Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 22, 2016 · 103 comments

Stolen notebook

  1. I made a double batch of ginger snaps and mailed them off to my son, along with his recently darned socks. The postage was $7.15, but much cheaper (and better) than an official care package from the university.
  2. I stopped at Fred Meyer to buy milk on my way home from dropping my son at school today. Nothing else. The most frugal thing you can buy at a grocery store is the stuff you actually went there for!
  3. I baked up a couple of scratch pizzas last night. I kept the toppings frugal and chopped up some leftover ham and opened a can of crushed pineapple that’d been in the cupboard for a couple of years. (Yes, years!) Tonight’s dinner will be potato-cheddar soup with ham, which will finally finish up our Christmas ham. It’s the annual holiday gift from my employer, and I swear we got eight or nine meals from it this year! (Don’t worry, the current round of meals are from the diced leftovers that I’d frozen!)
  4. I ran out of room on my beloved yellow legal pad that I’ve been using for my daily to-do lists. (Even though I’d used both sides of every damned sheet of paper!) I was thinking I’d need to buy a new one, but then I realized that my older son has endless stacks of notebooks in his room that he isn’t using. I grabbed one that’ll fit into my purse and was able to avoid a purchase. Funnily, it reads “Youth Noise: Be Heard.”
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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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{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie January 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

In haste, because this is likely to be all Five Frugal Things: DH is helping a couple of friends clean out a rental property (the tenants did one of those unannounced middle-of-the-night departures). Gotta go help with the triage. Looks like a lot of junk so far, but I’ve already seen one set of plates and bowls that are nicer than the ones we’re using. More later!


Katy January 22, 2016 at 10:59 am

Ooh . . . keep us posted!


A. Marie January 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Alas, our hopes were dashed: Aside from the aforementioned dishes and a few other things, this load is true trash. But I’m sure Katy has had similar experiences in cleaning out Su Mama’s rental cabins. And DH will get paid for his time and the dump fees, so it’s not a total loss by any means.

On to the other four Frugal Things:

(2) Still postponing that haircut. (3) Went to a 15% off sale at a “big lots” type of store and bought only what I was looking for (all consumables). (4) Still keeping to the Compact, except for a new air-cleaner machine for DH (who has chronic sinusitis); I figured that this one was justified for health reasons. (5) Still heating with free wood, hanging laundry, and all that good stuff.


Katy January 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Bummer. However, my mother’s guest cottage tenants are generally well off, and rarely leave it gross.


A. Marie January 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Glad to hear it re: the guest cottages, for both your and Su Mama’s sakes.

Jennifer January 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I’m still postponing my haircut too!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm

The good news: I went 7 months without a haircut. Finally decided it needed to be ‘shaped’ but was really fine for all but the last two weeks of the 7 months.
The bad news: I misread the signs and parked in a loading zone while getting my hair cut. The ticket was a whopping $55!!

Amanda January 22, 2016 at 10:55 am

1. Kids are now addicted to skiing. I sold some never used scrapbooking stuff to buy my eldest a snowboard/binding/boots from a lady who had never used it.
2. Bought used skis for our younger 2 off Craigslist. They were extremely inexpensive compared to new and they will pay for themselves the first time they hit the slopes.
3. Bought the boots from a used sporting goods store and they said to bring them back next year after they’ve outgrown them to re-sell.
4. I didn’t bring lunch to work on Monday, decided to go to Subway and ordered a small sandwich. Upgraded on the advice of the employee for $0.50 for a foot long and took half home for my hubby for his dinner. He in turn made me dinner and I brought the leftovers every day since for lunch.
5. Went to Michaels craft store yesterday and left without browsing because neither of the 2 things I went in for they didn’t have in stock.


LisaC January 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Amanda, when my family used to ski, we would volunteer at the ski resort in the summertime for their events, and we earned free ski lift passes. Worth checking into!


Marcia January 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

My nephew does this (he farms too) and manages ski passes for the whole family for the winter. Of course, he does work a lot of hours in summer, but he’s still fairly young!


amanda January 22, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Great to know, thanks!


Pauline January 22, 2016 at 11:21 am

I had never heard of Care packages for University students. I don’t think it happens here at all. I’m appalled that the fruit basket is about double the junk food ones!


Katy January 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

Prepackaged care packages was new to me as well, as I think of them as personalized from a mother to her child. Nothing in those packages my son can’t buy at the 7-11 across the street from his dorm.


Debra January 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

University care packages are a money maker for the university and they are very expensive. I bought my daughter one the first year she was at Northwestern University and figured out that we could make them much, much cheaper even considering postage.


isabelle January 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

* Brought the kids to the museum for free yesterday (always free on Thursday nights). Ate leftovers at home before hand.
* Worked an extra 13 hours this week (I usually work part-time), so yay extra money! And I was able to eat for free (lunchs) while doing it.
* Tonight is date night with my mom. She’s bringing me to see a play, as a birthday gift. I much prefer experience than material when it comes to gifts.
* We “might” eat out as a family tonight, and if so it will be with a Groupon about to expire. If not, it will be leftovers (blah!)), and Groupon restaurant next Friday.
* Used my gym membership to go to a Zumba class at noon

Have a great frugal day!


Isabelle January 22, 2016 at 7:48 pm

And… the play sucked and I fell asleep half-way through, bummer!


Cheyanne January 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

1. I recently ordered a used video game for my boyfriend through Amazon. The same (OLD) video game was $27 at Game Stop but used on Amazon it was about $3 plus shipping. I saved $20 or so and the boyfriend will get hours and hours and hours of entertainment from it. So, yay! Happy B-Day to him. 🙂

2. Filled my tank for $17 today. (I always go from half a tank to a full tank just because I’m paranoid of running out of gas and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Even though I live in an urban area and being in the middle of nowhere is literally impossible.)

