Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 25, 2015 · 25 comments

Food waste

  1. We dropped our son off at university, and only bought two new things for his dorm. (A scanner/printer and a shaving kit.) Everything else we were able to get from our home or source from the second hand market. In all we spent $109, which is not too shabby considering that the average college bound student spends $899.18 furnishing their dorm. From home he brought his blanket, pillows, closet organizer, metal organizing drawers, laundry basket, hangers, wastebasket, lamp and clothes he already owned. No need to own doubles!
  2. My husband and I are spending three days in Ashland, Oregon settling our son and sneaking in a mini-vacation. We’ve hit up two Goodwills, ate two free meals in the dining hall, have been very deliberate with restaurant meals and are buying zero souvenirs. Although I did thrift a $2.99 covered casserole dish for freezer meals, as well as a $150 rolling art bin that I nabbed for $9.99. This will be sold for yes, you guessed it . . . the ol’ college fund!
  3. I found a single unused Forever stamp on the ground, which I slipped into my wallet. I’ll be sure to use a glue stick not my tongue when it comes time to affix it to an envelope! Hey, that’s a free 49¢!
  4. Our breakfast was free at the school, although our motel stay also included a breakfast. I went ahead and grabbed two bananas and two muffins for an afternoon snack.
  5. My last frugal thing as actually an unfrugal thing. We stopped in Eugene on our way down to Ashland and treated ourselves to an amazing lunch at Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen. I deliberately ate lightly so that I’d have some leftovers to munch on in the motel room. However, I forgot to bring the food in from the car, which is where it then sat all day and through the night. I hate food waste, but I especially hate food poisoning! I’d like to take a moment to say a few words about the wonderful pulled pork, potato salad, cole slaw and red beans and rice. I may have only known you briefly, but your beauty touched my life and you were taken too soon. Heaven just added another angel. Sniff . . . 

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Delorise September 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm

1. I got 5 one cent stamps attached to a junk mail letter — don’t know what that was about-but free stamps!!
2. I bought a rotisserie chicken Tuesday and we got a 2nd meal off it tonight and still got leftovers.
3. Got 16 free boxes of pasta today–love those coupons.
4. Didn’t meet friends for lunch today- so saved that $4.83 (Child’s menu and then a Senior discount on top of that–love those discounts.
5. Weather here was misty and cool enough air conditioner hasn’t had to run–yeh using less electricity.


Betty Winslow September 25, 2015 at 6:31 pm

1. Today’s frugal win – picked apples from my neighbor’s tree, at her invitation, and made a crockpot full of applesauce. Not sweet enough to eat plain, but it’ll made a great substitute for oil in quickbreads this winter. Will freeze in 1 cup portions. And tomorrow will be picking some more!
2. Also stopped at a garage sale and for $5, got several pieces of jewelry, 3 small square framed water colors of potted plants which will go in my bathroom where real plants won’t grow, a cute flouncy skirt to donate to the foster care Princess Party (where each little guest gets a costume to wear and then take home), and a cute fleece sleeper and top for my granddaughter. (I did not buy any of the baskets she had for sale – if you knew me, you’d know that’s a MAJOR win…)
3. Repaired a brooch and a watchband for an elderly friend, gave them back to her today, and she gifted me a $25 Panera’s card!
4. Signed up today for a writer’s seminar in Oct., which saved me $20 over waiting to pay at the door.
5. Salvaged a lidless plastic under-the-bed bin during our heavy pickup week, washed it out well, and am repurposing it as a food pantry donation bin to keep under the information table in the back of our church. Fits perfectly!


