Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 26, 2016 · 75 comments


  1. We went to a family wedding yesterday and the four of us were able to assemble formal outfits from clothes we already had on hand. If anything, we were overdressed.
  2. My younger son needed a haircut, so the two of us took the city bus downtown to his favorite barber. It was the last day for his city bus pass, which is provided from the school district, so we made sure to run this errand while it was still free. (I always have a free public transportation pass through my employer.)
  3. An old co-worker of mine read about how much we enjoyed our borrowed fire pit, so she gave me her’s that she wasn’t using. We can now return my father’s one and start enjoying our own urban campfires in the backyard.
  4. We’ve been getting by on leftovers and simple meals all week, as I simply haven’t felt like cooking. This has meant a lot of egg based meals and burritos. No one has been cheering about this plan, but nobody has died yet either.
  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.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

rosa rugosa June 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Great picture of your son!


Mand01 June 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm

It has been an expensive weekend here, with lots of eating out. Actually it’s been an expensive week, as my husband has been ill and does not get paid leave. His paycheck will be painful next week (he’s fine now – nothing serious). Frugality always helps!
1. Got a giant chicken on sale and put it in the crock pot overnight. I’ve just retrieved it, and have left the carcass and bones in the broth to go a little longer. I’ll use the slow cooked meat for quesadillas and tacos.
2. I made vegetable soup, muffins, cheesymite scrolls and fruit loaf when I got home last night, and packed what I could save from the hoards into the freezer for lunchboxes.
3. We bought our new fruit trees and planted them. We have finished our front garden now – everything we have planted is edible, and it looks beautiful. We did it all ourselves and it cost us probably $800 plus $1300 to have the large trees removed. When we moved here it was very overgrown, with terrible trees that were not logical for the yard. Now onto the backyard, which is even worse.
4. Fixed my Kindle 3, which had some sort of virus. It’s about five years old and still going strong.
5. Was going to buy a new iPad – had the cash set aside and everything, and I can claim it on my tax, as I use it for work about 80% of the time, but when I looked at it I couldn’t see what the new iPad does that my iPad 3 doesn’t do, so I decided to leave it.


Jackie June 26, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Mand01- what is fruit loaf?


Hobart Chic June 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Fruit loaf is usually bread with dried fruit and sometimes spices-


Karin in Canada June 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm

. . . I had to google ‘cheesymite scrolls’ and now know what they are 🙂 . . .


Mand01 June 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm

A great Australian delicacy 😉


Ruby June 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Your son looks very handsome in his wedding attire, Katy.

The FFT at our house this weekend:
1. Cut my husband’s hair this morning, which saved us $18.
2. Picked another bowlful of cherry tomatoes off the big vine in the container garden.
3. Painted the mailbox post and lamp post in our yard with some black oil enamel paint bought with a coupon at our neighborhood hardware store. Also used a cheap but serviceable brush that cost 20 cents at the discount clearance/liquidator store.
4. Did a little cooking for the week ahead: egg salad with chopped crispy bacon added in is inexpensive and so tasty for sandwiches.
5. Scavenged from work a thrown-away small table to clean up and donate to the humane society thrift shop, along with some foam padding to shred up and stuff one of the dogs’ beds with, as they’ve worn the cushion down flat.


Christine June 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

My five frugals for the week:
1. Purchased the Elitch Gardens summer pass for my son. While initially not inexpensive, it will pay for itself in two visits. The two friend-for-free weekday admittance that comes with it saves me from buying a separate pass for my daughter. She’s happy to just go twice over summertime, and it’s my son who will actually carpool with his driving friends more often to enjoy the park.
2. Finally planted the flower seeds, okra, bell peppers, and lettuce in the garden. Had onion seeds that I’d collected from my own plants in 2014, so I put those in as a decorative border plant between my neighbor & my front yard to dress up the ugly cinder blocks! The bonus is that the onions thrive here through winter, so it’ll be year round beauty, plus chopping off whatever we need for meals.
3. Watching movies from our extensive DVD collection. The kids are enjoying some of the ones we watched 20 years ago. The movies are a sunk cost & this requires no subscriptions.
4. Today’s meals have all been leftovers…lunch was big so probably will not require much else this evening. Good thing, because it’s hot and who wants to cook when it’s hot?!!
5. Speaking of hot…although it’s 90 in the shade, I’ve got all the windows open for airflow. It’s staying just under 80 inside and eliminates the need to put on the A/C.


Jennifer June 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm

You will make many great memories around that firepit, congrats on the awesome freebie!