3. My self-inflicted 2 week break from crocheting is almost at an end! I’ve spent a lot of time looking at ergonomic crochet hook options and I’m going to go pick up 2 contenders at Joann’s at lunch. I have three 50% off coupons and a gift card. Huzzah!

4. I went through my closets and bookshelves to donate items to a friend of mine that was planning a garage sale for this weekend. Filled 3 cloth grocery bags! Hopefully she gets a bit of cash for it.

5. I really, really, really want a gin and tonic but I’m going to wait until I’ve finished my bottle of rum before buying gin. Sigh. 🙂


Tina S. January 22, 2016 at 11:55 am

I always fill up my gas tank when I have half a tank too. We lost power here for several days a few years ago, and you couldn’t get gas anywhere locally (because you need electricity to pump gas at a station). Knowing I had gas in my car made my life a lot easier. I always make sure both our cars are filled up before big storms.


Kari January 22, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Me too!


Ava January 23, 2016 at 11:34 am

We are clearly all sisters who’ve just never met yet. My father drilled into all of us, growing up, to never let our tank get less than half full, “in case of emergencies – you just never know!” If there was a storm predicted, he’d call his adult kids and remind them to be sure their tanks were full. We lost Dad a year and a half ago and darn it! I miss those phone calls.


Jeana January 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

We’re in the path of the blizzard that’s hitting the east coast (possible 3′ of snow!) so my husband asked if we should go to the grocery store for supplies. Since we’re homesteaders and try to live a self-sustaining lifestyle we almost never go to a grocery store. I asked him what he thought we needed. Neither of us could think of a single item! We stayed home and I roasted a chicken, made brownies and brought loads and loads of firewood up to the back porch.

I know people are panicking about the storm, but we’ll be just fine for however many days we’re housebound.


Katy January 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

That sounds like perfection!


Jeana January 23, 2016 at 11:19 am

Just fed the goats & chickens. Snow up to my waist. If my tall son hadn’t blazed a trail for me I wouldn’t be found til March! We have about 3 feet. Still have power, though!


A. Marie January 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Good for you, Jeana. Here in the lake-effect-snow belt of Upstate NY (and we’re really living just below the belt buckle, not in the part that gets routinely whacked), staying stocked up and handling blizzard prep in other ways are second nature. (Just as many Florida folks have the hurricane prep drill memorized, and so forth.)


Tara January 22, 2016 at 2:25 pm

I hope its not too bad for you Jeanna and anyone else on the East coast xx


Bee January 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

1) I received my first CSA delivery yesterday. My bag had turnips w/ tops, carrots w/ tops, collard greens, romaine lettuce, a lettuce blend, heirloom sweet potatoes, ruby red grapefruit and homemade bread. I am planning my meals around the delivery. Last night I made shepherd’s pie w/ a mashed turnip and potato crust. Tonight we will have a Tuscan white bean soup. I will use the turnip greens in the place of kale. I love supporting local agriculture!
2) I inherited a chest that belonged to my great-grandmother. It needed a little TLC. So I oiled and waxed the wood, vacuumed the interior, and lined the drawers with a wonderful vintage fabric salvaged from old draperies.
3) I went to an estate sale yesterday where I picked up a cookie sheet and a topiary frame for my garden. I didn’t buy the fossilized dinosaur poop. Yes, really. What would you do with a pile of &*#**!
4) I have been wanting to learn to needlepoint. I have been watching You Tube videos demonstrating the stitches, and I bought a thrifted needlepoint kit. So far I have only gotten as far as threading the needle.
5) I have been doing the usual things: leftovers for lunch, using the wilting kale in a green smoothie, freezing the bananas that ripened too fast, etc.
Bonus – I am wearing an extra layer in the house as bad weather grips the east coast. I am warm and comfy in my nice merino wool sweater purchased for $3.


Betty Winslow January 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I’d give it to a 6 yo boy – it would be a big hit!!


Bee January 22, 2016 at 6:19 pm

That would be perfect! Dinosaurs and bathroom humor are among a young boy’s favorite things.


tonya parham January 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

1. Made vegan nachos for lunch–black beans made earlier in the week from the slowcooker, sour cream made from cashews bought in bulk, guac that I bought for .99 marked down and froze, and chips that are corn tortillas cut and baked at home. Frugal, healthy, and delicious! Win-win-win!

2. Not leaving the house today since it snowed overnight and school was closed!

3. Am making veggie broth in the slow cooker from frozen veggie scraps.

4. Instead of going to the coffee shop yesterday to write, I stayed home and had Irish Breakfast Tea with a little milk and half and half.

5. Am leaving the tv off today– will save both electricity and encourage me to read. I’ve already read Tuesdays With Morrie that my Brother in Law gave me…I have several library books, so it won’t be a problem finding something else to read.


tonya parham January 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm

I had my tea with raw sugar and half and half! LOL!


DD January 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Good job eating that aged pineapple instead of wasting food! 🙂 It was encouraging to see that you do that too. I just finished up some homemade tomato soup from our chest freezer that was from 2013!! It definitely gave me a little pause when I saw the date and I know some people would just dump it, but it’s been safely stored in our freezer since it was made and it tasted just fine. (pats self on back) I’m really trying to continue working to reduce our food waste!


Katy January 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Plus I poured out as much pineapple juice as possible to give my son as a treat.


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down January 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm

1) My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow so instead of buying a cake or using a box mix I am making it with ingredients I have on hand.
2) I broke the cake taking it out of the pan 🙁 bad news is I have to make another one, good news is that the broken cake can be made into cake pops!
3) For her party tomorrow she requested tacos. I cut the meat with rice, beans and onions to bulk it up and have plenty of frugal sides (pineapple from aldis, salsa and chips, and guac from discounted avocados).
4) I took one for the team and ate the rest of some really terrible vegan mac and cheese. I used the last of my buffalo sauce and almost couldn’t taste the undeniable taste of dirt (yes…dirt…don’t ask me how that happened).
5) I made the decorations for my daughters party by cutting out circles from paper we already had and sewing them together into a garland. Cheap and cute!


Shannon January 22, 2016 at 8:51 pm

buffalo mac sounds kinda good!!!


Lissa January 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm

1) I made yogurt.
2) Instead of getting cans from the grocery store, I scored a bunch at Goodwill. And one of the bigger jars was priced at $.99 but two were $1.99. I got them to give me them all for $.99 each. Can’t hurt to ask!
3) I bought cotton yarn on sale at the art store. Making my own cotton pads!
4) I went into Old Navy. They lured me with big sale signs. I.didn’
5) Found 2 big jugs of hair conditioner for $3 each normally over $6.


priskill January 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Yes to #2 — I keep telling myself its fine to ask as long as I am polite and the worst case scenario is a no. Good work!


Betty Winslow January 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

My best frugal move of the week: bought $50.77 of stuff at Meijer’s yesterday, buying some stock-up stuff partly to take advantage of a $5 off a purchase of $50 coupon I loaded on my Mperks…. which starts today. I was so bummed. I ended up going up to the customer service to explain how I’d made a mistake and bought all the stuff to get the coupon which wasn’t good yet…. and they took $5 off my order!! Score!! (Plus, as part of the $50, I bought a cute 2 piece outfit for my 3 y0 old granddaughter’s birthday in March – for under $5! Yes, I know I said before I was done buying for her…. ok, I was mistaken. NOW I’m done. Really.)


Jennifer January 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Enjoy being able to buy clothes for that 3 year old. Clothes get more expensive the bigger they get.


Ree Bell January 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I am thoroughly impressed by your ability to not buy a Lear Jet, even though you must feel so deprived!

And I just wanted to say that I love your blog and the wisdom you share.


Elizabeth January 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm

1. I’m cross-stitching a design (free printable) for my son that he picked (manly enough) for his house, using left over aida cloth. The design uses only four colors, so very inexpensive.

2. Today I’m freezing leftover vegetable soup.

3. We’re snowed in today, but enjoying free entertainment by watching people try to drive up the steep hill we live on.

4. Decided this week to wait at least one more month before getting my hair cut. Would love to have the skills to do a decent job of it myself.

5. Ordered a printable gift card for our Son-in-law (birthday) from a discount site, so saved a little.


dusty January 23, 2016 at 2:51 am

Ha ha, got a chuckle out of #3. Here is FL we go to the local boat ramp on a Sunday afternoon at about 4 and watch the guys and girls screaming at each other while trying to pull their boat out of the water. Of course, they’re usually a little drunk so it is really funny. I know it’s mean but it’s free entertainment. I grew up in NYC. I wish it snowed here. I would go and sit in my car and watch people try to drive in it.


Elizabeth January 23, 2016 at 4:40 am

Lol at watching the y’all watching the buzzed ones wrestling their boats up the ramp. Sounds like my kind of entertainment. Free and funny! 🙂


Vickie January 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Nothing-New Compact fail – so I’m going to own up to buying a new CD on Amazon that I wanted. I realized later I could have bought if used. Duh!

1) I shopped with my Library card today. I picked up another audio book I’d put on hold.
2) I used leftover chicken to make cheese and chicken nachos for dinner last night.
3) I used my Marriott free -room certificate today to reserve a room in May for an out of town trip. We’re going to see a concert at the Cain’s Ballroom. Date night fun out of town. Woohoo!
4) I filled up with non-ethanol gas, during lunch, at a local 7/11 close to work. $1.53 per gallon! I haven’t seen it this cheap in YEARS. That’s 16 cents per gallon cheaper than the station closest to my house. Yippee!
5) I passed on the Lear Jet, too. 🙂


LisaC January 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

My husband had surgery this week, so I’ve thought of some frugal things that I did, and some frugal things I wish I’d done:
Frugal Things:
1. I stayed on a little (very little, I’m tall!) bed in his room at no charge. The hospital is 1 1/2 hours from our home.
2. His appetite wasn’t great, so I finished off his meals when he was done.
3. I drank the free coffee there.
4. I ate snacks, and one lunch, eating the free peanut butter, crackers, and chicken broth they had available for patients and family members staying.
5. I used the free toothpaste in his bathroom.
6. I read the free newspapers they provided.
What I wish I’d done:
1. Wish I’d packed fruit and other snacks to take with me: they had a refrigerator available for family members to use.
2. Wish I’d brought a good blanket, because my bed was next to the window, their blankets were thin, and I was cold.
3. Wish I’d brought a laptop with some movies to watch.
4. Wish I’d brought better books: I brought professional material to read, and that’s hard to concentrate on when exhausted helping to take care of someone.
5. Wish I’d asked friends to bring dinner. One did, and that was awesome!


Marilyn January 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Hope you husband recovers quickly. I think your lists of things you did and wish you did are very helpful. I am going to remember your suggestions if I am ever in the same situation.


Kathy January 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Thank you for sharing this info. I will be doing this early next week. Home is only about 20 minutes away for me, but I am sure your hints will be a great help. Hope your husband is well soon.


LisaC January 23, 2016 at 5:59 am

I hope all goes well for you, Kathy! Call to check the hospital’s amenities ahead of time. I was surprised, there was a little packet of shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and toothbrush as well as a shower in his bathroom . We requested a private room, which his insurance (Medicare plus a supplement) covered.


Juhli January 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I am unreasonably happy about this one. I was able to buy 6 large Rubbermaid type totes with lids and locking handles for $10 total. Someone donated them filled with used books to the library. We are moving cross country mid-2017 and I am storing these in the basement until we pack.


LisaC January 23, 2016 at 6:00 am

Those totes are awesome, and protect against water damage. Good deal!


Ruby January 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm

1. Except for a quick trip to Save-a-lot to buy milk (cheaper there than even at Aldi), cheese, radishes and raisins, I stayed home and did chores today. Also am still staying on budget for January, which feels like a miracle given how t-i-g-h-t the budget is.

2. Gave my dogs a much-needed bath with some name brand $3.99 oatmeal shampoo that does not aggravate Little Dog’s allergies. This is much better than the $24 a bottle stuff from the vet which still made her itch.

3. Used the last of a Christmas gift card to purchase some leggings to wear as long underwear pants. Since I’ll be using them as underwear, they are allowable under my exceptions to The Compact.

4. After washing the dogs, I took advantage of being wet and slightly dirty myself to scour our tiled shower with some Dollar Tree shower cleaner. It does not do as good a job as the name brand stuff, but I’ll use it all up before replacing it.

5. In the name of staying away from temptations to spend, I signed up for Catalog Choice to stop many catalogs from coming to our house. (Our home was previously owned by a woman who enjoyed shopping, and we were being inundated with high-end catalogs.) Those not on the Catalog Choice list are getting polite emails.


Lindsey January 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm

1. Trimmed husband’s hair
2. Trimmed dog’s hair
3. Had husband trim my hair
4. Made freezer garbage soup–used several small bags of stuff I froze at the end of last year’s garden, plus some cooked chicken I froze in October. Added the bits of rice from one bag and barley from another–both had been sitting in the cupboard for probably a year. Cooked it all in chicken stock I made months ago and froze. Turned out really good so we ate it for two nights. Years ago, I would have thrown all those ingredients away.
5.About a week ago I forgot about something on the stove and the contents burned and basically welded themselves to the bottom of an expensive All Clad frying pan. When my initial scrubbing attempts did not work, I was tempted to throw it away but instead I looked up some techniques on the internet and each day scrubbed out another layer of burned stuff. Last night I finally finished and the pan is perfectly fine.
6. I’ve never forgotten something on the stove and it scared me—what if a fire had started. Next time I leave the kitchen to do another chore while something cooks, I am setting the timer to remind myself! Hey, it’s a frugal save if you don’t burn your house down!


Elizabeth January 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

I couldn’t agree more about the timer. Mine has saved us many a meal and probably our house too! 🙂


Jennifer January 23, 2016 at 6:19 am

4. We call it dump soup at my house because I dump anything from the freezer or pantry that will work in the pot.


Sandra January 25, 2016 at 6:56 pm

My mom forgot a pot of rhubarb on the stove and it was caked on the bottom of the pot. She used a can of Coke to remove it. Just pour in pot, boil for a few minutes and let soak for an hour or two. The stainless steel pot washed out like brand new.


Tara January 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Ha ha I di the same thing earlier today my pad had run out and I popped up to my eldest sons bedroom and took an old pad that he used to use for secondary school. I ripped out the used pages and that will now be perfect for me. Have a great weekend. Xx


Marilyn January 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm

1. Picked up this week’s free food item from Fred Meyer — a box of Uncle Ben’s flavored rice. I love these free items which are available to download every Friday. I only recently learned about this program by reading the comments here.
2. Did a year-end review of all of our insurance coverage. Insurance is a big expense if add up the cost of auto,homeowners, health, dental and vision coverage. I think it’s worth looking at alternatives at least once a year. This year, however, after looking into some of our options, I am not going to make any changes. So, no savings in this category. In fact, some of the coverage has become a little more expensive. Still, at least I know I researched alternatives and did not just automatically renew.
3. Went to an afternoon showing of “Brooklyn” with a friend who insisted on paying for my ticket. We both loved the movie.
4. I will be working nearly 40 hours next week (normally work 20 hours per week) which will mean a bigger paycheck. My car is 14 years old (more than 200,ooo miles) so I know I will need to replace it pretty soon. I plan to save whatever I earn from working extra hours and apply that money toward the new car. If possible, I hope to avoid taking out an auto loan.
5. One of the Xmas cards we received is so pretty I hated to throw it out. It is a snowy landscape scene which reminded me of my grandparents old farmhouse. I found a frame which we had in a cupboard and framed the card. I am very pleased with it. Free art.


Jennifer January 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Marilyn, make sure you look through all your digital coupons online because sometime they give freebies just scattered within the other coupons called best customer bonuses. I have got Oscar Meyer hotdogs and Betty Crocker cake mix free recently. I wouldn’t have known they were there without looking every week or so.


Marilyn January 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm

That’s good to know! I’ll will definitely look through the full list.


Florencia January 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm

1. Had my mom trim my hair a couple days ago. I have long, straight hair, and even though it’s just the ends, they still charge $14. And they always cut it wrong. My mom studied to do it, and it’s been a while, but this is simple enough that it’s okay anyway.
2. Attended a free jazz concert downtown yesterday. Didn’t carpool, but it’s pretty close to home anyway, and parking was free by the time I parked downtown.
3. I am attending a local band’s concert today. There bands for $5 (pre-sale). I reserved two tickets, for me and my best friend.
4. My best friend gave me $10 for tonight’s concert ticket. I didn’t have any change on me, but he said it was okay and keep the other $5, as a thank you for giving him the tip on a couple research studies. He got $50 from one and free lunch and is still waiting on the other one. Those $5 will cover my ticket. I feel lucky because I almost didn’t go, trying the compact. I’m glad sharing money-making opportunities is good karma!
5. Paid school tuition. $1522 going out of checking all at once hurt a little, but brought great pleasure knowing that I am finally starting in the path to the career I want and that I’m doing it debt-free. 😀
6. Went to my school’s food pantry but it was closed. It was at another campua, but it’s pretty close to my home, so no gas wasted. I found out how often I can go and at what timers. I will make sure to email to know when they’ll be open. I also used the computers at school to find out about clubs that will bump up my resume. Found out about a cool one to tell my friend that is going into engineering.