Sharon September 25, 2015 at 6:33 pm

1) I was given a diet Coke that was left over from an event… A long time ago. It was not good, but I am recycling the can!
2) Packed lunch today of leftover sandwich from last weekends camping trip (I froze it when I got home and thaw pieces as needed), pears that were given to me and on their last, and sunflower seeds I bought a while ago (2 years ago… Still good).
3) Dinner was leftover chicken and corn soup that had been frozen in individual portions, and some of a loaf of bread given to me.
4) I was able to purchase fuel for 7 cents per gallon off the in town price by purchasing out of town on my way to work. And saved an additional 10 cents per gallon off using fuel points earned doing the surveys on receipts from Friday freebies!
5) I avoided all other purchases… Like a Lear jet! Lol


Amanda September 25, 2015 at 6:54 pm

1. Cashed in credit card points for a gift card I will use to buy groceries on Sunday.
2. Planned out our sons’ Halloween costumes so I can strategize to make them as cheaply as possible. Even if I was willing to buy them new, I’m always surprised at what poor quality you get for $20.
3. Resisted buying a drink from the machine today even though I reeeeeally wanted one. I happily had a Pepsi when I got home, so I’m not so deprived.
4. Running neither AC nor heat in this super short two week September window we get in Virginia where the temperature is just right.
5. I’m seeing a change in my husband’s approach to his business. He is finally getting tired of working 100 hours a week and is in the process of bringing on help. Help will free him up to go after even more business, and hopefully mean more profit. Of course him just getting more sleep and having time to exercise will save us in health care expense down the road.


Bobbi September 26, 2015 at 8:52 am

Amanda, I live in Va. too, in Chesterfield Co. near Richmond. I always love this time of year, when the temp. & humidity are not so high. It’s a treat to be able to open the windows!


Isabelle September 25, 2015 at 7:16 pm

* Found a hairband on the groud, and (what I think is) a very sturdy metal stove/BBQ tray in a grocery parking lot (without tag or bag… odd)
* Date night with hubby. Money spent: 0$. We ate at home, went for a walk (parked using my work pass – free this time of the day for me), then we went to the city gym to play badminton (“free” when we buy the annual card for all the city activities, so an annual cost of 47$ for our family of 4). And free babysitting (grandma).
* Received my daughter’s school pictures. Many packages to choose from, ranging from 6$ to 100$. And a bunch of possible extras like mouse pads, mugs, key chains, etc. We are keeping it on the low side, choosing an 18$ package only.
* Will go to the farmers market tommorow (using my parking pass again) to get cheap veggies. We always look for the day-before clearance, the ones on lower shelfs, instead of paying full price. I will not pay 5$ for an item when you sell the day-old one for a buck!
* Going to a birthday party tommorow. Giving a wine bottle as a gift, that we got for free when buying sausages for ourselves. I am not eating grains/sugar and my husband is gluten intolerant (yes, we are that annoying couple!), so I suggested bringing a big salad for all (lettuce at 0,79$ + tomatoe at 0,35$+ salad dressing at 1,60$) and gluten-free pasta for DH (0,60$), since my friend is serving spaghetti. The kids will eat what is served. Cheap meal all and all.
* Went to mow my mother’s lawn and ate lunch at her place, so free lunch.
* Worked an extra 2.25 hours this week
* Waiting to see if I can pick free apples soon, instead of buying some. And eating in season What is cheap here right now: potatoes, cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots. So we are loading up on those. Too bad we don’t have a cold storage space, I would love to save some for the winter!
* My table lamp died on me. I asked around and on Freecycle for another one and got lucky: I got two new-to-me lamps. Storing one for later use

Ok, enought!

Have a great frugal day!


Diane September 26, 2015 at 5:05 am

Your soul food meal sounds delish! I’ve done the same with forgetting food in
the car and tossing it. BUT…..New Orleans red beans and rice are easy to make at home, Brings me back home every time when I eat this meal and have my New Orleans music on Spotify.

Hope you try making red beans at home.


Kim from Philadelphia September 26, 2015 at 6:56 am

Sorry about your food waste tragedy- especially when it involves pork!
I’m sure the drop off was bittersweet. So smart that you had your son take things from home.