FFT vacation edition
1. We have a GREAT room to stay in…but.. there is a bit of roach problem. I took a few pictures and politely called the manager. He gave us a refund, yay! We are still staying in the room with a few extra guests, yuck! I have only seen a couple but it is still sorta gross. I am just going to make sure everything is pest free before I take it back into my roach free home. It’s not as bad as it seems, we are truly having a great time as we aren’t letting this spoil everything.
2. We are eating all the food I pre-prepared from home and drinking water. I even brought a pineapple and some coconut milk to make Dole whip but as soon as I sliced the pineapple they gobbled it all up.
Fresh pineapple is delicious!
3. We brought all our own chairs and umbrellas for the beach. They are ragged, a little more effort, and we have had them for years but still work great. Much better than paying to rent the fancy ones that come with a cute young cabana boy.
4. My husband and I went to see a movie for our anniversary. It was not cheap! It was IMAX and cost $15+ per person but was worth it to celebrate…I guess.
5. My feet are being exfoliated for free by Florida’s sandy white beaches!
6. I didn’t buy a dolphin cruise or a Lear jet


Katy June 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

I always love how freshened up my feet are after walking barefoot on the beach!


Jennifer June 26, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Yeah and mine are quite rough so I m having walk ALOT.


janine June 26, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Loved your son’s picture Katy! Was the ceremony held on a farm? These days farm weddings seem to be popular – beautiful settings with a touch of informality. We are going to one in the fall – family has decided to fix up their farm and have the reception on their own property instead of renting a venue.

Need to hop back on the frugal bandwagon with much better summer planning from now on so my 5 will be what will have to happen as opposed to what happened in the last few days!
1. Wash out thermos for expeditions so that we will be ready to pour in our ever ready iced tea and lemonade instead of pricy purchased drinks.
2. Haul out our cooler/picnic basket so it is ready to be packed with homemade goodies instead of those picked up at a deli en-route.
3. Make up a list of quickly assembled meals so we don’t succumb to going out for mediocre but air conditioned meals that don’t heat up the kitchen.
4. Find and organize summer clothes thus negating new purchases.
5. One frugal activity: wrote a sympathy card from supply of blank cards on hand to a family whose mother passed away – an opportunity for a much more thoughtful message than the pre-printed variety.


Katy June 26, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Yes, both the ceremony and the reception were is a recently restored heritage barn.


tonya parham June 26, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Still working on getting settled. I’m glad to be moved in but will be even more glad when all the boxes are unpacked!

1. Was hungry last night but didn’t want leftover meatloaf. What I really wanted was fast food. So, I had some Ritz crackers and chicken salad from Aldi with a chunk of cheese. (Saved $20 there! I tend to spend so much eating out but this new house has a much more functional and pleasing kitchen so I am much more likely to just find something quick in there than go to a fast food place.

2. Got the yoga dedicated room cleaned last night (I’ve alway dreamed of a yoga room at home!) and got up this morning, closed the door, and did cat free yoga. I’ve taken enough classes over the years, I feel okay doing it on my own but lack of space and cats under foot always deterred me! NO LONGER! So, yoga at home, FREE. Saved probably $28 for the two of us (or a costly gym membership!)

3. Went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday and got some tomatoes, peaches, and some chipotle powder (they have an Amish stand where they sell bulk spices). My $2 peck of overripe peaches is now baking as a yummy cobbler!

4. My wife has a co-worker whose mother is moving and wanted to sell a library table. I need a new desk and don’t want anything new or made of faux wood. This thing is SOLID. I am paying $100 for it but I think that’s really a deal! I really don’t want to buy “new furniture” for this house. I want older stuff that’s built to last.

5. Stopped at an antique store yesterday that I have seen for years–they even have a restaurant!– and it was as expensive as you’d imagine an antique store with a restaurant would be. But I did enjoy looking at stuff, found some things that gave me some ideas and found two electric light insulators that I collect (they used to go on top of electric poles back in the day and they are the prettiest colors!) for $10 so I got them!


Jennifer June 26, 2016 at 5:25 pm

1. I have found when I am really craving something if I just eat whatever I have on hand it usually takes care of the craving. I guess sometimes a craving is just plain old hunger making us think we need a certain thing.


Janelle June 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

1. Attempted a garage sale this weekend. Even with posting on Craigslist and living in an urban area, only 11 people came, and 4 of those were friends who came to see me! But it motivates me to donate a bunch of things, and I love being outside, so it wasn’t a wash.
2. I cut up some old t shirts that didn’t sell, and I’m crocheting them into a rug. It’s my first one, using a Pinterest tutorial, and so far so good!!!
3. The beach our friends wanted to go to yesterday had a full parking lot and we got turned away. We ended up going to a different beach, which was free with our state’s recreation pass, instead of $8 for the other one.
4. I sewed a shirt for my daughter from two old shirts I couldn’t use for the rug. Don’t be impressed … She’ll be three on Saturday and won’t see the mistakes!
5. We just busted out the window air conditioner, after a week of 90 degree days, and now 70% humidity. It doesn’t get below 85 in the house, even with all the fans, so for one room in the house we run it no more than a few hours at bedtime so that we can actually sleep!


Reese June 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I held a garage sale last weekend too. We paid some $ to have the ad in the garage sale section of the local paper. Seems against frugality but it worked! We also posted on the local FB garage sale group.


