Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 27, 2015 · 69 comments

Costco drinking fountain

  1. My husband and I try to gas up our minivan whenever we’re at or near a Costco, as it’s usually 30¢/gallon cheaper than the competition. But since Oregon is one of two states where it’s illegal to pump your own gas, it’s always the attendant who fills the tank. Unfortunately, the last guy who performed this task screwed the gas cap back on with the tether sticking out. We only discovered this when the “Check Engine Light” lit up and I dutifully drove it to the auto clinic. We were charged $60 for the inspection, which A) made me happy as there was nothing actually wrong with the car, but B) bummed me out as it was a stupid waste of money. However . . . because it was Costco, (a very ethical company) they gave me 0.0% flack about reimbursing me the $60. That’s right, all I had to do was bring in the mechanic’s paperwork, and they handed me three twenty dollar bills!
  2. We had chicken thighs for dinner the last two nights, and I saved everyone’s leftover bones. So tonight’s dinner is . . . chicken noodle soup! Very delicious, and extremely satisfying on a drizzly February evening.
  3. I had plans yesterday to go to breakfast with a neighbor and catch up on each other’s lives. Unfortunately, I had too much stuff going on to make our date. So instead, this morning we cozied up on her porch to drink tea and chat our chattiness. It was nice to enjoy each other’s company without the expense of hitting up a restaurant.
  4. I am still on the hunt for big glass jars to store my bulk purchased oatmeal. I had the great idea to ask at the Costco food court, as sauerkraut usually comes in exactly the size jar I’m looking for; and who serves more sauerkraut than Costco? (Great idea, right?) I stood patiently in line and realized I was thirsty and started craving a root beer. I rarely drink soda, but I do enjoy a root beer the couples times per year when I indulge in a Costco Polish sausage. (Seriously, I’m like a Pavlovian dog, I go to the food cart and suddenly start salivating for a root beer!) However, I didn’t really want to drink a soda, so I walked over to the drinking fountain and quenched my thirst. Frugally and healthfully. And by the way, their sauerkraut comes in plastic bags. 🙁
  5. My husband was given a Fitbit for Christmas and was really enjoying tracking his activity and sleep. That is, until it popped off his wrist and became part of the great unknown. However, someone over at the The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group happened to mention that the Fitbit company will sometimes replace lost ones for free. So I went to their website and explained my husband’s situation. And whattayaknow, they contacted my husband with the news that a brand-spanking-new fitbit was being be mailed out to him. (This time with a XL wristband.) Yay!!

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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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

gettingthere February 27, 2015 at 4:30 am

OK, my mind is officially blown. Cannot believe there are places in this world that it illegal to pump your own gas.


WilliamB February 27, 2015 at 7:26 am

New Jersey is the other state. It’s all about political influence and nothing to do with logic or practicality.


Megg February 27, 2015 at 11:34 am

In Massachusetts there were some places that were full serve, and boy do I miss them! I think it’s good, more jobs available that way.


NMPatricia February 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Let me tell you. It was quite nice. And never more expensive there than neighboring states. I miss it now that I have moved from Oregon.


Margaret @ Live Like No One Else March 17, 2015 at 3:05 am



Denise February 27, 2015 at 4:49 am

Wow! I cannot even think of a gas station in my town that has an attendant anymore. That’s such an interesting bit of trivia about Oregon!

My mom recently took her vehicle into a local dealership because she was having a “check engine” notice appearing; it turned out she did not have her gas cap tightly closed. They didn’t charge her, but they said that this happens “all of the time”!


Amy February 27, 2015 at 5:07 am

I am also stunned that there are two states where you cannot pump your own gas. And i understand why you bypassed the Costco snack bar (for both frugality and health reasons) but you can get a pretty frugal lunch there. The sign says a drink and a hotdog for $1.50.


Barb Millard February 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm

And the dogs wre good.


Nathalie February 27, 2015 at 5:15 am

Wow, those are seriously impressive frugal wins, Katy! I came across the “you can’t pump your own gas” situation in one of the northern states (can’t remember which) 3-4 years ago when I drove a friend from Florida to Maine. It was surreal. I wasn’t sure if I should tip the guy or what.

I haven’t been feeling great and my plans were derailed yesterday (I was supposed to go pick up some free mulch from our county dump) so my own accomplishments weren’t as stellar as I would have liked 🙂

1) I was asked to drive my daughter’s FFA team to a competition yesterday that lasted several hours. I had breakfast at home and packed a lunch but the teens had apparently “planned” on getting breakfast and lunch on the road. Problem is: no one thought to check if there were places to get those things between the high school and the meeting location. We live in a rural area so, of course, there was nothing. I didn’t think that there was and had warned my daughter but… she’s 16 and the world is her oyster, right? Argh! I found a CVS and asked the cashier to scan my Extracare card for each of their purchases so they could get the discounted prices. In turn, those purchases were credited to my “Winter 2015 Expenses”, of which I will get 2% back in April through the Extracare program. Bad news: we were out $5+ for my daughter’s breakfast and a snack for after the competition.
2) However, the District officials did decide to feed us all pizza so we did score a free meal. The kids were relieved as their Ag teacher, who was being a sweetie, had offered to buy us all lunch at a local restaurant that has a buffet featuring frog legs and alligator tails!
3) My dinner plans were derailed as well and I briefly considered ordering in because I wasn’t feeling great. However, I rallied up and made Carrot Ginger Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I froze the carrot and potato peels so I can use them in homemade stock at a later date.
4) My daughter was invited to go bowling tonight. I had found 2 “free bowling game” cards that a friend had passed on to me several years ago but that don’t have an expiration date. However, she decided not to go after all, so we’re saving the passes for another occasion and saving gas and dinner out money as well.
5) I had mentioned that Staples had sent me a 2nd $30 Visa Prepaid card for a rebate that I had submitted (and had had lots of trouble with) and that I had emailed them to ask what the deal was, hoping that they would tell me to keep it. Well, they voided the card and apologized for the problems with the rebate. I wasn’t entitled to the money so I’m not upset.


Megg February 27, 2015 at 11:34 am

It was probably New Jersey, that’s the other one where you can’t pump your own gas.


Lucy February 27, 2015 at 5:22 am

Yup, the gas cap is the first thing to check when the check engine light comes on. I learned that long ago, but for free from a mechanic I was doing part-time office work for.

I can’t think of any gas station within 60 miles of me that has attendants. I had no idea there were places that forbid self-serve!


Katy February 27, 2015 at 8:51 am

We’ve owned this car since 2005, and this was the first time that the gas cap being on correctly was an issue, so it wasn’t even on my radar.


K D February 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I have a 2003 Honda Accord and the light has come on about 5 times over the past 12 years. The gas cap is always on tight but I do fill up the tank and make sure the cap is on very tightly and then the light goes off. The owner’s manual gave me the hint that I should deal with it that way.


Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life February 27, 2015 at 5:23 am

They used to have attendants at a station down the road but now everything around here is self serve. On these chilly days I’ve thought about how nice it would be stay in the car while my gas is pumped… Anyway, I realized that almost all my library books were overdue but didn’t have time to head over to the library. I went online to see if I could renew them all for a few weeks and TA-DA! No more fines!


WilliamB February 27, 2015 at 7:28 am

As I understand it, all gas stations are required to have someone on hand – at least during the day and evening – to pump for the handicapped.


Isabelle February 27, 2015 at 11:18 am

Well, not in my area.


Ellen February 27, 2015 at 5:31 am


And I live in the other state that does not allow you to pump your own gas!
any guess to my state?


gettingthere February 27, 2015 at 5:52 am

New Jersey


kathleen February 27, 2015 at 6:16 am

Wow! These are the best 5 frugal things ever. Costco is coming to my area soon (Charlottesville, Va) and I cannot wait! What a great company! And the Fitbit replacement is awesome too! I have not seen a gas station attendant in 30 years, I had no idea there was such a thing as illegal to pump your own gas.


kathleen February 27, 2015 at 6:21 am

Wow! These are the best 5 frugal things ever. Costco is coming to my area soon (Charlottesville, Va) and I cannot wait! What a great company! And the Fitbit replacement is awesome too! I have not seen a gas station attendant in 30 years, I had no idea there was such a thing as illegal to pump your own gas.
My frugal find was a purse. I have been looking and looking for one 2nd hand, no luck. In a department store yesterday I found one I love that was originally $80, marked down 50%. My only hesitation was I thought it was real leather. But I searched inside the bag and found it was simulated leather. So happy, went to counter and it was 50% again!! It was $20!!


Nathalie February 27, 2015 at 6:59 am

Oh I love surprise discounts like this! Good for you!


JD February 27, 2015 at 7:31 am

Count me as one of those who didn’t know it was illegal to pump your own gas anywhere. There sure are days when I’d like to sit in the car and let someone else do it. The last place that pumped it for you in my town closed about 10 years ago. They had higher gas prices, but a group of people faithfully bought gas there, because they didn’t have to pump their own. I was too frugal — I pumped my own and paid less.
You scored some real wins there Katy! I hope I can do even half that well this week.
Let’s see, I bought a 12 pack of fancy beer for a beer fan as a gift, and have sent off the $5 rebate, so that’s sort of a frugal win vs. not so frugal gift.
I’m wearing jeans from a consignment store and a nice shirt handed down to me by a grown daughter.
Friday is always a big temptation day to eat out. I’ve been doing better and better at resisting.
I’m excited to have received two free tickets to a dinner theater for a sweet little comedy being put on in a historic old opera house. This is from a dear friend for my birthday, but it’s for my husband and me to go, so he’s happy, too.
I’m planning to use a gift certificate this weekend to buy some lovely stationery so I can continue to write my letters to family members. My other daughter gave me the gift certificate.
I have AWESOME daughters, by the way.


Katy February 27, 2015 at 8:50 am

I’ve only pumped gas a couple of times ever in my life, as I rarely drive when I’m out of the state.


Ellie February 27, 2015 at 11:36 am

A friend and I occasionally take a road trip out of Oregon – I’m sure any service station attendants who are hanging around laugh themselves sick as we try to pump gas! (We are both 80 year old native Oregonians.)


WilliamB February 27, 2015 at 7:37 am

1. Got a $75 debit card from my insurance company for filling out a basic health survey.

2. Can get more money and/or gadgets by doing other activities on their website.

3. Despite being sick for the past few weeks (the Cold That Won’t Die has morphed into an upper respiratory infection that’s responding slowly, if at all, to antibiotics) I still managed to cook at home rather than ordering in. Not fancy meals – one night it was Hillshire Farms sausage and raw spinach, many meals have been soup – but I’m getting the job done.

4. Knowing that my garage door was near the end of its life, I budgeted for one. That day came this week. I will be asking the guy what discounts I qualify for.

5. Did not buy a new microwave. This isn’t quite in the Lear Jet category: roommate was motivated to take apart the microwave and *really* clean 10 years worth of grease and gunk. While he did that we were joking about people who would buy a new one rather than doing the nasty cleaning. (He might have been tempted had it been a counter-top unit. Fortunately for the budget, it’s a built in, so finding one that fit is likely more work than cleaning the one I have.)


Jill February 27, 2015 at 8:01 am

I hear you about the Cold That Wouldn’t Die. This is the first week I have felt relatively back to normal. I was sick for almost a month. Lots of dripping and just so, so, bone tired. Glad to hear that you are on the mend, if slowly!


Nathalie February 27, 2015 at 8:28 am

I’ve been battling the beginning of a cold for several days now. I wasn’t sure if I would feel up to cooking dinner tonight so since I wasn’t feel horribly bad at 9:30 a.m., I went ahead and cooked dinner in advance.

Thanks for the tip about cleaning the over the range microwave. Ours works only intermittently now, seemingly without rhyme or reason (we have a countertop unit as a back-up) so I might have my hubby take it down to see if there is anything that I can clean up. I do wash the grease filter in the dishwasher once in a while, but you never know. I’ve kept it for 2 years (which is when it started giving us trouble) because I still use it for the ventilation when I cook and the light, as well as the timer function. All of those work perfectly so I can’t bring myself to get it of it even if the microwave function doesn’t work! And, of course, it stopped working a mere month or two after our extended warranty ran out.


Jill February 27, 2015 at 7:59 am

I got caught out on the pump-your-own-gas thing in New Jersey. I hopped happily out of my car, and the attendant came sprinting over. “Miss! Miss!” It was right off the highway, so I am sure they were used to it.

That’s so cool that Costco reimbursed you for the checkup for your car. Good for them! And good for you to think of asking – I never would have thought of it.

Hmmm, frugal things. Well, I made a public (online) pledge to get rid of 80% of my stuff, so now I have to do it. I have sold some stuff on eBay this week, and I am going to list some things on Freecycle this weekend. It will be a slow process but well worth it!

I needed a shredder but was able to get one through Freecycle. The guy said it was about 15 years old, and it is much better made than any of the ones that I have purchase new, and then broken.

For the whole eBay thing, I determined that I needed a postage scale to weigh all my irregularly shaped packages. It’s just less hassle that taking them to the post office. So I used my eBay money to buy an awesome vintage mechanical one on eBay. Bought used, and no money out of the bank account!


Katy February 27, 2015 at 8:48 am

I think that the can’t-pump-your-own-gas things may the only connection that New Jersey and Oregon have. 😉 Except Corey Booker. He seems like someone who would do just fine in Oregon!


Anne February 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

I lived in Oregon for five years, moving North from California. Of course we wrestled with the attendants over the hose the first time we bought gas. I’m sure the attendants get used to the constant struggle with astounded out of staters who can’t believe they are seeing mid 20th century gas station behavior. 😀

The other change was trying to force sales tax upon the first few clerks from which I made purchases. No sales tax was nice.

Now, on to frugal things. I had several coupons for Kohl’s and didn’t need a darn thing, so I went shopping for granddaughter’s birthday which is in May. I got her a bracelet making kit that was totally free after using my coupons. Originally $16.99. I now have two grandchildren’s birthdays completely taken care of with very little outlay by using various $10 spending gift certificates from stores that have arrived since Christmas.


Lynn D. February 28, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Years ago I worked on a Senatorial campaign in Oregon. We’ve had several referendums where self-pumping gas has been soundly defeated. The candidate said there were two things Oregonians would never do: put down their guns and pump their own gas!


Katy February 28, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I’d like to think that the two thing we Oregonians refuse are pumping our own gas and paying sales tax.

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom February 27, 2015 at 8:15 am

My dog bell moment is wanting frozen yogurt when I go to a mall. That’s a tough one to fight!

Awesome news about the fitbit! My husband got a Pebbel last year for Christmas and a button was getting a little sticky. It was out of warranty and he asked what he could to do try and fix it and this week he got a brand new one in the mail! Isn’t great when you’re floored by good customer service?


Betty Winslow February 27, 2015 at 8:54 am

1. Bought a bag of frozen mixed veggies and the asparagus stalks in it were the tough woody ends. Wrote the company and got a coupon for a free bag.
2. Used more of the coupons that Kroger sends us based on our purchases – I love getting a discount on things I actually use, even meat, produce, cheese; this trip, some of the couponed items were also on sale or BOGO. Score!
3. Picked up my free diabetic meds from Meijer.
4. Our new insurance rules state that the glucose meter I have been using is no longer covered, but the one I *used* to use, is. Glad I didn’t toss it….
5. Enjoyed a birthday coffee at a favorite coffeeshop; got the largest one the BD coupon covered, drank half, refrigerated the rest and reheated it for breakfast. Yum!


Christy Olson February 27, 2015 at 11:02 am

I needed black nail polish for a school project (long story), but I’m pretty sure I’ll only use it once. So I managed to borrow some from a friend who had previously bought a bottle and only used it once. I may have only saved somewhere around a dollar, but I also won’t have that nearly full bottle of nail polish sitting around for a couple of years until I finally decide to throw it out.


Isabelle February 27, 2015 at 11:27 am

1. Ate less, no snacks
2. Bought a cardigan and a shirt at the used store, both for 7$
3. Meet a friend over lunch at her place (i brought food to share, potluck style) instead of the restaurant
4. Received my sister in law for supper yesterday with a simple meal of homemade vegetables soup, cheese, baguette and fruits
5. Took home a book from a free pile, and planning to bring a couple books myself to pass along

Have a great frugal day!


Isabelle February 27, 2015 at 11:30 am

Ps: i love costco’s 1,50$ deal for a big hotdog and drink! And 1.99$ for pizza too. Don’t even have to be a member to go eighter (i called to make sure and they told me that everyone can go, member or not, and sure enough i went a couple times since without problems).


Michelle February 27, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I sent my teenage daughter inside to get a pizza for the family while I was gassing up and they wouldn’t let her in the building because she didn’t have a card.

Some of the chain auto parts stores will diagnose your check engine light for free. I’ve done that a few times when I was far from home and didn’t know if it was something panic-worthy or not.


Isabelle February 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm

mmm… i don’t know. The employee on the phone told me to come through the exit and no one ever stopped me to ask a membership proof.


Isabelle February 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

But the restaurant part is kind of outside the shopping area, that might be why.


Megg February 27, 2015 at 11:39 am

So glad you took my Twitter advice on the Fitbit!


Katy February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Yes, you are my husband’s favorite new person!


auntiali February 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I’m a proud Jersey girl and I freak out when I have to pump my gas when I go out of state.


Katy February 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I never remember how to do it myself, and I’m sure I look like a bumbling fool the few times I’d had to pump my own gas!


Lindsey February 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm

I love the fact that there are states that mandate having gas pumped by attendants. While this self-serve economy has taken over, it has resulted in a massive loss of jobs and most of them are for positions that don’t require degrees or a high amount of training. And all the places that have brought in self-serve check outs and the like have certainly not had their savings reflected in the prices they charge their consumers. I’d rather pay a penny more a gallon and see someone who really needs a job working.

My biggest frugal is that I have lost 50 pounds, after a year of effort. I have a whole new wardrobe, from the back of the closet where I stash things that have gotten too small. I saved money on groceries because for a year I bought no snacks or dessert items or soft drinks or fancy coffees—I cannot believe the difference in my food bills. And no restaurants or fast food places for a year helped the budget, too. I have spent money on joining a gym, so that is not very frugal, but I felt so mortified walking for exercise where everyone could see me sweating, that I finally gave in and joined a gym. $30 a month doesn’t seem too expensive.

This year I turn my efforts into decluttering!


Nathalie February 27, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Congratulations on your weight loss, that’s awesome 🙂

As an introvert, though, I’d much rather have self-serving gas stations… the less people I have to talk to, the better! I would also prefer bagging my own groceries and usually do it while the cashier is checking me out while the baggers are walking other shoppers to their cars. I’d love my teen daughter to get a bagger job, but I’d much rather bag my own groceries.

I’d be ok if all those places let you choose what you prefer (like the cashier’s line or self-checkout lines at Walmart, for example).


Karen February 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Lindsey, this is the best frugal post I have ever read and I have read alot. Congratulations and keep up the good work.


Chris February 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

#1 -Decided to use family photos as a mantle decoration and wanted all black frames – bought a few at Michaels – then thought “Knock, knock, pudding-head”! Went to the thrift shop and found 2 lovely silver ones for $1.49 each. Gave my extra 20% off coupon to the woman ahead of me in line since it was only good for one more day.
#2 – Made my first batch of homemade dog biscuits. He seems to love them.
#3 – Volunteered at a church dinner and brought home nearly 1/2 lb of brisket that I will use for Sunday’s lunch meal.
#4 – Grouped all errands today – 4 errands with the only cost being postage for an etsy sale which will be in my bank account on Monday.
#5 – Last night’s dinner and today’s lunch were chicken tacos using chicken from the freezer – pulled off roasted chickens and saved for the another meal.


K D February 27, 2015 at 2:42 pm

1. Because not everyone has shoveled their sidewalks it has not been safe for me to walk to Aldi or another grocery store for the past ten days. I am not going there to buy a few items several times a week. I believe I am actually spending less.

2. We watched Bosch on Amazon this week. Streaming it is included with Amazon Prime.

3. My mom lives in another state and is not computer literate, but she is getting the hang of internet shopping. I order her consumables using Amazon Prime. The items arrive quickly and at a better price. This allows her to skip going out on bitter cold days (it was seventeen below zero there this morning). I feel as if it makes the Prime membership a better value.

4. It just made bagels using the recipe Katy linked to last week. I have to say they taste more like bread than a bagel. I have not figured out yet what would make them taste more bagel-like. They will be eaten but I don’t think I’ll make them again.

5. I have been doing a good job of not going to the store, and of not stocking up on stuff we have an (over-)abundance of.


Nathalie February 27, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Just making sure you know that you can share your Amazon Prime membership with your mom. She’ll get the free 2-day shipping only (not the streaming or other advantages) and her account will be completely separate from yours. That way she can do her own shopping (if that’s something that she’d be interested in doing). To do this, go to your Amazon account, click on “Manage Your Prime Membership” and scroll all the way down to the bottom, you will see a link for “Invite a Household Member”. Amazon will send her an email that she will need to open to accept your offer (and she will need to enter your birthdate as confirmation). HTH.


Katy February 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm

I already just use her regular account, including the streaming!


WilliamB February 27, 2015 at 6:58 pm

KD – there are two things that probably make the difference.
1. The dough needs to ferment.
2. The bagels needs to be boiled in alkaline water before being baked.

1. After you form the bagels, put them on a baking sheet in the fridge for a day or until they rise, whichever is longer. This makes the bagel dough tangy and chewier, which is as it should be.

2. Put some baking soda or lye in a frypan of boiling water. Boil the bagels in this 1-2 min per side, then bake per instructions. This gives the bagels the proper skin on the outside.

Smitten Kitchen’s version of Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe is the *best.* It’s intricate but if I’m going to the trouble of making bagels at home they’d better be damn good to justify the effort.


annette February 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

My frugal thing is wondering about Haggen’s which is coming to Southern California. So, I have a question for north westerners: how does it rate as far as good buys for us frugal folks?


Tina S. February 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Haggen tends to have good weekly buys in their ad. They have a lot of local products, including produce and plants/flowers. Overall, they aren’t the least expensive, but the selection and quality are excellent. The staff at my local store are friendly and seem happy to work there.


Leigh February 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Just wanted to say ‘good for you! Katy’ for telling Costco about the car issue AND approaching Fitbit too. So often these things happen in my life and I feel irritated and plan to follow up on them but never do. This is a timely reminder to chase up every such situation as it’s really worth it. I’m still kicking myself complaining to my phone company about poor customer service around fixing a fault, them offering me a $35 discount on my next bill as compensation, and then never giving it to me. I kept forgetting to follow up on it and now months later, it’s probably too late. Also a good reminder to get such offers in writing!


Heather February 27, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I live in Southern Oregon and for the most part, I love having someone else pump my gas. It feels like full-serve back in the day! Katy: what was the story on the glass jars from Costco? Did they give you a sauerkraut jar?


Sharon February 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Heather, she said they don’t get sauerkraut in jars now, it’s in plastic bags. Boo.


Kim February 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm

1. Bought a Fiestaware pie plate for $6 and a 4 dozen brand new canning rings and lids for $5 at the charity shop. Also picked up pajama pants for oldest son for $1 which he was quite happy to get.
2. My mom brought us a box of Russell Stover candy that she bought for us after Valentine’s Day- cookie and pie flavors. Sounds yummy but were the worst tasting chocolates. I called the company and they are sending me a check for the retail value.
3. Twice a month my 17 yr. old son and I go out to get burritos at Moe’s on Monday night in downtown Annapolis. Burrito, chips, salsa and drink for $5.99 each. My other son works on Mondays and DH doesn’t like burritos so it gives us something to do that’s just ours and keeps the lines of communication open. This past Monday he had lots of homework so I told him I’d get carryout. Two blocks from my destination I pass a real estate office and I think I see some things out front with a free sign. I find parking 1 1/2 blocks away and walk back to check it out to find a dresser and microwave with FREE sign. Microwave looks new, carried it to my car somehow avoiding dropping it or falling on snow and ice. Plan to sell it on Craigslist to add to son’s college fund.
4. Snap rebate app didn’t credit me correctly so I called and they added the $5 to my account.
5. Got lots of granola for better than free at Safeway with the promotion of save $4 off sale prices when you buy 4 of various breakfast items. Regularly $4.49 on sale for $2.99, $1.99 when you buy 4, minus 75¢ coupons doubled=49¢/each. Then got $1 rebate from Checkout 51, 75¢ rebate from Saving Star and $1rebate for each from Snap. I got paid to buy granola!


Katy February 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I love your list! I completely understand feeding teenage boys to buy their focused attention, and selling stuff found in free piles? You know that made my heart melt!


Nathalie February 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Katy, you should check out this blog “Things I Find In the Trash” The author is based in Quebec and describes everything he finds in the trash (complete with pictures of said trash heaps) and how much he ends up selling it for. I love reading his posts!


Katy February 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

I’ve read that blog before, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder!


Kim March 2, 2015 at 6:32 am

Thanks Katy! Burrito “bribes” are a cheap price to pay for mother and son time!


Practical Parsimony February 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm

One day, I stopped in one of the larger gas stations and there was a gallon jug with pickles. I asked if I could have the jar when they emptied it. I rarely went in, so I missed the jars, but they were willing. Maybe you can find a service station to save gallon jars for you. You would need to get them one at a time because the one I went to said they did not have room to store them.

That was a good deal about the gas cap.

We have one station that is full serve. They will clean windshields and windows all around, check tire pressure, add air, check fluids, put water in radiator, wipe off side mirrors and clean lights front and back. Gas is ten cents more. It was a good deal when I was dressed with hair fixed and there was a rough sideways rain outside. I went there when it was 25 degrees and windy, also. I just purchased gas and did not ask for the full service either of those times. The only other time I purchased gas there was when I could barely walk.


Kim from Philadelphia February 28, 2015 at 7:54 am

Costco is such an ethical company in many ways; they also treat and pay their employees well!
I was there just yesterday, when I opened my bag of croutons and nibbled in some to stave off food court temptation!

I was laid off a month ago due to budget cuts at my hospital. I worked part time, which made me a target( no regrets about that, here’s to quality of life if you can manage a part time gig)
Anyway, still searching for the right job ( which means not full time)
I immediately signed up for unemployment until my severance kicked in; I’m squirreling it all.
Of course we’ve had several large expenses this week; $2k for a new, gas conversion hot water heater, a $4k federal tax bill, and a blockage in our outgoing sewer line ( caused by a tree root!) which came to $280.


Diedra B February 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

It is so difficult for me to walk past those hot dogs!


Emily February 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

When I sold my house a few years ago and was cleaning out cupboards, I found that my ex-boyfriend and I had collected quite a few empty jars from McMenamin’s (not very frugal, since you really only need 1). (For those not in the NW, McM’s is a brew pub restaurant and the jars are used as growlers for beer). I was trying to decide what to do with the jars – donate…or?? I then realized they would make PERFECT storage for bulk food items. I now use them to store oatmeal, lentils, beans, rice, etc. And, they look cool on my shelves too! Bonus! (Katy – Maybe your local McM’s has some old jars they want to get rid of – or maybe your friends and neighbors have accumulated more than their share, like I did, and would be willing to give them to you??)


Katy February 28, 2015 at 1:45 pm

That’s a great idea, although I never seem to be in the situation where I don’t have enough jars these days.


Em March 6, 2015 at 6:41 pm

I don’t know what kind of auto parts stores you have in Portland, but here in Kansas City you can go to Advance Auto Parts or O’Reilley’s and they will get the check engine code from your car’s computer to tell you what’s going wrong. And what’s more, they do it for FREE!


Theresa September 21, 2016 at 4:36 pm

I just had to google why you can’t pump your own gas. Crazy!!


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