Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 22, 2016 · 87 comments


  1. I had to go to downtown Portland twice yesterday, and took the bus both times. I get a free public transportation pass from my employer, so I saved on gasoline, parking fees and hassle.
  2. I took my younger son to a special event at the Portland Timbers (soccer) stadium yesterday that included activities, player autographs and free food. Normally my husband would go, but he had to work. We enjoyed a free meal, and for a significant period of time my son held the “speed kick” record for kicking a soccer ball into the goal. I had two vouchers for free craft beer, but I gave those to a friend as I’m not much of a drinker.
  3. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages last night, and although the tenant didn’t leave any fun food behind, I did find a quarter behind the couch. This house is in the process of being sold, so I likely only have a few more cleanings to go. I’ve enjoyed the extra income, but will not miss adding “clean someone else’s bathroom” to my to-do lists.
  4. I finally set up a squirrel-proof clothesline and air dried a load of laundry yesterday. I’d been thinking I needed to pick up some plastic clothesline, but my local hardware store has pain-in-the-tuchus parking, so I ended up buying it at a different hardware store without parking issues. Of course, this prompted a #clotheslineselfie!
  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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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie June 22, 2016 at 12:19 pm

First, I’m in complete awe of your PDX public transport. DH and I visited your fair city back in 2010 and were gobsmacked by it.

Now, the FFT, Natural/Horticultural Edition:

(1) To round out our “thrifty fun” weekend (see my previous FFT comment), DH and I attended a native tree ID event at a nearby state park. Had fun, learned a lot, and got to spend most of a very hot afternoon in the shade of the trees. Win win win.

(2) We’re in the happy position of not only having more homegrown lettuce than we can eat ourselves, but being able to offer the excess to the neighbors.

(3) We also harvested our first cucumber yesterday, and are eagerly anticipating refrigerator pickles.

(4) Dug our garlic crop over the weekend (15 fat, sassy heads), and am about to transplant volunteer marigolds (the “Gem” variety self-seeds beautifully) and throw a fistful of lettuce seeds for a fall crop into the empty space.

(5) And we’ve just been enjoying being outdoors during a spell of unusually sunny weather here in Upstate NY. Believe me, we’ll be dreaming about this in February.


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:27 am

Refrigerator pickles! Yum! Our cucumber plants haven’t come up (too hot and dry) so I may have to buy cucumbers to keep the pickle supply going here.


amber June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Here is my five things…

1. It is getting hotter and hotter here so along with keeping the curtains closed all day I draped thick blankets over the curtain rod. Now the house is staying cooler.
2. I bought two little things off of amazon using swagbucks so it was free. They will be part of my daughters birthday gift.
3. At goodwill I found a pair of joule rainboots. I looked them up and they sell for $75 or on sale for $50. I will keep them to wear and my old rainboots were past down to my daughter.
4. On Monday a free sample of dry cat food came in the mail. It was enough to free my cat for two days.
5. I have been making sure each week I buy lots of sandwich stuff (meat, cheese, tomatoes ect) also a few different bags of chips and good bread. We hardly ever go out to eat anymore. Anytime we are out and we think about going out to eat I remind everyone of all the good sandwich stuff we have at home. Since I buy a few different types of meat, cheese and chips everyone is happy. My family husband , two daughters 11 and 8 and myself cannot eat out for under $25 anymore. But I can spend that much on sandwich stuff and it will last several meals.

We did have to call the air condition man yesterday and dropped $360. The a/c is now working properly and hopefully it won’t give us anymore trouble this summer.


Bettypants June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

1. A rock flew up and hit my windshield earlier this week, leaving a pretty good chip. I bought a simple repair kit and found it worked surprisingly well. I won’t know until winter, but it is smooth, so I’m hopeful.
2. Returned my old car battery to the auto store for the $18 refund.
3. I had bought a long handled brush to clean our roof, but it wasn’t needed. Returned that to the store while I was out running errands.
4. Listed some scrapbook paper on freecycle this morning, and a few household item on local FB sites.
5. Not sure this isn’t more of a frugal fail, but I bought a huge lot of Fire King Jadeite Jane Ray dishes from a local FB site. I paid just over $200 for 71 pieces, including 16 dinner plates, in great condition. I think it was a good deal.


Katy June 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

You are killing it with your battery!


Bettypants June 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Not really. They make you pay $18 as a recycle fee when you buy a new battery. You only get it back when you bring in the old battery with your receipt.


Katy June 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for clarifying!


amber June 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

My oldest daughter is named Jade and wants Jadeite to use when she has her own house. (She is 11 now.) I am always looking at thrift store and usually it expensive so I don’t think $200 is bad for that many pieces.


Diane June 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm

I am a jadeite collector, well I used to be before it got too expensive. That was an awesome deal and you should be able to get your money back + some for it.


Bettypants June 23, 2016 at 4:34 am

Thanks for the validation, Diane! The last lot that I found locally was $35 (filthy from a barn, and the woman was referring to it as “a box of old green dishes”) so this seemed like not quite as great a deal.


jennifer June 22, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Great clothesline selfie! Wish my kids allergies didn’t prevent me from having one myself. For now I will enjoy my clothesline fix vicariously through you.

FFT Vacation planning edition

1. Our vacation is 2 days away so I am continuing to plan. I set a clothes basket in a corner a few days ago. I do this every time we take a trip and as I am doing other chores around the house and I run across things I want to make sure go with us I toss them in the basket. I have a list on my phone as well but if I do this too when it comes time to pack I do a lot less running around because lots of things are already in the basket. Nothing like having to make an emergency trip to a pricey drugstore while on vacation for cold meds that you have sitting home in your cabinet.
2. My crock pot is also beside the basket. I will be using it the whole time we are gone but that doesn’t mean I can’t fill it will stuff too for travel to save on trunk space.
3.I have already put beach towels in the car. I cover the seats of the car with our beach towels. This saves space in the suitcase and doubles as a catch all for spills and crumbs from my 2 small kids. They also use them for blankets as they snooze on the long ride.
4. I used a coupon for 50 cents off 3 boxes of wyler’s flavored drink mixes which were $1 at Dollar Tree. My kids don’t love water but if I add a tiny bit of flavor, not even a whole packet, to the water they will drink it. Not using the whole packet means each fruity flavored drinks costs a few pennies so these boxes will last a long time. I also picked up some cheap bread at The Dollar Tree. Only $1 for Natures Own bread that cost $3.49 at the grocery store? yes, please!
5. I did a virtual drive, thanks to google maps, to scope out the stores and surrounding areas since we have never stayed in this particular condo before. We don’t really eat out much but we do sometimes order a pizza so I found a reasonable place for that and was able to do a price comparison before getting there and having to figure it out.I was also pleased to see that Florida has “everything less than a dollar” stores all over the place in case we do forget or need something.
Frugal fail: Last year I checked out DVD’s that the kids had never seen before to take on vacation to watch on the long drive. I thought this was an awesome frugal idea but I forgot to return them, for awhile, and had over $30 in late charges.


Rachel H June 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Where in Florida are you going? I am in the Panama City beach area.


Jennifer June 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I’m going to PCB!


Jennifer June 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Would love any suggestions from you! It’s actually my husband’s and my 5th year anniversary. Of course, our kids are going but so is my mom so we are going to have some opportunities to do a few things by ourselves. We don’t usually do much for anniversaries but we were thinking of doing some type of dolphin cruise or swim with the dolphins for a memorable experience with just the two of us. So if you have any particular service you recommended or any other suggestions for something we may like better I would love to hear, TIA!


Julie C June 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Love your # 3 ! Will have to do this when we travel.


amanda June 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

1. The underwire of my bra broke through the fabric, poking me in the armpit. Rather than toss it out, I shoved it back in and sewed it shut. My hubby got after me to buy a new one, but they are so expensive in my size. My fix will last a few more months.
2. Picked up hay today from the farmer my hubby helped out and was paid in hay. We changed our feeders so the goats and bull don’t waste as much food as they have in the past.
3. Plugging away at my swagbucks. Not sure how you accrue so much, I try to take every survey available, but I only ‘qualify’ for about half.
4. A co-worker brought in a huge bin of Rainer cherries, which is my family’s favorite.


Betty Winslow June 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I never qualify and my receipts apparently aren’t good enough for Saving Star. 🙁


Emily June 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Mole skin works really well for fixing underwire mis haps as well!

I have a hard time with swagbucks too. Sometimes its too much work for what its worth.


K D June 23, 2016 at 3:58 am

I think Swagbucks has become increasingly less worthwhile to use. I still print coupons through it but day-to-day I rarely earn many points.


Betty Winslow June 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm

1. Brought home 7 free dog food meals (off a coupon) and a mini bottle of Sunny D, from Kroger, for my son. Love me some freebies!
2. Got two bags of like-new stuffies donated from the woman across the street, whose kids already have their own stuffy zoo. Took out the Clifford and Winnie the Pooh characters for our school library, kept a few smaller ones for the Operation Christmas Child boxes this fall, and will be offering the rest to the police department for traumatized kids.
3. Dinner tonight is crockpot pulled pork, made with a sale loin, some rootbeer, and a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray that we bought for 88 cents!! (Bought 8 bottles at that price – we love it and it’s usually almost $3 each!)
4. Bought a marked-down bag of thin-sliced baguettes, to use with the Spanish parsley/garlic spread I bought at Kroger a few weeks ago for 20 cents. They’ll make some great pre-dinner snacks! I amy also make mini french toasts with them.
5. Was going to buy some boneless skinless chicken thighs at Kroger, for $1.77 a lb., but then I saw that Aldi had the same thing, for $1.29 a lb. Pour some SBR sauce on ’em, bake for 45 min. BBQ chicken!!


jennifer June 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

1. Next time that happens, and of course it will, cut the whole that it poked out of a little bigger. Push the wire out so you can see about 1 inch of it. Apply some hot glue to the end of the wire then fold a small piece of scrap fabric over the end and makes sure the glue drys smooth, not bumpy, by patting the fabric down when it’s cool enough to touch. Once that drys, push it back in, then sew it up. The sharp wire gets padded so it is unable to poke back through as easily. I have heard many people say muslin works well too but I didn’t want to buy anything to repair mine. I have repaired several bras in a similar manner and this actually works.


Sandy June 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I had a pokey underwire, got it back in its channel and stitched a piece of bias fabric over it. Bias won’t fray and pull out. Just to save a minute, I stitched another piece of bias over the other wire to avoid having to go through this again. This repair has held for well over a year!


amanda June 23, 2016 at 11:36 am

Good idea, thanks!


A. Marie June 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

My own experience is that by the time I get an underwire poke-through, the rest of the bra is shot as well (sagging elastic, etc.). But all power to the rest of you for the clever fixes!


Juhli June 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm

1. I am doing a lot of painting of walls to get the house ready to sell and had no shorts I was willing to sacrifice to paint. I did have a worn out pair of PJ shorts and they are now my painting clothes and only when I am finished will they go in the trash.
2. Have a meeting tonight and need to have dinner earlier than my husband. Chili is simmering away and the salad is made.
3. Sort of frugal – to stage the house I needed a wall mirror over a dresser and something colorful for the bed in the guest room. No luck at thrift stores so I braved Ikea and found just what I need for $32. Happy.
4. No leftovers have gone uneaten recently.
5. I am wearing my newly thrifted made in the USA sleeveless top that is the final piece for my summer Project 333 wardrobe. Loving it on a hot day.


jennifer June 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

1. Don’t throw them away! You will most certainly paint again someday, lol.


Lauren June 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Amen! I have painting clothes from 2003 and that surely can’t be anywhere close to a record…??


Jennifer June 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Nope, my paints clothes are from 1995!!


Juhli June 23, 2016 at 2:46 am

You all are funny! We are moving across the country and getting rid of as much as possible so I don’t think they will make the packing cut! I’m sure I could thrift something if needed.

Jill A June 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm

1. My insurance company came up with a new homeowners product. I get better coverage and I will be getting a refund.
2. Stopped at Costco today for the cheap gas and bought my daughter new underwear for $10 for 5 pair versus the $25 for 5 at Kohl’s.
3. Bought my Mom and my daughters coffee drinks while out today. My mom and I both used BOGO coupons and my mother got to use her punch card for a free coffee next time.
4. We pay a one time cost each year for propane. It is offered in July at a discount. The company we use gives us a credit for unused propane. We will get a $588 credit. We had a warm winter.
5. Found an old dress that was my daughters. Took it to the children’s shop and they gave me $3. I could have probably sold it at a garage sale for more, but I’ll know better next time.


Lide June 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm

1. Hubby is out of town again this week so eating from the frig/freezer.
2. Having a birthday party for my parents this weekend – sister & I are preparing everything ourselves. Everything on my list is something I already had in the freezer/pantry – bought on sale.
3. Needed a light for my computer area – found one at goodwill for less than $3.
4. Painted our porch floor – washing the brushes out to use when we do the trim around the windows using the leftover paint from the porch floor.
5. Mixed together all the odds & ends bottles of shampoo that DDs didn’t like- now I have a 3/4 full bottle to use.


Janelle June 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm

1. I’m having a garage sale tomorrow… it might be a total flop. I have the day off anyway, and a billion kids, so I might as well try to make some cash.
2. I braided a clothesline last week out of old grocery bags. So far so good!
3. Used up ALL the veggies from my CSA last week.
4. Got a hand-me-up dress from my little sister, and about 7 people complimented me on it at work!
5. Ate a pb and J at work instead of buying tacos. A sad sad sad frugal thing.


Bee June 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

I really like your second frugal thing. I have declared war on plastic bags and it is nice to see them recycled. I live in Florida where they often end up in the ocean, gul, and our waterways. They are often link to the deaths of marine mammals. Yet, the grocery stores here are plastic pushers.


Florencia June 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

I commend you on your pb and j. I did that a few days ago. The only saving grace was that I had fig jam, but still the right choice instead of buying lunch. 🙂


Kate June 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

I’ve been visiting your lovely city for the past week and have very much been enjoying the public transit system – sooo much easier than DC and NYC! I I haven’t been NCA-perfect while here but I have been trying. I’ve been refilling the reusable water bottle I brought with me instead of buying drinks. Went to Powell’s last night with my daughter and found a dime. I also brought reusable bags with me and have used them every day. Now I need to fill them with dirty clothes and get to a laundromat!


Chris June 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

1. My husband retired 10 days ago and this week has 3 meals/events at his former employer. I am happy at home with leftovers.
2. The dog will go to dog day care a lot less since he is home now though he will go at least once a month for a nail trim and for him to have a puppy play (half) day!
3. It was a birthday celebration at our pet food store and we received several samples of dry dog foods that I will use as treats for him rather than buying what we normally use.
4. Had to change a plane reservation and decided to fly home on a early Monday morning rather than Sunday evening saving us over $400. No additional hotel costs since we stay with our son and daughter-in-law.
5. All meals (besides #1 freebies) at home this week – our freezer is so full I think I will only need fruit and veggies for the next several weeks.


Gina in KY June 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm

1. I cleared out three big boxes of clutter and donated to local thrift store; I made sure I received a receipt for taxes. I set aside two big boxes of books to sell and one for the Little Libraries in my neighborhood. I am loving the open space of my home and can’t wait to continue this decluttering project on the weekend!

2. Hung out the laundry late yesterday and this morning it received a nice, free rain rinse (oops).

3. My boys are out of school for the summer and we are eating at home and making use of entertainment around the house (already owned DVDs, books, board games). I work from home so I can keep an eye on them most days, but next week they are off to outdoor day camp so I can get some field work done.

4., On the topic of summer camps, they are not cheap; however, I noticed on my account that I did not receive the second child credit. I called them today and they are crediting me the $20 per week (they are attending for three weeks). Every little bit helps.

5. My oldest son is 13-1/2 and I decided that it would be great if he took the online Red Cross babysitting course. I am a single mom and have been hesitant to leave them alone, but I don’t always have someone to help out. I think he is old enough (I was so much younger to stay home alone for a few hours) and I actually used to hire a sweet girl from the ‘hood who was 14 (and cerified) for short periods. Maybe he can babysit for others this next year (8th grade) and make a little money himself. The course is $29 and is for 11+ kids and I think it will be money well spent if it teaches him responsibility. He will receive an official certificate from Red Cross.

6. This one is stretching it a bit, but I lost two gift cards from Christmas. I was not happy about it at all and had finally determined they were gone for good. However, during last weekend’s big clean, I found them! They had been on top of a tall wardrobe the whole time.


Isabelle June 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

* Making use of my gym membership (as opposed to paying for nothing) to clock in 300 minutes of exercice per week. Also walking outside.
* Packing food from home for our upcoming trip. Will make lunchs, avoiding eating out.
* Annual employees BBQ at work this week. It’s offered at both sites (hospitals), and while I work at one site only, I am affiliated to both sites, so I swung by the other site today for the BBQ and will also get it tommorow at my regular site. So 2 free lunchs.
* Hubby got me a small tray of sushi as a treat. I was tempted to go to the sushi place to buy more and make a complete meal of it but I grabbed crackers and peanut butter instead. Sushi is so darn expensive!
* A friend gave me a bag of clothes she no longer wants. I kept a summer dress, a couple shirts, a bathing suit and a small blanket. The rest will go to Goodwill.

Have a great frugal day!


Carol M. June 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Just got married last weekend! Haven’t been that frugal, but I’ll try:

1. Did our own flowers for our wedding with downtown flower market wholesale seasonal flowers and mason jars. Total cost: under $200.
2. Skipped takeout Tuesday in favor of frozen pizza.
3. Skipped a veil at my wedding and instead wore a fake flower hippie crown that my husband bought me, laced with a few real flowers. Total cost: $10. Plus there were leftover flowers to stick in a vase.
4. Didn’t buy new shoes or jewelry for the wedding. Wore jewelry my husband-to-be had already bought me early on in our relationship for sentimental purposes. Wore my shoes for an hour, then kicked them off and went around barefoot.
5. Were under budget for our wedding bands.


Jennifer June 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Awe, it all sounds just wonderful! Congrats!


Marilyn June 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm

It all sounds lovely!


Bee June 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Lovely and frugal. You saved a fortune by doing your own flowers! May the years ahead be filled with love and happiness.


Susie's Daughter June 22, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Frugal weddings are a big accomplishment.
One of my favorite parts of our wedding was my wedding dress found at consignment for $90.
Here’s to many happy years together.


Carol M. June 29, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Thank you!


Carol M. June 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Thanks everyone!


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:22 am

Congratulations! Here’s to many happy years ahead!


JD June 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

Congratulations! And it sounds like you did a great job on your wedding. My last daughter to get married found her dress in a bridal shop going out of business. She got her dress for $100 — we looked it up on the internet, and it was a current year dress, selling for $900. We felt good about that! She wore her sister’s shoes and earrings and her late grandmother’s pearl ring.
I’m loving the idea of the floral crown!


Mand01 June 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm

1. I finally finished the requirements for my law degree. Frugal because a completed degree is worth a financial investment. Two years ago I seriously considered quitting, because I was working full time and it was hard and I was tired all the time. That’s still true, but I am glad now I kept going because what a waste of money if I had quit!
2. My husband cooked a delicious mushroom omelette for dinner using what was on hand and served with vegetables from our garden
3. We sat by the fire last night, drinking herbal tea and reading the second Hunger Games aloud to my youngest.
4. The usual things. All my clothes for work are thrifted. We have a written budget. We are paying extra on our mortgage and into retirement. We have quiet, nerdish hobbies that don’t cost money. We don’t buy Lear Jets.


Sue June 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Congrats! To work, be older and do your law degree is a huge accomplishment. And you have a family! S0 when do you start studying for and take the bar ( exam)!


Marilyn June 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Congratulations on your J.D! What an accomplishment.


Mand01 June 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

Thank you! We don’t have a bar exam here in Australia- we have to do an extra year of study, called a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. I’m not going to do that yet, as it’s another full year plus a placement and I have to work. But I am planning to do a mediation certificate instead and become a certified commercial mediator.


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:23 am

Congratulations! Sounds like you have a solid plan for the road ahead.


Mand01 June 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Thank you- I have to save the *choke* $4K it’s going to cost for the mediation certificate and test first.

Bee June 22, 2016 at 5:47 pm

I loved your squirrel slippers. Perhaps if you wear them outside when hanging the laundry, it might scare the pesky critters away. No Squirrel want to become slippers!
Here are my frugal five

1) My just under-thirty, adult son takes an expensive medication. He simply cannot afford it on his own, so I have often paid for it. But with my help and that of his doctor, he applied for financial assistance from the pharmaceutical company. His application for aid has been approved! It really was a financial strain for me, so I am doing the happy dance.

2) I combined BOGOs and digital coupons this week at the grocery store to save nearly $45. I also had a coupon for $10 off a $50 gas gift card. I love saving 20% at the pump.

3) I have been utilizing our family YMCA membership more often now that the weather is warm. I have added swimming to my excercise routine. This brings down the per visit cost. I hope that all this excercise will continue to prevent age related diseases and reduce medical cost in the future. Of course, I am also happy that it makes feel good. (I also found 2 nickels in the locker room.)

4) I made my weekly trip to the thrift store. I bought a brand-new, in-the-box pair of Clark’s. They are so comfy. Since they were $15 rather than the usual $5, I looked them up o line before purchasing. Boy, I got a deal!

5) I have continued to do all the boring stuff that adds up. I cook from scratch and at home. I am mindful of things that are in the refrigerator, and I am using them up before they spoil. I hang up my clothes to dry when possible. I pay al bills on line ……

Frugal Fail – I have many things that I need to list for sale, and I have not done it this week. It is on the top of my “to-do” list.



PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:20 am

Yeah that your son was accepted for the medical financial aid program! What a weight off your shoulders!


Bee June 23, 2016 at 4:10 am

It is a blessing. You are a mother too, so you know that you will do almost anything to ensure your child’s health and wellbeing. I am happy that many of the pharmaceutical companies do have programs to help.


Beth June 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

1. Treated myself to a mental health day using one of my sick days, some days you just really need it. Today was also daughters first day of no school. We both slept in late, had a nice breakfast and then spent the afternoon doing yard work. Simple day but thoroughly enjoyed it spending 0 dollars.

2. Went to get adjusted at the chiropractors and got a massage. My insurance changes July 1 to one with a deductible that’s 4 times as it is now so enjoying the massages while I can for free, only cost is the tip!

3. On the way home I was famished but I decided to not go fast food as we are all out of money for that line item in the budget plus nothing sounded good/healthy. Stopped at Aldi’s where I did spend more than I probably should of but as its for a weeks worth of groceries I didn’t feel bad and I still have enough in that line item for another week of groceries.

4. Daughter and I made do with a great salad for dinner – mixed greens, feta cheese, fresh blueberries, walnuts, Craisans and raspberry dressing – talk about a summer salad! We topped it off with a frozen cream orange bar for dessert.

5. Working in the yard FINALLY got around to putting out six bags of mulch I am embarrassed to say how old they are and had been sitting around. A couple of them were super moldy but I threw out the moldy stuff and used the good stuff managing to salvage some of it and at least covering my front yard flower beds. This will save on the water bill as well because it will help keep it moist using less water.


Ellie June 23, 2016 at 7:52 am

#4 sounds like a gourmet salad – not “making do”. Yum!


Vanessa June 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Wednesday Frugal”Less”
1. Used a $45 gift card (focus group payment) to make several purchases: personal items for me and hubby, nutritional supplement at local co-op, light lunch and paid my library fine! Total = $44.99! Here you go, Universe….a penny for you!
2. Gifted my sister a 40 minute massage. (One of five that were gifted to me.)
3. Took a free tai-chi lesson. Loved it! Found some videos on youtube to do on my own.
4. Made ginger water. So refreshing after my morning walk.
5. Found sprouted bread at Aldi. Cheaper than Trader Joe’s and a lot easier to get to. Yippee! Thanks, God!


Bee June 23, 2016 at 3:33 am

I love infused waters. How do you make ginger water? Do you need to heat it?


Vanessa June 23, 2016 at 4:00 am

Take a 2 inch piece of ginger (without skin), slice in half/quarters, add to a gallon of water. Refrigerate overnight. Ready to drink in the morning.
(You can use more ginger if you like; also can add lemon slices for a double flavor burst.) Enjoy!


Bee June 23, 2016 at 4:18 am

Yummie! I will do that this afternoon. I often infuse cucumber and mint as well as lemon, but I have never tried ginger. I am looking forward to it!
Thank you.


Susie's Daughter June 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm

The week got off to a challenging frugal start when we took the dog out before church on Sunday and discovered that Dear Spouse had all four tires plus the spare stolen from her truck – in our driveway! UGH! But we are mostly holding onto the mindset that it was only stuff and can be replaced. And this is why people have insurance. Cross your fingers that our premium won’t go up since this will be two claims in 18 months (last year I had a slow speed encounter with a snow bank…)

And then today we learned we had an overdraft charge on an account for our rental unit caused by poor communication. $25 down the drain, so I am more committed than ever to monitoring these accounts and doing all the little things that can make a difference.

1) Ate a lovely dinner from the groceries left by our last renters
2) Found .95 while cleaning the rental and returned all the cans and bottles renters left for $3.10
3) Had my first trip to Savers during a family reunion!! What fun! Got a needed “grownup” raincoat for work and a new blouse for work and a couple of books for DS. Since I was shopping with two of my frugal inspirations (my mom and aunt) I got to capitalize on their Tuesday 30% senior discount. Woohoo!
4) Using the water from the dehumidifier to water plants
5) Finally put away the all the winter accessories for the season. In VT it is risky to do before Memorial Day! 🙂 In the process found a hat with tags on it given to DS and since he hasn’t used it, I put it aside for the Christmas kid program we participate in yearly. Also made up a bag of mismatched mittens for the emergency bag that lives in the car. Here’s to planning ahead!


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:18 am

Oh boy those tires would have me mad! But the Savers trip sounded lovely!


Jennifer June 22, 2016 at 6:12 pm

1. Someone posted on our swap page looking for an item I was ready to put in the consignment box. $7 in my pocket today.

2. Treated my son to a bakery donut today. $3.50 for the two of us.

3. Worked 4 hours today. Work 8 tomorrow (am a weekend package RN so these are extra shifts).

4. We dropped Hulu since there was nothing we were excited about.

5. Hung out laundry yesterday.


tonya parham June 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm

1. Needed a new trashcan for the house. The old one was just beyond disgusting and while I think it’s silly to spend a lot for a trashcan, I needed one that fit in my new much smaller (yet more functional) kitchen. I went to Lowe’s to price some cans and found a really nice one for $100! I just couldn’t. Not for a trashcan! My wife looked on Amazon and found it for $79. I have $50 in Amazon credit and have enough swagbucks to cover the overage so….it will be free, I just have to wait for a couple days to get my other gift card. Pays to not give into impulse buys and consider how to best spend resources.

2. Made all three meals at home. All three were yummier than anything I could have gotten out.

3. After Lowe’s, I wanted a Blizzard at DQ but instead of spending $4.50 at DQ, I just stopped at Sonic and spent $1.10 on a cone . I was just as happy with that treat.

4. I invested in one LED bulb while at Lowe’s. They aren’t cheap but I figure if I get them one at a time, I can keep from breaking the bank while saving on my electric bill.

5. I can’t really think of a fifth thing. I didn’t buy a $2500 fridge or $600 dishwasher at Lowe’s! (And boy they were gorgeous! )


Katy June 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm

I’m excited for your new trash can! I’m an extremely practical person, so I totally get how exciting this is.


Canadian Lilly June 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

It’s been a very busy few months but have tried to keep it non-consumer and simple as much as possible. Moved from a large 4 bedroom house in the centre of a large city to a small 1860’s farmhouse in the middle of the country.
My 5 Frugal things:
1-to downsize before the move, we found and traded on a local site -we were able to trade our unwanted stuff for consumables and didn’t have to pay for groceries for over 2 weeks
2-first things we did at the farm house?–hang drapes to keep out the heat and put up a clothesline to hang all of our laundry
3-I registered for a Welcome basket and will be receiving freebies and info on community businesses
4-all meals have been eaten at home as it is at least a 1/2 hour drive to get to a restaurant
5-2 single men live in small rentals on our land –we get together once per week with each of them for dinner-they supply and cook the meat and my wife and I make all the sides–its fun, frugal and builds a family.


cathy June 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm

1. Hosted family for Father’s Day and had a backyard BBQ. Steak, burgers, and veggies on the grill. Tons of fresh berries, green salad, and homemade blueberry pie (requested by husband and sons). We’re still eating leftovers.
2. It’s hot here (triple digits) so a water bottle is a must. I’m enjoying my new stainless, wide mouth, BPA-free bottle that BIL and SIL picked up at the Farmers’ Market and gave me. Our market has gone plastic-free this year, so they got a major sponsor and are selling the water bottles for…$3! We’re planning to buy one for everyone in our family.
3. Reading the enormous stack of books I have out from the library (almost 20 books), mostly about gardening. I’ll stop by the library tomorrow and pick up another group of books waiting for me on the hold shelf. One is _Fashion on the Ration_ that someone recommended a couple weeks ago. I had to get it through Interlibrary loan, so I’m especially looking forward to reading it.
4. Working in the yard A LOT. I xeriscaped the front yard three years ago and it’s made a huge difference in the water bill. This year, I’m working on other parts of the yard and trying to spend as little as possible. Transplanting things from one part of the yard to other areas, and using up old garden seeds. I figure the seed packets are a sunk cost, so why not try? I planted bush/container cucumbers packed for 2012 and got 100% germination. Planted Ruby chard a friend gave me in 2007 and most came up. So you never know!
5. Husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and decided not to go out. Splurged on a few fancier picnic items+a some goodies from the pantry, and he picked up a small cake. Enjoyed a quiet meal in the back yard under the “fairyland” twinkly lights. It was absolutely perfect.


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:15 am

Happy Anniversary! That sounds like a delightful celebration!


Gina in KY June 23, 2016 at 3:29 am

It is great to hear about the seeds. I used to volunteer manage a community garden and found a box of seeds I had bought or obtained for it probably two years ago. I almost emptied them into the compost, but decided to hang on to them for next year or autumn garden.

Also, Happy Anniversary! The picnic sounds romantic!


janine June 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Congratulations on your home-made anniversary – we also celebrated ours – twice – once with our son cooking and the other one at an expensive restaurant. We didn’t enjoy the restaurant as much as the cost should have dictated. On the other hand an evening with our son was perfect!


PaperCraneFarm June 23, 2016 at 2:11 am

This feels like a “taking one for the team” week so let’s see what we’ve been up to:

1. We had separate toothpastes for each toddler to keep down the fighting and possibly avoid sharing colds. The little one will now only use her big sister’s tube so I’m using up her old bubblemint flavored one. Weird flavored toothpaste is still toothpaste.

2. Our older toddler has shoulder length hair that despite hair ties and barrettes still ends up in her food. So baby shampoo doesn’t work well enough and I use detangling shampoo to work out the resulting knots. I’m using the baby shampoo myself now so that I can reuse the pump bottle when it is empty.

3. I ate questionable leftovers for lunch the last two days. They were past the point that I would have given them to my hubby or kids but they were yummy and I didn’t want to waste them.

4. My husband has to work a table at an outdoor festival tonight. I packed up a picnic supper so he’s not tempted by the food trucks. He got leftover baby carrots, leftover cucumbers, some cheese, hummus, olives, and crackers. I made sure to pack a small dessert too as the allure of the ice cream truck can be powerful.

5. We had another birthday celebration last night with out of town guests. There was a whole 9 x13 cake we made for last Saturday’s celebration that hadn’t been touched so we served that again but with ice cream this time. No one complained. 🙂


Isabelle June 23, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Your no.1 reminds me that I have about 50 toddler’s toothbrushs in my stash (got a bit crazy on a sale… oops!) My kids are now 4 and 6, which means that they soon won’t want to use them. I guess mommy will use toddler’s toothbrushes for a while, ahah!
I also have 3 or 4 packs of unopened pull-ups. Will keep them for future baby showers (does it “spoil”?)… along with toothbrushes!


Jen June 23, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Eating questionable leftovers not fit for anyone else is crossing the frugal line. Am I the only one that thinks this is wrong?


PaperCraneFarm June 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Ugh, that made me sound sketchy! We had twice baked potatoes (bake, take insides out and mash with milk, cheese, and spices, restuff potato skins, and bake again) left over. They were 5 and 6 days old when I finished them. No mold, no mildew. Just older than I would have liked for a dairy based product.

We have chickens and a compost bin and both get truly questionable leftovers.


Emily June 25, 2016 at 4:44 am

Meat and dairy i don’t mess around with for sure.


Krystal June 23, 2016 at 3:35 am

Vacation while at the airport version:
1. I didn’t waste my money on non-alcoholic beer served at the France football stadiums, the joy of reading another language saved me $ while me friend had no clue until 2 matches in. What’s the point of a %.5% beer?
2. Been carrying around reusable water bottles and filling them to avoid the 4 euro cost per bottle. And they are old, unfashionable water bottles, no $50 Hydroflask needed! One was free and one I have had since college (when Nalgene was trendy!)
3. Ate as little in Paris on a 24 hour layover as possible to save money, i.e. times meals to accommodate savings. It is ridiculously overpriced compared to other major cities.
4. Carryon bags only, to avoid luggage fees.
5. No data/overseas usage of cell phone outside of free WiFi. Our pet sitter keeps us updated on email, and communicating with our friends also traveling via Google Hangouts over WiFi.
6. Neither of us bought a single jersey (or souviner)! Lots of self control there!


K D June 23, 2016 at 4:23 am

1. I walked up to the grocery store and stocked up on sliced cheese. They have a deal this week where if you buy Sargento cheese you get a package of store brand cheese free. I also had coupons so I paid $5.70 for six packages of cheese (about 3 pounds worth). It will be used to make sandwiches for lunch boxes.

2. I finally replaced the toner cartridge in my printer. It gave me over fourteen months of use, including over five months of use past the Brother designated end of use point (hello electrical tape over the eye). The new cartridge was purchased at Staples but price matched to Amazon and was paid for with gift cards scored by using my Discover card (which were discounted).

3. I baked chicken breasts in BBQ sauce and made a big batch of oven potatoes for dinner last night. There are enough leftovers for a couple more meals. All items purchased at rock bottom prices.

4. I will have extra bagged salad (kale, spinach, etc.) when the clock strikes midnight. I’ll throw the leftovers in the freezer tonight, for addition to future smoothies and soups. Once the greens are frozen they break up easily, making them easy to use.

5. Our evening entertainment is sometimes watching TV series on DVDs borrowed from the library. No cable bill, no commercials, and no waiting for the next episode.


JD June 23, 2016 at 5:49 am

1. We had tomatoes ripen while we were away at my husband’s high school reunion, and high heat and heavy rain caused them to split and start bad spots. My husband was going to throw them out, but I cut out all the bad spots, cooked the good parts down, strained them through my Goodwill Foley food mill, and somehow made a truly delicious seasoned sauce, using herbs from my garden and garlic. It went straight into a pan of eggplant parmesan, using eggplant from our container garden. And he was going to throw the tomatoes away.
2. But. My husband, who is retired for medical reasons, actually washed a load of jeans while I was at work and HUNG THEM OUT! He is learning, in spite of the tomato thing!
3. An ouchie. Our A/C broke down — the capacitor. It was $235 for the fix, but since I’m always trying to save money, I had that money available in the account. As soon as the repairman left, I turned the A/C back up to 79 degrees. He’d left it on 75.
4. Eating leftovers for lunch, as usual. I’m wearing a thrifted shirt and gifted jeans at work.
5. I made salad dressing from a recipe given to us by the chef at a bed and breakfast in North Carolina several years ago. It makes about a quart and my family loves it. I always have the simple ingredients already, except for the red wine, which I don’t drink, but I can find plenty of ways to use red wine in cooking, so that’s not a problem to buy it. And this time, I tried it with a $2.96 bottle of red wine — it tastes just as good as when I use more expensive wine. So that almost-quart of delicious, chef-designed dressing cost me next to nothing.


rjr June 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

Would you please post the recipe?


Elizabeth June 23, 2016 at 11:58 am

1. With my Panera account, if I visited a certain number of times this month, I’d get a free bagel evey day next month. My husband had some Visa cards from work that can be used only at specific places. One of them is Panera. I’ve been using those for a half Greek salad when I go there so no money out of pocket and I’ll be earning a bagel every day next month.
2. Selling a couple things on eBay and Craigslist. Had a garage sale last week and made $450. It took up so many hours though that I’m not certain it’s worth it to do one again…can just sell some stuff online and get a donation receipt when I drop the rest of the stuff off.
3. Took my daughter and her friend to get frozen yogurt at a place I had a gift card and a free single yogurt coupon for. No money out of pocket there.
4. My husband was offered the opportunity to buy some shares of his company at a 25% discount. Buying investments at a sale price is always good!!
5. Spent last week at my parents with my kids while my husband was out of town. We got to see extended family, go to the beach, play with cousins, go to the zoo. And, other than the money we spent taking my parents and in laws out as a thankyou, didn’t have to spend money on food or lodging.


PaperCraneFarm June 24, 2016 at 5:12 pm

We had the free bagel every day for a month last year. Pro tip, they do run out of bagels if you go late at night. When that happened, I’d ask for something else free. And yes, we’d go in, get our free bagel and leave without buying anything else.


Lauren June 25, 2016 at 8:40 pm

I did the same thing. My freezer was full of bagels for a while!


Kim June 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm

1. Made 2 cherry pies from the cherries I picked from the Gas Station tree. Took 1 to a meeting I went to last night, where it was gobbled up with enthusiasm.
2. I bought a new in the box light fixture, at a church sale in March for $5, to replace the current hall light which had seen much better days. DH finally had the time to switch it out and it looks so much better and is more energy efficient.
3. Using sales, coupons and promotion discounts to get Dove for Men shampoo and bodywash for 50¢ each for DH and 2 DSs. Also 4 Sargento cheese slices for 95¢/pkg and Perdue chicken tenders and nuggets for 59¢/pkg.
4. Bought set of 5 Farberware pots and pans with lids from FB yardsale group for $20 for DS#2’s campus apartment. When I went to pick them up and told her what they were for, she also offered me a set of flatware for free since she just redid her kitchen. Two things off the apartment needs list!
5. We have a neighbor who is constantly redoing things at their house. Since they moved here 12 years ago, they have had 3 different pools, at least 6 different decks and repainted the house constantly. When he rips out the old he normally would load it all up and take it to the landfill! Perfectly good things. He now will ask DH if he can use any of it and recently said he was getting rid of all the decorative block he had used for landscaping. We are using them to terrace our side yard and replace the landscape timber that is rotting. These sell for $2 each and will save us over $300!


A. Marie June 24, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Your #4 and #5 remind me of one of Amy Dacyczyn’s many wise sayings: “Make friends with compulsive upgraders.”


Emily June 25, 2016 at 5:09 am

1. Was at the grocery store (Food Lion) right as the butcher was discounting meat. I don’t buy organic chicken, but I get the hormone/antibiotic free stuff which is still a little pricier. I got 3 packages of wings (for bbqs) and 2 packages of breasts for less than 14 dollars. Saving money on meat REALLY helps me stretch my budget.
2. Done some mild couponing lately,I got free VANS waffles and tried them for dinner last night. Kinda weird tasting, but I threw some peanut butter on one with a little bit of syrup and it was fine. I won’t buy them again, but I’ll eat the rest.
3. Am trying to get some of my very spendy friends to realize their habits. They are getting married next year, and I worry that money is going to be their demise, especially with all the expenses they have taken on paying for a wedding themselves.
4. Finally picking up a dresser to refinish! 80 dollars and comes with a night stand, so I will refinish the night stand and sell that since I do not need it. I’ll also have to sell a chair to make space for said dresser. I seriously feel like it is Christmas morning I am so excited to finally get our room more put together and organized.
5. Am meeting a lady today to dog sit for her in the future! Hopefully she will pass my name along to others as well. I really want to go to Spain next year, but want to have college paid of first so any side jobs I am offered I am trying to jump at!


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