Carol M. September 26, 2015 at 7:15 am

1. I was sick with a cold this week, and I only stayed home one day. No work=no wages for me. Instead of staying home two, I pumped myself full of vitamin C and probiotics, and I recovered nicely.
2. I made a nice casserole with polenta and farmers’ market veggies. We have been going to the FM weekly, and it feels wonderful to cook with seasonal produce. There’s plenty of leftover casserole, so that will last us.
3. Fiance and I stopped by the passionfruit vine in our apartment parking lot on our way home from dinner last night. I had picked fruit there before, but he never had. We got a few pieces. “This is fun!” he said.
4. Stopped by the rampant purslane weed patch outside my school district office, and picked enough for a salad. Luckily, there weren’t a lot of people around, so no one to give me a raised eyebrow.
5. Have been keeping my eye out for a thrifted bulletin board for a long time. I want one to make a rotating display of kid art I’ve collected while teaching. I haven’t found one, but I recently came to own a beautiful rectangular piece of cardboard. I thought about covering it with fabric, but I tried it on the wall and it looks fine as it is, especially covered in kid art. $0 spent, and one less thing in the landfill.


Carrie Willard September 26, 2015 at 7:51 am

It wasn’t a great week, frugal wise, because my 5 year old daughter broke her arm and then we all got sick (hellooo paper plates!).

But thank you God for health insurance!


Betsey September 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

1. I am going to the movies today to see a first run! A friend gave me a ticket she cannot use, the parking is free, and I do not eat popcorn nor drink pop.
2. A neighbor and I are fall cleaning and rearranging. We had fun exchanging pictures, rugs, and decorative items that we thought would look better in the others home. We both have a different look now in our sparkling clean rooms. We also helped each other with window washing and moving furniture. We split the cost of hiring a do it yourself carpet cleaner. A good neighbor is worth her weight in gold.
3. I sold a bunch of unwanted stuff to another neighbor; I did not need doubles of every gardening tool and whatever else one keeps in the garage. I made over $100.
4. I have been busying myself with church activities. It’s free and I love working there.
5. I did not buy new curtains, furniture, knickknacks, etc (see #2).


K D September 26, 2015 at 9:51 am

Earlier in the week I picked some persimmons from a tree that belongs to no one (on land that is between an access road and a main road). I looked up recipes and settled on a bread recipe. I used the recipe to make muffins instead and also added pumpkin, spices, and raisins. The muffins were good but the persimmons were a lot of work (many seeds per fruit), if I pick more I’ll borrow a food mill from a friend.

I picked up apples that were at street curbs, near where there is an apple tree. They are nor beautiful but will be fine with other apples for making applesauce.

I opened a survey from The Department of Justice and found a crisp $2 bill. I did take the survey, it only took a few minutes.

Last week a friend took me out to lunch. We both thought the food was sub-par but didn’t see a manager on the way out so I sent an electronic comment. Yesterday I received a reply and they want to send a gift card for the price of our lunches.

The grocery store had Duncan Hines cake mixes, brownie mixes, and tubs of frosting for $1. I had ten $.75/2 coupons (they double coupons up to $1). I know food banks love to collect those items for the upcoming holidays so I stocked up so I can donate them. Each item was $.25 out of pocket and the coupons were printed from Swagbucks so I should get 100 points as well. It was the last day of the sale and I did not come close to clearing the shelves and I had to go through the line three times (a limit of four like coupons per transaction). It was a cheap thrill.


Lisa W. September 26, 2015 at 10:18 am



Monica September 26, 2015 at 10:32 am

1. Scored a new pair if suede boots on sale for $39.99 and used a $10 coupon to bring the cost down to $29.99. These are the only new Fall item I need to upgrade my wardrobe of clothes from last year.
2. Then, I scored another pair of suede boots and a pair of ankle booties from my Mom, who was cleaning out her closet.
3. Worked from home all week so saved $ by eating breakfasts and lunch at home.
4. Trying to find used scout-wear for my daughter so we don’t have to buy new.
5. Finally putting together a pile of small items to photograph and list online to sell. Hoping the small amount of $ I earn will offset some new membership dues for clubs my daughter has joined at school.
6. Bonus: DH repairing our 30 yr old woodsplitter and getting some free firewood from our in laws today.