JennS June 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Long-time lurker; first time posting. Love FFT! Joining in to help hold myself accountable.
1. Eating up the leftovers. Our household is really trying to eliminate food waste.
2. Went to the movies, which is usually not frugal, but had a gift card from work so no money out of pocket.
3. Planted a discounted tomato plant in an available pot. It was a little long in the tooth, but I’m hopeful it will produce. Nestled some more basil in there as well.
4. Hanging clothes on my indoor clothesline, lest I invite the fury of the HOA by putting up a clothesline outdoors. The horror!
5. Making strawberry pie to share with friends who are having us over tomorrow for dinner.
6. Convincing myself that my chai tea is just as good as Starbuck’s. This is a blatant lie, but I’m willing to believe it for the sake of my wallet.


Jennifer June 26, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Welcome to the party!!!!


Susie's Daughter June 27, 2016 at 3:24 am

Oh the Starbucks chai tea! It was my spouse’s only daily vice and at the time, I tried to manage it by buying discounted Starbucks gifts cards online and loading up our Starbucks card with them. Then we moved and the nearest Starbucks is 80 miles away. She went cold turkey and has now decided she likes her tea better. Good luck – be patient with yourself!


Melissa June 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm

1- went to a “ritzy” neighborhood garage sale -was searching for a few things ( mainly throw rugs ) scored 2 rugs ( exactly the type and color I wanted ) for $5 total!
2- while on that side of town I was able to drop off a extra fire pit I had to Miss Katy 🙂
3- Katy’s neighborhood has awesome free piles! Scored some rad hula hoops and a few other things for my daycare kiddos
4- my roommate went to a funeral Friday and we went to two party’s this weekend and we were all sent home with enough free food to accommodate lunches all week for 7 and at least 2 dinners !
5- my mom challenged me , my wife , my dad and my brother in law to go wheat/ gluten free for a week …..saves us from any grocery shopping this week as the only things we were out of are things that we can’t eat this week!


Katy June 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm

And thank you again for the fire pit! Hooray that you found rugs that you were looking for, let me know if you want to borrow out Bissell rug shampooer.


cathy June 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Can I ask why your mom “challenged you all to go GF for a week?


Amy Jo June 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm

This week:
1. Hubs mowed our lawn, and weed heated it himself instead of paying someone else. He also weed heated the neighbors lawn. They are an older couple and while he loves to mow with his rider, it gets too hot to weed eat.
2. The neighbor we spoke about above found a guitar tuner in a closet and gifted my hubs this week after finding out he played guitar. 🙂
3. Desperately needed some nice shirts for my 10 year old to wear to church, so I visited Good Will today and got him 4 shirts for $6.00.
4. While at Goodwill I bought an exercise video, still in the plastic, for $2.00. We could sell it for a profit, but we are keeping it and I can use it when it it too blasted hot to walk. Lol
5. Hubs helped a friend put his pool up this week. In exchange for labor, he will help us this summer on some projects on our home, and we get to swim there anytime we want.


Carla June 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Good for you on not buying a Lear jet! I always find that hurts our budget too.. Bahahahaha!! I have been doing awesome with our budget this week thankfully, I spent under $100 on groceries and we’ve been using up what’s in the house which is a good thing! I’m also not buying any “stuff”!


Monica June 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm

1. Hung out at home all weekend and stayed in pajamas because it was the lazy thing to do.
2. Refined our budget a bit as we are almost done getting our emergency fund back in place and then moving on to paying off our debt.
3. Sold 2 things on eBay.
4. Washed up a 50 cent blanket for my dog I bought at a rummage sale on Friday. She loves it.
5. Getting back into meal planning as we’ve been on the same meal rotation for a while. Gathered up the grocery ads to plan around the sales.


Bee June 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

What a beautiful photo! The lighting is lovely. Here’s my FFT:
1) It has been so hot. But in the late afternoon when the sea breeze kIcks in, my husband and I have been heading for the beach. It costs nothing, and the stress of the work week just washes away. Being outdoors is much better than happy hour or dinner out.

2) I have been reading through the stacks of book from The Friends of the Library Book Sale. I finished The Girl on the Train. What a page turner! I can’t decide what’s up next. Hours of entertainment for less than $1.

3) I went through my receipts and put them in my spreadsheet. I find tracking my spending keeps me in line. I am happy to report that overall the trend is downward. Although I have had a couple of blips here and there, my spending is down 25% since I started doing this.

4) I did my grocery shopping this weekend, I am planning a cooking day tomorrow. Spaghetti Sauce, chicken enchiladas, gluten-free blueberry waffles, granola, and pinto beans are all on my list. I need to add some emergency rations to my freezer.

5) I have begun making my infused water in 16-ounce mason jars and keeping it in the refrigerator. It allows me to grab and go. It costs next to nothing, and it is refreshing in the heat. It is my version of bottled water. (Thank you to the NCA poster who suggested goner water. Yummie!)



Bee June 27, 2016 at 3:49 am

#5 is supposed to say ginger water. Sometimes the spell correct function really makes it unreadable. Sorry


tonya parham June 27, 2016 at 9:21 am

I don’t know, goner water made me laugh. Frugal fun!


