. We have been deferring filter maintenance because of the on-going cost. I wish they sold the HEPA and carbon filter replacements separately. It’s overpriced. I can buy carbon filters by the foot for a few bucks. It makes spilling 50 beans for just a HEPA filter a bit difficult knowing that they’re definitely overpricing it.

We’re looking for alternative HEPA filters in the nearest size. For now, I bought a roll of cut to fit carbon pads to supplement costs and it works great!

Called Comcast to save $20/month

Our 1-year contract ended with Comcast and our bill went up by $20 from $60. We do this tango with them every year. They do their 30-second advertisement for their newest bundle of cable and ask if we’re interested (no thank you!) and then revert us back to the old price as “a part of their customer loyalty program.”

I bet a portion of the population doesn’t bother to call and just deal with the price increase. You guys need to call! We currently have Blast! Internet that’s supplemented by hubby’s employers.

BonLook sale

I’m pretty blind at -4.5 in both eyes. I haven’t had glasses for 18 months now and finally decided to buy a pair. I wear contacts once in a blue moon (you know those Korean circle lenses? Yeah, those are how I survived college, vision-wise, without insurance.)

I bought new glasses because of the Cyber Monday sale Bonlook hosted. Throughout the year, Bonlook drops prices from $99 to $69. It happens pretty often and I get notifications since I’m on their e-mail list. Even with the normal discount, you’re not checking out for anything under $79 dollars for a pair of glasses. This annual Cyber Monday sale, I got a pair of adorable glasses for $29 with $10 shipping! BonLook sent out the e-mail blast a little after 1 AM and I was first in for the existing inventory when the rest of the United States for sleeping. Score! Night owl advantages!

Brought books

This should be a frugal fail but I’ve cracked into the two books I purchased and I’m not hating them! Plus, I did get it on an eBay coupon for $15 off $50. Technically, I can resell it depending on the rarity and demand of these books in the future (that’s just bluff though, most likely I’m going to keep them.)

If it’s something I really, really want and somehow get it at a discount, I consider that a frugal win even if it’s something dispensable like books.

Frugal Fails

Failed future food hoardings

I do this a lot. We say that we’re going to use the Groupon and there’s lots of time to go eat then end up forgetting about it. Another Groupon expired on us since the weather has been so cold and I didn’t feel like making the trek out. This has happened 3 to 5 times in the last 6 months.

I uninstalled the Groupon app last week. It’s doing more harm than good because I tend to go out of my way to buy things at that moment I probably won’t use at all. I call this frugal fail: future food hoarding. I have a tendency to hoard coupons for the food of the future that never comes and it needs to stop.

Hustlin’ on eBay

I get to go treasure hunting and Jared has the delightful job of bookkeeping (he has the right personality for it). I’m getting a hang of eBay and it’s definitely very fun. My husband started to question if this reseller’s side hustle of mine could possibly compensate for our living expenses if we ramped it up. If he is questioning this, then that means I’m doing something right. Woo!

….oh right, the fails…

Mispriced Item

I only have 60 items on sale on eBay right now. It’s thrifted things, things I found at garage sales near us and my own things. I sold an item for $1 plus shipping then I realized I missed a zero on the pricing – it should have been $10. Oh well, I uphold all promises as a seller and they left me great feedback so it’s A-OK. 🙂

Misplaced Item

I purchased a limited edition Starbucks mug a few years ago. Who knew limited edition Starbucks mug could be so valuable? I purchased it for next to nothing and now it’s selling for over $30 per mug on eBay. When my (used) mug finally sold after months of sitting around I was happy to see it go.

But, argh, I couldn’t remember where I had put it! I canceled the order and apologized to the buyer. Jared came home and pulled it out of from underneath the corner table in the living room. Whoops! I didn’t see there! Back online it goes to find another buyer that wants a used limited edition Starbucks cup for whatever reason. Oh eBay, you are interesting.

Bonus frugal win: since the temperature has been so cold, we toggled our fridge to 40 degrees instead of 36 degrees that it was in the summertime. Now the fridge doesn’t have to work so hard! How was your month of November? Do you have any frugal wins and fails?

18 thoughts on “6 Frugal Wins & 3 Frugal Fails – November 2017”

  • Wow those are great frugal wins and lots of them too!

    I didn’t know Jared loves to bake. I don’t think I’ve seen you mention that on your blog either. Neither Mr. FAF nor I like sweets, so we don’t bake or buy sweets. Mr. FAF is a big fan of Micro Center (with lots of discounted electronic items). He would go there for fun and walk around while I yawn nonstop. Another favorite store of his is Best Buy. My friend’s hubby likes to cook, so he loves walking around the cookware aisle at TJ Max hehe.

  • Happy birthday to Jared!

    That’s crazy talk — your BestBuy overnighter! I purchased a “Door Buster” Black Friday special at BestBuy but it was online on Thanksgiving morning. Can’t beat saving $125 on something you really wanted, but purchasing in your jammies.

    I spent over 40 minutes with two different Spectrum reps after our “deal” just ended and our price went up $25. The ONLY thing I was able to get out of them was keeping the same price and downgrading internet speed. You know what? We never got the speed we paid for and luckily, so far no difference. And we’re getting out of this house by spring so I’m saving my fighting energy for the next county we live in.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Weirdest YouTube Recommendations of the Week

  • Nice!! Books aren’t always a frugal fail, it really depends on how much you read them and if its a book you really like.

    I take pride in my collections of series I can’t wait to share with my children, plus its nice to be able to write in the margins :).

    TOTALLY WITH YOU ON BLACK FRIDAY!! I can’t stand even seeing the “sales”

    Let’s jack this one TV price up to $1,000 on November 1, then while no one buys it, we will then “put it on sale for black Friday at %40 off” for our original planned price or a bit higher.

    “Sales” leading to the biggest day of people buying things for these companies, it cracks me up sometimes. Although if you do hunt and do use camelCamelCamel.com, you can find legit deals; I do that from home. Less ppl and less hostility :).
    Chris @ Duke of Dollars recently posted…November 2017 Army Updates – The Great War of Debt

  • I have the opposite temperature-related frugal win – summer is horrendously hot here so now that the temperature has dropped to a “chilly” 25C/77F, we don’t need the air conditioner on anymore at night! Which warms my heart more than any summer could, as the hum of the a/c and the knowledge that it represents so much wasted money really grinds my gears.

    Also, I would never consider a book purchase as a frugal fail 😉
    QMB @ The Land of Milk and Money recently posted…How To Refinance Your Student Loans In Two Minutes and Save Thousands

  • I’ve never been a fan of Black Friday, especially all those years I worked retail. But a few years ago, we were in the market for a computer for my mother-in-law, and so my wife and I dutifully got in line at 4 am. We got the deal we wanted, but in the end I’m not sure it was really worth it. We haven’t done any Black Friday dealing since then.

    I hope Jared has a happy birthday, and if he ever wants to bake, you can send him to my house! We’re both big fans of baked goods, not that it’s doing us any favors.

    And finally, a frugal win also involving eBay was my wife winning a 3rd prize virtual reality set from an online sweepstakes. She sold it for $180 on eBay which helps to pad our holiday budget.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…Discover 5 Practical Credit Repair Tips

  • “I asked if he wanted to do something and he said: ‘do we ever do anything?’ Ah, touché smart ass. My last birthday, he gave me potato chips.”

    I don’t know if I come here more for the financial wisdom or for the side-splitting humor. Either way, it’s never a waste of time. Happy birthday, Jared. And thank you Lily for sharing your frugal wins and losses.
    Mr. Groovy recently posted…Weirdest YouTube Recommendations of the Week

  • “visually violating a silicon rose mold.” Oh my gosh you’re so funny. You guys are so restrained in your spending! Even your fails sound like wins. That night in the van in front of Best Buy sounds pretty awful. Mr. ThreeYear still insists on Black Friday shopping but I’ve refused to go for the last four years. I agree–there’s no deal that’s worth all the pushing, shoving, and waiting in line in the cold (speaking of cold, that fridge tip is great. I’m going to go do that right now).
    [email protected] recently posted…End of the Year Goals Update

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.