Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 10, 2016 · 71 comments

Hanging Fuchsias

  1. I made sure to get myself over to Fred Meyer’s Fuchsia Saturday, which ties with Halloween as my favorite annual holiday. (nyuk, nyuk, pun intended!) Five fuchsia starts for $3, plus they provide free potting soil and plant up your container for free?! It’s my jam. Nine dollars out of pocket and I now have three pretty hanging baskets to look at out my kitchen window for the year. Almost makes up for the lawn that converted itself into a meadow of moss.
  2. I carefully placed the hanging baskets into the back of the Prius and then ran into the store to pick up a few groceries. I was in a hurry, as I’d left a houseguest alone at the house, and didn’t want to be rude. I quickly grabbed my eggs, bulk bay leaves, onions, bananas, apples, vinegar and milk, making sure to locate a gallon that had reached its sell-by date, which brought the price down to a budget-friendly dollar. I got home and then realized that I’d abandoned the milk and vinegar in the bottom of the cart, which prompted some rather unladylike language. (I’m a real class act, just call me “The Cursing Hostess.”) I did walk back to the store an hour or so later, showed my receipt and located my exact gallon of milk and another gallon of vinegar. Some days are just like this.
  3. My younger son set up a checking account with our credit union, so I helped him create an online budget with Dave Ramsey’s He works around ten hours per week, plus earns a bit here and there helping to clean my mother’s guest cottages. He has no actual expenses at this point in his life, but that will be changing soon when he heads off to college in the fall. He was inspired to increase his income and is looking to go through some of his old stuff with an eye for resale. The apple did not fall far from the tree with this one.
  4. I worked both Thursday and Friday this past week, and I made sure to bring my own lunches and drink the free crappy coffee and the free lovely tea. I’d pre-prepared three pans of enchiladas on Wednesday, and we ended up eating them both evenings that I worked. Delicious and satisfying, they helped steer my husband away from the temptation of takeout, or more likely, meals that require expensive and finicky ingredients that end up costing more than takeout would have. Bless his heart.
  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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

LisaC April 10, 2016 at 9:36 am

1. Looked at my old cafe chairs on the back deck, and have been wanting to get replacements as the kitties tore them up pretty badly. Instead, we bought paint and fabric and redid them. I am so happy with the results!
2. Going to redo the old rattan sofa too, sand and paint. Instead of recovering or replacing the cushions (sticker shock!), which are a red color I hate but in good shape, I’m looking for little pillows to tie in the colors that I love with the red. Compromise. My porch makes me happy, so spending a little to make it eye pleasing is worth it to me.
3. I sent the link to Navy Federal Credit Union’s deal for Youth Week to my daughter, who is a member. They will start new children’s account with $25.00. So technically I didn’t save money, but hopefully my grandchildren will!
4. Shredded all of the lettuce in the fridge this weekend and divided it up into salads to take to work. I tend to let it go bad if its not easy to prepare in the morning.
5. Signed up for Textbroker, as writing comes easily to me. Here’s hoping I get some work through that site.


kathleen April 10, 2016 at 10:39 am

re: #4 Amen! If it’s not super easy, I always let the lettuce go too long.


LisaC April 10, 2016 at 9:37 am

Its funny that the coffee is crappy but the tea is lovely, Katie. 🙂


Katy April 10, 2016 at 10:56 am

I know, right?


Elizabeth April 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

– Had two awesome freebie coupons for Victoria’s Secret. With the first one I redeemed a free panty. With the second ($10 off a $10 purchase) I got two lotions that were one sale for two for ten (normally $18 each!). All for free!
– Used buy one get one free pretzel coupon at Auntie Anne’s for my kids
– Had $11 coupon to use at kohls. Got a melamine tray with handles as my last one broke 2 years ago and I’ve been meaning to replace it. They’re great for carrying stuff out when eating outside in the summer.
– My friend was getting rid of her really nice foosball table and gave it to us for free!
– Thanks to tips on here I cut open my lotion when it seemed to be empty and there’s at least three more uses in there!
– Received three free bags of different flavored Twinings tea and more free magazines (almost having trouble keeping up with reading them all!)
– Went to the gym often enough this year to earn another free guest pass and $10 off my membership next month


Jill A April 10, 2016 at 10:10 am

1. Repaired one daughters dress and sewed a button on her coat. Also fixed another daughters shorts.
2. Cleaned up a purse to sell on ebay.
3. Making dinner using up some produce that will soon go bad.
4. Had an inexpensive lunch yesterday at Costco with husband and one daughter. This unfortunately doesn’t make up for all the meals out this past week as it is spring break here.
5. We combined errands, including picking up other daughter after taking the ACT.


kathleen April 10, 2016 at 10:57 am

1.) Worked 4 days this week, and planned easy home-cooked meals in advance so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick up takeout. Resorted to pizza on Friday, but it turned out to be a good thing.

2.) Picked up more DVDs from library.