Bee June 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm

It is funny, but much different than what I intended. I suppose goner water would be in the same family as hunch punch.


Tricia June 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm

1. I made 8 jars of blackberry jam from my bushes. My husband helped and we used the canner outside as not to heat up the house. They all sealed!
2. I bought chicken salad and seafood salad at the grocery store we ate this all weekend and did not eat out.
3. Shopped at Wally World for groceries–much better prices.
4. Rented a movie on Redbox instead of going out.
5. I treated my fruit trees with a fungicide and worked in the garden.
Looking forward to another frugal week.


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:22 am

Yum, blackberry jam! Our black raspberries and red raspberries are ripe but the toddlers eat every single one. I doubt we’ll have leftovers for jam!


Marcia June 26, 2016 at 6:08 pm

1. Made granola, bread x 2, and coffee cake this week–almost need to make granola again. Husband loves it.
2. Bought a pair of shorts at thrift for $8 (Land’s End, nearly new) and a pair of capris at Salvation Army for $2.50.
3. Capris needed to be hemmed up some, but I had to do a pair of pants of my husband’s first, as they had been waiting longer!! Both done now.
4. Cooked 5 meals this week–leftovers will last for a couple more days. Ate out once after a planned car show. One meal of leftovers already eaten.
5. Kept groceries to $50 on the dot this week! Mostly fruit and veg. Can’t wait for corn and tomatoes to start in our area. Local strawberries just finishing up.
6. Spent a whole day weeding too, badly needed and more to do when it cools off again. Two days of nearly 90 keeps me indoors.


Beth June 26, 2016 at 7:08 pm

1. Just worked 4.5 hours at home writing content for a website.
2. Stayed home all weekend. Only expenses eating out at the Farmers Market yesterday and buying a roasted chicken for $3.99 today at the store with a coupon plus milk, sunscreen (with $4 off coupon) for my daughter to take to camp/the pool tomorrow and female necessities (pads and chocolate ice cream bars) .
3. Canceled my free Netflix dvd trial in time and changed our online streaming to just one device as we watch TV together daughter and me. (Gilmore Girls marathon Friday night, into season 3 now).
4. Was able to turn air off for a couple of days and leave the windows open for morning cool fresh air. Also did two loads of laundry and did partial dry to get wrinkles out.
5. Keep waiting for it to rain which never comes. Because of this didn’t water tonight even though we were supposed to have severe thunder storms.
6. Volunteered at the library in the bookstore (we sell donated books, etc.) and then stocked it after. Only picked up a 25 cent VHS of the original Willie Wonka movie, love it. Daughter on the other had was not excited. She also made me put back three Rocky and Bullwinkle videos I had in my hand and told me I could watch them on Netflix, good call daughter. 😉


pattilou June 26, 2016 at 8:03 pm

1. I used a swagbucks gift card to buy birthday gifts for two of my nieces.
2. took the other two nieces to the library to see a magician, which they loved. I love the library already and these free programs (along with their air-conditioning!) make me love it even more.
3. I discovered a new, free splash park in town. My niece loved it. I enjoyed getting me feet wet and cooling off too.
4. We packed our lunches and had picnics for our adventures out the last few days.
5. I’ve been using the organic parsley that I planted from a $1.50 seed pack. I have so much growing that I will dry some to use for the winter and offered some to a neighbor.


Florencia June 26, 2016 at 10:02 pm

1. Worked a combined 60 hours this week: my regular full-time job, my former/scaled-back job, and my brand promotion gig. Since I’m not in school during the summer semester, I’ll make money to pay for school.
2. Although I worked all days this week, I didn’t eat out. I had free lunch Friday and free breakfast, lunch, and dinner yesterday, brought from the morning job.
3. I’ve just thought of the perfect weekday evening job: the library! I hope they’re hiring. Will look up how to apply tomorrow.
4. Did not go grocery shopping at all this week. This is an unexpected result of driving an AC-less car and being too tired from work. Jaja.
5. For the last few weeks, I’ve been maxing out my alloted weekly Coke point input. I think I’ll get a gift card so I can treat my family out to eat.
6. Took a whole bunch of cans of food to work. One day I had a canned soup and a peanut butter and fig jam sandwich for lunch.
7. Saved half my meat from free lunch at work on Friday. Will take some rice or mashed potatoes to eat it with within the week. I’ll stretch it out with some salad as well to make three meals from that meat.


chris June 27, 2016 at 5:08 am

It is awesome to see the effort you are putting forth to pay your way through school. Does it sound too silly to say I am proud of you? I am. I was the only one of my friends that had to work in college (I found that rather amazing) and I missed a lot of crazy parties where they got into all kinds of shenanigans. It was probably for the best! I remember clearly the years spent eating pasta with peas at every meal and budgeting to the penny to pay my car insurance. Those lessons have served me well ever since. Best of luck to you, Florencia.


Florencia June 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Thank you, Chris! 😀 I really appreciate your good wishes. How funny! My friends all have to pay for their own schooling, but I’m the only one of them that doesn’t get any financial aid. I guess when you really have to work for it you really appreciate it.


chris June 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm

I think that is true!


