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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Five Frugal Holiday Things

Here are my top 5 frugal activities from this past holiday week.

1. I rendered ham fat to use in cooking later

I rendered the fat from our Christmas ham, saving the bits (cracklins') to top bowls of soup and the fat itself for use in cooking. (Here's how I render ham fat and make cracklins'. ) 

I was able to save about a half-pound of ham fat and about 1 cup of cracklins' which I'll use like bacon bits. I estimate the value of my savings to be in the neighborhood of $1.

2. I made flavorful stock from ham bones

After trimming as much fat and meat off the bones that I could, I roasted the bones in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes, then made ham stock in my crockpot overnight. Roasting the ham bone first really adds to the flavor of the stock -- process.  

After the long simmering, I was able to remove an additional 1½ cups of shredded ham meat from the bones (for adding to soup), and the batch yielded 3 quarts of stock. I estimate the value of the meat and stock to be around $4.

3. I washed used aluminum foil

I washed the aluminum foil that was used for baking the ham and for wrapping the almond-filled Christmas Day bread. I've washed and reused this foil several times. Yes, it has a few tears in it, but those tears can be temporarily "mended" by folding and crimping the foil around the tear. 

I washed 6 sheets of foil of varying lengths, perhaps about ⅓ of a small box of foil, with a value of 33¢.

4. I made 5 pints of eggnog for the six of us

I made 2 batches of homemade eggnog, one batch on Christmas Eve (which was completely consumed on Christmas Day) and the other batch yesterday. 

I saved about $2 by making my own eggnog at home this year. Eggnog is easy to make at home, and my family agrees that the commercial stuff now tastes chemically to us.

5. Free-pile!!!!

I stopped at a free-pile in front of a neighbor's home while on a walk this week and picked up a glass cheese dome/plate and a set of 4 LED snowflake window ornaments. 

"Tis the season to clean out your closets and make room for the new stuff! These are used items, so my estimate is based off of thrift store pricing -- about $4 for cheese dome/plate and window ornaments.

$11.33 for these 5 holiday money-savers. I also saved ribbons/bows/gift bags from Christmas gifts to reuse next year, saved some of the holiday wrapping paper to use in crafting, made several jars of cocoa mix for my family, reused a lightweight cardboard New Year's banner (the kind designed to be used once, then thrown away), found 4 party poppers leftover from last year's package to use on New Year's Eve (hoping they still work for tonight), and watched a bunch of free movies on tubi.

Have you used tubi before? In what ways were you frugal this holiday season? 


  1. I have scrolled through the movies on Tubi, but I've never watched any. I think I'm not a big movie watcher. Are there a lot of ads associated with it?

    How does your aluminum foil hold up in the dishwasher? I've only washed that (and plastic bags) by hand.

    We seem to be on a legume kick lately, so I'm sure that's saving us money. Hubby made 15 bean soup .... I made Cowboy Caviar .... tomorrow hubby will make Hoppin' John (which I had never heard of until I met him--apparently it's a New Year's Day tradition in some areas?) .... I used lentils in a soup last night .... so far our intestinal systems have held up!

    Happy New Year to everyone.

    1. Hi Kris,
      The ads come in bunches that last 2-3 minutes -- enough time to run and get something. Otherwise, we like it (it's free).

      I wash the foil by hand but dry it standing on end in the dishwasher. I think I tried using the dishwasher once and it just shredded the foil.

      I'm making Hoppin' John, too for tomorrow! I think it's a Southern thing? maybe?
      All of those legumes will definitely help your budget and probably your health, too!

      How did the vaccine process go?

      Happy New Year, Kris!

  2. Hoppin John is definitely a southern thing, however from a little further south than where I grew up. We usually had pork and sauerkraut with a penny cooking in it for luck. Sometimes we do that here, but tomorrow we're going to have a sausage and pasta dish courtesy of my son.

    I was not familiar with Tubi, so I looked it up. We are not big movie watchers either, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to upload it. The cable bill is going up again, so it's time to revaluate. However, we have the triple play (cable, internet, and phone) that gives a discount. We have not been able to find internet and phone cheaper than the triple play in the past, so we have kept everything. But things change, so we will check out the other possibilities.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I've never heard of cooking a penny in the meal for good luck, as an American thing. I have heard of using silver coin in a steamed pudding for Christmas. The one who gets the coin in their serving is said will have good luck and prosperity in the new year.

      We have several free movie sites that we use. Between all of them, we find a wide selection of movies to choose from. We watch movies as a family primarily during the winter months. So, we look for those free sites.

      Happy New Year, Live and Learn!

  3. The vaccine went well. Live and learn asked me to share my experience on her blog so I will have more details there. I think it will be helpful to have a few days under my belt to see what, if any, reactions I have. So far it's been very similar to getting a flu shot in terms of reactions.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm glad to hear that. I'll be looking for more on your experience soon. Where I live, I'm in the last group to have access to the vaccine. So I wonder if what's available at that point will even be the same as what folks are getting right now. I hope your reactions are minimal, but enough for good protection for you.

    2. Kris I got the Covid vaccine today. Did not even feel the shot. The only thing I felt was a warming sensation. My arm is a little sore like when you get flu shot. It's been 8 hours we will see what happens tomorrow.

    3. Hi Anon,
      Could you please come back in the next day or two and let us know how this goes for you?

    4. Anon, I got the Pfizer vaccine. Wondering what you received.

    5. Yes, so far I feel great. My arm is not sore anymore. I also got the Pfizer vaccine.


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