3.) Made four handmade cards for handwritten letters, and helped granddaughter write one of them to her great-grandmother which they both love.

4.) Booked another day of work for next week and ten more days in August.

5.) Put off haircut as well as buying printer for yet another week, though both are getting hard to do without.


Bee April 10, 2016 at 11:31 am

1) I listen to a Dave Ramsey podcast while cleaning house. He always makes me chuckle, and I find him motivating! Better yet, it doesn’t cost a penny.
2) I planted some new seasonal herbs in my garden including basil. This is my favorite summer salad herb and grows easily. I also potted a Meyer lemon/ key lime tree and put it on my sunny back porch.
3) The weather has been beautiful, but in the South, the oppressive heat will soon set in. So I have been enjoying the cool, sunny days as much as possible — walking the dog, sitting on the porch to read and opening the windows to let the fresh air in. My MIL calls this time of year, “free days.” No need for heat, AC, or lights.
4) The family headed to the beach today to enjoy the spring sunshine. We brought water and snacks. We ate leftovers when we returned home. The cost was $0 with exception of gas.
5) I looked through the weekend ads today and made a shopping list around this week’s best buys. I went through the refrigerator and pantry and made plans to use up some lingering items. I usually have very little waste, but the last few weeks I have thrown a few things away. I have resolved to do better. I have been a bit distracted.


Mand01 April 10, 2016 at 3:24 pm

I love listening to his podcasts too. My kids hate it. “Oh nooooo!!! Not Dave Ramsey again!”


IsabelI April 11, 2016 at 2:31 am

Love to listen to Dave Ramsey! Have no debts and don’t use credt cards! Was first person I had ever heard of who destroyed one! Admire him for his contribution!


Mand01 April 11, 2016 at 4:19 am

Same! I sometimes think I’m a Martian – no credit, no debts, save up and pay cash, but it works for us. Requires a lot of patience though. Listening to him keeps me motivated to do it, even though I want to take a trip to Europe right now.


Bee April 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

I think that’s wonderful and I aspire to live that way too!

Jennifer April 10, 2016 at 11:31 am

1. Got a huge amount of sweet potatoes in Krogers reduced bin. I never find sweet potatoes reduced so this was a special find. I baked 2 bags of them to eat on this week. They are kinda small which usually means they are sweeter.
2. I got several good buys at Kroger this week. Packs of chicken breast for $3. I will slice each chicken breast in half and freeze in meal size portions to stretch it a little farther. I also picked up reduced bin bananas, orange bell peppers, and apples. I have started buying most all of my produce from the reduced bin unless it is on sale for a rock bottom price.
3. My mom got me a shirt and the kids several clothes items from a yardsale yesterday. So glad yardsale time is coming back. And yeah my mom is awesome!
4. I have a stomach virus. I hate being sick when the weather is beautiful. I would rather be sick when the weather is crappy so I don’t feel like I am missing anything. However, staying home is cheap.
5. I still haven’t got my hair cut and I don’t really care. I will get my daughter to do it someday.


Marilyn April 10, 2016 at 12:34 pm

So sorry you have a stomach virus. That is the worst. Hope you’re feeling better now.


Jennifer April 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Thanks so much! I am slowly coming around.


Maureen April 10, 2016 at 11:47 am

Hubby is smoking 1 whole chicken, 1 rack of ribs and 2 small pork roasts. That should be plenty of food for a couple of weeks for the 2 of us!! But he’s saving on the propane it takes to use the smoker.
I am in the kitchen, cleaning and doing food prep for the week, so I can grab and go all kinds of fruits and veggies.
Rescued the remaining head of cabbage and made cole slaw to go with the smoked meat tonight.
Hubby also climbed on the roof and cleaned out the dryer vent. Whenever I used the dryer, I was getting a light that said to check for lint build up. Two weeks ago we pulled the dryer out from the wall and checked everything, and it was clean. Only thing we didn’t check was the outside vent which is on the roof. Today he got up there, and cleaned out about an inch of lint from the grate portion that keeps the animals out. So relieved that my dryer is now working and more efficiently too!
Didn’t buy a lear jet.


pattilou April 10, 2016 at 12:55 pm

I wish we had a Fred Meyer. I love that they pot your fushia!
1. made Thank you and Birthday cards instead of buying them. I used materials I already had.
2.I recently bought some salsa that was not as good as it usually is. I wrote to the company and got a coupon for a free jar. It never hurts to send a quick e-mail.
3. made all of my meals from what I had in the freezer. I’m trying to not have to grocery shop while I wait for my gifted Blue Apron package to arrive. So far I only have bought fruit, milk, bread and some pretzels this month.
4. Made my usual trip to the library
5. made cookies and muffins for my staff and neighbor from pantry items and will be making a cake from scratch tomorrow to bring to a co-worker.


Emily April 13, 2016 at 6:10 am

I always (nicely) report bad products to companies I am loyal to, it always pays off!


Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life April 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm

This week has felt like a spending pit! However:
1. Starting a new job means free food so no need for the prepared lunches both days ! Those were saved for dinner that night.
2. Staying in these nights meant taking time to clean the house and making sure there was food in the fridge.

Yup, that’s about it! Maybe this week will be better!


K D April 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm

1. My husband needed new glasses. We went with the store special and will submit to insurance ourselves.

2. Stopped at Aldi to pick up sale produce, as we were down to a few apples, oranges, and bananas.

3. Ate all meals at home this weekend. I cooked enough on Friday and Saturday night for leftovers during the week.

4. Friends are coming over for breakfast tomorrow. That means the house will be cleaned tonight.

5. Used a Redbox code to rent The Peanuts movie for $.34.


jlp April 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm

You WALK back from the store with a GALLON each of milk & vinegar?!


Katy April 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Yes, and it was as awful as it sounds.But the parking lot was really full due to it being a sunny Saturday and Fuchsia Saturday.


Jlp April 10, 2016 at 3:27 pm

You have my admiration.


Ruby April 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Excellent workout there, Katy, as that was 16 pounds of liquid you were carrying.


Katy April 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Like twin newborns.


Ruby April 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

😀 Babies don’t come with handles that cut into your fingers, but yeah, the weight is the same.

Mand01 April 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm

1. Spent yesterday morning weeding and planting garlic with my daughter. Looking forward to some fresh produce in a few months time.
2. Yesterday was my usual cooking day for the week ahead. I cooked up a lot for school lunches- meatballs and couscous, lamb and rosemary sausage rolls, and mini pizzas. That should keep her happy for a while.
3. My husband spent the afternoon detailing and washing our cars. They are not new cars but it’s amazing how keeping them clean makes a difference.
4. I’m taking a business trip today and had to catch the red eye. I did eat before I left but of course, I’m still hungry on arrival. The cafe at the hotel has a buffet breakfast for $19, but I’ve ordered toast and coffee for $9. BTW the toast has come with FOUR jars of gourmet jam, two pats of butter, two of margarine and two individual tubs of vegemite. For three pieces of toast. NCA fail!! And it’s all stacked up so I can’t use the plate. I’m getting crumbs all over.
5. I’m going to meet a high level government official at this meeting. My entire outfit is thrifted, which is making me chuckle.


Jennifer April 10, 2016 at 5:44 pm

4. My husband and I finally tried Vegemite! I have to say at first I put a little too much on the toast which was, um, overwhelming. I am from the south so pretty much ever thing we smear on is a thick smear so I learned my lesson on that. I watched the Hugh Jackmon video on how to do it but I still put too much. However, I have since learned how to do it and I really enjoy buttery Vegemite toast. I also enjoy a spoon of it in brown gravy. Hubby can’t stand the stuff though.


Mand01 April 11, 2016 at 4:22 am

Well it is an acquired taste! We start feeding it to our kids from the time they are tiny so they grow up on it – I don’t know any Aussie born child who doesn’t like it. I wouldn’t expect most people not raised eating it to enjoy it, so good on you for giving it a go!


Betty Winslow April 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm

1. Spent the weekend at a retreat, got snowed in unexpectedly, so ended up eating in the restaurant there. Expensive, but did have a good time hanging out with friends.
2. Downloaded four books to my Kindle from the series I’m reading, so I’ll have reading material for the next retreat (in two weeks, for writing).
3. Have a local bookseller coming by tomorrow to buy 7 boxes of books. I could probably make more selling them individually on (and am selling some there), but hubby really wants them out of the house and some money is better than taking them to Goodwill.
4. We use our 7 qt crockpot a couple of times a week and the crock finally gave out. Luckily, a friend who had the same model burned out the mechanism, so she gave us her crock/lid. We’ll use the discarded pot for a planter and keep the extra lid in case we need it Score!
5. Taking off work one day this week (a paid personal day) to spend the day at a makerspace event in town. The morning will be spent touring the lab and checking out the different areas and their tools and equipment. After lunch (provided as part of the event), we get to choose what equipment we want to learn how to use. Best of all, the event is free! (Membership is not, so I probably won’t go back, but hubby is interested, so part of why I’m doing it is to let him know what they have available.)


Ruby April 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

1. My four-year-old iPhone’s battery would no longer hold a charge longer than a day, so my husband located a cell repair place Saturday that would change out the battery. Cost was $34 and a few cents, which is way better than than buying a new phone.

2. Been taking one for the team and eating a bag of nectarines that my husband didn’t like. They’re not bad, but they’re not particularly flavorful.

3. It was cold today, so rather than heating the whole house, we turned on the gas fire and spent a good bit of the day around it, reading, napping and having hot drinks. (The fire is 1/5 the cost of turning on the central electric heat.)