Florencia June 27, 2016 at 5:22 pm

I forgot a really good one!
I qualified for two focus last week. For one of them they sent me the wrong confirmation email, so I showed up two hours early, for which they offered me $50 extra dollars to stay for the time I should have been told. In this two evenings I made $225. Such a blessing!


Gina in KY June 27, 2016 at 1:55 am

Super boring FFT edition for me this week.

1. While not terribly cheap, my sons start summer camp this week. I compared prices on many options this summer and signed up during the discounted period. It’s a YMCA outdoor program and was the best option for both my work schedule and price. There is also the peace of mine that they will be looked after while I am doing my field-work (which requires some travel).

2. I packed their lunches instead of the $3 a day additional cost at the camp. I also packed my own lunch, water and coffee for work.

3. I thrifted my autumn shoes: basic black Dansko clogs and Minnetonka moccasins. Both are super comfy, brand-new condition and less than $8 each.

4. Renewed my library books online to avoid fines.

5. Found 6 cents on a walk last night.


Krystal June 27, 2016 at 2:00 am

Travel Five Frugal, part 2
1. In an inexpensive-by-US standards country, our AirBNB host dug us fresh potatoes and onions, picked us fresh figs. That without $35 in supplemental groceries should give us 2 meals a day for 5 days!
2. Decompressing from more eventful travel, we are partaking in free activities, walking old towns, going to beaches; and cheap activities, beers in local cafes to watch soccer and observe tourists and locals ($5 for 2 large beers!)
3. Declined an “offer” from Air Serbia to upgrade our 50 minute flight to Belgrade for $65 per person. Seriously? For a 50 minute flight?
4. Free wifi to keep in touch with our housesitter who is dealing with our unruly cats. Looks like some of our abundant vacation saving will need to go to new bedding. Sigh.
5. Rearranged our bags so we can bring home wine for free and check the bag for free to do so.


Krystal June 27, 2016 at 2:02 am

1. *with, not without. Gah!


PaperCraneFarm June 27, 2016 at 3:02 am

Man the heat and lack of rain is unrelenting here in New England!

1. Our raspberries are ripening and the toddlers happily spend time picking (and eating) them straight from the bushes. The peas are at the tail end of their season though.

2. We dropped two bags of books at the library for their book sale.

3. I am preparing the next load of goods to drop at Goodwill. In my efforts to declutter, I always have a bag strategically placed to drop stuff into for Goodwill. Drop it in the bag and inventory it for tax purposes.

4. We only have recycle every other week here so I do a big push to round up everything and anything I can find to lug to the curb for recycling. This means a twice a month purge of junk mail off the kitchen counter, a round up of yogurt containers the kids are using to “collect” things around the house, and a round up of the boxes from cereal/tissues etc with their contents transferred to less empty boxes.

5. Determined to get the drip irrigation system finally working but that will require finding one of the tools I misplaced… Will spend some time looking today for it.


Bee June 27, 2016 at 7:51 am

Your #4 made me smile. I love the fact your kids collect things in yogurt cups. You may have little scientists on your hand. I had trouble keeping my son out of the trash, because he would make sculptures out of things he found. Fast forward 20 years, he is now an artist by trade.


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:31 am

Yep, my kids run towards bugs with nets, yogurt cups, and outstretched arms! My oldest (3.5 year old) is very observant and notices changes of plants (new flowers, new leaves). Just amazing to watch and nurture. We’ve seen turtles laying eggs in our backyard, grown acorns and other seeds intentionally in our garden, fed the worms in the compost etc.

She is also very interested in space – the stars, planets, rocket ships. Any ideas on how to nurture that? Telescopes seem a bit beyond us now when she is still learning to use the magnifying glass, microscope, and binoculars.


Bee June 28, 2016 at 5:02 am

My dad and I used to lie on our backs in the backyard and look at the stars. He would point out the constellations, shooting stars, etc. Absolutely free!
If you have a planetarium near you, they sometimes have programs for young children.
I actually bought a little planetarium for my great niece. It projected the night sky all around her bedroom. It allowed you to change the sky to reflect the time of year, etc. It was really neat, and not very expensive around $30. I think it was either made by vetch or discovery toys. If you have a library with children’s educational toys, they may have one you can check out.
You can find globes of the moon, and Mars as well as earth.
Finally, if you are near a university with an observatory, they may also have free nights.
Have fun!!!!


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Thanks Bee!

Carrie June 27, 2016 at 3:30 am

Technically this is spending – I bought bowling passes for $5 each for the kids and $15 for hubby – but they allow us to bowl FREE, including shoe rental, up to 3 games a day all summer. Since the A/C is set to “stun” in those places and we keep our thermostat at 81, this will be our go-to frugal fun.

I downloaded for free the book The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving by Jim Hoffman. I did a bit of diving back in the day and would like to tiptoe back into it.

We had a yard sale, sold junk from hubby’s work shop and made $200 – it goes straight into savings (for a down payment on our first home).

I got $40 from Ibotta for referring others and redeeming coupons on *stuff I was going to buy anyway* (also combined with store sales and coupons so I got the stuff for nearly free after doing the scenario).


Susie's Daughter June 27, 2016 at 3:47 am

Having a one day vacay in the big city to celebrate Mother’s day ( a little delayed) and my birthday which is today!
My FFT –
1) Reading NCA in bed this morning as a treat to myself and to keep me in the frugal mindset. 🙂

2) Went to a single A Penn League baseball game last night and bought the “expensive” $8 tickets which allowed us to sit in the shade and enjoy the game. HOT in Vermont even! Parked for free across the street from stadium.

3) Brought a limited amount of money to game to buy dinner/treats and am glad I did! Tickets may be reasonable, but concessions were expensive. When the cash was gone, the eating was done. Refilled the bottle of lemonade with water and had free cookies at the hotel when we got back. Next time, I will take empty bottle and other snacks. Signs at park say it is not allowed, but parents everywhere had their own supplies.

4) Found 7 cans on my walk with the dog earlier this week (.35c) and going to try a new workout plan from a magazine my mom and I share.

5) After a swim in the pool this morning, we are headed to the science center in town and will use our library’s admission pass to get in which we can borrow for free. We will save $25 in admission fees – woohoo!

One of the best gifts of this community is the support and the intentionality about frugality (spell check is telling me that isn’t a word, but too bad) people bring. You all inspire me!


Diane June 27, 2016 at 4:19 am

Could your sons be in charge of meals sometimes?….good life skills and would give you a break as well.


Chris June 27, 2016 at 4:24 am

1. Took out daughter out to lunch and as we were ordering, a person who was leaving handed her a BOGO coupon so our bill was cut by 1/3 – thanks stranger!
2. Very very hot in MN so stayed home most of the weekend reading library books.
3. Dug 7 plants from a friend’s yard who said come back any time to dig more. In the fall we will add to our hosta area from her amazing collection.
4. Planning both lunches and dinners for the upcoming week now that we are both home full time.
5. No Lear Jet here.


Mrs. Picky Pincher June 27, 2016 at 5:40 am

Sometimes you just need an easy meal week. 🙂

1. I made yogurt this weekend. I tried to make caramel from the whey, but it turned out kind of nasty. No harm done, since it was a “free” by-product of the yogurt anyway. 🙂

2. I made butter! All I used was heavy whipping cream and a blender. However, Mr. Picky Pincher burst my bubble a bit on this. After doing the math, we realized it was still cheaper and more convenient to buy butter at the store. But if we ever happen upon a cheap source of cream, that could change.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher and I watched rented movies this weekend that we got at the library–for free!

4. We had cabin fever, so we spent Saturday evening walking at the beautiful outdoor mall. And we didn’t spend a dime. 🙂

5. We were able to shave $200 off our grocery bill this month! Along with other spending cuts, we should be able to put an extra $500 in savings this month. No small sum when you’re trying to buy a house!


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:39 am

Great job on the grocery bill! If you dig in the freezer and pantry for abandoned things, I bet you can repeat the $200 again next month!


Vickie June 27, 2016 at 6:29 am

1) I had my grandkids for the weekend and the only trips we made out were to church, to feed our vacationing friends animals and to the Library. Not an exciting weekend, but basically frugal.
2) I made a baked squash & zucchini w/Parmesan cheese. One recipe called for sour cream, so I added some and I put some canned chicken in it. It was okay, but a little too runny. The squash & zucchini was from my daughter’s garden, so it was a “use what you have” meal. Next time, I’ll leave out the meat and sour cream. Hubby didn’t care for it, but it was passable.
3) Although I wanted to get a biscuit from Braums this morning, I didn’t. I stuck to my nut & fruit mix and coffee provided by my employer.
4) Listening to my free Amazon music tunes this morning.
5) I didn’t buy a Lear jet or a Yacht.


Odette June 27, 2016 at 7:57 am

Frugal rant: I made a small $1.90 purchase at CVS, paying with two one-dollar bills. The cashier asked me if I wanted the 10 cents back. Uh, yes! Why would you even ask?


tonya parham June 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

I went to Sonic during happy hour and got a drink that was $1.65 (not really frugal even at half price but I love slushes when it’s 100 degrees out) and the car hop took my $2 and just left. Didn’t even offer me the .35! She just said, “Thanks! Have a great day!” and left.

(I used to work at Sonic and the car hops don’t rely on tips, so I don’t feel bad about expecting my change back!)


Odette June 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

I’d have been a little peeved, Tonya. But then, my blood pressure meds cost more than 35 cents! 😉


Mandy June 27, 2016 at 9:49 am

Working today, arranged to work remotely from a work location much closer to my house, saving 2 hr round trip commute time plus the gas. Free lunch at work. Wearing my goodwill clothes. Used the commute time to do some extra yard work while the kids were w my mom. Vegetable for dinner tonight will be peas from my in-laws’ garden.