Michele September 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

1. Tested out frozen make-ahead sandwiches last week and they were fine. Made 10 for next week for son and I. Packed lunch every day for son and myself. His school lunch is 2.40!
2. Going to wine tasting this pm, but persuaded friends to skip movie after and watch one at our house. Potluck dinner. My part is what I have on hand.
3. Refilled my ancient Windex bottles I keep under each bathroom sink with “bulk” windex. Less packaging this way.
4. Made homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for aforementioned lunches. Froze most to hide from 2 hungry teenage boys. 🙂
5. Packed lunches for husband and youngest son. Made sure they ate breakfast before leaving home. He is doing a science project (underwater), so they will be hungry after diving.


Ruby September 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

1. Our local grocery store has been running a promotion where if you buy X amount of store brands, you get a high-value store coupon — it’s averaging $3-$4 so far — to use on anything during your next visit. I’ve been combining those with some manufacturer’s coupons to stock up on our kitties’ favorite dry cat food at way less than half price.
2. Also used a $5 off $25 dollar store coupon to stock up on toilet paper, laundry detergent, canned cat food, and knock-off V8 juice for making vegetable soup.
3. Had to return a defective item to Amazon, and used some of my stash of second-hand padded envelopes to mail it.
4. Mended a pair of my husband’s underwear for him.
5. Cleaned out and reorganized the pantry so I can tell exactly what we need to stock up on and plan/shop accordingly.


Ruby September 26, 2015 at 11:59 am

Forgot to add: Some very cheap glass cleaner wasn’t doing a good job on my eyeglasses until I added a little rubbing alcohol to the bottle. It’s cleaning way better now.


Bettypants September 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm

1. The $8 necklace I bought from ebay arrived and it is beautiful. I wore it twice and received zero compliments. I guess I’m the only one who finds it beautiful, but that’s okay by me.
2. I started watching Homeland on Netflix, and then it mysteriously vanished from the available titles. No clue why, but it’s back again, so I’m watching as much as I can before it disappears again.
3. Gathered up a bunch of unneeded/unwanted items around the house to list on ebay and local FB boards.
4. Vacuumed and photographed a large wool rug that I determined is just too dark for the living room. Posted it on CL and hoping it will be attractive to someone else.
5. Made a big batch of chili this morning, and a batch of pizza dough to use for cheese bread.


Pattilou September 26, 2015 at 5:46 pm

1. Decided to stay in last night and watch a movie at home instead of going to the movies.
2. Went to two work functions in the last few days where dinner was provided and both had really delicious meals.
3. The weather has been beautiful so no need for air conditioning or heat.
4. I’ve been taking Navy showers to conserve water – get wet, turn water off, lather up then rinse. Good for the environment and the pocket book.
5. Trying to work on my home made Christmas gifts every day so I’m done in time!


Marcia September 26, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I had a frugal day and enjoyed the nice weather besides. Husband wanted to work on his car and I wanted to do something to enjoy the weather. I went to a yard sale, and then to the local department store with coupons to look and see what they had in new clothes for fall. Had a good look around without finding anything I wanted to buy, plus scoped out a gift I had on MY wish list. Then I took a short ride over to the usual Saturday farmer’s market, which was supplemented today to an Octoberfest. More vendors for jewelry, and fewer farmers, but I walked around anyhow. So I got in some walking and looking without spending MUCH money…..the market is right by the artisanal ice cream place, so I did succumb to the lure of a cone on the way back–$3 for a single scoop, which is a LARGE scoop and really good ice cream. Quite enjoyable, and my only trip there this summer. When I got back, I used leftovers from last night’s dinner–rice and green beans and got out a package of small steaks which DH grilled for us. We seldom have steak (dental issues) but it was good and we enjoyed it. Watching TV and playing on the computer this evening. A frugal day!


Vickie September 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm

1) Coupons used for dog food this week. $3 off, yay!
2) Big Lots had a 12 pack of double roll/double ply toilet paper for $4.99. It has a Rain Forest Alliance label, so I’m guessing that means biodegradable – which is good for the septic tank too. I actually got several good deals $5 for a 12 pack of cat food pouches that usually cost 6. 95 at the other stores. I love saving money on food and staples.
3) I found a cool book for a $1 at the Dollar Tree yesterday called “Made For You and Me”. It’s a great real-life story by Caitlin Shetterly of the coast-to-coast journey she and her husband experienced during the 2008 economic collapse.
4) Went to church today and spent the rest of the afternoon resting at home with the dogs and reading my new book.
5) I ate 3 meals off the left-over wraps from a Vendor demo at work.


Robin September 26, 2015 at 6:51 pm

1) making the snack for my kiddo’s soccer team tomorrow rather than buying something.

2) bought a bunch of bulbs for the yard that will create some incredible springtime color for less than what a couple of plants would cost from the nursery.

3) been visiting the library every week (with my son). He’s loving the new books and videos and I’m loving the new books (and sort of the videos).

4) made cards for various occasions rather than buying them.

5) been keeping an eye on our fall garden. Making sure it has enough water and Sluggo. I really want it to produce this year!

Frugal fail – after spending all day out at a Harvest Festival, neither my husband or I felt like cooking so he got take away. Sigh. Next time I prepare with something made ahead of time.


Jill A September 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

1. Last weekend went to a local college football game with my husband. Tickets were free as well as a tailgate dinner & drinks. My husband was invited by a company he works with. Free entertainment except for the cost of parking.
2. This weekend daughter had a band competition an hour away and then another one later closer to home. In between we went to Grand Rapids Art Prize competition. Artists from everywhere enter their exhibits, they have art all over the city. More free entertainment. Ate lunch out – not frugal.
3. Husband made a tic tac toe game for school carnival. Cut open the bottle of wood glue to get the last little bit, instead of going to the store to get more. We will need more for other projects, but we’ll get more when we are already out. Caulk tube was clogged, so he opened up the tube and applied it, instead of throwing it out.
4. Oldest daughter lives in Reno. They have a Patagonia outlet. I asked her to keep an eye out for a new winter coat for my her dad. She found one on sale. They marked it down while she was there. Paid $140 for a $350 3 in 1 jacket. He’ll get a new coat for Christmas.
5. Trying to eat up all the stuff in our freezer and pantry. Buying less groceries.


Rowen G. September 27, 2015 at 11:11 am

1. Went to the local farmers’ market this morning for fresh-roasted green chilies for tonight’s company dinner; they were out of the “small” and “medium” bags, so as I’m a repeat customer, they gave me a “large” bag for the price of a small. The extra will go in the freezer.
2. Stopped off at my sister’s house, and she gave me a package of pork-steaks to add to the green chili. (I have all the rest of the ingredients at home.)
3. Cat-sitting for a friend; she left me a packet of Alaska wild herb tea, and 2 Newcastle ales as a thank-you.
4. Found a small pine book case, exactly the size I needed, at the thrift shop last week for all of $6. (Some cosmetic damage, which I cleaned up in about an hour.
5. Wanted a new fall shirt, and extracted a nice piece of linen from my fabric stash, so I will make just what I want instead of buying one.

Accumulating thrifted & estate sale items in a storage bin for gifts, so I’ll be done with my holiday shopping (except for a little baking) by Thanksgiving.


Theresa September 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

1- repaired my umbrella- frugal win!
2- repaired the sleeve of my cardigan too
3- found a missing $20 bill in my pants pocket while doing laundry
4- hubby and I enjoyed Whole Food’s 25 cent coffee special this morning while we read their free copy of the New York Times
5- applying the “half measure” principal with personal care products


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