4. Made the usual Friday visit to the humane society thrift shop. Bought an unopened box of a dozen small tubes of Neutrogena hand cream for $1.10 and a dress shirt for my husband for $2. He’s well-stocked up on shirts now for very little money.

5. Boiled some eggs today for my work lunches this week, and used one of the peeled-off shells to scour the hard water line out of the saucepan.


Jennifer April 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

5. Great idea with the egg shells!


Mairsydoats April 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

fyi re: not flavorful fruit – if you cook with it (grilled, sauted, roasted with meat, or baked into a crisp), the flavor will intensify. Stone fruit works especially well with pork. Or in a salsa (you can use any recipe for peach salsa, I think).


Lindy April 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm

1. I went garage sailing and found 3 things I had planned to buy; a brand new wire brush with paint scraper on the end of it for 25 cents, a brand new leather makeup bag for 50 cents (and I would not have paid for a new leather one), a pair of sunglasses for $1.00. 🙂

2. I was so tired come Friday after work and was so tempted to buy pizza to take home but I just made a simple supper of scrambled eggs and toast instead.

3. As usual have bought all of my lunches/snacks to work.

4. I have broke myself of stopping at a convenient store for a drink and snack after work. Yay me.

5. I only spent $30 on groceries this week. I have planned meals for the odds and ends I have saved in the freezer. In example, two slices of saved bacon is going to be crumbled and going in a salad for lunch, a half of pound of already cooked ground beef is going to make goulash, left over taco meat is going to be made into taco soup, etc.


Mandy Erasmus April 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

Lindy, I really like your no. 5 – have never tried taco soup though being South African, we don’t know much about tacos 🙂 can you suggest a good recipe?


Lindy April 11, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Hello Mandy! How I make taco soup by using either 1/2 pound or 1 pound of hamburger meat (depending on how many I’m feeding), a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, a can of Rotel (which is diced tomatoes with green chilies) and a package of taco seasoning and a package of dried Ranch Dressing mix. I brown the hamburger meat and then add all of the other ingredients and simmer.

We had left over taco meat which I just use in place of the hamburger meat and of course omit the taco seasoning. So basically, I’m using less than a pound of hamburger meat when using leftover taco meat, more like a half a pound.

I hope this answered your question. 🙂


Mandy Erasmus April 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Lindy! I will give it a go! 🙂


Teri April 10, 2016 at 5:03 pm

1. Won a $100 gift card to an online jewelry store. Hoping to stretch this into 3 gifts!
2. Began long tedious job of digging up landscaping rocks, sifting, washing and replacing. I’m aching all over, but our yard is looking great, and at no extra cost.
3. Out to dinner with friends on Friday, but brought uneaten pizza home and ate for dinner last night.
4. Bought a lovely new (with tags/stickers )crystal picture frame at Goodwill that I was able to use for a wedding gift. New it was $45.
5. Found 12 cents outside The Dollar store where I went in to buy rice mixes with a coupon so they were 50 cents each.


Jen T April 10, 2016 at 5:48 pm

1. Already made up coconut beans and rice and iced coffee for the coming week.
2. Made a new budget last week and I’m sticking to it!
3. Was able to pay cash for a 7 week archery class my husband and daughter are taking together.
4. Paid extra to my debt
5. No smoking!


Lori April 11, 2016 at 9:40 am

Hi Jen, how long have you been smoke free? I quit on 1/4/16 🙂


Bethski April 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm

1. Just sent my invoice for 7 dog walks I did over the weekend some with/some without my daughter. Its nice we get a chance to talk, exercies and get some puppy/kitty love!

2. Treated us to Subway yesterday using a gift card given to us by a client. we took our food home and ate it with drinks I already had at home.

3. Made myself go to the grocery store yesterday even though i had already had a long day. Forced myself to go because I got 5% off all grocery purchases which was a nice savings. I also made sure to go through and click on store coupons before I left as well as the store ad for sales. In addition I had earned over $14.50 in Rewards from Meijer so overall a great grocery trip.

4. Took daughter to the library to pick up the next book in the series she is reading, love when she gets excited about reading vs her phone! Found a parking space with 28 minutes on the meter, probably saved me about 25 cents. 🙂

5. Met with potential new client yesterday hopefully adding to my client base for dog walking.

6. Water bill went down my $10 yeah! Did laundry this weekend and dried a couple loads in the house.

7. Daughter stayed the night at a friends and most of the next day as well. She had her meals there. I contented myself while she was gone with watching shows on Amazon Prime I like and eating leftovers.

8. Paid my bills this weekend, thankful I can. Good feeling to have my budget on track. Also received reimbursement from my childcare flex account, nice to be able to bank the little extra.

9. Saw an article about funds for home repairs for those who meet the income guidelines, may look into it to get my porch steps repaired and the basement fixed but not sure if I want to incur the debt even with a a low interest.