K D June 27, 2016 at 11:01 am

1. I made a pot of red beans and rice this morning, using what I had available. I’ll eat if for lunch this week, on the days I’m home.

2. My old cell phone is not charging properly. I Googled possible causes and have held off on buying a new battery while I try some things.

3. We attended a birthday party for a friend yesterday. There was lots of food, I saw old friends and met some nice people. I had loaned the hostess a couple of fans and a cooler, all at no cost to me.

4. Continuing to pick up a penny here and a penny there, with an occasional nickel or dime thrown in,

5. I took a friend out for lunch on Friday, using a buy one get one free coupon. The food was delicious.


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:43 am

My 3.5 year old has a piggy bank. She gets the coins that we pick up. There is such glee when she screams “a penny” and races to her piggy bank to drop it in.


Betty Winslow June 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

1. Am wearing a pair of thrifted shorts and an old tank that I love but only works with high-waisted pants. I need a pair of black shorts, but until I can find the right ones, tan will do.
2. Went crazy making stuff to put in the freezer: breaded chicken strips, 2 batches of browned ground beef, meatballs, a 2 person meatloaf. Put the chicken scraps from the strips in the crockpot to make chicken for chicken salad sammies.
3. Turned 6 dry so-so muffins gifted to us into crumbs that will become apple crisp topping later today, to top the last bag of fall-frozen apple slices. Thawed out all the bags of sliced and slightly old strawberries and will make freezer jam later. Am thawing out two bags of shredded zucchini to make into zucchin bread later. Also have a batch of granola in the works. It’s gonna get down to 62 tonight, so I’ll be cooking like crazy, to prep for hotter temps (and avoid more work for the A/C) later in the week.
4. Was gifted three huge pieces of KFC chicken and two pieces of grilled, from friends who had a shower and had too much left over. They apologized several times for giving us left overs, but I assured them a free no-cook dinner was AWESOME! Served it with zoodles sauted with mushrooms and onions, some steamed broccoli, and capres salad. And the grilled chicken got chopped and mixed with some slightly soft but still good green grapes, chooped pecans, and mayo, to make a dinner for tomorrow.
5. Have made several things this week using some of our fresh herbs from our new herb garden – so great to be able to just go outside and pick basil, parsley, chives, and dill!

oh, and a maybe win: bought some scrumptious lemon vinaigrette pasta salad at Aldi the last two times I was there, so today I looked up recipes for the vinaigrette and am gonna try to duplicate it. The first recipe, although ok, isn’t quite right (but we’ll still use it!), but I found a Martha Stewart one to try next. Had some slightly over the hill lemons that needed used up, so it’s worth a try! (And I zested them before I squeezed them, so win-win!)


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:45 am

Nice idea to use the muffins for crumble topping. I usually dump stuff like that into bread pudding.


Ella June 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

1) Went to a great estate sale yesterday (it was at the house built by the grandparents’ of a former president, and still in the family). I got some stuff for the etsy store, but also a handful of things I needed (an ice cream scoop, for one).
2) My “stylish” camera bag (the one I use regularly that looks like a large purse) completely died on a trip last month, so I contacted the company, even though it was 3 years out of warranty. They’re replacing it for free!
3) Used Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to buy a mop after my old one died.
4) We’ve been making things like fritatas and burritos with leftover bits of things in the refrigerator. Used the last of a rotisserie chicken in the fritata, and am saving the bones to make stock when it’s not 90 degrees.
5) Speaking of, I’m trying to live without my window AC (it’s all I have for cooling). I put pieces of cardboard in all my southwest facing windows to keep some heat out, and I’m using a fan. I work from home, so I don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold out.


reese June 27, 2016 at 5:40 pm

I feel as if I’ve been UBER frugal this week. So I’m happy to see a FFT!
1) My boyfriend gets to bring home anything on the deeply discounted shelf at work for free (these are typically fruits/veggies that are needing to be used in the next day or two or else!). He brought home five mangoes, oranges, tomatoes, and some lemons. I peeled the mangoes and froze the fruit for smoothies. I juiced the oranges and had nearly a cup and a half of juice that I froze for smoothies. I still have the tomatoes left which are DESPERATE to be used. Will probably render these down with some onions for a sauce. And the lemons….oooh I have a chia poppyseed lemon muffin recipe I’ll make and take camping this weekend!

2) I mentioned to my Weight Watchers Group that I would gladly take anyone’s extra rhubarb if they had any (what the stores are charging is outrageous!). One gal dropped off a huge paper grocery bag full and told me to help myself in the future! Bless her heart! I chopped, blanched, and froze with a simple syrup more than 12 cups of rhubarb. Perfect for future baking!

3) The neighbor heard wind of my rhubarb ways and also gave me some. I baked his family rhubarb scones drizzled with semi-sweet chocolate as a thank you.

4) I’m going on a girls trip to Mexico in August. I didn’t NEED a new bathing suit, but I filled the urge by finding NWT top and bottom at Goodwill. $2 ea. piece. Sure beats the $20/piece from Target!

5) I have been holding off getting a Sam’s Club membership because I can’t fathom spending the $45 would save me and my boyfriend in the long run on groceries. BUT! I just got word that I can be on my work’s Sam’s Club account for free. If I make a purchase for my own household, I just have to say I’m not tax-exempt and pay with my own credit card. So now I don’t have to pay the membership fee! YAY!


PaperCraneFarm June 28, 2016 at 2:47 am

Nice score on the rhubarb! Please share your scone and simple syrup recipes!


Jennifer N. June 28, 2016 at 6:52 am

We’re at the end of our pay cycle and had an unexpected expense so we’ve fought hard to stretch every penny over the weekend!

1. My brother gave me a waffle iron for Christmas and to justify its existence in my home, I have been trying to use it at least once a week. For just the cost of some staples and a couple eggs, my children ate like kings for breakfast this weekend.

2. I received two gift cards, one to Lowe’s and one for Home Depot, as housewarming gifts earlier this month. We are trying to correct a wet spot in the front of our yard, so I purchased a few plants that I had previously researched as beneficial for consistently wet soil. I got them all in the ground Sunday. I saved money by purchasing less mature perennials and letting them grow, knowing that it will be worth it in a couple years. I won’t have to re-plant every year, either!

3. I saved all of the pots from the plants so I can use them to start some seeds that I bought earlier in the season. In zone 7 I think I still have enough time to start these seedlings and get them in the ground in the fall (again, these are perennials.)

4. With one of the gift cards, I bought some Shoe Goo to repair the boots my husband wears to work. The sole was coming free. These boots are worn, but we don’t have the funds to fully replace work boots for his size 15 feet, so the repair will get us a bit further down the road.

5. We went to a party my husband’s employer hosted last night, which provided free home-made pizzas and beverages for attendees. The party was at the company’s community garden (my husband works for a local restaurant that grows much of it’s own produce during the growing season) so in addition to free dinner, we also got to walk around the lovely garden and my two boys got to play and feed some chickens! It was hot and sticky outside, but still a good time.


rjr June 28, 2016 at 8:02 am

1. made my own coffee this morning. This feels like the only frugal thing lately.
Not frugal-MOVING!!
eating takeout, paying movers, flooring guy and painter. Have all the ingredients but due to work and being the officiant in my sister’s wedding this past weekend, I am still living out of boxes so I bought $11 worth of cookies and mini cupcakes from BJ’s for last class last night. My students didn’t eat them all so gave to students who were studying in library together. They seemed really happy. Feeling overwhelmed is not a frugal way of being! I am hoping by next week to be all sorted out.


tonya parham June 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

I just moved and I know what you mean! That paying of movers HURT!

Remember, it gets better! I ate out for the first week I was here but I had to stop the spending so I just went and got some sandwich fixin’s and that helped me feel more in control!


rjr June 28, 2016 at 9:42 am

Thanks Tonya! I appreciate it. So much going on, head is swimming and exhausted! I hope to get out of complaint mode soon as well!


LisaC June 28, 2016 at 10:10 am

this too shall pass… that keeps me from getting too overwhelmed sometimes.


JD June 28, 2016 at 8:11 am

1. I went with my granddaughter on the long bus-ride to her church camp, since her parents couldn’t leave work. We were instructed to bring/send with the child a lunch, as we would not be stopping for any. Most moms sent or brought Subway, Burger King, etc. My granddaughter (she’s 10) had packed us sandwiches, fresh strawberries and some Goldfish, and I added cold drinks and blueberries I’d picked to the bag. Frugal and better for us.
2. I found a dime on the bus!
3. A friend gave us his excess tomatoes. I quickly put them up for this winter, as we have enough of our own to eat fresh.
4. I use Tatler reusable canning jar lids. It saves me from having to buy new lids every spring/summer. I’ve used these for several years.
5. I’m getting better at avoiding impulse purchases in the grocery store. I put two things back this last time, but I still failed once. Dark chocolate is good for me, though, right?


Susie's Daughter June 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

#5 Dark Chocolate = health food (mental and physical!)


LisaC June 28, 2016 at 8:49 am

Its the season for company, which makes this more challenging. Plus local prices are higher, so here goes:

1. Found a quarter in the washing machine after a guest had done laundry. Finders keepers is our laundry rule for found money.
2. Asked guests to bring sides for one meal each, and whatever alcohol they wished to drink. We provided the meats, hot dogs, burgers, for each meal, already bought on sale and kept in the freezer ahead of time.
3. They left plenty of leftovers, including some beer and produce that hadn’t been touched.
4. Turned the AC down when we spent time outside, turned it up to sleep. Too hot to keep the windows open.
5. Decorated with cut flowers from the yard.
6. Watched movies we already own together.

Frugal fail: we bought bags of ice to keep in 2 coolers rather than have the freezer opened several times a day to get ice and drinks. I really hate spending money on ice!


rjr June 28, 2016 at 9:44 am

I agree! That and spending money on parking bug me.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: