Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 9, 2016 · 92 comments


  1. My husband taught a CPR class on Saturday and brought home two pourable boxes of Starbucks coffee. I stuck them in the fridge and we’ve been enjoying them for iced coffee ever since.
  2. Yesterday was our anniversary, so my husband and I dressed up just a tiny bit and drove downtown to enjoy the bar menu at Jake’s Famous Crawfish. The bill came to $33, which included drinks, entrees, an appetizer and a tip. Not too shabby! To truly appreciate what a bargain this was, you should check out the prices on their normal menu!
  3. I took my still sick son to the doctor yesterday, but realized halfway home that she’d forgotten to give him the medical note that he needed for work. Instead of driving back, my husband and I walked to the office to pick up the note and enjoy the nice cool weather. We’d planned on doing some kind of activity during the day, so this had to suffice. Luckily, the walk which included stops at the library and the pharmacy was perfectly enjoyable.
  4. My son requested my white bean rosemary soup, so I put some Dollar Tree navy beans into the crock pot for tonight’s dinner. This soup is so delicious and costs less than two bucks for a huge amount!
  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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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

tonya parham August 9, 2016 at 10:37 am

1. Haven’t left the house in 3 days. Hard to spend when you go nowhere!

2. Made limeaide at home– man, why had I never done that before! SO GOOD! And not expensive at all.

3. Took the part missing off one of the bedroom doors we need to close from a room we never close (litterboxes in the room require the door stay open) so the door we need to close (which has a cat who is harassed by the other cats and needs some place where she can feel safe) now works perfectly and no money was spent!

4. Am soaking black beans to make later and made a pone of cornbread for my SIL who is taking us to dinner tonight for the missus’ b-day.

5. Froze some overripe bananas for breakfast smoothies. Since school starts back next week, I need to automate the meals for me and the missus. Smoothies for breakfast, salad for lunch, bean and rice dishes for dinner. My banana stores are low for smoothies so I gotta go find some marked down to cheap and freeze them!


Isabelle August 9, 2016 at 10:41 am

* got a coupon in the mail for a free meal from a catering place, worth 8,63$. Went by today to get it.
* Getting next month bookclub book at the public library.
* Won a rainwater barrel and it’s being delivered at home tommorow
* Using Airmiles to get free groceries
* Used a bunch of veggies from the garden to make soup.

Have a great frugal day!


Nancy August 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

What airline gives you the opportunity to use air miles for groceries?


Isabelle August 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Not “airlines”, Airmiles.


Isabelle August 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Sorry Nancy but I don’t understand your question. I get Airmiles when buying from certain stores and then I get to exchange them for gas or groceries, or other things.


BJS August 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

1. On Katy’s last Five Frugal Things post, another reader talked about her freezer inventory list (I’m talking about you, LisaC! :)). I was reminded from her that I haven’t done one of those in a long time, so this week I made my list. Right now I have some beef brisket – that I had forgotten about – defrosting for tomorrow’s dinner. Thanks, Lisa!

2. My daughter has a tomato plant that a nice neighbor gave to her early this summer. She’s been watering and tending to it, and it’s starting to produce tomatoes. She’s really excited, and has pointed out that her plant can save us money! I often wonder if my children are picking up at least some of my frugal ways.

3. My husband and kids washed my husband’s very-dirty truck, rather than taking it to a carwash.

4. Earlier today I combined an errand I had to run with another one that could have been done anytime, since the two locations are super close to each other.

5. I got an email from one of my bosses asking if I could work an extra shift in late August. I love those emails! Having had jobs in the past that were pretty awful, I’m so very grateful to now have a job that I enjoy.


jennifer August 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

1. I need to inventory also.


LisaC August 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm

That inventory is really helping! I keep it by my computer, where I check sale ads, print coupons, write menus and make my shopping list.


LisaC August 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Glad its helping you too. 🙂


Kay August 9, 2016 at 4:33 pm

I think that’s brilliant!


jennifer August 9, 2016 at 11:08 am

What a beautiful simplistic celebration of your years together. Congrats!

1. I have been packing my kid’s lunch everyday. I can pack her lunch and snack daily for around $1 per meal. If I paid this out of pocket it would be $4 per day so I feel good about it.
2. My older daughter came over last night for me to teach her how to make salmon patties(salmon croquettes, for some). They were delicious. I haven’t made them in awhile and forgot how good they were. I used lemon juice from lemons I froze in 2014 in the mix, reduced buttermilk from the freezer, and eggs given to me from a friend. I also put a few rice krispys, some old bread, and some old crackers in the blender to use for the bread crumbs. She bought the canned salmon so I traded her some jelly I got on sale at Kroger for PB& J sandwiches for her hubby to take to work this week. She also brought me a bag of Irish potatoes, 2 cans of green beans, and several boxes of shelf stable milk that she was unable to use. I will fix some food with these items and share them.
3. Now that the kids are back in school I am getting back in my habit of stopping by a few grocery stores to peruse for reduced items. It really paid off this morning as I got 8 half gallons of milk for 75 cents each. I have my grandmother’s freezer, who passed away a few years ago,and it is huge so I have plenty of room to store great buys. Thanks Gurney(not a typo,it’s a nickname, strange I know)!
4. A new Walmart Market opened up in my town. I despise Walmart but I went in this morning to check it out since it is smaller than a regular Walmart. I noticed most everything is overpriced..except.. the chicken. Apparently, this market has not caught on to the locals because almost all the meat was reduced. I didn’t have a way to keep meat cold all day at work but tomorrow I’m bringing a cooler because it is a chicken bone! Yes, that was kinda corny.
5.Planning a trip to my local thrift store on Thursday which is 30% off for nurses. I am in need of a few clothes. I went a couple weeks ago and because I left my name badge at home they wouldn’t let me have the 30% off. I put an old badge in my car that I can leave there so from now on it will always be with me.


Carrie August 10, 2016 at 2:47 am

WalMart’s groceries are too high in my area too. I don’t know why anyone would buy food there when ALDI is around the corner.


jennifer August 10, 2016 at 5:16 am

Wish I had an Aldi.


Pat August 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm

I don’t have an Aldi where I live, but two of my family members do. When I go visit, I used to plan to shop on my way out of town heading home. Now, I’ve learned to go a day or two BEFORE that; that way, any meats or other things I buy that can be frozen have time to get frozen SOLID and keep my other bargains fresh on the way home. No purchasing ice means no mess in the car and $2 more to spend on that delicious dark chocolate with hazelnuts they carry! 🙂


JD August 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

1. I made taco soup because I had leftover ground beef. The seasonings were from spice mixes I make at home from bulk spices. I cooked dry beans for the soup. I had no black beans or pinto beans that my recipe calls for, but I cooked red beans and white beans instead, and they worked just as well. The tomato sauce was home canned from our tomatoes.
2. My husband said, “Where are the tortilla chips to go with the soup? Are you going to go buy some?” I pulled out the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for homemade tortillas and fried them instead of toasting them in a dry skillet. My husband loved them.
3. I trimmed my dog’s coat again. She gets knots in her long wavy spaniel hair, so I keep it trimmed myself rather than pay a groomer. She’s so calm and sweet, she’s easy to trim — I can’t take credit for it.
4. I purchased one more Christmas present, on sale, and have almost finished making another one.
5. A store I frequent had toilet paper marked way down because it was being discontinued. I never heard of discontinuing a toilet paper brand before, but I grabbed the deal anyway. It’s 100% recycled paper, so does that make it “used?”


Bee August 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm

I think dogs prefer to be groomed at home. We had a cocker spaniel for years and always groomed him at home. It saved so much money! I did bring him to the vet to have his nail trimmed, but this was always done free of charge.


JD August 10, 2016 at 6:02 am

I agree. And this dog is a little rescued Cav King Charles spaniel, so she’s easy to hold and turn. Plus, she loves the attention.


LisaC August 9, 2016 at 1:48 pm

ew. I’m sure its recycled paper, not recycled toilet paper. I prefer to think of it that way anyway!


JD August 10, 2016 at 5:36 am

I always chuckle when I see recycled toilet paper. I know what it really is, but still…. It just sounds bad.


Sarah August 9, 2016 at 11:55 am

Great job on the anniversary meal cost, Katy! And fantastic choice too – Jake’s is so delicious!! Congrats to you both!


Beth August 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

1. Am continuing to not eat out…I’m heading into my second week 🙂
2. Carpooling with a friend to/from work tomorrow and Thursday, saving one trip for her and one for me.
3. Won tickets to an event through my work-Hubby and I will have an almost free date night in a month or so (we’ll only have to pay for childcare).
4. Made some baby food (peas) in the blender…froze it in ice cube trays for future easy nights.
5. Related to #1, I’m trying not to let food go to waste, so we are eating transformed leftovers tonight, and I froze some leftovers that were about to go bad in lunch-sized portions for work this week.


Lindsay August 9, 2016 at 11:58 am

1. Last post I mentioned that I took advantage of an extremely discounted introductory offer for Blue Apron. I dutifully cancelled my subscription after the package arrived, and then they gave me ANOTHER $50 off to come back for another week. So, I will again get a box of food for $10, and then I will cancel for real.
2. I realized that Comcast has been overcharging us for our internet package for the past two months. It took two long phone calls with customer service, but I got the problem fixed.
3. I switched from a no-interest checking account to Ally Bank’s interest-bearing checking.
4. I used rewards points from my credit card to offset the cost of my pets’ flea preventatives on Amazon.
5. I listed some unwanted items on a local FB yardsale group.


Bettypants August 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Ooh on that Blue Apron offer. I’m so excited to get my first box.


pattilou August 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm

I’ve done Blue Apron twice (both times gifted to me) and just wanted to give you the heads up that the prep time they give you for each meal usually takes longer – sometimes much longer. I though it might just be my slow chopping skills but one or two people have mentioned the same thing. It is really fun to get the box of food and I enjoyed cooking things that I never would have cooked. Enjoy!


megan August 10, 2016 at 5:04 am

I have a free box coming today that was “gifted” by a friend as well


Marianne August 11, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Also just FYI as a Ally Bank customer you get 5 free Webroot (antivirus) licenses for your computers! We use Webroot at work and we have never had any “inturder” issues.
Not plugging for Ally or Webroot…just saying it is available.


A. Marie August 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

(1) Again, congrats to Katy and SoccaDad on the frugal anniversary celebration. It looks from the menu as if Jake’s is a branch of the McCormick & Schmick seafood chain, which I have gratefully enjoyed in several cities. (Long story, but a family dinner at the McC & S branch office in Cincinnati probably did a good deal to maintain family peace at our gathering in Cincy for my mother’s interment.)

(2) Sorry about DS’s still lingering bug. I trust that the white bean and rosemary soup will knock out any remaining germs.

(3) My cucumbers are enjoying a robust second wind after a drought-induced hiatus. Gosh darn, looks like time for more refrigerator pickles!

(4) DH helped his former rental property buddy do a cleanout at one of Buddy’s properties over the weekend, and brought home the remainders. At first I was cranky because there was more decaying kitchen trash in the load than I would have brought home myself, but I have readjusted my attitude–given a nice number of NY State 5-cent deposit containers, considerable loose change, and several good kitchen items. As usual, kids at our local private university neither know nor care what they’re throwing out.

(5) Re: the garage sale vs. estate sale question raised in comments on the previous post: As usual, everything is relative. I’ve attended garage sales that were dynamite, and estate sales that left me thinking, “Jeez, I’ve seen better trash piles.” My general advice would be to pick sales in both categories that are in areas consistent with your preferences and values. (Of the two estate sales I attended last Saturday, one was from a departed neighbor I knew personally, and the other was in the aforementioned university neighborhood. Good deals at both.)


Bee August 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

In Florida, estate sales abound. I am sure this is an outgrowth of our aging population. Many estate sales are held by companies who specialize in liquidating households.. Years ago these sales were truly held to clear belonging of the home of someone who passed away. Now I find that they also include the homes of people who are downsizing, remodeling, moving or giving their home back to the bank. Generally speaking, there is a great deal more “stuff ” and prices are higher, but there are bargains to be found.

If you are interested, you can check out where you can search for estate sales in your area. For example, there are 13 listed in the Portland area to be held in the next month.


Bettypants August 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm

1. Thanks to Lindsay’s post on the last 5 frugal things, I also signed up for one week of Blue Apron for $9.95. Thank you!
2. Sold a Lands End jacket on ebay for $21, which I had bought at a garage sale a few weeks back for 50 cents.
3. My son is spending the week at my mom’s house, which saves me a week of summer camp fees.
4. Cleaned out my son’s closet and gave some small hangers and outgrown clothing to family members.
5. Listed a few more items on ebay and the local FB boards. I vow to root around and find more this week.


JennS August 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for the Blue Apron mention! I took advantage of that deal as well.


Bettypants August 11, 2016 at 7:51 am

Oh, good!


K D August 9, 2016 at 12:48 pm

1. A couple weeks ago I called our FSA servicer because they turned down paying for the difference between what our dentist charged and what insurance covered. That had never been an issue before. They researched the issue and approved the reimbursement, the check arrived yesterday.

2. I am using a spatula that my MIL used for decades. It works better than any other spatula that I have and my husband loves to see it being used.

3. Yard work provided free exercise today, as did walking to the bread store to buy a loaf of half price bread.

4. Meals continue to be at home/packed lunches, with an emphasis on using up what we have instead of buying more stuff.

5. I did order my husband a suit that was about 85% off on clearance. It is a brand/size/style that has worked for him in the past. He dresses up for his job and is in need of a few new suits. I ordered it through the Discover portal so should get 5% cash back.

Frugal Fail:

I discovered a bag of sweet potatoes that a disgusting sweet potato in it. I threw the whole bag away (4 sweet potatoes).


Carrie August 10, 2016 at 2:50 am

“3. Yard work provided free exercise today, as did walking to the bread store to buy a loaf of half price bread.”

Isn’t it hilarious that we live in a society that thinks it’s perfectly normal to pay other people to clean our homes, cut our grass and walk our dogs – AND then pay for a gym membership? SMH…


Kim August 10, 2016 at 6:06 am

I also thinks it’s ironic that people will jockey to get a close parking spot at the gym and then go walk a few miles on a treadmill!


meg August 10, 2016 at 10:41 am

Except for us gym goers with two or three little ones in tow…a close parking spot is very handy when you are carrying your bag, water bottle and yoga mat!


meg August 10, 2016 at 10:43 am

Except for us gym goers with two or three little ones in tow…a close parking spot is very handy when you are carrying your bag, water bottle and yoga mat! I love my gym membership…the childcare so I can get a long hot shower in peace is worth the price e!

Jennifer August 10, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Wow, I haven’t been in a bathroom room alone for over 21 years! I need to join a gym.

Kristen August 9, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Happy Anniversary to you guys!

And I hope your son is feeling better soon.


LisaC August 9, 2016 at 1:46 pm

I love that soup!
1. For dinner tonight, heated up leftover chicken breasts sliced with some homemade bbq sauce my sister left for me when she visited.
2. Served it with tomatoes from the garden.
3. Found some funny things to list on ebay, like some keyrings with a local touristy logo on them that I’d gotten as part of a lot at an auction a while back.
4. Giving some wine I already have as a birthday gift to a friend. Left over from a party. Using blank card stock to write a bday note instead of a card.
5. Made hash for the first time out of kielbasa from our freezer, an onion, potato and sweet potato I had already. No leftovers and no shopping!


Gina in KY August 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm

I’ll start this off with yet another fail: I came home from being out-of-town for the weekend to find the freezer door on the refrigerator was slightly ajar (I’m pretty sure culprit is my younger son who likes to snag frozen blueberries). This meant I needed to do something with the items that were thawed out (but still cold).

1. I dumped all the various bags and containers of veggie scraps in a pot and made veggie broth that I will refreeze for winter soups, risotto and such.

2. Making vegan creamy mushroom soup with pantry wild rice and rice milk to take care of all the discount mushrooms I had stashed in there (a lot!)

3. Organized said freezer and am working on an inventory list (thank you from me as well, LisaC). This was fortunately my small freezer and contains mostly leftovers and grains I keep in the freezer. I will keep list on the fridge and maybe this will help me not waste as much food.

4. I am going through boxes of papers from before my divorce (started in 2013 so you can see they are very old papers). I am filing ones that I should probably keep longer, but the rest are shredded and ready to go to recycling. I cannot put a price on this because it defies value for the peace it brings me.
(I have another fail that goes along with this one. While digging through these boxes, I found a $50 Visa gift card from an At&t rebate that I never used. 🙁 I lost this card in 2010! I’ve come a long way in my frugal ways!)

5. I did not spend even one hot little dime today. I’ve had just a couple small set-backs in my No Spend month, so I feel like I am doing well. Next month, I’ll do even better!


Krystal August 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm

I love it when you can turn a fail into a frugal save. Others might just get discouraged and give up. Nice work!


Diane C August 11, 2016 at 5:37 am

Re: the Visa Gift Card – Did you check it to see if it still has value? We just found a $50 Home Depot GC in an old book. Despite the warning that there were fees that would lead one to assume the value was completely eroded, and a negative websearch, when I called HD, I was told it was still good for the full $50. Apparently the laws have changed, so fees can’t drain the value of the card. Score!


Ashley C August 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm

I wish I would have known about the bar/happy hour menu there! I went years ago because I was give a gift card and we still ended up spending $50 with tip and it just was not worth it. It’s a total tourist trap but for a cheaper price would be worth it


Krystal August 9, 2016 at 2:18 pm

1. I have talked myself out of coffee when I had to take my husband to the dentist this morning and was already out. I came straight back home and made tea from a second press of leaves. It was great.
2. Went to Uwajimaya for some groceries and didn’t get a single item that wasn’t on my list. So tempted though.
3. Watching TV/movies for free at home, reading at home. Our very tight budget just got more tight with another pet emergency, so we are REALLY running a tight ship while our pets and emergency fund mend.
4. Sent a free ticket to the Chihuly museum I received as a thank-you for volunteering to my husband’s work for someone else to use as it is not up my alley in the slightest. Frugal for someone else!
5. Saved some leftover soy sauce packets and wasabi to make sauces for our homemade sushi tonight. Normally it’s a wasted item for me since I don’t use them for sushi unless they are in a sauce, and they seem to be (wastefully) stuck in several containers of items I buy. It would be great if they would consider having ginger/soy/wasabi available to take if you wanted it, much less wasteful!


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

I was a Seattlite for three great years and I LOVE Uwajumaya. Very hard to make it out of there without extras – Congrats!


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Ugh on spelling mistakes – Uwajimaya!


Marcia August 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Love Chihuly’s work and what a great gift for someone who does! (I’m not at all close to the museum but there is ONE piece I know about in New York at the Corning Glass Works. Have been to the museum in Florida too.


janine August 10, 2016 at 8:57 am

Visited a Chihuly exhibit in Chicago several years ago and loved it. Bought a poster that I hung in my office for a number of years. Hope someone gets to enjoy your generosity.

Alison August 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm

I really struggle with getting 5 frugal things, but let me try:

1. Trimmed DHs neck hair as it was bugging him, but was too soon to get a full haircut.
2. Sold $400 worth of used furniture that came from a furnished rental property we bought, that we didn’t need.
3. Had lunch with a friend before an appointment, she paid.
4. Went to optometrist appointment for a sore eye, paid for by provincial medical plan. Got free artificial tears from eye doctor.
4. Looked around used book store for a bit, but realized I have books I haven’t even read yet! So went home empty handed.


Katy August 9, 2016 at 3:09 pm

For someone who says that she has a hard time coming up with 5 frugal things, you did great!


Emily August 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm

1. Gave a pear flavored balsamic vinegar that was lurking in the pantry to a friend who was happy to receive it.
2. Dropped off a trunk full to goodwill.
3. Ate leftovers for dinner and finished up several things that usually would have been tossed
4. Dried 2 loads of laundry on racks today
5. My sister and I traded our coupons from the Sunday paper as we don’t always use the same products
6. Got the first check today for a rental property
7. Cleaning out the house and have a box of books to drop off at the used bookstore and 2 large shopping bags to drop off at the consignment store
8. Hubby was given a go pro from work- listed on Craigslist and buyer is coming tomorrow


Rachel H August 9, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Congratulations on your anniversary, as well as the $33 meal. Our anniversary was the 2nd and I wanted to go to a restaurant I had been hearing about for years. Well, the bill was close to $133!! The food was good, but I’m sure we’ll never go back. Many years we have not gone out at all, so I guess it evens out.

Rainy here and haven’t been able to hang clothes out to dry. Hubby has to take the van to work, so I am home all day. Working on an embroidered set of pillowcases for our nieces wedding gift. Not much going on.


Denise August 10, 2016 at 8:58 am


I bought two embroidered pillow-cases which I adore. Your niece is so lucky to have your talents to benefit from. Fantastic gift to receive for your wedding.


Is it a need or a want August 10, 2016 at 9:14 am

Last Christmas I picked up 6 sets of embroidered pillow cases, new, vintage at a fundraising sale.($5.00/pair)
They are awesome and I have used them to wrap shower/wedding gifts and in my guest room. My guests always comment on the memories they bring back.


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm

1) Garden is in FULL swing and we are trying to keep up. Dear wife picked a 2.5 gallon pail full of green beans yesterday so we fixed green beans and watched the Olympics last night. All were cut “french style”, blanched and frozen. I also processed 20lbs of zucchini – mostly shredded and frozen, but also some for bread and a zucchini casserole.

2) My aunt and uncle invited us to pick blueberries from their bushes- great berry season in Vermont this year. We picked together yesterday and I picked again today. I have somewhere around a gallon in the freezer now. (11 pint bags +/-). One of the only fruits DS will eat consistently.

3) I’ve been using a menu planner I found online and was really disappointed when the website which hosted it was no longer working. I spent an hour online looking for another only to realize that with an eraser and some white out, I could use an old one as a photocopy template. Yay! (Can you tell I don’t like change 🙂 )

4) Got a Staples prepaid rebate card in the mail today finally. Will use it for lunch out as a treat.

5) I received an Aeropress Coffee/Espresso maker as a gift from a dear friend as a thank you for their recent stay! I am so excited to figure out how it works. He knows I love lattes, but they are too hard to get here (never mind expensive). It was such a thoughtful surprise- I am really touched.


Chris August 9, 2016 at 4:29 pm

1. Went grocery shopping today – good deal on blueberries so bought 2 and one pack is already washed and being frozen for winter. Bought 5 lbs of burger – 3 lbs made into burgers and the other 2 broken up into 1/2 lb packages.
2. Used some Walgreens rewards to but our bill by 2/3rds.
3. Stock piled 5 packages of yellow rice at the dollar store – vs 1.59 at the grocery store.
4. My husband went to dinner with a friend who paid as a thanks for helping to move last week. I ate leftover hopped up ramen noodles – yum!
5. Got called into work for tomorrow – yea!


Chris August 10, 2016 at 3:44 pm

2.cut our bill
4. the bill came and the guy who just moved did not pick up tab as expected but my husband had cash just in case….


janine August 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm

This has been an expensive week – son even remarked on how many groceries I purchased! We were low in several categories.
1. Ate dinner at home tonight although it is hot, muggy and sticky. Will be worse tomorrow according to weather forecast. Served items on hand and produce from a friend’s garden. Cold chicken , a zuchinni/tomato/green onion concoction with a dusting of parmesan cheese, leftover potatoes etc.
2. Gifted garden items from friend. (I do other favors for her.)
3. Made a special trip to Big Lots but found only a couple of items – somewhat of a frugal fail, but now know that this outlet doesn’t have a lot of great deals.
4. Drinking gallons of iced tea, packing lunches and spending some time sourcing recipes that are cheap, easily prepared and good tasting.
5. Also cleaned out refrigerator freezer and threw away lots of mystery food – have relocated masking tape to kitchen drawer so I will remember to label food with contents and date in the future.


Nancy August 9, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Big lots changes all the time. You never know what you will find one week to,the next.


meg August 9, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I find Bob’s red mill products there deeply discounted.


jennifer August 10, 2016 at 5:19 am

Me too! They also have lots of unique spices deeply discounted.


janine August 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

This outlet is not near my home, but I will keep this advice in mind when I am next in their store. Thanks!

Lee August 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm

1. On a three-day, two-night trip away, I packed the cooler with snacks and food for lunch at the beach. We stayed at a hotel with free breakfast, so we ate big breakfasts and then snacked out of the cooler for lunch.
2. I mended some clothes and sewed buttons back on others.
3. I picked figs from our tree and made a savory fig-onion relish; gave figs to friends and neighbors; and froze the extras (fig compote in the winter! fig muffins!). One friend gave me some oranges from her tree when I dropped off the figs.
4. I sold something I didn’t use any more on our local buy-sell site.
5. Aside from our trip, we cooked and ate all our meals at home.
6. Bonus: I didn’t buy a Tesla!


Lee August 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I also ran the air-conditioning infrequently and kept it at 82.


Is it a need or a want August 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

(1) Went to get a needed government document. Outside of the building there were (wild?) hollyhocks growing. We had these when I was a child along our house. I picked dry seed pods and will see how they take off in my garden next year.
(2) Child in grad school coming home for visit and squeezing in a dentist appointment and cleaning.Though she is grad school, she is still covered by my husbands medical plan. Yeah!
(3) Moving through my freezers, spinach tortellini soup, cooked quinoa mix and pork riblets eaten. Dog needed some food to encourage her to eat. Vet suggested I cook a chicken breast and rice or meat from a take out chicken. Um no….heated up some leftover chicken found in the freezers.
(4)Vet suggested I purchase a certain ear cleaner on Amazon. He started me out with a 4 oz container and some meds. It cost the same as a 12 oz on Amazon.
(5) used the bag from Costco TP as a kitchen garbage bag


JD August 10, 2016 at 5:54 am

4. I’m not suggesting you override your vet, but if the dog has ear problems in the future, you might try using ear oil when it first starts. Infuse garlic cloves in some olive oil by sitting it in sunlight for a week or so then straining it, and add a few drops to each ear (as long as there is NO water in the ears). Or, try herbal ear oil for kids, sold at health food stores, Whole Foods, etc. My dog develops itching, sore ears nearly every spring from a seasonal allergy, and I usually can take care of it with ear oil. Bonus, the oil also helps clear out the ear goop. And, from my husband’s ENT dr., try half alcohol/half vinegar mixture when actual infection is present.


Is it a need or a want August 10, 2016 at 6:20 am

Thanks for the suggestions. When my vet mentioned this effective ear cleaner he said he was unable to purchase in Canada ( for resale). He knew it existed, tried Amazon one day for his own dog and suggested that I purchase it there. Wasn’t expecting my vet to mention this frugal route:)


Jennifer August 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm

5. I’m surprised that I never thought to mention how many times I re-use the plastic bags I get from stores. I know that I should use my own bags more often but when I do get those cheap plastic bags I use them for lots of things including my bathroom garbage can.


pattilou August 9, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Spent a few days at my brother’s, which was like a much needed mini vacation.
1. We made dinner each night and had a picnic lunch sitting by the water.
2. I stayed on the deck reading while everyone else went shopping. Just finished Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. It’s a good read.
3. I helped my brother set up a watering system for his garden and while at Home Depot picking up the supplies I saw a kitchen throw rug which my brother bought for me as a thank you for helping him.
4. Spent time walking by the water and in the woods – very relaxing and free exercise.
5. We did buy lunch today at a deli and the sandwiches were so big that we had left overs for dinner. No cooking after a road trip – yeah!


meg August 9, 2016 at 7:55 pm

1. Made Dr’s appointments back to back so I won’t have to make trips to the same medical park on 2 different days
2. Son is enjoying last week of free summer camp
3. Cafe worker at summer meals program gave us some items that were approaching the best by date. She can’t serve them once they hit the day, but everything is still perfectly good.
4. Ceiling fan is fixed so I am not tempted to lower the temperature of the A/C. Husband did repair himself, even if he had to order the part from Hong Kong…
5. Have amassed many Chick Fil A promo cards. They will be saved until winter months when we need to get it of the house and play


Mand01 August 10, 2016 at 12:48 am

Our internet has been down this week, requiring that we do old timey things, like read and engage in conversation. It’s killing us, I tell ya.

1. Made a bread and butter-style pudding from a fruit cake that was going stale.
2. Worked from home two days.
3. Came home to a roaring fire in our new fireplace. The fireplace not frugal but the repair to the hole in our roof caused by replacing the old one is great, plus we already had the wood and we can dry our washing much faster.
4. Used workplace internet to catch up on a few things on my lunch break.
5. No Lear jet, petrol still cheap, I have work-funded training tomorrow and meal planning has worked well all week saving us dollars. Oh and husband was just offered a new contract with more hours and weekends off.


Susie's Daughter August 10, 2016 at 7:10 am

Big smile about the old timey things!


megan August 10, 2016 at 5:08 am

1. Came home from a beach vacation to discover our fridge broke while we were gone 🙁 Lost everything in it. BUT, I’m counting this is a frugal thing b/c my husband (the mechanic) was able to fix it for a $20 part.
2. Made my own dishwasher tabs.
3. Have a free delivery of Blue Apron coming today.
4. Got 90% of my son’s back to school shopping done when Amazon had the Crayola grade level packs as a deal of the day earlier this week.
5. Using Poshmark site to sell some unwanted stuff from my closet!


Mand01 August 10, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Ooh how do you make your own dishwasher tabs, please?


megan August 12, 2016 at 2:51 am

Here is the “recipe” I used :

They work very well! I also added white vinegar to the rinse aid reservoir in my dishwasher and the dishes have come out perfect!


Mand01 August 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Thank you-
Just wondering what is kosher salt? And what could I used instead of the lemonade mix do you think? We don’t have a product like that here to my knowledge.


Jenny August 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Kosher salt is just a coarse, pure salt. I think it’s just a little bit finer than pickling salt.

For the lemonade powder, you could probably use citric acid powder instead, or even crushed vitamin C tablets (not the chewable ones), but that might get pretty expensive.

Bee August 10, 2016 at 7:05 am

I have been under the weather lately, so I haven’t made a true effort at frugality. However, we did manage the following:

1) Over the last 10 days, I haven’t been up to cooking. Yet, my husband managed not to buy any take out with the exception of a single rotisserie chicken. He is not much of a cook, so this was a major accomplishment.

2) I did turn off the irrigation system, because we are finally getting some rain — a lower water bill next month.

3) My 35- year old ironing board fell into pieces — literally. I purchased it with S&H Green Stamps when I went away to college. This made me sad, but it could not be fixed. Since I could not look for one secondhand, DH went to one of the big box stores. He found a nice one that was made in the USA.

4) While resting, I read from my stack of secondhand books and watched the last season of Poldark on PBS. Of course, I also read the Non-Consumer Advocate.

5) I also manage to do several loads of wash using cold water and hanging most of it to dry.

I have a lot of catch-up to do!


rebecca August 10, 2016 at 8:34 am

ohh..I love Poldark. I think I will rewatch the whole season….


Bee August 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm

That is what I am doing. Season 2 starts next month. I don’t mean to sound like a teen-aver, but he is so cute!


amanda August 10, 2016 at 7:09 am

1. Trying to curb out weekly after-market ice cream splurges and instead bought a box of ice cream drumsticks. 1 box was 1/4 the price of the ice cream store and will give them each 2 servings. Now that the kids are selling their own stuff at the market, they are coming to realize what money truly means and how much they must work to get it.
2. I was in a parade and needed the truck washed, so I did it by hand. Not fun or fast, but cheap!
3. I am trying to declutter our house, so listed more books on paperback swap. I immediately received a request and shipped the book the next morning.
4. I found a clearance rack of vegetable seeds 10/$1. Couldn’t pass it up, I believe in saving seeds just as much as saving money (it’s really the same thing in my book). I will also save the seeds from the veggies already growing in my garden to plant next spring.
5. My hubby catered our work lunch yesterday. Everyone thought it was delish and hopefully he’ll be asked to cater more. It was pretty easy $$!


Jennifer N. August 10, 2016 at 7:19 am

1. It was my birthday this past weekend. To celebrate with my besties, I made dinner at my house Monday night – just a huge frozen lasagna and some frozen garlic bread. I fed 6 people for $15!

2. Made up a new batch of cold-brew coffee and this time used an old towel to strain the coffee grounds rather than buy more cheesecloth. I don’t know if this is considered a “best practice” but it did the trick and I am fully stocked in iced coffee for the next 2 weeks for the cost of a brick of coffee.

3. I’ve had a minor chest cold/sinus infection thing since last week – we are out of tissues and I have yet to secure a cloth option – so I’ve just been using toilet paper to get me through. Of course we are almost out of toilet paper now…

4. Just finished the latest Harry Potter that I found sitting all alone on the library’s “Lucky Day” shelf. I’ve never snatched a book off a shelf so quickly! And I got to give someone else my spot in the hold list. I thought it was quite good – be forewarned, it is a play, so if you don’t like reading straight dialogue with some stage direction, it might not be for you.

5. I specifically portioned my birthday dinner (we ate out with my parents and grandparents) so that I could eat half for lunch the next day. I am getting quite good at bringing my lunch to work now, which is something I’ve previously been very lazy about. If I only develop one good habit this summer, this is a good one to have!


Daryl Balod August 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

What kind of coffee do you use? My doctor recommended I switch to cold brew coffee to help with heart burn.


Jennifer N. August 12, 2016 at 6:02 am

I use Cafe’ Bustelo, since it’s relatively inexpensive, has a decent flavor, and sufficiently strong for iced coffee. You should search the internet for how to make hot coffee with cold brew, as well.


JD August 10, 2016 at 9:19 am

#2, Jennifer, try using a loose weave piece of muslin or a big square of cotton gauze from anywhere they sell fabrics, then you can wash it quickly by hand and it will be dry the next day, if not sooner. You won’t have to replace it for a long time.


Jennifer N. August 12, 2016 at 6:03 am

Next time I make it to a fabric store, I will look into that (I’ve wondered if that would achieve the same thing). Thanks for the tip!


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 10, 2016 at 8:32 am

I know a lot of people cringe at the thought of leftover coffee, but I really like it. 🙂 Waste not!

This week:

1. We’re having friends stay with us this weekend. Instead of going out, we’re cooking finger foods at home.

2. Our cost per meal is now down to about $3 a meal, which is fantastic! We’ve been eating cheaper staples, like beans and rice, to stay full while bringing our costs down.

3. Instead of buying sweets at the store, I made a pineapple upside down cake with pineapple that was going to spoil. I’ve never made one before, but it came out DELICIOUS. So I’ve been munching on the cake all week to curb any sweet cravings. If there’s some left over, we’ll either serve it to our friends or freeze it for later.

4. I’ve been going through my clothes to declutter in my dreams of owning a capsule wardrobe. I’m either selling or donating the clothes that I no longer want. Hopefully we can pull in a little extra cash for the house fund.

5. We’re staying on track to not eat out at all this week. We’re trying out some new recipes, which we found in books rented for free at the library, to break up the monotony. So far so good!


rjr August 10, 2016 at 9:53 am

1. Ate lunch at home with ingredients on hand.
2. AC off for as long as I can.
3. Watching the Olympics for fun and entertainment.
4. Found out there is a Humane Society shop near my house and brought some boxes there and will continue to donate there as Savers seems to get a TON off stuff.
5. Sent leftovers home with a friend after he came over for dinner.


Vickie August 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

Happy Anniversary – sounds like Frugal Fun!

1) I ate cream cheese on celery for dinner last night.
2) We took a friend out for a going away lunch today, so the leftovers from mine will be hubby’s dinner tonight.
3) Listening to a good audiobook during my commute – Black Rabbit Hall. It’s nice to switch it up between self-improvement, history and novels.
4) I bought a box of taquitos and put them in the freezer here at work. That way I can have a quick lunch before running errands and not be tempted to eat out.
5) I took a pair of walking shoes back to Ross and got a refund on my debit card. The right shoe didn’t fit properly and I decided my slip-on sneakers will work just fine.


Emily August 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

1. Found a bed skirt new in the packaging (from target) at goodwill for 14.00. Pretty good deal, and matches perfect. I was about to go out and buy one full price to hide the ugly under my bed, but this was perfect!

2. Met my parents and family friends at the beach this weekend, then they have been visiting for the past few days. I have been hoarding left overs from meals out.

3. My lovely parents bought us a box of produce from the farmers market. I am fortunate to have very financially stable parents, and they like to help out in little ways when they can. It is much appreciated as I am still jn the “starting out” phase of life 🙂

4. Playing tennis tonight with the boyfriend. We both have rackets and use a very nice public park so free fun!

Frugal fails

1. Threw away a 45 dollar check from a class action lawsuit. Looked into it and there is no way for me to get it resent. I’m still mourning this, ugh!

2. Had to replace my windshield. Also get my windows tinted because living in the south with black leather interior is unbearable. After 2 years down here, I coughed up the money to have it done but OMG is it so much better now. No more burn!


Vickey August 12, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Emily, you invested in tinting that will preserve your exterior and your car’s interior!


Stephanie August 10, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Conjunctivitis has been going around summer camp and between known exposure and symptoms the pediatrician sent the prescription to the pharmacy without having to come for an office visit. With the copay for two children that is $40 we didn’t have to spend. Plus we aren’t exposing anyone in the waiting room.


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