Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 31, 2016 · 58 comments

Curry kit

  1. I prepared curry from a fancy $1.99 dinner kit that I picked up at The Grocery Outlet a few months ago. The instructions called for chicken, but I didn’t have any on hand, so instead I diced potato and added peas and red pepper that I’d frozen last week from my EMS Week food freebies. Served over rice, it was absolutely delicious!
  2. I’m planning a high school graduation party for my younger son. It’s not until June 19th, but since I’ll be working at the hospital the previous two days, I’m getting organized early. My goal is to avoid single use items, as well as keeping the party as inexpensive as possible. So far I’ve figured out that I can borrow extra silverware, a large folding table and a fire pit for s’mores. Food will be stuff I can pre-prepare and drinks will be simple like lemonade and flavored water. I used Evite for the invitations and have been sprucing up the backyard using nothing more than my own sweat equity. I’ve asked people to not bring gifts, as there’s no point in keeping it frugal for our family, if that comes at a cost for our guests.
  3. I renewed my library books, although one went overdue at a cost of 50¢.
  4. I brought our May budget up to date, and put our June budget together. Next month will be tighter than usual, as there are a number of days where I am unavailable to work due to graduation events, a family wedding and driving down to Ashland, Oregon to pick up our college student. However, these are all wonderful moments in our life, so everything is good. Also, “tighter” simply means less money toward the college fund, rather than not enough money for expenses, which is pretty great place to be.
  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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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Vickie May 31, 2016 at 12:33 pm

1) I shopped with my Library card today by picking up a book I had on hold.
2) I made sure to get my car tag updated, since today was the deadline. Avoiding fines and such.
3) I made meatloaf for dinner last night, which is hubby’s favorite. He loves meatloaf sandwiches so there are plenty of leftovers for a few days. Yay, no cooking!
4) I found gas for $2.23 per gallon. Cheapest I’ve seen in the past week, so I filled up at lunch today.
5) Now that I have all my dogs on the same type of food for the Summer – the healthy weight – I won’t have to buy more than one bag for awhile. I usually have to put the two outside dogs on the regular type during cold weather – they need the extra calories.


Marilyn May 31, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Meatloaf is also the favorite dish for my husband. Even on his birthday, when I offer to cook whatever he wants, he asks for meatloaf. It’s great that he’s so easy to please.


Lindsey May 31, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Must be a man thing! My father, my husband, my brother…all of them ask for it and want extra for sandwiches. Easy, so I’m happy, but it sometimes makes me wonder why I try new recipes when I believe my husband would eat meatloaf every day for months at a time.


jake June 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm

I love meatloaf (especially sandwiches from leftovers!) – cooking inspiration for the weekend. Thnx. Even better will be a side of creamed spinach from fresh garden spinach – perfect with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. yum.


Joy June 20, 2016 at 10:13 pm

My favorite part of meatloaf are the leftovers for sammies! Yum!


amanda May 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm

1. Attended the Maryhill winery 15-year anniversary party on Saturday with my SIL and her friends. We enjoyed free music, free wine tasting, and they gave out free glasses. We bought lunch (fail) but we split the sandwiches in half and fed 7 of us for the price of 4. We wanted to play bocce ball, but the line was too long. We did purchase a bottle of wine (fail), but it wasn’t ‘reserve’ and will put it aside for when we have company.

2. Hubby took me out to dinner since his sister took the kids for the rest of the weekend, woohoo!! We split an appetizer and had 1 beer each rather than individual dishes.

3. Visited my hubby’s family gravesites yesterday for Memorial Day. Rather than buy flowers, we stopped along the road and picked daisies and phlox.

4. SIL bought all the fixin’s for a cookout and she sent all the leftovers home with us plus all the food and goodies she had purchased for the kids. They get spoiled a little longer and doesn’t cost us anything. I tried to send food with them, but she wanted to treat them….I can’t get her to be frugal despite many years of trying.

5. I’ve been trying to lose weight and eat better, so I’ve been taking the dogs for walks every evening (our driveway is 1.5 miles long) and eating out of our greenhouse. I’ve got beautiful heads of lettuce, spinach, strawberries, and peas all ready right now. For added exercise, I spent Sunday doing deep bends putting in my drip system in the big garden and hand planting corn and beans.


PaperCraneFarm June 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Gardening is great exercise! Bending down low, reaching up high, digging hole, lugging dirt! And it is a hobby that pays you back with yummy food! I’m jealous – it sounds like you’re a bit ahead of us. Our honey berries are just ripening now and the peas and strawberries are a few weeks away…


JD May 31, 2016 at 12:44 pm

So often I think, “That’s an FFT item!” then I forget it before I get to write it.
So let’s see what I can dredge up in the old memory bank.
1. We were gifted with almost a bushel of summer squash from the chicken-poo-powered garden of our free-range, antibiotic-free egg man. He gives us excess produce because we are loyal to him and because my husband always pays him a bit more than he asks. I put that squash up in the freezer quickly — I didn’t want to waste one bit of its fresh goodness, even though it meant spending Memorial Day blanching and cooling squash.
2. I did grind some of it along with the last onions from our garden to make a family favorite, summer squash relish. We haven’t bought store relish in years and years, because I make it out of whatever we grow or are given — cukes, summer squash, green tomatoes, zucchini….
3. I found 20 cents on the ground – finally, some cash on the ground instead of pencils.
4. We left one onion in the ground — it’s going to seed and we bagged its flower head to catch the seed. We’ve raised onion from seed before, so we’ll try this seed this fall.
5. We were gifted with basil plants, which we’ve potted, and it’s growing like crazy already. We gift others with plants they want that my husband grows from seed, and they gift us back with plants we didn’t already have. Reciprocity is a great frugal practice.
This is a garden-heavy post!


PaperCraneFarm June 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm

I’m also very forgetful of the things that I swear I’ll remember for the next five frugal things. (I blame the toddlers for that – one is teething so we keep having interrupted nights.) I’ve started emailing myself things I want to remember (things to do, emails to send, five frugal things to write.) Either my phone or my computer is always within reach so I have found it more useful than trying to find the scrape of paper with today’s list.


Mand01 May 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Ha, that curry sauce is made by one of our former local MasterChef contestants. Adelaide girl makes good 🙂

1. I’m emptying our freezer of older homemade snacks and lunchbox treats – kind of a stock rotation, before I fill it up again on the weekend. Down to the last few things, which we are all eating for school and work lunches.
2. Keeping my weight down- lost just under 2 kg after Easter and am being sure to maintain it so my clothes fit properly.
3. Making extra mortgage payments, big and small, for Baby Step 6.
4. Went thrift shopping the other day and did not buy a single thing. :O
5. Spent my lunch break yesterday writing out my budget for the next two weeks.
6. Last night we ate almost all our veggies from our garden. We pulled some beef stock from the freezer and made a Vietnamese style soup. Fresh and cheap.


Patti May 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm

I’ll give a report from my frugal five yesterday:
1) Two of the items I listed on eBay were snapped up for the “Buy It Now” price and a third item is being bid on … and I thought listing on a holiday was not going to work well!!
2) My husband pronounced my made from scratch baked beans to be “better than Bush’s”. When I probed further, he said they were 10 times better than the canned version. Woo-Hoo!
3)A close friend of ours bought a washer/dryer set we had in our basement that my son had used in college. She hasn’t been able to pay us as much as she had planned to and I know it was worrying her (why did I sell these to a good friend – I surely don’t want to lose a friendship over $$!!) so I came up with a barter: she is going to water our garden and pick up our mail and newspapers while we are out of town for two weeks. Normally we pay a teen to do this to the tune of $100 so we are knocking that off her bill. Win-win!! I never would have thought of that if it wasn’t for this group and “thinking outside the box”.
4)I planned our meals for the week using up our fresh produce and items we already have in the cupboard or freezer. The longer I stay away from the grocery store the less I spend and I really want to clean out before we leave town at the end of the month.
5) I talked to my husband last night about not eating out on vacation and we brainstormed some dinner menus. We typically eat breakfast and lunch at our rental and our evening meals in restaurants but I only want to eat out once this year. I am so over having to battle the tourists and getting snappy waitresses just to have “fresh seafood” in our beach town. We can cook our own seafood, utilize farmer’s markets for great veggies, pick up a rotisserie chicken, and grill steaks. It will not only be cheaper (even at their grocery prices), we can do it quicker and that gives us more time to sit back and relax. And we won’t have to fight island traffic!!! Talking to him about it now helps get him on board rather than springing it on him once we get there and are hungry.I am going to start the menu list right now!!!


Jennifer June 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

I take my crockpot on vacation. Put a bunch of hotdogs or polish sausage dogs in it, turn it on low, then we go out and play on the beach. Come back a couple hours later to perfect dogs.I cook stuff like ground beef and season with taco seasoning ahead of time. Then put the frozen cooked meat topped with shredded cheese in the crockpot turn on low and a couple hours later when we get back to our room it is perfect melty goodness for nachos, tacos, etc. that you can snack on all day. Another family favorite is pulled pork prepared at home then frozen. Great for BBQ sandwiches,BBQ nachos, or just eat by itself. I don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking on vacation so pre-preparation out home takes care of that. We always stop at local farm stands to get fresh stuff to go with what we bring.


Katy June 1, 2016 at 10:33 am

Okay, it’s official. I want to go on vacation with you!


Jennifer June 2, 2016 at 4:46 am

Please do come, Katy. At least I know if you come we won’t spend as much. The more the merrier, lol!


A. Marie May 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

As Katy has been giving us tips in the last few FFT posts about graduation party ideas, I’m going to go out on a limb here and give my FFT about family funeral ideas, since that’s what DH and I are facing at the moment. DH’s older brother just died, and we are driving to the memorial observances in a nearby state this weekend.

(1) We are strong believers in charitable donations rather than flowers for funerals. I passed along a suggestion to the immediate family for donations to Doctors without Borders. I’m gratified to report that the suggestion was accepted, and DH and I have made a donation to DwB.

(2) DH is going to be a pallbearer at the private family ceremony (there will be a public memorial service the next day). Unfortunately, the one thrift-shopped suit he owns is a bit roomy on him at the moment, given recent weight loss. But he swears he can keep the pants on with a belt and suspenders. My hero!

(3) I am taking my by-now-traditional herbal posy for funerals (keeping it moist in a reused Ziploc bag and wet paper towels): rosemary for remembrance, sage for wisdom, thyme for immortality, and basil for entry into Paradise (this use of basil is a Greek tradition I learned from another branch of the family). All herbs are from the now-flourishing garden.

(4) I’m also taking a much-loved family artifact, of which DH and I are custodians: the ancestral salt shaker. (Different things mean different things to different folks. Learn your extended family’s traditions and go with them.)

(5) Finally, I’m going to do my absolute best to check my ego at the door, think of the immediate family first, and try to stay out of the political and religious cross-currents that I know will be running. This year in particular, the best gifts we can give each other may be civility and forbearance.


Ruby May 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Your herbal posy is such a lovely thing. I will have to remember that for the next family funeral.


Bee May 31, 2016 at 4:35 pm

I am sorry for your loss. You have some wonderful ideas and advice for other who find themselves in this situation. #5 is especially helpful.


Karen May 31, 2016 at 8:44 pm

A Marie, I love your post. Am very sorry about your brother-in-law and wanted to thank you for sharing the ideas of the herb posey and including personal artifacts at a memorial, but especially your attitude about promoting civility. Excellent ideas!


janine June 1, 2016 at 8:45 am

Appreciated this post. This fall we will be attending a family wedding and I need to think about how to handle family where we are very divided about values and especially political issues. I have attempted to promote tolerance as a value, but have one SIL who believes that since she is “right” about religion, politics and a host of other issues, there is no room for tolerance. We live in another part of the country so it is relatively easy to ignore her from a distance, but this occasion may take some forethought!
#5 was right on!!!


another Karen June 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm

I am attending a family reunion in 2 weeks. So looking forward to seeing so many nieces and nephews and now great nieces and great nephews. But am concerned about some of the sibs and spouses. We are a VERY politically different family. Thanks for #5 I am going to check my ego at the door. And say over and over in my head #5 #5 #5.


AN May 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm

1. I needed a larger file cabinet, so I found one on Craigslist not too far away. My mom brought her larger vehicle for transport, so I treated her to a doughnut as a thank-you.
2. I have a few items that I plan to list on Craigslist to hopefully get a little bit of money, including my old file cabinet.
3. Had one leftover zucchini and was tired of eating them plain. So I shredded it and used half of it in a muffin recipe. The muffins were delicious, so I’ll use the other half of the zucchini to make more and freeze them.
4. Was hungry at work waiting for a late meeting to start. Rather than buy a snack, I made myself a chai tea latte to get me through the meeting.
5. Stocked up for the month at Target over the weekend, taking advantage of some great grocery deals to last me most of the month.


priskill May 31, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Have been very mixed lately — trying to eke out some frugal items from expensive weeks (graduation presents, gift cards for staff, end of school parties, travel to see family, etc.).

1. Saturday night — frozen pizza which burned since husband turned oven to broil instead of bake — I have been nagging him to replace the worn dials and this is why! Readers, we ate it. Washed down with discount ale.

2. Went to $3.00 movie theater after pizza, no snacks, despite smell wafting through the whole place — fake butter! artery clogging fats! Made some fresh popcorn when we got home.

3. Used $10 off any purchase coupon at JC Penney — found a pair of capri’s that fit and were light and comfy. Spent $9.00 out of pocket and did not buy another single thing at the mall. Am trying not to buy any new stuff as weight goes down. Really Really sloo o o o w l y.

4. Husband got practically free round trip tickets to East coast using Delta and American miles! We had to pay a fee for waiting too late to book frugal fail but still really cheap. Was waiting for a friend to make up her mind about visiting at the same time. Will not make that mistake again.

5. Eating in more — last night was marked down frozen hamburgers, tonight will be frozen ravioli with peas and lot of salad. SoCal is heating up so tomorrow looks like tuna salad. Trying to buy just enough produce for the week.

6. Library, bring lunch and breakfasts. Thanks for all the tips here!


Jennifer June 1, 2016 at 9:54 am

1. Could you maybe mark your existing dials with a paint pen or something you both could recognize easily. Don’t know what color your knobs are but maybe even a sharpie would work?


PaperCraneFarm June 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm

A bright color nail polish or White Out works great on darker color knobs.


Ruby May 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Another day of small frugal things here: Packed my lunch of leftovers and a Thermos of tea, wore a mostly thrifted outfit, and carried a cute little $2 thrifted handbag that included an bonus red change purse. Had 21 no-spending days this month. Brought the grocery spending down from $414 last month to $364 this month. (That’s for three adults who eat almost all meals at home or brought from home.)

The small things do add up, and I’m aiming to do a bit better next month.


priskill June 1, 2016 at 6:04 am

21 no spend days — that is awesome!


Ellie June 1, 2016 at 10:32 am

# 4 – Great job on grocery spending!


Ella May 31, 2016 at 3:58 pm

1) A good friend is a high school fine arts teacher, and she had darkroom chemicals that were going to get tossed at the end of the year, so she invited me to her school to use the darkroom with her, and I was able to develop two rolls of film and make several prints. This friend has been generous with photo paper and film as well, and we take photo hikes together.
2) The gas company sent me a new low-flow showerhead for free, which saves me money on water heating, saves my landlord on water bills, and hopefully helps out California a bit.
3) We caved and got takeout last night, but we only ate half (even though we only bought two meals) and are having the rest tonight. Too many calories in a full meal!
4) Got another Amazon gift card from Swagbucks, and am buying new sheets. The ones I have have been repaired several times. When the cat was a kitten, he tore up my sheets pretty badly, and the mending could only hold them together for so long. Luckily I broke the cat of that habit!
5) Listing a bunch of stuff on etsy and ebay!


Bee May 31, 2016 at 4:30 pm

FFT never ceases to motivate me and the industriousness of NCA readers is amazing.
1) DS1 bought his late grandmother’s house as-is from her estate. It has not been touched in 50 years, so he is doing quite a bit of work on it. In order to save money, he has done much of the demo work himself and has been helped by some very good friends. My hubby and I helped clean up and load the construction dumpster this weekend. We salvaged the old dining room chandelier and some beautiful heart pine. I am restoring the chandelier to go over our breakfast table. We will use the heart pine to make a plank-top farm table for our son’s housewarming gift.

2) I have been cleaning out closets, clearing bookshelves and decluttering. I brought a car load of items to my favorite thrift shop that supports our local food pantry. This is good for me since I have too much stuff. Great for the thrifter who may find something she needs at a greatly reduced cost, and wonderful for the members of our community who are in need. Blessings all around!

3) We have been eating a greater variety of fruits and veggies now that summer is almost here. I find we waste less when we prep more. Yesterday I roasted 10 ears of corn, took the kernels off the and froze them to be used later. I sliced up a whole watermelon. I peeled and cut up carrots, celery and cucumbers. We have also been eating up all our leftovers and using up freezer items.

4) Over the next few weeks, I will be doing two little side jobs. One is near my home; however, one is a 20 mile drive. I have made arrangements to carpool with my employer. There will be several long days, so I will be prepared to bring coffee, water and meals.

5) I forgot to use my $5 coupon at the store yesterday. When I was out, I stopped in, and the store was kind enough to honor it. I also used $10 in extrabucks at CVS to purchase mascara and sunscreen.


Gina in KY May 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Your reuse of the pine into a table is really great!


Gina in KY May 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm

I, too, often think that something is perfect for FFT and forget about it later!

1. Just tonight, I found mangoes at Alsi for 39c! I love them and have never seen them that cheap since I spent time in Puerto Rico. I bought the limit of four and they will slowly ripen in the next couple of weeks. I eat them raw, but a favorite dish I like to make is mango rice.
2. I tried out the new thrifted pressure cooker and it works perfectly. I made red beans and brown basmati rice. Super good.
3. The pressure cooker did not have a manual with it, but I found it immediately on the internet and saved a copy on my laptop for reference. Do not bypass appliances at the thrifts because they lack manuals. Chances are you can find anything on the web!
4. We thought about going to the $2 movies tonight, but, after a quick review of current showings, decided a night in was better.
5. Today I wore a thrifted dress, ate eggs from my hens and drank coffee and ice tea made at home.
6. Found a large, vintage book on Colonel furniture at St Vincent’s Thrift Store for a upcoming birthday present for a friend who is a furniture designer and collects vintage books on furniture! It cost just $1. He and I grew up thrifting as poor teenagers, we often gift each other thrifted items and I think he will love it!


Teri May 31, 2016 at 5:06 pm

1. Found a quarter while visiting the cemetery on Saturday.
2. Using a coupon and Rite Aid rr I was able to get 90ct. Ziplock sandwich bags for $1.25.
3. Final chore on my lanterns is to clean them. A friend recommended an expensive glass cleaner for hard water spots, when DH went to buy some, it was out of stock. Another customer over heard the conversation and recommended going to the $ store to get “The Works”. I can tell you that, while it might not be quite as good, for a savings of $18 a bottle, it did a pretty good job!
4. DH is replacing pool lights rather than the “pool man”. A big job, but saving us $$$.
5. Eating leftovers and whatever is in the refer, freezer and cupboards this week as DH is out of town, and I am NOT going to the grocery store!


Diane C June 3, 2016 at 5:27 am

Re #4 – Pleazzzze make sure those pool lights are properly grounded! I am all about smart DIY, but electricity and water are a dangerous combination.


rjr May 31, 2016 at 5:38 pm

1. Ate shrimp( from the freezer that was on sale when I bought it) and cabbage stirfry (from the vegetable crisper).
2. Picked up books and $1 dvd (for 1 week) from the library
3. Pulled a pack of turkey bacon from the freezer for BLT’s tomorrow
4. Spent yesterday moving into office with business partner and using mostly donated furniture and prints. It looks great so far. We only have to buy 3 slipcovers for 3 chairs to pull it all together.
5. Walking with a friend on Thursday to get together instead of spending $ on coffee or lunch.


Amanda May 31, 2016 at 6:01 pm

1. Babysat today and will babysit tomorrow and Thursday for some extra funds. Going towards the student loan I think 🙂

2. Sat on the porch with my laptop this evening instead of turning on lights in my living room…

3. Packed lunches for tomorrow.

4. Not planning on going anywhere or spending any money tomorrow :).

5. Found the last two pairs of shorts needed for this summer. If I find a cardigan for me, and some dress shoes for hubby sometime soon, that would be cool, but we are set otherwise on clothes at least for the season. Did I mention the shorts were thrifted? 😉


lauren May 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm

1. found a penny, heads up.

2. had seen some cute shabby chic odds and ends while yard sale shopping but passed them up. while driving around “shopping” the neighborhood free piles later that day got all the items I spied plus some Martha books and a metal magazine rack. Yay freecycling!

3. Used up my coupons for free products and two sunblock coupons before they expired. Wound up with a box of annie’s cookies ($2.29), a silk yogurt ($1.25), and two bottles of hawaiian tropic sunscreen ($20) all for $6. Haven’t checked the apps yet but I hope there’s some rebates for these too.

4. Walked on the beach this morning and picked up some shells. Will use the shells with the free items as home decor. Wore my fitbit while walking to accumulate walgreens points.

5. Visited local thrift store and bought 4 LARGE Ball jars, three flower pots, and 12 hardcover books. Spent $27 but I think it was well worth it, plus the money goes to the hospital nearby.

6. Brought some books to a local cafe that has a free book exchange. I wind up buying books I’ve already read if I donate them to the thrift store I bought them from originally, so I avoid that and spread some reading material to others for free. Left 10 books, took 1. More space in my closet now and less chance of the inevitable book avalanche. The books have been read by at least myself and my mother, sometimes my grandmother as well before they go out the door, so I get my money’s worth either way.


lauren May 31, 2016 at 7:22 pm

*The $27 actually ALSO included 3 packages of mother of pearl looking plastic garland new in packages from michaels as well a new pair of craft tweezers by Martha. Whew, I panicked there for a minute thinking maybe it wasn’t that good of a trip.


Diana May 31, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Katy, how did you decide on your work schedule? I am desperately trying to figure out what will work the best for my kids. I feel stressed that I want to continue full time for the benefits & retirement accounts but I also feel like I’m not going to be able to hang on to that position much longer. How were you able to make peace with giving up a full time income and going per diem. I cannot wrap my brain around how to make this work. What did you do about retirement accounts while you have been per diem? Do you still do a 401k or a Roth Ira or savings? Or do you have some kind of magical plan? Did you consider part time before going per diem?


Kendall May 31, 2016 at 8:24 pm

My Frugal Five…

1. Made pumpkin bread from pumpkin from the freezer for a post-surgery gift for my step-father (anything pumpkin is his favorite thing).
2. Renewed my library books online to avoid fines.
3. Making poultry stock out of a couple of chicken carcasses and one turkey carcass and a bag of stock-type veggie scraps that were hanging out in the freezer taking up too much space.
4. Opening windows to cool down the house instead of using the air-conditioner.
5. Eking out the last bit of color in a several years old bottle of nail polish by adding a bit of polish remover and shaking hard. When sandal/flip-flop season comes I like to paint my toenails since they get pretty ugly from long-distance running. I hope I can get away with touch-ups with this bottle for another week or two.




Jennifer June 2, 2016 at 4:56 am

5.I polished my nails today with polish that I found from when my daughter went to prom. She is 21 now. Still works great!


Krystal May 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm

I’ve been spending a lot, but I’ll give it a shot. I stayed within my budget on my spending–due to my diligent budgets and frugal choices in earlier months–isn’t that what it’s all about?

1. Took my mother-in-law up on a free dinner tonight, and it was somewhat pleasant–we’ve come a long way in the past 10 years.
2. Making iced coffee for the week at home during our lovely warm weather to help curb my cravings to buy iced coffee. I love it, and home brewed is just as good if not better.
3. We had a guest this past weekend so have extra laundry as normal–doing it this week to take advantage of the lovely weather and line dry.
4. Planning my butt off for this busy summer. I cannot believe how much planning and budgeting makes for less stress even during a “high-spending” season. I can know where I need to cut back to make things happen, and being prepared keeps me focused and disciplined, rather than making a lot of last minute expensive decisions (think: picking up takeout after a busy day and hoping for the best with the budget).
5. Enjoying library books, our shared Xfinity/Netflix accounts, and free Fandango passes for cheap entertainment for the coming months.


cathy June 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

How did you get free Fandango passes??


SarahN May 31, 2016 at 10:17 pm

OMg – that’s an aussie curry mix – from a Masterchef contestant!! Too strange to see it on a US blog!


LL June 1, 2016 at 12:50 am

1. Went into the salon near work for a free fringe trim (I’m a repeat customer).
2. Used up leftover veggies from last nights dinner for dinner tonight.
3. I found my favourite aloe Vera tissues for less than half price so I stocked up.
4. My friend is having a baby in 2 months so I’m on the lookout for bargains. I picked up 2 Winnie the Pooh bath soaps in pump bottles for $1 each at my local pharmacy. I found a discounted pack of 3 bibs for $3 last time I was at Target. I’ll buy a bulk pack of Huggies wipes next time they’re on sale.
5. I sold 2 pairs of jeans that my son doesn’t like on eBay.
6. I signed up for a $90 discount on a side class I needed to complete for work. Gotta love early bird specials!
7. Free lunch at work x3 this week so far. Received a free green tea sample in the mail. Signed up for all the birthday clubs I was interested in to receive freebies on my birthday and scored an additional 2x $10 vouchers to use now just for signing up. And I started a one month free trial of Netflix (I’m trying them all on a free month trial to see which I like best). You can also do this with Spotify (music).


Juhli June 1, 2016 at 3:17 am

May was a spendy month for us – vacation, book club hosting and then house guests – but lots of fun. Some recent frugality also happened.
1. Took a frig/pantry inventory after our guest left and we had dinner of leftovers plus a green salad. My grocery list and menu for the coming week is based on what is on the inventory.
2. Saved the partial bottles of wine left by book clubbers and will take to the next one! We don’t drink red wine. The lemon cake that was left got eaten by the house guests.
3. I had bought apples to make an apple pie. In the face of all that lemon cake I will be making applesauce tomorrow instead.
4. Wore my thrifted walking shorts ($2 each) for our urban hikes – hot, humid weather is here.
5. Will be mixing together two partial cans of paint to do a base layer on the feature wall in the guest room this week. All feature walls have to be painted the neutral color in the room as part of house sale prep. Will make sure the new paint we buy has primer mixed in.
6. My brother confirmed that we can fix a problem in our upstairs shower but it will require replacing some tile. Fortunately is is still being made so I will buy the smallest amount.


Mrs. Picky Pincher June 1, 2016 at 5:31 am

It’s been quite a frugal week thus far! We took advantage of the three-day weekend to do a lot of activities around the house.

1. We went to Sur La Table to look for dough cutters. The cheapest ones were $5 apiece, which was outrageous to me. Instead, I had Mr. Picky Pincher make dough cutters out of our old laundry detergent box.
2. Speaking of laundry detergent, we finally bit the bullet and made our own laundry soap out of my sister’s homemade Castile soap, borax, and washing soda. No more $10 gallons of detergent (and chemicals)!
3. With my new dough cutters, I was able to make a giant loaf of ciabatta bread. (And holy crap, this stuff is sticky and hard to work with. I have a newfound appreciation for professional bakers!) We’ll snack on it and have it with meals for at least two weeks. It was a pain to make, but Mr. Picky Pincher is unsurprisingly Picky about bread, so I guess we’re a ciabatta household now!
4. I read three of my four books from the library. One was about avoiding plastic waste, which I’m now obsessed with. We’re going to start by sewing our own reusable linen produce bags. So no more plastic baggies for apples at the store.
5. I bought an insane amount of fabric at Goodwill for $6. This gives me enough material to make stuffed animals for all of my nieces and nephews and a stylish pink houndstooth skirt for myself!


Bettypants June 1, 2016 at 6:44 am

I’m wondering if our library is more lenient than others. I can renew materials online, up to 3 times for each item, unless someone else has a hold on it. And there’s a 10 day grace period past the overdue date, before the fines start.
1. I sold a large floor pot yesterday for $10 on a local FB board.
2. Made a batch of italian chicken soup for dinner last night to use up cooked chicken, and brought some for lunch today.
3. One of my coworkers brought me a bin of Irises that she had thinned out. I’m taking her some Crocosmia this week as a payback. I love perennial exchanging.
4. Someone just did a buy it now on a random item I had listed on ebay.
5. Put holds on 8 new books at the library.


Gina June 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

My library has the same renewal policy but not the 10 day Grace period for fines. Good for you! I rarely have fines but the 10 cents or so I have had have always been forgiven when I ask to pay. I’m there once a week and sometimes two and I make large donations to the used book sale once a month or more so they know me well. It’s a very kind gesture.


Bethany June 1, 2016 at 6:47 am

1. I went inside the library to admit that my dog chewed a book. While I have to pay a fine, going in and admitting (instead of turning it in and waiting to hear from them) also meant asking if I could keep the book (which is still perfectly readable) so at least I spent the money to good purpose.
2. I stopped at two different stores on the way home, because I needed a couple things only Kroger had, but I try to do most of my shopping at Aldi.
3. I filled out forms for two gift card giveaways for things I use often. Took some time, and unlikely I’ll win, but it would be a waste not to try.
4. I used my HSA card to pay for prescriptions. The money in there is added by my work so I essentially got them for free.
5. I balanced my June budget so I’m ready to stay within it this month.


Kim June 1, 2016 at 7:22 am

1. Planted the Thai basil I rooted from the piece that comes when we order Vietnamese pho for carryout. Order soup…grow a plant!
2. Used an old burlap coffee sack to line a planter instead of buying more of those coco liners. Cut a piece to sort of fit and then 2 squares for additional in the bottom. A few years ago I got a lawn/ leaf bag full of coffee sacks from a fellow freecycler and we have used them for everything!
3. Found a penny on the ground.
4. Ran into the grocery store to pick up a giant crab pretzel for a holiday treat and found they had marked down 1 lb. packs of bacon to $1.55 since they had a 6/2 sell by date. 3 lbs. in the cart and to the freezer!
5. Stopped in to get my free burrito at Moe’s since they are changing their rewards program on 6/1 and I would lose it.


janine June 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

1. Had a breakfast meeting this morning. Resisted the temptation to buy an expensive meal and ordered tea instead. Had toast and jam at home.
2. Signed up for an IKEA family card. Do not go there very often but they do offer free coffee and tea if you have a card.
3. Son gifted me with $20. Used the $$ to buy him needed white t-shirts and a six-pack of washcloths – all on sale of course.
4. Baked a spiral ham on Memorial Day sourced from our freezer – sale priced after Easter for 99 cents a pound. Lots of left-overs which I am using for packed lunches.
5. Refused husband’s offer of take-out and made do with food from the pantry.
He commented that the quality was better when it was homemade.



Among June 1, 2016 at 11:57 am

Hello Katy,

I’m actually really pleased to see that Meal kit by Marion! She was a finalist at the Masterchef Australia a couple of years ago and a favorite contestant of our family. The show is hugely popular in India (much more than the Masterchef US) So glad to see that she has her own line of food now!

I love your blog and read it everyday! To be honest, this is where I come whenever I want to go to a ‘happy place’ on the internet. 🙂 I’m hardly a non-consumerist but I’m inspired by your lifestyle/philosophy and I’m pretty sure it has made a difference. How do I know? My husband once commented, “That Katy person is ruining you” 😀



Katy June 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

That makes me laugh! I think your husband and mine would enjoy one another’s company. 😉


Cara June 1, 2016 at 2:16 pm

1. Found a tension-rod bathroom shelf in a free pile- exactly the kind I wanted for my bathroom.
2. Left some things on my porch for the Buy-Nothing Project!
3. Answered a craigslist add for a linguistics study that pays $20. I’m always happy to help researchers out.
4. Attached a bike rack and basket to my bike so I can put groceries in it.
5. Rode my bike to work for the first time- not as dangerous or difficult as I thought it would be!


PaperCraneFarm June 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

1. My online order from Target didn’t arrive so I found the tracking number and learned that it was apparently damaged in transit and was being returned to Target by UPS. I called Target to figure out what happens next and learned it would automatically be processed as a return and my money would be refunded. Well, on the surface, that’s fine except I bought some items that were on sale last week that aren’t on sale this week. Supposedly when I place a replacement order I can call and they will refund the difference between the new price and the sale price…

2. Batched errands by taking 3 packages to the post office – one for work, one to return the eyeglasses to Zenni that didn’t work out due to their terrible instructions on how to measure pupil distance, and one to far away family with pictures of the kids. The work one had a postmark by today deadline but the other two had been piled up for a few weeks waiting for a reason to go to the post office.

3. Did a hand-me-down exchange of clothes with a family member who has kids both older and younger than ours.

4. Rearranged furniture to create a desk in our bedroom for times the kiddos are asleep. Found that we had enough furniture already without having to buy knew – we just needed to move stuff around. The kids were highly amused as we dragged desks, pushed hope chests, and moved beds to make everything work in the bedroom and the now-emptier living room.

5. Tracking leftovers to make sure everything gets eaten or frozen before it goes bad. No point in wasting food we spent money on!

Frugal fail – I frequently buy the ends of cheese blocks from the deli at $2/lb because it is much cheaper and gives us variety depending upon what is in the package. But it typically needs to be used pretty quickly as the ends have been handled a lot or left out by the deli staff. I opened one package tonight and realized it was already moldy. Booo.


Florencia June 2, 2016 at 8:11 pm

I recommend going to an actual eyewear store for pupil measurements. My best friend works for Lenscrafters and he does mine when he gets me a copy of my prescription to order online. Maybe you know someone? Or maybe your eye doctor would be kind enough to write those down for you.


Tara June 2, 2016 at 12:33 am

OMG it’s Marion from Masterchef.


Lindsay June 2, 2016 at 3:20 pm

1. Got a free bag of bagels leftover from a school field trip and threw them in the freezer.
2. Checked out an audiobook and the second Mockingjay movie from the library. Returned my last audiobook on time to avoid fines.
3. I found and pocketed two dollars this week.
4. I used wrapping paper I got from my Buy Nothing group and thrift store greeting cards for wedding and baby shower gifts.
5. I was super tempted to order take-out tonight after I was rear-ended on my way home from work today. I resisted and made Budget Bytes’ Creamy Tortellini with Vegetables, which is one of my go-to comfort foods.
6. Car-pooling to a wedding tomorrow to save money on gas and tolls.


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