Florencia January 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm

I forgot to mention a couple things. 🙂
6. Shopped around for a nasal spray the doctor told me to get. The cheapest name-brand OTC one the doctor said was $18, and at Walmart, and I don’t shop there. So I got it, but checked store brand at Smith’s and found one at $13, even a dollar cheaper than the one I got at Walmart would have been with a coupon. My best friend is returning that one today for me, since there’s a Walmart in the same parking lot where he works.
7. Made a non-chocolate brownie pan to use up zucchini and some old pears, but turned out pretty badly so I had to throw it out. We did feed our sister’s rat a few days off of it.
8. Ate free lunch at the religion institute at school yesterday. I saved the tangerine they gave me and instead ate my already-quartered oranges I brought from home. I had my salad as a snack before my last class.
9. Have been resisting going out to eat for several weeks.
10. We’ve been eating pastries from my car’s trunk. We got them at the food bank last month. They’re a little dry, but they’re still food, tasty and just fine with some tea.
11. Went to the grocery store and got staples at pretty good prices, Italian bread sticks (a treat because they’re usually expensive), femenine pads, and a marked-down rotisserie chicken (with a $1-off coupon) and gift wrap rolls at 10¢ each.
12. Will bring a quiche to a dance group party tomorrow, made with things we already have in the fridge and pantry.
13. Got a neti pot from Yerddle. Should be arriving any day. Toal cost was $7, almost half of how much the cheapest one I saw at the store. Don’t worry, it’s still new in the package. 😉


Jennifer January 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm

1. Kids and I stayed home today. School was out due to the weather which saved money since I drive them to school.
2. Made made vegetable beef soup. Used tomatos from the freezer, a small chunk of soup that was in a bag in the freezer, a couple tsp of salsa that was left in the jar from last nights tacos, leftover diced tomatoes and onions from said tacos, a 1/2 can of corn, a small handful of ground beef, and a handful of blackeyed peas. I was out of saltines so I whipped up some yummy mexican cornbread to go with my soup out of the other 1/2 can of corn, freezer jalapenos, and odd and end cheese.
3. Made cupcakes to have through the weekend out of 25 cents per can of canned pumpkin from dollar general christmas markdowns, a freebie Devil’s food cake mix, and simple homemade frosting.
4. Exercised for free at home
5. Didn’t do any online shopping while “snowed in”.


Lucy January 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

1. Fueled my truck using a coupon.
2. Grouped the majority of my errands and shopping on one day and planned a circular route for efficiency.
3. Combined attending a funeral with a stop on the way to pick up one item at a place I hardly ever go to and an oil change on the way home.
4. Received compliments on my thrift store sweater at the funeral. I absolutely love this $1 sweater, too.
5. Bought some boneless hams on after-holiday clearance.


SarahN January 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm

As an Aussie, I can’t believe there’s an official ‘care package’! After 7 years of living at boarding school, the best care packages are those from mum, with homecooked goods. God, we were SO excited if we were on the ‘parcel (package)’ list posted every lunch hour!


NMPatricia January 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

I remember pestering my mom to send me something (anything!) from home. I was homesick. She mentioned that anything she would send me, I could get cheaper at college (actually at a store), but it was because it was from home and from her/my dad. I needed that contact. So yea for you for sending him something homemade and something from home rather than just something you could order. It made a difference for me. (Although you sons sound far more independent than I was at that age.)


Amy Jo Thrasher January 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I love reading everyone’s lists. It inspires me and sometimes I get ideas!

1. We were tempted to eat out (Chinese), but ate at home instead.
2. Did some searching and found a generic med over the counter for $2 instead of the $35 price tag I had paid before for a similar product. I hope it works for me.
3. Sold some toys of my daughter’s. One was a gift, so I made 100% profit on. The other I paid $10 for and sold for $15, both were toddler learning toys. $35 and $5 profit….not bad.
4. Putting off a hair cut for one more week. 🙂
5. Almost bought my son (5 yr old) new undies but then remembered I might have some in a box of clothing my older son (9 yr old) outgrew. TA DAH! I did. Will wash and then let him wear. 😉


Gina January 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm

1-Snowbound for the weekend and will not be driving anywhere (save on gas)
2-Found a $2 off coupon for the food my dogs eat (every-little-bit-helps)
3-Still holding strong on pantry/freezer meals. This week’s highlight: used a couple of frozen Boca burgers (circa a year maybe) cooked with onions, some shriveled up tomatoes, a little tomato sauce, a little cheese and a handful of pumpkin croutons I bought at Aldi’s on clearance in early Dec for .25c. This mixture was then shoved inside some poblano peppers I’ve had for months in the crisper(!) I then baked them in the rest of the can of tomato sauce. Kind of a chili rellano in reverse. It was yummy.
4-Also staying true to the no-new-books ban. I am reading _Emperor of All Maladies_(a biography of cancer) and I highly recommend it.
5-I went out on a Meet-up/Date of sorts and I wore something I already own (a gorgeous, casual Indian-inspired dress I thrifted for $3). Date was at a coffee shop and he bought my cinnamon tea so nothing spent. He’s definitely friend material, but not my type for romantic relationship. Maybe I could make a #6 and say I am being much more choosy post-divorce (definitely choosing a mate more wisely is frugal in the long run)! 😉


Gina January 22, 2016 at 4:33 pm

OOPS! #4 should have also said book is from the library! 🙂


priskill January 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Love your #3–very inspiring! Love that all the “used” food was so delicious. I so want to be better at throwing things together and using up the overflow . Getting better but still a work in progress — these posts really help so thanks!


Gina January 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Thanks! I feel the same when I read through these great lists!


Caitlin January 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I was diagnosed with cancer last August and have been reading the Emperor of all Maladies over the last few weeks. One of the best books I’ve ever read!