Florencia April 10, 2016 at 6:03 pm

1. Ate free lunch at institute on Thursday. Ate free breakfast and lunch at work on Friday. Brought home three little burritos for snacks or my brother in law that likes them.
2. Batched errands the most I could.
3. Went back to Smith’s for a refund on a really bad tasting mayo.
4. From my local Buy Nothing group: Borrowed a chain saw and a couple saws for my dad to cut down a dead tree in our yard. Got a bottle of contact lens cleaner that I almost bought last week. Got an outdoor fireplace for the back yard. My best friend did the favor of going to get it because it didn’t fit in any of our cars.
6. Treated my parents out to dinner on Thursday. I used a Groupon for $30 that I bought for $12.80 and payed $14.47 (remainder and tip). Pretty good for three people to eat plenty with some left to take home.
7. Qualified for a paid focus group week after next. $125 for 4 hours.
8. Bought two boxes of glass food containers that come with plastic lids. No more burnt Tupperware! Got a great deal. After a $5 rebate, they each will have cost $9.84 for 10 bowls with lids. Less than a dollar each.
9. Bought some local honey. I really hope that helps my allergies.
10. Have been eating at home or taking snacks if I go out for a while.
11. Went to the grocery store to drop off my prescription and checked out the produce markdowns and got two big cauliflowers and a bag of nice, ripe tomatoes for salad for a dollar each.
12. Went to thrift store with my mom and sister and found a battery powered coin bank works great for $0.75 and a glass mason jar with handle and lid (former jam jar) for $0.50. This is my first visit to any thrift store in the year. I’m so proud of myself. I love going there and getting dresses and things for organizing the home, but I was going way too often. I’m sure people can commiserate. 😉


Karen April 13, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Local honey worked really well for my husband’s allergies. Used to be on OTC meds all spring and still suffering. Now he sails through. It tastes awesome, too.


Sharon April 10, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Katy, I don’t even know you but I worry about you every time you drink the work “crappy coffee”! 🙂 Please – one time each month – treat yourself to something better. I’m all for frugal and love how you find new ways all the time – but life is too short for bad coffee. Or perhaps you drink good coffee at home? and then it isn’t such a sacrifice at work?

Sharon – in Western Canada – but ready to drive down to the States to bring your work a new coffee maker and some decent coffee. 🙂


janine April 10, 2016 at 6:29 pm

1. Not feeling well today so stayed home and mostly relaxed, read and napped. Didn’t get much accomplished, but no $$ spent.
2. Found a place still selling washing soda and bought enough to last for a couple of years; probably too much, but clerk had to go back to warehouse to look for this product and asked if I wanted two large boxes so I decided to buy them both.
3. Checked menu for a restaurant that a group of friends will be lunching at next week – located the best deals so I don’t get caught missing a well priced item.
4. husband picked up a plant at the store on special this morning for $1. Hope it grows. Looked OK.
5. Packed lunch for tomorrow and made menu plans for next week hoping to use up leftovers and bits and pieces in refrigerator.


Sandy April 10, 2016 at 6:57 pm

1. Made lunches for the week at work. No dining out.
2. Didn’t go out this weekend. Boring, yes, but very tired, needed the rest, and saved money.
3. Got my $150 refund from insurance for my new glasses. Will be depositing that directly into the bank to pay my visa bill.
4. Been reading books from the library.
5. Made a list for the grocery store and stuck to it. (Well, except for a 99 cent individual bag of Kettle Chips, but that’s OK.)


Jake April 10, 2016 at 7:48 pm

1. Yummy salad dressing that someone requested, I use often for kale quinoa salad ( kale, cooked quinoa, shredded raw beets and carrots, roasted sunflower seeds). In a blender: 1/4 cup each tahini, cider vinegar, salad/olive oil & nutritional yeast, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, ground pepper to taste, optional sweetener ( maple syrup, honey or a couple of dates). Thin with a tablespoon or 2 of water if required. Keeps in the fridge for a few days. A meal type salad for work or weekend lunches.
2. I let my neighbours raid my veg patch, and I plant a few things they like…today they power raked, mowed, weed whacked my not small lawn. Also cat sitters if I’m out of town.
3. Worked in the garden getting the veg patch ready for planting in a few weeks.
Continuing growing seeds (leftovers from previous years) indoors: tomatoes, kale, broccoli, etc.
4. Found some affordable pickerel fillets for Sunday supper, plus leftovers for guests and myself. Yummy.
5. I did not book a flight and hotel for a weekend west coast getaway I’m craving, but spent the same amount for a new set of tires for my truck…4 for 3 deal but still a large $$$ hit. Sad face, but it’s nice to have a reliable vehicle.


shelia April 11, 2016 at 2:56 am

Thank you, Jake! I’m excited to make this!


Suzanne April 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

1. Invested in 2 Myer Lemon trees and a lime tree that are now in bloom. So excited to get another crop as lemons and limes are unaffordable here in Japan. I have them by our front door and the inviting fragrance is free!

2. While out hunting for marked down bananas (if I score a large haul I peel and freeze in baggies for smoothies), I had a sandwich set with “refill free” coffee. Buying a “set” is about the only way to get a reduced price here at restaurants, so this place is a double treat.

3. We showed our house to someone needing a builder and was rewarded with $55 by our builder when she visited the model home park. If she signs, it will mean $1600 referral fee for us! Who knew!

4. Japan has tons of fresh flower shops – at every corner and train station – they temp me to no end but I have resolved to grow my own this year and plan to get creative with arrangements. So NO retail flower therapy for me in 2016.

5. I put off my haircut from every six weeks to every eight, saving a bundle at $54 a chop! As stylists are paid well, we have no tipping here, so that also helps keep the cost down.


jennifer April 11, 2016 at 6:32 am

I just love reading about how people do things in other parts of the world. That’s one of the things that makes this blog so addictive. I feel like I learn something new every time!


Mandy Erasmus April 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

Jennifer, I completely agree!!!!!!!


Bettypants April 11, 2016 at 2:03 am

1. Received a register coupon for $2.50 off the large container of Noosa yogurt. However, the large sizes only come in Vanilla (ick) or Honey (maybe?). The next trip, there was one Honey marked on clearance for $2.50. For free, it is worth trying.
2. Listed a pair of Dr. Martens shoes on ebay that I don’t enjoy wearing. They are in nice condition, but no sense keeping them in my closet.
3. Needed a cell phone for my son, who will be staying home alone for a short period after school. Bought a Tracfone on sale and prepaid service. Activated it yesterday and tested it.
4. Made my son a big batch of Snickerdoodle cookies yesterday, so he would have some sweets for the week.
5. Trimmed a few of the dogs’ nails. Ugh. One barely tolerates it and the other one views it as torture.


jennifer April 11, 2016 at 6:37 am

1. If I get a great deal on vanilla or even unflavored yogurt I just add some berries, oats, nuts, honey, raisins,or whatever I have on hand and it helps stretch it a little farther. Of course sometimes I know the desire to have things ready to eat is pretty strong.


Bettypants April 11, 2016 at 11:17 am

I really like plain yogurt and add fruit, granola, like you do. 🙂 But there’s something about the tang of vanilla yogurt that tastes so awful to my mouth. I was hoping honey would be different, but it’s pretty close in yuck for me.


Michelle April 11, 2016 at 4:31 am

1.) We’ve been needing a night stand for some time now. I resisted buying a cheap night stand from Ikea. Last night, we found a tall night stand (it used to be a sewing table but the sewing machine was taken out) on the curb that would be so perfect for our room and bed. I always tell me SO that things will come to us when we need (eerr really just want) them. It just needs to be painted which I’ll do with paint I already have. I love curb furniture.
2.) We just finished tiling an entire kitchen DIY. They turned out great! Saved us thousands.
3.) I used my secret saver points to buy something my fiancé needed tool-wise for said tile project at Sears. $10 off $15! Sorry that I can’t think of what it is called. We had to grind down the mortar that leaked between the tiles… We get these points from K-Mart and Sears quite often for free.
4.) My fiancé scored tons of leftover popcorn from work which he brought home. School snacks and snacks all around.
5.) We painted the cabinets gray. So much cheaper than buying new cabinets.


Sheri April 11, 2016 at 4:57 am

I keep wondering why you don’t like the moss? It’s green, it’s growing, and it wants to live there…and you don’t have to mow it. It may not be what the neighbors are growing, but does that really matter? Not being judgy, just curious.


JD April 11, 2016 at 5:46 am

1. I bought a Goodwill Talbot’s shirt that was like new, but when I wore it, I found out why it was donated — one side of the collar constantly rolled inward somewhat. I got out needle and thread and tacked it invisibly from the back to hold it in place. Now it’s perfect.
2. We spent the day grocery shopping and running errands, which put us away from home at lunch time. Instead of a restaurant, we ate out of a grocery store’s deli which is cheaper than a restaurant. We realized after we ate that we’d only been charged for one meal and both drinks, so we told the manager and offered to pay for a pound’s worth (that’s how it’s charged, by the pound), since we had no way then to weigh the eaten meal. He said since we were honest, we didn’t have to pay anything more, and sent us on our way.
3. We sold our old car. It was 15 years old and had real problems, and we thought we were going to have to scrap it. A handyman bought it because he is friends with a mechanic who owes him for some work, and does his car work for free.
4. I went to a church’s annual yard sale and found two new scarf holders to give as gifts, a still-in-the-wrapper CD of one of my husband’s favorite singers, and a beautiful hand painted chalk ware figurine that was made by an amateur artist friend of mine who is now quite elderly, living with her kids in another state and suffering from severe dementia. She used to sell them for about $25 each, using antique German molds to make them, and they were quite popular. Total cost of all my purchases — $2.50. The cost of remembering a wonderful lady was of course, priceless.
5. I didn’t buy a cute antique wooden cabinet from another yard sale — it was just what we needed in our utility room, but the guy wanted $75 dollars for it, and it needed two shelves replaced. The most I would have offered was $15. So I saved myself the $15 and went home without it.


janine April 11, 2016 at 6:34 am

I admire your yard sale expertise and judgment. Very few sales going in MN – too early in the season here. Also, congratulations on selling your old car to someone who could figure out a way to keep it running! We are looking for some newer cars. Not sure who will want our old junkers.


Lori April 11, 2016 at 9:03 am

1. Had to take a CE class yesterday which gave me 7 hours of overtime pay.
2. They had a large bowl of fruit leftover after the class, I scored 6 red apples for my lunches this week.
3. Returned peppers and melons that was bad to the store for a refund. Why did I ever think a melon would taste good in April?
4. Was gone all day yesterday with class and visiting my parents, so I packed some waters and snacks instead of buying anything out.
5. Finished our taxes this morning on my computer at work, which means I did not throw my laptop out on the lawn, setting it on fire and then running over it with my car like I wanted to do last night! Talk about bad language, I think my husband was waiting for my head to spin around an spit out pea soup! I am so going to trade that POS in on a refurbished desk top as soon as I can.

Frugal Fail – after dinner last night I put the baked chicken leftovers in a storage dish and left it on the counter to cool (unfortunately) ALL NIGHT! It was because of that stupid laptop getting me all frustrated that I stomped off to bed and forgot about the food 🙁


Isabelle April 11, 2016 at 9:54 am

* Mother-in-law offered me a salon shellac manucure, just because. Nice outing! And the soak to take it off in a couple of weeks will be free at the salon.
* Received the family for my daughter’s 4th birthday. She’s too young still for a birthday with friends (no interest of her part), so this make it very low key. Home made meal, home-made cake, sent cupcakes for the day care, couple gifts and an outing of her choice with myself, hubby and big sister. No stress!
* Went to a hardware store offering free building activities for kids once a month. Kis got to build and bring home butterflies feeders, pretty cool idea!
* We have a fancy wedding coming up. Needed dresses for the kids. Found 2 fancy ones at Value Village, both for 20$, taxes in. Yay!!!! Will also try to find a cheap one for myself. I will not pay 50-100$ for a dress. And I already have fancy shoes and jewelry, doing my own hair and makeup as well.
*Date night yesterday. Went to an Indian restaurant with a Groupon (and I brought back enough for my lunch today) and we use Scene points to get one free movie ticket and paid for the second one.

Have a great frugal day!


Mandy Erasmus April 11, 2016 at 10:26 am

1. Won tickets to a movie pre screening event of the new live action The Jungle Book! Popcorn, drinks and 3D glasses included! My teens are thrilled and so looking forward to Thursday!!!
2. Turned some onions that needed to be used up into brown onion soup for the freezer. We will enjoy it soon as the nights are getting cooler here in the Southern Hemisphere.
3. Purchased a gift voucher from Groupon for a 21st birthday party we are attending on Saturday. A voucher for a neck, shoulder and back massage at a spa valued at R200 and only paid R68 for it. I combined a 15% loyalty discount with an already discounted price of R80. So great savings on a great gift for my daughter’s friend.
4. Found an online homeschooling resource that provides short 3 day online unit study courses for free! My teen loves it!
5. I made little butternut iced lolly treats for my dog who LOVES ice and the soft gooey stringy part (minus the seeds) of the butternut. She enjoyed 2 today and the rest are in the freezer

Learning so much here at NCA! Thanks


Is it a need or a want April 11, 2016 at 11:13 am

(1) Was given opening night theatre tickets that include complimentary wine at a preshow reception. Was dropped off and picked up , saved on parking which is ridiculously expensive with limited street parking. Donated to collection for Young Actors Scholarship with portion of savings.
(2) transferred points $80.00 worth that I have collected for eons ( Shoppers Drug Mart) to PC points (8000 to 10,000)
(3) saved daughter brokers fee and taxes ($85.65)by self brokering package from FedEx.
It’s a scam in Canada.W5 did a program on it.
(4) was purchasing a large prime rib for a family gathering. Ordered one day at Costco, went following day and price had dropped over half in cost per pound. Purchased a few more, cutting into steaks and freezing to BBQ this summer. My husband and son were very happy. I’m not a big steak eater:)
(5) needed two new pay as you go phones. Went to store and asked if they were clearing out any models. Must have twigged a manager to clear out. Saw them on clearance this week, $25 for models retailing between $150-200 each when they were new. Amazing how much free wifi is out there


amanda April 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm

1. We got our insurance renewals for our motorcycles, hubby decided to shop around and we are SO glad he did, we were getting hosed!! Our new company offers more coverage for about 1/2 what we were paying with the old one.

2. Planted spring garden plants. My daughters helped, which will hopefully entice them to eat the veggies later on!

3. Resisted the urge to go out for Mexican food over the weekend, hubby satisfied my cravings with homemade. I’m so glad I married a man who loves to cook AND is frugal.

4. Working on building up my Swagbucks account. Took some time off doing surveys, but did a ton last week, racking up the points.

5. Cleaned out part of the barn and separated unwanted items to garbage, donate, and sell. Put up ads on craigslist and facebook. Makes me glad that we took care of the things we bought so I can sell them in excellent condition.

6. We’re farmers and are tough on clothing. Kids all have BOG boots, they are all falling apart. I wrote the company and they let me know they have a lifetime guarantee, yippee!!!

7. I needed new work pants, so went to Goodwill and tried on a zillion pairs, found a pair 1/2 off that fit great (and the size showed smaller than I expected, so a little morale booster there!!)


Katy April 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

You need to clone your husband!


Vickie April 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

My granddaughter was ill and didn’t play soccer last Saturday, so I went to church then went to run errands.
1) I stopped at Wall’s Bargain Center and bought several items on sale. Not as frugal as avoiding going in, but good items for lots cheaper that will be used anyway.
2) I stopped at the Goodwill and found a really nice pair of stretchy, black jeans for $4. Those will replace a pair of old denims that are very worn and not suitable to wear out or to work anymore.
3) I stopped at the Tribal grocers and bought steaks. We rarely eat steaks, but if I was going to cook, I wanted it to be a nice dinner and I had an appetite for steak. Not extremely frugal, but the cost for dinner was a lot less than a steak dinner out for one person. Plus, I have leftovers!
4) Sunday evening we attended a small music event with some friends. Hubby bought the $10 each tickets last month and we had planned to eat out. Since he paid for the tickets, our friends paid for dinner. Nice frugal evening with great friends and good music.
5) I didn’t buy a yacht.


sarah m April 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm

1. found a new bathmat on sale that will look awesome with my shower curtain, but didn’t buy it since I have a perfectly good one.
2. packed food for the majority of my meals while working a 24 hour shift at the hospital. still bought pancakes, and got just a cup of soup when colleagues ordered take out.
3. making lasagna out of cheese and sauce i froze last month, more cheese i found in the back of the fridge, noodles I bought months ago, morningstart crumbles from the back of the freezer, and fresh veggies. this should cover a few lunches this week.
4. went on everydollar and made a budget
5. didn’t have time to make coffee this morning but gulped back leftover coffee in my espresso pot. not tasty but got the job done.


Mariana April 11, 2016 at 6:36 pm

1. Cooking, cooking and more cooking at home
2. $0 spent on the weekend entertainment
3. $20 made on Ebates 🙂
4. Using up bathroom stuff (body cream, shampoo, etc) to the last drop
5. Did some sewing too!


Jane April 12, 2016 at 11:50 am

Just found out last week that I’m expecting identical twins!! Have a two year old already.. So whilst I v definitely been shocked I trying to be as frugal as I can be:-)

1. Have lots of baby clothes from 1 st baby and have bought small vests and baby grows in the Goodwill shop very cheaply and in perfect condition
2. Prepared all food at home and brought lunchs and snacks with me to work- eating for three!
3. Ordered twin baby books from the library and they are buying a new copy of one they don’t have in stock
4. Air dryer all clothes and finished in dryer
5. Working extra tomorrow for 2 hours- worth extra cash that will definitely come in handy!


Mandy Erasmus April 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Congratulations! Twins! That’s wonderful!


Emily April 13, 2016 at 5:09 am

1. Continuing week 2 of mix and match lunches. bean and cheese burritos, veggies and hummus, you name it.

2. FINALLY found a new (well to me) purse I liked. I had been scouring stores everyone to find one. Found one at Goodwill. A little more expensive than a typical good will find, but a great purse and exactly what I was looking for.

3. Babysitting overnight 3x this week, meaning free meals, showers, and extra cash.

4. Used bogo chipotle entree and free chips and guac coupon for date night this week, meaning my bf and I got 2 meals for 6.95, and each of us had leftovers (so really 4 meals!).

5. Bought a NWOT VS bra on Poshmark (my addiction), cost 18 dollars including shipping. A 60 dollar bra + tax (ugh NC and your taxes), so wasn’t beating that deal!


Lauren April 15, 2016 at 11:56 pm

1. Found $10 on the floor at my local pharmacy. I also got a $1 Star Wars toothbrush for my son and a heavily discounted prescription (I am extremely grateful for Australia’s free or reduced health care).
2. My son is in full swing of toilet training which means we have reduced the diaper budget by $10 per week. Also a ton less wipes!
3. I attended a thermomix demonstration and was presented with a 5 course meal!
4. Sold a few unused items around the house and netted a bonus $75.
5. Ate Lunch at work for 3 shifts. I work in a cafe and the owners are my parents so this is a little extra perk!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: