Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 28, 2015 · 52 comments

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

K D January 28, 2015 at 11:17 am

1. I realized this morning that I did not drive my car for four days. I took a short trip on Saturday with my husband but other than that I walked everywhere I went for four days. Cheaper gas does not entice me to drive more.

2. I made a pot of split pea soup. I used up two partial bags of split peas, baby carrots past the best used by date, a couple of potatoes with a few eyes, and some onions that were not going to last much longer. A hearty and cheap lunch for me this week.

3. I remembered I own a few fleece vests. Since I am skinny on top (a classic pear shaped body) they are a perfect layer to keep me warm, as I don’t feel bulky when I wear them. I have been wearing them and I’m able to keep the daytime temperature cooler in the house.

4. I stopped by the library to pick up books and books on CD that I had requested.

5. I haven’t bought much of anything the past several days: no Lear jet, no vacation home, etc.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

Good job on staying away from Lear jets!


Jeana January 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

Lowe’s sells food grade plastic buckets for about $3. They’re in the area where they sell 5 gallon buckets. Maybe the trash can area?? I buy them for my livestock feed.


Linda January 28, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Ask at a restaurant or bakery. They will probably give you buckets & lids for free.


Lesley January 28, 2015 at 11:31 am

1. We are a one-bathroom family with two teens. I often wash my hair in the kitchen sink before work in order to avoid the bathroom chaos. While I waited for the water to warm up this morning, I filled two pitchers for watering houseplants.

2. While my neighbors are in Cancun, I get to have their daily NYT (a subscription I covet but refuse to buy into). Having these papers once in a while instead of every day (plus getting them free) makes them even more of a treat.

3. I packed lunches for both teens and ate leftovers for my own.

4. I walk my dogs once or twice per day instead of joining a gym.

5. I just finished binge-watching “The Fall” on Netflix and am switching over to some new library books for entertainment.

I love it when I go to your site and it’s a “5 Frugal” day. I always learn something new and read all the comments too.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

I have “The Fall” in my queue.


Lesley January 28, 2015 at 7:32 pm

By the end of Season 2, I’m dying for Gillian Anderson to!


Nathalie January 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Ahhh, I love this show! I’m about the watch the last episode of Season 2 while exercising on my recumbent bike 🙂 Gillian Anderson does a great job and so does Jaimie Dornan as well.


Kristen January 28, 2015 at 11:33 am

For heat in chili, I buy a tiny jar of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, and empty them into a jam jar, and then store them in the refrigerator, where they happily last forever. A pot of chili gets ONE pepper, and a bit of the sauce, and I chop the pepper into bits in the pot with the side of my spoon, on top of the meat. Then I carry on as usual with the rest of the chili. Such a nice flavor. If you are very brave, and like it very hot, use two peppers. I am not brave. I only made the two pepper mistake once.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 11:35 am

I love those peppers as well, and have done the same thing as you with them!


A. Marie January 28, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Chili seems to be the order of the day, so here’s my “Five Frugal Things” chili. I raided the freezer for:

1. My own frozen crushed tomatoes.
2. Tomato sauce made and frozen by a neighbor, using my tomatoes.
3. Pork sausage from the 1/4 pig we buy from a friend who raises the animals.
4. My own frozen, cut-up bell peppers.
5. My own garlic, and local onions.

The spices, I admit I have to purchase! (DH likes chili hotter than I do, so I just hand him the bottle of cayenne and tell him to administer his own dose.)


Katy January 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Yes, I’m not exactly growing my own cumin, although I do buy it in bulk.


Diane January 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm

I debated about going out to pick up some supplies for a project I worked on today. Instead, I made do with what I have in my craft closet. While I would have loved picking out some fabric at Stitch Lab, I decided to save that money for a weekend lunch at Torchy’s Tacos with my son. Always weighing the priorities!


Crystal January 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm

I have received food grade buckets for FREE from many grocery store bakery workers. I just ask the workers in the bakery section if they have any empty frosting buckets ( or whatever they have on hand). Sometimes they are 5 gallon buckets sometimes less.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 1:40 pm

I’m going to try this tip. Thanks!


Lesley January 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

This is what the Prudent Homemaker does as well and recommends giving them a thorough scrubbing and airing to get rid of the frosting taste.


Susanne g January 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm

1. Add me to the chili list! Used frozen leftover chili but added a can of beans as chili was too meaty! Grated cheddar, made corn meal muffins, iced tea … Delicious meal. Last Saturday looked into cupboards and deep into fridge to make a list of every meal I could have with what I had on hand. Good feeling to use up the bits, and cook and bake additions.
2. Saw “Bag It” at library for free and walked to and from. (I swear I heard your voice in the movie repeat your slogan?) So much to change, in my plastic habit.
3. Watched library dvd of “Life of Pi” which I enjoyed so much.
4. Picked up free copies of large poster at city hall (out of hundreds available) used by city in 2008 and have made a project for my brother’s class of 5th graders by cutting it up. Have told everyone I know About this great resource. Large sheets of white paper at the very least!
5. Loaded Overdrive app to get ebooks from library.

Lots of library in my first list, but ours is great (Glens Falls, NY)!!


Katy January 28, 2015 at 1:40 pm

I love your list!!


Skidd January 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm

I love “Bag It”. It was such a game changer. I wish everyone would watch it .


Susanne g January 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I am still reeling from the new (to me) information. Changes have to be made!


Betsey January 28, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Katy, a Lear jet just came up for sale! Well, not exactly a Lear or a jet, but my friend is selling his small plane. Regretfully, I told him that since my knees are giving out, I couldn’t buy it. Fast thinking, huh?
I took a friend out to eat for her birthday, and I had a bogo coupon.
I washed my car yesterday using my own hose and water.
We played cards last night instead of going to a movie.
I visited a friend in her lovely new 2 BR apartment. Her rent is $740 with water and free cable/internet service. All she pays for is electricity and insurance. I’m thinking!
For my mom’s birthday, I made lasagna, yeast rolls, salad and baked a cake. I did not spend much as I stock up during sales. We had a great time, agreeing that simple meals and great company is all we need. In my family we do not give gifts any more; everyone is over 21, there are no babies yet, and nobody really needs anything. It’s more about time together.


Sharon Lee January 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm

My whole month has been pretty frugal for me. We haven’t been going anywhere so we have been saving a lot on gas.
We have been eating in all month except for once and that was a huge savings for us too.
I have been shopping in my cupboards for our meals, I haven’t been grocery shopping since early Dec. That is a huge savings.
Tomorrow will be a bit of a spend day tho, as hubbies Aunt’s new husband is having a TKR and we will be at the hospital all day, so we will be eating out for sure at least one meal anyway.
Thanks for all the great ideas for being more frugal and I look forward to reading more about how well you save your hard earned money too.


kathleen January 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

*We had chili Monday…tonight using the leftovers for enchiladas.
*Working on handmade cards for my 52 letters in 52 weeks (thanks Katie, I’ve done it every year since you first mentioned it!)
*Husband DIYing kitchen backsplash…I will caulk tomorrow
*Using scraps to make quilted hotpads
*Staying home


kathleen January 28, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Katie, forgot to say that if you know anyone in charge of sports concession stands, they might have lots of glass pickle jars to recycle. That’s how my mom got LOTS for free, which I inherited and am still using.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I don’t think that I do.


Linda January 29, 2015 at 12:00 am

try a deli


ashley Casas January 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

When I lived in oregon still there was a Hawaiian restaurant in Hillsboro that sold their food grade buckets for $3, they were empty from things they used so it was a win-win. Maybe check with local small restaurants.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm

That’s an idea, although I think I’ll try for glass first.


Diane C January 29, 2015 at 9:45 am

Pickles from Costco or Grocery Outlet are my most consistent source for gallon glass jars, and I’ve had some luck with freecycle. Recently an older friend who is decluttering offered me four extra large glass canning jars and a new package of gaskets. Score! Then there’s the gallon pickle jar that I “share” with my frugal friend, “Be”…


lori January 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm

We had a frugal family movie using cinema passes that we were given. The child’s pass was expired by a couple of months, I asked if they would take it anyway. The girl scanned the bar code and it worked! Three of us saw the movie with drink and popcorn for $0!!!
Used a can of pumpkin that I ground in the cupboard, past the best by date, but still good, made muffins for breakfast this week.
Booked flight for a friend’s wedding on points and will stay with family for the trip.

I didn’t think this week was that frugal, but it turns out it was better than I thought.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I love free movies!


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

I think the highlight of the week was giving my husband the worst haircut of his life. (I totally forgot to put on a guard and from the back he looked like a skunk).


Katy January 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

At least it’s winter and he can wear a knit cap?


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 28, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Ya, just not in the important meeting he had the next morning…


Nathalie January 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

LOL! This is why I’m OK with my husband going to Great Clips for his haircuts. I’m too nervous that he’ll end up looking like a skunk too! Of course, right after I bought the prepaid card so we could take advantage of $9.99 haircuts instead of paying $14-15 a pop, he decided to grow his hair a little… the good news is that the card (which doesn’t expire) is going to last us a good deal longer than we thought!


Lilypad January 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm

1) I just used Bob’s Red Mill oats and wheat germ in the batch of homemade granola bars which are in the oven right now.
2) I usually turn off the oven at least 5 minutes before I think the baked goods are done—I can always turn it back on if they are horribly under-baked but if not, it saves natural gas and money. Then I will leave open the oven door to heat up the kitchen even more.
3) I had to take my car in for service, which is never fun, but it’s part of our plan to keep that car (a 45 mpg Prius) for a super long time. The guy was astonished that it took about 15 months for me to drive the 5,000 miles since I’d had the oil changed—I just don’t drive that much. The smaller battery (not the expensive hybrid battery that people think fail on Priuses) needed to be replaced, and the guy said they usually last 5 – 6 years but mine lasted almost nine. Again, not driving a lot and babying the car has paid off.
4) the guy at the car dealership didn’t want to let us use their shuttle to get back home after the drop-off because we live in a neighboring town. I tried a negotiating tactic—staying quiet, letting him be the first to speak—and then he said they would do it. Once we were in the shuttle, the driver said he would pick us up later to get the car again. Win, win because paying for a cab (or waiting till after 6:30 p.m. when my husband would be home to drive us) would have been a lot more expensive and a lot more hassle. I’m usually pretty timid in this sort of thing, so I was proud of myself for not giving in!
5) There was a teriyaki place next to the car dealer and I REALLY wanted to just dash in there to get dinner after my son and I picked up the car. But I resisted and we had spaghetti instead—I always keep a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce or taco shells in the pantry or something frozen from Trader Joe’s as an emergency meal for just this sort of thing, when a quick meal is needed and to keep me from buying takeout or ordering a pizza.

One thing that’s pissing me off (to steal your phrase): my husband lost his key to the Prius about 4 years ago and we didn’t replace it because they were so expensive—$350!! I finally got tired of worrying about losing the only other key, and decided to get a new one made. Now, however, they are $400. Such a rip-off. At least I never did lose my key—he said it would be more than $600, plus the tow fee, if they had to “re-key” the entire car.


Katy January 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Ooh . . . that would piss me off as well!


chrissy January 29, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I have avoided getting a second key for this very reason as I bought my car with only one key and refused to cough up the $400, after seven years though my key broke. I was able to get one (computer chip and all) at a hardware store for a lot less.


Nathalie January 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm

For me it’s a TPMS sensor in one of my tires (the sensor that tells you whether you have a low or flat tire). It was damaged when I got a flat tire once and had to drive on the rim for a few hundred feet (the tire repair place was right there when it happened!). When I found out that the dealership would charge me $350 for the replacement, I decided I could live quite well with the “beep” that the car makes every 25 miles or so and the blinking and then solid light on my dashboard. It’s been… 6 years! Seriously, I have eyes, I can TELL if my tires need air by just looking at them, which I do every time I walk around the car anyway.


Terri W. January 30, 2015 at 7:57 am

The light on the dashboard can easily be covered by a piece of black electrician’s tape! Or if you want to live on the wild side, a little washi tape in your choice of patterns!


Tammy January 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

1) Today for entertainment, a neighbor and I walked the neighborhood and picked up trash. We missed the “Day of Service” on MLK day last week because we were both sick so we took advantage of the good weather today. The neighborhood looks great, we had fun catching up and my dog Riley got a really, really long hour and a half walk. Win, win, win!!

2) No eating out this week. My husband has been making some really great pizza! My neighbor gave us some pizza sauce she had made from scratch from a recipe from a friend who owned a pizza parlor. Yummy!

3) Have been staying home and reading instead of going shopping.

4) Got a really bad stain out of a 100% cotton handkerchief by putting bleach on the stain directly and letting it sit. Once the stain disappeared I rinsed it and then did a load of whites. One saved hanky!

5) My husband discovered that our dog doesn’t mind the electric toothbrush to have his teeth brushed. This will hopefully save us money when he gets his teeth cleaned and we don’t have to have any extractions. (His teeth are looking really great!) February is dog dental cleaning month and our vet is giving 20% off. He is booked for February and is letting us take advantage of the discount in March when we could get him in.

6) Took my receipt and coupon in to Rite Aid to get $3 back on hair color that I had purchased without the coupon.

7) Clipped coupons and dutifully filed them in my coupon folder that I keep in my car so I always have them with me. (Except for the time I went to Rite Aid.) 🙂 I think my MIL must have driven for that excursion.

Wow, I have been busy being frugal!

Thank you Katy! I enjoy hearing about your frugality!


Isabelle January 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

1. Bought 2 groupons for restaurants. The frugal way would be to eat at home all the time… but I loooooove restaurants… so with thoses groupons at least i am saving a bit of money (about 20$).
2. Used a forty percent off coupon at Micheals to buy face paint for my 5 year old birthday party
3. Went browsing to Value Village today and was tempted by a couple of things but I asked myself if I really needed them. The answer being no, i left empty handed. Plus, they are so overpricing!
4. Sold some Dvd’s and got Big bang theory season 2 (used) + 8$ voucher towards my next purchase there. Too bad Big bang theory is not on Netflix.
5. Making rice&beans for tomorrow and friday supper, super cheap.

Have a great frugal day!


Christine January 29, 2015 at 5:16 am

1. Single-handedly fixed my car!!! Haha, it was just my hood, and it just involved putting some lubricant down into the latches, but I felt very empowered. It was safely secured, but not closing all the way after I opened it in VERY cold weather to fill the washer fluid reservoir. After being approached by a few men in parking lots who told me how to fix it, I was confident enough to just do that insetad of running it by the shop. I don’t think my mechanic would have charged (regular customer) but it saved me the gas and time of making a trip
2. Finally doing a few last holiday returns/exchanges. My MIL gave me a lovely sweater, but (flattery?) bought it in a too-small size. My size isn’t available and the next size up doesn’t work, so I exchanged for some clearance rack t-shirts (T’s are what I’m low on right now).
3.Calling today to select seats for our upcoming vacation booked on credit card points.
4.Finally tried the famous Tuscan white bean soup. I was so-so about it (but I’ll admit I’m not a soup person) but my husband really enjoyed it, so I’ll likely make it again.
5. Finally sorted through the contents of a basket that had been stored in the basement since we moved. Donated a lot, put some things away, and washed out the disgracefully dirty basket as per directions I saw in the Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group 🙂 I’ll be re-purposing it as storage elsewhere in the house.


MW January 29, 2015 at 9:08 am

– Replaced the bathroom sink faucet ON MY OWN instead of calling an expert. No more leaking faucet, and no big bill- two frugal wins!
– Made pumpkin bread from a lingering can of pumpkin puree for a church potluck.
– Found more post-baby-body clothes from Goodwill to help along my work wardrobe.
– Convinced my family that home-made pizza is easier than ordering pizza. I make several batches of dough in one shot and freeze the extra.
– After several past attempts, convinced my husband to cut my 4-year-old’s hair.


JD January 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

1. I haven’t been to the store for any kind of groceries in a week; I used to go every other day on my way home, sometimes everyday. Moving from a conventional grocery store on my way home to an organic store out of my way is actually saving me money, although the organics cost more — I shop more carefully, plan better, shop less often, and use up every bit of the food instead of letting it go bad. Of course, that would work at a conventional store as well, but I’m going as organic and local as I can, and the prices make me much more frugal with the food. When it’s cheap, I find it easier to waste it.
2. I’ve started on a diet. I need to lose about 8 pounds (I’m short, so 8 lbs. shows). I’ve realized how much I was eating that I didn’t need to eat — it’s another way to “waste” food — eating too much!
3. I’m wearing lipstick that I made. The tube was a few cents, the ingredients were some I had on hand for other things, and the color was from a free mineral makeup blush sample. So much cheaper than the $14.00 tubes of natural brands. Recipes abound on the internet.
4. Still using waste blank paper from work that gets thrown away. I make scratch pads and list-paper out of it, some for work, some for home (with permission).
5. Getting my exercise by walking at lunch unless the weather is just awful. I even carry an umbrella on hot days, so I can walk in the heat of a southern summer. Some folks tease me, but I don’t care.
6. I’ll add one thing that’s pissing me off. My county roll-off dump sites went from accepting glass, newspaper, aluminum, cardboard and plastics for recycling to accepting newspaper, plain corrugated cardboard, aluminum cans only, plastic milk jugs and plastic clear drink bottles only. And they have yet to offer recycling bins; we must supply our own if we wish to recycle. AND we rural residents have to use our own gas and time to haul off our trash and recyclables to the roll-off sites and unload it ourselves– town residents get curbside city pick-up of trash and yard waste for $9 a month — yet rural residents pay $140 per year in taxes for the so-called privilege of using those roll-off sites, whether we have a lot of trash or no trash at all. My district commissioner has to do this as well, as he lives in the country, too. He has no problem with this. GRRRR.


Lori January 29, 2015 at 9:54 am

I read I think in my Tightwad Gazette book that if you put your grains in the freezer for a week prior to storing them it will kill off any little hitchhikers that may be in them. I always do and I’ve not had any problems.

1. I stopped on the way to work this morning and stocked up on chicken breast that was marked down to $1.39 / lb
2. Eating soup and ham slices from the freezer for lunch
3. Made a green smoothie for breakfast from leftover kale that needs to be used up, and the chia seeds that wont ever end! I swear I think I’m gonna make a pet!
4. Used cash for my purchases this morning and dropped the change in my change jug I keep in the car.
5. Switched the nozzle on my clogged hairspray bottle this morning instead of throwing it out into the street like I wanted to do. Thankfully it worked.


Katy January 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Oh yes, I am cycling everything through both freezers this very moment!


Cristie Glasheen January 29, 2015 at 12:17 pm

1. Continued eating down the freezer/pantry. Every January we try to eat only what we have the house. Last night we had curried marmalade chicken – surprisingly good – it let me use up some apricot preserves that hadn’t set properly and chicken breasts from the freezer.

2. Dyed some light colored sheets (non-bleachable) that had lost their luster but otherwise didn’t have anything wrong with them.

3. Continued sewing the large braided rug I got at the thrift shop for $2. The braids are fine but the sewing between the braids is coming apart. I’m not much of a sewer but I can handle that.

4. Repaired the break in the dog’s invisible fence wire ourselves instead of paying for the company to come out and fix it.

5. Carpooled with a co-worker to the annual post-holiday work lunch (so free lunch).


Amanda January 30, 2015 at 5:48 am

I don’t know why other grocery stores are incapable of selling shredded cheese that is comparable to Costco, but we will almost drive across town just for the costco cheese. *almost*

1. I borrowed a book from a friend instead of buying it. (The library copy was out.)
2. Our porch needs major repairs down the road, but I don’t want to put out the cash yet. We’re having a place patched to slow the damage, but we’re saving with an eye to getting it done.
3. Last night could have easily been a takeout night, but my husband and I conferred at 4:30, and he was able to put frugalgirl’s clam chowder on the table by 6:30.
4. I had a bunch of articles I really didn’t want to read online. I printed them in the library. I paid a few bucks, but I saved the annoyance of reading them online and the hours it would have taken to print them on my slow printer. Time is money!
5. Drove past a Victoria’s Secret yesterday and popped in to use a free underwear coupon. They send me bazillions in the mail. I basically don’t pay for under ware anymore, and I don’t have to go out of my way to do so.


Katy January 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Free underwear? I need to look into that!


Jill January 30, 2015 at 10:52 am

I am home from work today because I am sick. Luckily the sun is shining so I did a load of laundry and hung it on the line to dry. I then spilled coffee all over myself, so I did yet another load of laundry and hung it out as well. I made a giant crockpot of beans with kielbasa last Sunday and have been taking it for lunch all week. I even mushed some of the beans to use in quesadillas for dinner one night. Now I am going to take a nap. I am sick, after all.


Patti January 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

I can’t remember if I posted some of this but here goes:
1. I replaced the headlight in my car. The bulb was burned out so I went to an Auto Zone to buy a replacement. They do not install them anymore, so I came home and watched how to do it on You Tube. Turns out I had the wrong bulb, so I went back and exchanged it. Afterwards, as I was replacing it, the staff came out and watched me. One of them said, “I wish the men who come in here would learn to do this.” Ha!Ha! It is really an easy fix if you know which bulb to ask for (there are two or three in each headlight!! If I had gone to the dealer (my usual resort), I am sure I would have paid a lot for them to pop it in for me.
2. When I hosted my Bunko group, I used my cheap eggs to prepare a breakfast casserole for the meal. I also used a gifted box of brownie mix for my dessert. When the brownies crumbled, I simply broke them up into a cup, added ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry and called it a sundae. No one was the wiser. LOL
3. I have gone nuts over the Issuu link someone posted on here. I love to read magazines but have dropped most of my subscriptions and plan to drop the rest. I just made a list of 27 magazines on there that I want to read… that ought to keep me happy for a long while.
4. I made a chicken stir fry last night for our dinner – not unusual – but I cut up all the ingredients on my lunch hour because I knew I would be running late. It was wonderful to walk in, start the stir-fry, and be ready to eat in the time it took the rice to cook. I hope to do better at my meal planning so that I am not tempted to eat out on a late night.
5. I knitted a cowl with a skein of yarn a friend gave me. I looked for a pattern online that would use just the amount I had. I have worn it three times this week.


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