Gina January 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Oh, Caitlin! Wish you well!


janine January 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Frugal wins – frugal fails too!
-Cleaned out frig this afternoon – some frugal fail with back of the frig old stuff which was hard to identify so gave it the toss. Also found a bottle of homemade beet pickles which I served tonight for dinner.
-reviewed my budget (again) to look for possible places to save – came to the conclusion that my best course of action is to cut small amounts from all categories.
-cooked dinner from scratch and used up some leftovers – potato pancakes =good, leftover squash=not so good in DH opinion.
-loose change jar half full – not much in recovered coins however
-looking for free/low cost activities ; our son has weekend off.
Katy: I use scribble pads from the dollar store (love the light construction paper type feel of it.) Also have been forced to use other stuff when this runs out, but it doesn’t fell list-worthy to me.


Jen T January 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

1. Another week not smoking
2. Brought lunch to work everyday
3. Brought coffee to work every day
4. Put extra money to my debt
5. (my favorite) My 10 year old got a new bed for Christmas. She has a beautiful white twin we didn’t need anymore. I asked around because I wanted it to go to someone who really needed it. My sister in law works with a woman that has very little. On a whim she asked if she could use the bed for her daughter and the woman burst into tears. She hadn’t been able to afford a bed for her 4 year old daughter so they took the sides off of her crib and she has been sleeping on the crib mattress “bed”. She will be picking up the bed and mattress tomorrow! We will be including my daughters sheet set and tinker bell comforter. We’re so happy to know it will go to someone who could really use it


Jennifer January 22, 2016 at 6:48 pm

#5 makes me feel warm inside, thanks!


tonya parham January 22, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Great job not smoking! I quit 15 years ago and I honestly don’t know how folks afford it now!

But, even better on you because your health will be SO much better not smoking!


Elizabeth January 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I just want to encourage you in the not smoking. I was a smokehouse for most of my life, so it took a lot of mind games to help me quit. For example, I used to drive with the window cracked open so the smoke could escape. When I decided to quit (during Winter), I’d roll my window up tight as I drove, enjoying the warmth of the car and pity those “smokers” I’d pass, with their window open just a crack. Bless ’em…and other mind games.

One of the greatest things about not smoking is the money saved (can’t even imagine the cost now…wow), but the other great thing is that I could walk further, or walk a few stairs without huffing and puffing, in short time. And the morning cough went completely away after just a few short weeks. I felt better than I had in years and still do! I wish the same for you, and trust me, it’s worth it! 🙂 Keep in keeping on! 🙂


Jen T January 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

I’ve had to do a whole bunch of mind games! So far it’s working!


Bee January 23, 2016 at 4:53 am

Thank you for sharing #5. It fills my heart with gratitude, but more importantly it highlights the importance of giving.


Terry January 23, 2016 at 8:42 am

Jen T — #5 made my day! Frugality helps us also to help others! God Bless!


Jen T January 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Thank you all for the kind words about not smoking! Day 23 I can’t even believe it! And on #5 I haven’t been able to give the bed yet because of the snow storm BUT it gave my daughter and I time to be able to find more great things for the little girl. She’s going to have the best room ever!


priskill January 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Just so lovely!!


Nancy January 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm

I made garbanzo beans from scratch and used them for 3 purposes; hummus, dinner with sauteed apple and vegan sausage, and frozen for additions to my morning kale smoothies.
Sold back a nintendo ds at gamestop for store credit $40, will buy gift card for childrens birthday
Worked eight hours overtime this week
Brought my lunch to work, salad and bean and grains each day
Scored 3 lbs of bananas marked down at the grocery store for .99
Ate lunch at home.
Called the Apple store, they will buy back my daughters used ipad for store credit


Lee January 22, 2016 at 8:31 pm

1) I ate free lunch at work 4 days this week.
2) There were leftover boxed lunches (grilled chicken salads) at one of the lunches, so I grabbed two of them and brought them home. One was dinner that night.
3) The brownies from the box lunches went into my kids’ lunch boxes for a treat at school. Some of the chicken got chopped up and mixed with leftover pasta, then heated and put in their thermos jars for their lunches.
4) I needed new tops for work so I went thrifting. I found 6 new-to-me work-appropriate tops for $18 total.
5) I read library books and the Sunday paper my mom gets and brings to me once she’s done with it.


Isabel January 22, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Smoking gave me up years ago too! Ever so grateful! Good on you all we must have saved a fortune and our precious health! Is not easy but worth it!
Cut my fringe thereby saving money and looks quite nice too!
I am a bit of a finicky eater and so am forced to buy very carefully between shopping days so there will be very little or no waste! Leave things out so I can see them and cut up vegs for soup while still fresh!
Am recording expenses and every fortnight, even Christmas, have saved money on budget! Pat on back!
Keep warm and safe everyone!
Misread what you said Katy and thought your parcel was cheaper than being delivered by an official car! I am sorted now! Your son would have felt very loved!


auntiali January 22, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Those care package things are crazy. Everything in them my college age daughter can’t eat cause she’s type 1 diabetic. Don’t fall for the sheets/comforter fliers either.
Fossilized dino poop is great! Took my kids in to the NYC Museum of Natural History when they were young and I had a tip to ask the docent in the dino room to see the poop. Kids loved it!
1. Snowstorm! I’ve got the milk, bread and eggs. Filled up my car with gas; hubs got the new batteries in our lantern and flashlight. Batteries that were bought on sale. We are ready.
2. Made chicken thighs with rice and dh now has a bowl of rice and a thigh ready for him for lunch or dinner tomorrow.
3. Monitoring the heat.
4. Monitoring the electric.
5. Looked over the cell phone bill and I have a couple of questions. Hopefully Sunday we can get out and go to the Verizon store to see if we can get rid of the extras.


Charli January 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm

My son who’s 11 organised to audition to busk at the main open mall in our city. We took him today and then the organisers said to go pick a spot and play. He did and I was so impressed with his confidence. 30 minutes later he emptied his ukelele case. He got $93 in 30 mins! I’m hoping we can teach him to be a saver. It’s off to the bank on Monday!


A. Marie January 23, 2016 at 10:42 am

Kudos to you and your son, Charli! (Now I’m wondering whether it’s too late for me to take up the ukelele…)


cathy January 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm

1. Fighting the head cold from hell, so I’ve barely gone anywhere this week. Realized last night I did the unthinkable: ran out of pasta. Today I sent my son to the store for milk and pasta and he came home with…only milk and pasta! Aren’t teenagers who can drive the best thing?
2. Roasted a chicken Tuesday, which also provided leftovers for my husband and non-vegetarian kid on Wednesday (when I had to go to a meeting). Started broth from the carcass last night and finished it up tonight by throwing in some of the pasta (see #1). Wish I’d had chicken noodle soup days ago. Maybe I’d be well!
3. Husband transferred a prescription to our Kroger-affiliate pharmacy and collected a $25 in-store credit for making the transfer. While there, he picked up my prescription.
4. Continuing to primarily eat out of pantry and freezer. Eating well too!
5. Despite not feeling well, this week I baked up a batch of orange chocolate chip biscotti, pizza (and par-baked two mini crusts which I froze for later use), and scones, which my kids love in their lunches as sandwich alternatives.
6. Found a dime in the dryer even though I checked all pockets before doing the laundry.
7. Reading (and enjoying) Marie Kondo’s latest, Spark Joy, which was a gift. I think it’s written more for a western audience than her first book. So I Kondoed my big drawer in the dresser: I already knew what was in it, but I was curious to see if the whole folding t-shirts would really make a difference. It actually did. Now I can grab one without having to dig for it. Plus I found some trouser socks (nylons-type). I don’t wear trouser socks. Straight in to the donation bag.


Tish January 23, 2016 at 6:37 am

1. Three no-spend days this week (Tues, Wed and Fri) and due to snow, I’m betting today will be another one. Wednesday I did take my teen to a mystery shop for dinner, but the fee and reimbursement more than covered the amount so I’m counting that as a no-spend day.
2. Only spent $25 in grocery stores this week and still have enough produce for a few more days.
3. I work from home so all meals are eaten at home
4. Teen had been bugging me for a battery toothbrush, got one at CVS for 50c after extrabucks. I keep emphasizing to her to give me a list and I will buy when I find a good deal. She is slooowwly learning.
5. I think I have enough of a stockpile of deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, etc that I can pick up only the freebies or ones for pennies to keep it going. I’d been trying to keep purchases at 50c to $1 to build my small stockpile, but all the deals lately enabled me to build it more quickly with freebies.

Fail, but not my fail – the stock market must be wreaking havoc on our 401ks. I won’t be looking at our accounts anytime soon.


Megan January 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

1. Cooking mixed beans in crock pot to use up the ends of jars filled at the bulk aisle
2. Made too much hot chocolate this am, froze the extra in an ice cube tray and will add to my coffee later in the week
3. Went through a box of hand me down clothes. Kept some that I will use for my youngest and will pass along the rest
4. Choosing no rush shipping from Amazon for some consumables I buy from there. Will use the $1 credit on the instant videos to watch some shows I like but am not willing to pay for
5. Regifting excess birthday (or maybe Christmas, I don’t remember) present from my older child for a friend’s child’s birthday party next week. Will also be be reusing wrapping for said gift


K D January 23, 2016 at 8:48 am

1. We’re near the blizzard’s bulls-eye so we will be home today, tomorrow, and …
As long as the electricity stays on we’ll be happy.

2. I made quick trip to the grocery store on Wednesday, to buy loss leaders. We did not stock up for the storm, we are always well provisioned. Meals will be whatever.

3. I made some soup that I do not love. I threw away the recipe but will finish the soup. I discovered that avocado slices help with palatability.

4. I made both biscuits and rolls this week. Yea for yeast from the warehouse club.

5. I am reading a few books I borrowed from the library, using Overdrive.


Kim January 23, 2016 at 11:02 am

I love reading everyone’s lists…..I have read some many great ideas and it gives me such motivation to improve. I am excited to include my first 5….
1. Volunteered at my sons skate night….saved the $5 admission…and we get a few free snacks and drinks because I’m there working. It’s 3 hours of having fun with the kids, including mine, and meeting some new people.
2. Brought home extra hot dogs and nachos from skate night that were going to be thrown away….I can’t stand waste…and it made a fun lunch for the fam.
3. Hubby was needing some new white tshirts and I found an opened pack in my sons room from last years tye dye event at school…new tshirts…yay.
4. Planned meals through the weekend from ingredients that we already have…love that.
5. Walked to drugstore to use a manufacturers coupon, store coupon to get some toothpaste….only bought what I went in for…spent .18 cents. Woohoo

Have a great day!!!


LisaC January 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Katie, because of the inspiration on this blog, I didn’t order my favorite style of pants online. They were on clearance, and I love the fit, but I have enough pants and shipping was over 8 dollars . For that, I can get a pair of pants and a shirt at Goodwill! So I didn’t put in my payment information and took it out of my online shopping cart (I did go to Goodwill and find a beautiful purse for 2.13).


priskill January 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Thank you for all these great suggestions! Really helping me!

1. Ate in meals from last Sunday to last night (Friday) except for planned frugal fail of dinner out for husband’s birthday with lovely grown up daughter. We used a coupon and I did make a cake with 49 cent Pillsbury mix and deep discount dark chocolate bits thrown in. Friday night dinner was pre-made pizza from grocery — cheaper and bigger than frozen or chain.

2. Turned leftover roasted chicken (2 nights of dinner) into soup (2 more nights) and really tried to use up stuff from pantry and frig.

3. Returned items I DO NOT NEED to Ross and Marshall’s — purchased months ago (for shame!) and received store credit. Have not run out to spend it — will save for when bathing suits reappear or maybe shoes — things I do need. Or gifts!

4. Okay, this doesn’t sound frugal. My school very generously gave us teachers Staples gift cards 2 years in a row for classroom supplies. Staples is kind of expensive and they don’t have too much that I need, so the cards were burning a hole. The wonderful aides in my room love coffee but we can’t have a sensible, cheap coffee maker in the room (boiling liquids a safety concern with our little guys). So, I used up one of the gift cards getting us a Keurig mini brewer — outlay, $0. Now, am hot on the trail for those reusable K-cups so we can defray the costs since THERE COULD NOT BE a more wasteful and expensive way to make coffee, right?? We have a few off brand K-cups to use up but then it’s DIY. I wouldn’t have spent the $80.oo, so this was very nice and these women are the best and I can’t do enough to thank them for their wonderful work. So — kind of sort of frugal?

5. No Lear jet — just a Lear Mini Brewer. Phew, I feel better now . . .


Beth Anne January 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

1. Went to Meijers to pick up a over the counter med I needed which were on sale for $13.88 (normally can cost over $20). I had earned two store rewards of $6 and $7 so my meds were almost covered.

2. Watched two movies last night with daughter through Redbox for 53 cents. Took the time to search back through my emails from them for a $1 off code and joined their club so got one free – we watched Minions (which I think I slept through a little) and Hotel Transylvania 2. Okay movies but glad we didn’t pay big bucks to see them. The club looks good with promises of free movie on your bday and other offers.

3. Did 8 dog/cat sits this week banking $96 for braces, worked one sporting event – another $40 toward braces fund and worked 4 hours over time another some $50 in the brace fund.

4. Had early AM sit this morning – drove right by Tim Hortans on the corner – so tempted to stop for donuts and I was waiting for daughter to ask. She said nothing and instead said she couldn’t wait to try the cinamon bagels we bought at the store yesterday. So waited to have a great breakfast at our house of Gingerbread flavored coffee, cin. bagels with cream cheese, egg//cheese omelet and bananas already in da’ house!

5. Drying loads of laundry today in the house. Did break down and use the dryer last night, sometimes its nice to just use it.

6. Need to fill up the car tank today – will search to see where the cheapest gas is, usually can save 15 cents per gallon or more by doing this.

7. Daughter asked to go shopping. She will be using gift cards from Christmas.

8, Keeping up with Everydollar budget, things are looking good this month.


Bettypants January 24, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I vividly remember the care package my mom sent my freshman year. She was short on time, so she panicked and just tossed a bunch of random stuff into a box and mailed it off. Living in a dorm room with no kitchen equipment, I was baffled by the box of instant pudding she had included.
1. We had a couple questionable tree limbs cut down. Today I sold the pile of oak wood. She offered half my asking price, but nobody else has been interested in weeks and I wanted it gone before it’s buried in snow.
2. I have been watching Fixer Upper on Netflix. Now I want to buy a crappy old house and be all magical with it.
3. Used up all my free listings on ebay for the month, but they sent me a promo code for plenty more for the next 5 days. I relisted all my losers and listed several new items yesterday.
4. Bought a Wii game locally for $10. We’ve been playing it over the weekend, and I sold it on ebay today for $ 23. Mailing it out tomorrow.
5. A local Walmart is closing and the entire store is 50% off. We were going to go Friday afternoon, but people were saying there were no carts and the checkout lines were an hour long, so we bailed. I didn’t need any of that store stuff anyway!


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones January 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

I keep a daily and weekly to-do list, but I nixed the notebooks a couple of years ago. I have a Word document on my laptop that I keep pulled up at all times, and just cross off each thing as I do it, and delete at the end of the day.


Kim January 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Greetings from the winter wonderland of Annapolis! I’ve been inside since getting home from work Friday afternoon watching 2 1/2 feet of snow pile up.
1. Cleaned out fridge before storm hit so I could see what needed to be used up.
2. Prepared several food items, in case we lost power, that I could reheat easily on top of our woodstove. Taco soup, potato soup, marinara sauce, pasta, pulled chicken, 2 loaves of bread, chicken taco meat, brown rice and baked potatoes. Never lost power so food prepped for the week and we’ve been eating well!
3. Made 2 apple crisps from some apples that needed to be used. Husband took it outside to share with neighbors as they allow shoveled. A neighbor then offered to snowblow our driveway!
4. Used the old baking soda from fridge to clean my white kitchen sink, the stove, the dishwasher and the inside of the oven. Replaced it with a box a friend gave me when she moved out of state.
5. DS#2, who is at college 9 hours away, tells me Thursday night that he now can’t find his TI calculator. As an engineering major it’s a necessity. Thinking I was going to have to order one and have it shipped, I then realized DS#1 has one that he no longer needs. Got it out of his desk and shipped it Friday to DS#2 before the storm came.
6. Sold 2 items on Amazon. Now to see if mail is picked up on Monday but first we need to dig out the mailbox!


Mariana January 24, 2016 at 4:13 pm

1. I did all the cooking (all except one breakfast) for the last two weeks. It is a big deal for me 🙂
2. Got some extra cash added to my Ebates account
3. Got $5 rewards from Staples
4. Got a free and super cute basket from a gift basket that we received at work over the Holidays. I saved it from landing in trash
5. Super frugal weekend because of the snow storm. Zero $ spent


Amanda January 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Yeah for all your cooking! That’s an accomplishment.


BONNIE ELLIS January 26, 2016 at 5:46 am

Care packages from mom are worth every penny. Sent one yesterday!


Katy January 26, 2016 at 11:40 am

And he received it, and messaged me last night to let me know.


Katy January 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Stupid tax. The worst!


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