Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 28, 2018 · 79 comments

  1. I texted my friend Lise to see if she was interested in walking to the library together, as I had an interlibrary loan book that was sadly non-renewable. Luckily, her schedule was open, so we met up for the easy half-mile stroll. Along the way I dropped off a few magazines at a Little Free Library, bought a goofy looking carrot at New Season’s, picked up a library hold of Emily Giffin’s “All I Ever Wanted” and then scored a Lucky Day copy of Andrew Sean Greer’s “Less,” which was very exiting as I’d been #333 on the hold list. The two of us enjoyed a lovely chat, and I was able to cross off “have a social life” from my mental to-do list. (Mind you, the two of us had gone to the Goodwill Outlet the day before, which categorizes me as a genuine social bad ass!)

  2. My son and I returned two huge bags of cans to the grocery store to redeem our 10¢ deposits. However, seeing all of them together made me realize that the flavored cans of seltzers that had once been a treat has become a problem. Not only because it’s essentially bottled water, (which I only support for those without a safe drinking supply) but also because it’s kind of expensive, especially when compared to tap water. It’s a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns, as what was initially an occasional splurge, had devolved into being taken for granted. I’ll certainly buy them again, but perhaps pause for a couple of weeks.

  3. I washed both of our cars by hand. Even though my plan had been to just wash the Prius, (which is the recipient of much avian feces. I swear the tree in front of our house contains some kind of emu sanctuary!) I also washed the minivan as I had the momentum going. Since I used buckets of soapy water and a hose nozzle, I didn’t actually go through that much water. It wasn’t the perfect job, but they both look 98% better, which is a win in my book. Plus you know . . . mild exercise. This saved us $12.

  4. I borrowed an electric fondue pot from my neighbor, I’ve been continuing to buy my groceries from the discount chain Winco, I used ancient Safeway points to save 70¢-per-gallon at the gas station, my son brought a jar of coins to the credit union for his savings account, which resulted in me scooping up 47¢ from under the coin counting machine for the Found Change Challenge, I donated a bag of miscellaneous stuff to Goodwill and I enjoyed a restaurant meal from my mother as a thank you for driving her up to Shelton, Washington for a cousin’s surprise party.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill D - Corrales NM August 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm

I got a carrot just like that, but not on purpose. It was in a bag of otherwise boring carrots. I, too, took a picture. It’s been a source of conversation ever since. #cheapentertainment.

Reply

Joyce August 28, 2018 at 12:41 pm

1. Free peaches from son’s tree
2 free blueberries from neighbor
3 cut off bottom from toothpaste tube
4 cut bottom from sun screen tube
5 redrafted hated wall sconces using a bit of spray paint

Reply

Jill A August 28, 2018 at 1:02 pm

1. I took my daughters on an inexpensive trip to Mackinac Island. We stayed in an inexpensive local hotel with a free breakfast. We took the dog along saving $110 in dogsitter fees. We brought along cheese and crackers and grapes to eat for lunch on the drive up and I drove my hybrid to save on gas.
2. I found a vintage Vita Mix at a garage sale for $4. I sold it the next day on facebook for $50.
3. I purchased a new washing machine from Costco. It was $50 cheaper than elsewhere and I save $20 on the haul away of the old one. They also don’t charge for the hoses to hook it up saving another $25. They also give you an extra year of warranty for no additional charge.
4. I found my daughter a corkscrew at goodwill for 59 cents. I’ve had my eye open for a while for one. I’ve also found some odds and ends to add to both daughters new apartments collection.
5. I gave my dog a bath in the bathtub at home saving myself $7 for the do it yourself dog bath at the dog park we belong to.

Reply

Sherri August 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

First time commenter: Here goes –1. Showerhead broke, was about to buy a new one when I remembered that Delta has a lifetime warranty on bathroom faucets, shower fixtures, etc. They sent a new improved shower head out, my husband installed it and we saved a lot of money!
2. Loose change added up to $47- go me
3. Borrowed a library book to read-my new habit, as I am an avid reader, and books (even used ones), are expensive
4. Went out to dinner, no appetizer, no dessert, no alcohol
5. Sold 2 very beautiful, high end tables that were 25 years old, I had no use for, , and took up space in my home. Used the local Neighborhood group to list, had 3 people interested- sold to first buyer. Extra $175 in my pocket

Reply

Roberta August 29, 2018 at 6:36 am

I’m thrilled to hear about the showerhead — I’ll try to remember that for the future!

Reply

Crosby August 29, 2018 at 7:17 am

Welcome!!

Reply

janine August 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm

1. About to cash in on change jar – try to do this twice a year and am always glad to see those dollars.
2. Family spent weekend at our State Fair instead of eating at home and I was forced to throw out more food that I bargained for. I did find enough leftovers and “scraps” to make dinner for this evening, but am painfully aware that the American family, on average, throws out $1500 worth of food a year. I am going to try harder to reduce that number at least for our family.
3. Found a hardback book at dollar store set in Door County which will make a great stocking stuffer for brother and sister-in-law who have a vacation house in the area.
4. Son treated me to lunch at an Italian place today that features $6 spaghetti on Tuesdays.
5. Need a new refrigerator. Am spending some time researching which brand and model will best suit our needs. (Didn’t do it last time and was disappointed.)

Reply

Jen August 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm

KATY-keep your eyes peeled at the Goodwill Outlet for a Soda Stream. Or maybe even FreeCycle could be lucky since it is one of those things, like a bread machine, that people get and don’t always use. I have seen them there a few times. It will give you your bubbly water fix without the cans. You just use a splash of juice or squeeze of lemon and it is just as good.

Reply

Katy August 28, 2018 at 3:42 pm

I would gladly try one out!

Reply

Marybeth August 29, 2018 at 8:36 am

My sister loves her soda stream.She uses it every day.

Reply

Lazyretirementgirl September 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

I love mine. I flavor my bubbly water with bitters and tonics from one of the ladies at the farmers market. The company takes back the metal tanks that need to be replaced after a while, so it is quite waste free and very satisfactory for mocktails and the environment.

Reply

A. Marie August 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm

FFT, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” edition:

(1) Not a lot has gotten better around here since my last comment. The main thing is that DH’s only sister was found dead at her home in suburban northern CA on 8/15. Other than that she appears to have died of natural causes, we still don’t know cause of death and may never know, since our nephews (her two sons) either chose not to have an autopsy done or are not divulging the details if there was one. This is the SIL I often described as “Martha Stewart’s separated-at-birth twin sister” (they were only a few months apart in age and complete doppelgängers otherwise). But she was also the one who summoned up the nerve to go free-diving for that $50 bill she spotted down at the bottom of a snorkeling site in the U.S. Virgin Islands. RIP, Sharon.

(2) You can probably imagine the effects of (1) on DH–especially as, given his cognitive challenges, there was no way we could have traveled to the funeral (a transcontinental round trip by plane was out of the question). He is only just now coming out of the quiet fog of depression he went into on hearing the news, and I’m afraid that this has had further negative effects on his cognition. Sigh.

(3) But let me try to refocus on the positive. Friends from both near and far have rallied round. It was a happy coincidence that DH’s best friend from high school was already scheduled in to drop in for a few hours the day after we got the news about SIL, and another one that my Literary Society BFF came up from NYC for a previously scheduled long weekend the day after that. (DH’s high school buddy was the one who supplied the “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…” line. It helps that we all share a warped sense of humor.) And our dear friends here on the street have stepped up to the plate in various ways. Naturally occurring support = priceless.

(4) Nor are we neglecting the small Frugal Things. I made a “Mason-Dixon Gumbo” (so called because I use seafood I can afford here in Upstate NY, as opposed to distant Louisiana delicacies) with okra, tomatoes, peppers, and other veg from the garden, plus previously frozen homemade chicken stock. The okra, BTW, is my only vegetable that’s had its best year ever this year. I think it thinks it’s in Louisiana, Hello, climate change!

(5) And although it hurts sometimes that we are unable to travel anywhere nowadays that’s more than a day trip by car (see above), there’s no denying that we’re saving money and helping the planet this way. I have to look pretty hard to see the bright side of things these days, but I’m still trying.

Reply

Nancy from mass August 28, 2018 at 2:48 pm

I’m sorry to hear about your SIL but glad you had various visitors to help keep hubbys s mind active on other things.

Reply

Liz B. August 28, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Oh, A. Marie, I’m so sorry to read this news about your SIL, especially made difficult by the fact that the two of you could not travel for the funeral. It’s so, so hard all the way around. Glad to know your friends and neighbors are there for you in this difficult time. Virtual hugs
That’s a personal favorite quote of mine, too. lol!

Reply

Lindsey August 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm

A. Marie, I think about you often, trying to come up with some helpful or comforting comment to post next time I read something from you. Alas, my desire is obviously stronger than my talents, so I will stick to the usual: thinking of you and hoping you have some good days/hours/minutes in the middle of your troubles.

Reply

tracy August 29, 2018 at 6:23 am

A Marie,
I am thinking of you and sending prayers for the difficult times you are bravely wading through. I so appreciate your posts and your candid and realistic yet positive outlook.
Tracy

Reply

Crosby August 29, 2018 at 7:22 am

I’m so sorry for your continued trials. Send thoughts and hugs to you and your DH. I’m incredibly impressed by your efforts and success with trying to find the positives.

Reply

Bee August 29, 2018 at 10:07 am

Sending thoughts of peace, hope and love your way, A Marie.

Reply

KJD509 August 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Hang in there, A Marie. Don’t feel too much like you have to find a bright side for us . . . I bet there are a lot of us cheering you along even on the gloomy days, of which you are having more than your fair share. Hugs to you and to your DH on such a difficult loss.

Reply

Cindy in the South August 30, 2018 at 8:35 am

I am so sorry…virtual hugs from afar

Reply

A. Marie September 3, 2018 at 9:26 am

Thanks and hugs to all the commenters. Your support means more than I can say. And thanks as always to Katy for providing this platform for a friendly community.

Reply

Katy September 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm

((((Hugs from me!))))

Reply

Kathy August 28, 2018 at 2:34 pm

The good, the bad and the ugly
1. Borrowed 3 dressy jackets from friend for upcoming cruise
2. Returned $25 of “stuff” I didn’t need from Target
3. Cancel facial I had scheduled for this week. I’ll use what products I have at home
4. Eating out of pantry/freezer and using PF Changs giftcard.
5. Sold several items on swap.com

Reply

Kathy Worden August 28, 2018 at 2:39 pm

We used to call those birds, ehite wash birds

Reply

Marybeth August 28, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Love the carrot. I grew one like that once and it tasted the same as the rest.

1. Youngest daughter passed her road test on the first try. How is that saving me money? Well time is money so I don’t have to chauffeur her around anymore. She gets to pay her own gas now.

2. Picked veggies from my own garden today. Got 10 cucumbers , 82 tomatoes, 7 peppers, and a bunch of string beans. I don’t need to buy veggies foe a while.

3. Canned 6 quarts and 3 pints of sauce, 10 pints of pickles and 1 1/2 pints of jam from last weeks garden produce.

4. Cooked a chicken last night after work since it was an early shift. Will be eating leftovers from it today since I had an appointment after work today.

5. Going to pick up a free drum set from Nextdoor that someone on the other side of town is getting rid of. Hubby has his good set but plays at a friend’s house often. He either has to dismantle his set or just bring his pads. Now he will has a set to leave at his friends house so he doesn’t have bring them back and forth.

Reply

Christine Joiner August 29, 2018 at 10:28 am

Nice harvest from your garden!

Reply

Marybeth August 30, 2018 at 4:59 am

Thank you.

Reply

tonya Jenkins August 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Katy, I just received both the physical and digital version of “Less” via my public library!! I guess I had reserved both versions since the wait list was long. Lucky day!!

Reply

Ava August 28, 2018 at 3:56 pm

1. Saved .30 a gallon on gas with grocery points.
2. Got a tetanus and a flu shot in the doctor’s office while I was there for medicine refills.
3. Giving the dog generic allergy pills every day to head off a visit to the vet’s to get steroids. So far, her rash from unknown allergy is staying away.
4. Watched a movie from the library and ate homemade popcorn. As always, reading library books, mostly drinking homemade iced tea and water, reusing plastic bags, composting, wearing thrifted clothing.
5. Cleaned $69.00 couch that originally came from the thrift store. Our dogs have ravaged it until it looked like it came from the dump. When I got out the upholstery machine to clean it, I couldn’t get the spray function to work. I put the cleaning solution in a spray bottle and used the machine to suction out the dirty water. Couch looks like new.

Reply

Linda August 28, 2018 at 4:07 pm

1. My IT engineer husband was able to restore my desktop computer, that that is about a thousand in computer years, when it lost its brains this weekend.
2. Reading free books on my e-reader.
3.Got a new carpet cleaner which I rent out to my grown kids. The rental charge is cleaning the carpet in one room of my house.
4. Eating out of frig and freezer in preparation to cleaning and defrosting those appliances. Will start buying my holiday food, an item or so a week after Labor Day.

Reply

susanna d August 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

1. I’m going through the freezers, pantry, etc. to come up with as much “on hand” food as possible to feed the ever growing number of family members who are coming up for the holiday weekend. I absolutely love that so many are choosing to make the 4 hour drive up here to visit. Being able to feed everyone (mostly) from things I already have is just a frugal bonus.
2. Our son and grandkids were up for the week last week. All meals from home (including several items that the grandkids had a blast “cooking”), and our many trail walks provided lots of materials for art projects. No need to spend a lot of money on entertainment; everyone seemed to have a great time without doing so.
3. My “found on the ground” money jar has hit an all time annual high – $100. And with 4 months to go this year, it should go higher. The incredible total is due in part to finding $20 on THREE separate occasions while hiking, and the relatively new concept of Coinstar machines up here. Seems a lot of people still aren’t following the instructions to “check for returned coins”. My latest find other than Coinstar machines and trail dollars was another $1.50 in change returns on pop machines yesterday. Do I feel funny about putting my fingers into coin returns on each and every vending machine I pass? Not at all.
4. We’ve been on a major decluttering/cleaning mission due to thinking that we might want to sell the house next year. The results have made us reconsider – we love this house, it looks better than ever, and it’s a lot more frugal to stay put than to sell and deal with all the costs involved in it.
5. The container gardens are in full production mode, saving us a lot of money on fresh produce. And the taste of homegrown vegetables is beyond amazing.

Reply

Momma L August 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm

1. Took home a bag of free cubed cheese from work. Wondering how to freeze those little cubes, they are all different kinds.
2. Put a cute bamboo box for my surge protector to sit in at work. Then showed it to DH, who said, “I could make you one”. Saved $ by not ordering it but still covered up the ugly cords.
3. Got free eggs from a coworker. I love her! I send her coupons and egg boxes.
4. Not frugal but frustrating: pulled up my non-producing tomato plants after seeing lots of chewed up green tomatoes in my yard. The squirrels must have been happy. Left a volunteer squash plant, I wonder if there were squash seeds in my compost? Leaving it just to see what will grow.
5. Used coupons and local sales to get my grocery bill down. Making mostly stir fry and salads from the fresh local produce.
6. Resisted buying champagne for a friends’ anniversary, sent them a card instead.

Reply

Momma L August 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm

OH and my favorite thing: learned from You Tube how to replace a faucet. Yay!

Reply

Carol August 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm

1. Spent a total of $5 on groceries this week and the rest is from the pantry.
2. Made chili with a 50 cent can of beans, half an onion, half a can of diced tomatoes, and some vegetable masala powder my parents brought us back from India.
3. Waited 30 minutes to snag the quarter dryer in our building–the only one that costs 25 cents rather than $1.50.
4. Made my own deodorant! And it works very well.
5. Found an almost full notebook at the thrift store for 50 cents. With notebooks costing $3 to $5 these days, that’s a good deal.

Reply

Mand01 August 28, 2018 at 7:14 pm

1. September is our big bill month, made worse by the fact that we are having building and fencing work done. However years of frugality means that we can pay for all of it with cash. It’s still painful but at least there’s no debt.
2. It’s our annual carnival. This year my kids are going with friends and my husband and I get to avoid this $500 blowout (not even joking about the cost). We didn’t go last year either but I’m very happy to give one of my kids some money to attend with friends, and save a lot of money and time. I have other plans for both.
3. I picked up some freelance work.
4. My sister and I have agreed with my parents to get rid of all gifting except for kids. Thank goodness. How nice Christmas will be this year.
5. I’m still watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix with my youngest. The other night we were watching, and quite unprompted by me, they said “Lorelai sure wastes a lot of money. She could have paid for Rory’s college herself if she didn’t waste so much money all the time.” My heart 😀

Reply

Lisa M. August 28, 2018 at 7:15 pm

5(x5)FF, End of Summer Edition

1. My biggest frugal effort was completing a 3-day garage sale in conjunction with 2 neighbors. My DD cooperates with an annual purge of consumer items which was increased this year due to her new “minimalist” preference. Of course, DH and I contribute as we can but just DD’s items alone provide sufficient quantity for a sale. As Katy says, “Money in, crap out”. My real focus in on the crap out. Per my analysis, 197 items were sold for a net intake of $179. (Interesting juxtaposition of numbers there…) The shocking part is that I only sold 7-$5 items. Therefore, just $35 was from $5 items with the vast majority of items $1 and less with the most common at 25 cents. Translation: I sold a mega amount of crap. I also sold a lot of stuff that had sat out for years. That makes me especially happy and is the reason I box my non-sold items for inventory as I have a corner in the garage to store boxes which is essentially wasted space. I find that eventually there will be a taker for almost any item. Non-saleable items go in the free box & I am equally happy to see them go.

2. During sale-related signage efforts, I found 2 pennies and a fork. Super random…

3. Sale-related prep and clean up resulted in 2 things: minimal grocery shopping and a very dirty house. Went 2 weeks without getting any groceries and then pre-purchased for a trip to visit family, so anticipate greatly reduced shopping expenditures for a 6- week period.

4. Guest housing was a duplex with full kitchen, so most meals were eat-in and did some food prep to share with family as well. Also took food & beverage for travel there and back to avoid expenditures on the road.

5. Avoided pet boarding costs as little dog allowed in guest housing & arranged for neighbor girl to care for geckos, fish & outdoor plants at nominal cost.

6. My Dad’s coffee pot quit working & since he is not a big coffee fan, I gifted him my 4-cup ultra-basic coffee maker from my 1st apartment which will suit him just fine. Also took my Mom a summer nightgown/duster combination that belonged to my grandmother & since her size has changed, she can now utilize it. Doing my best to reuse what is laying around versus buying new.

7. Happily accepted pantry and freezer items that my Dad will not use.

8. Also accepted jewelry my Mom has no use for, with some costume jewelry to be earmarked for next garage sale.

9. Submitted Property Tax Refund document on due date.

10. Attended to some deep clean activities to hopefully prevent costly repair. Ran washer through deep clean cycle and added interior dryer vent cleaning to association provided exterior dryer vent cleaning.

11. Completed and turned in association form that enables inclusion in a drawing for a free month of association dues. Going to win that drawing one of these years!

12. Celebrated dinner out for a birthday using 2 coupons – one for a weekly special and one for a free dessert as a loyalty reward. Total savings: $10.

13. Only gave in to 1 fast food takeout during garage sale (dollar menu) and 1 takeout after 4 store mega grocery shopping (used 3 coupons & had leftovers for a meal for DH while I worked my weekend job).

14. Continuing to redeem free card offers on Free Card Friday from card shop with promotion ending this Friday. Their promotion has saved me a bundle as spring/summer is typically my high-volume card purchasing period.

15. Received a designer piece of clothing for my b-day from DD. At the risk of seeming unappreciative, plan to negotiate its return and repurpose funds toward a more comfortable/supportive pair of work shoes that I really need and will appreciate on a regular basis.

16. DH & I attended our 4th retirement planning related free gourmet meal (3rd from same company) at a restaurant that we never dined at due to its classification as fine dining. There are perks for maturity! Serving portions were so enormous, that leftovers provided 2nd meals.

17. Signed up for emails from a fast food chain and received a coupon for a free sandwich with purchase of a drink. Of course, ordered a small drink and refilled to maximize value for cost.

18. Used 2 free birthday drinks at local businesses. Mango smoothie for one and a delicious cold blended coffee for the other.

19. The temperature has slowly been transitioning to fall-like temps, allowing AC to be off and windows open.

20. Attended local church annual Mega Sale (mini this year d/t construction). Although didn’t add to my frugal wardrobe as I had planned, the “mini” part helped control spending.

21. Incredibly, I found a $20 bill at the sale so ended up spending $1 between my spending and DD’s spending.

22. As a follow-up to my garage sale, listed a piece of furniture on Craigslist and Nextdoor at a reasonable price. Really hope I can get it out of the garage before winter sets in and DD needs to park her vehicle inside.

23. Saved a ton of $ by avoiding our local State Fair. Went once several years ago, so I can say I have been there and done that.

24. Hours at for-profit job to increase back to normal with high school student returning to school.

25. Started enjoying Labor Day grocery savings today and continuing to transition to purchasing additional items at local Aldi.

Now that the hoopla of summer – garage sale – trip – church sale has come and gone and school starts next week, am looking forward to settling back to a routine of getting caught up on laundry, fall cleaning projects like defrosting the deep freezer and finally getting to use the oven again. Have literally waited 3 months for more comfortable temps so couldn’t be happier! Bring on the pumpkin!

Reply

naiveorbrave August 28, 2018 at 8:45 pm

Wow – that’s an impressive list. I love passing things on as well so someone doesn’t have to buy new!

How do you know the exact number of items sold? Did you keep a list during the whole time? I’m just super-impressed with that!

Reply

Lisa M. August 30, 2018 at 6:53 am

Thank you for your kind words. The truth is that I read this blog much more often than I actually post, so when I do get around to posting I have more than 5 FF. To stay in the spirit of 5, I try to come up with multiples of 5.

Yes, I do keep a list of items I sell. Each item (or bag of items of smaller things like little toys, socks, makeup, costume jewelry, etc.) is labelled with a post-it note with description, price & size (if applicable). During the transaction I use a “shorthand” description as I record prices & then go back following the transaction and add more info from the post-it notes. This gives me an accurate count of profit & items sold.

As a follow-up from the sale, the good news is that a buyer is scheduled to pick up the piece of furniture tomorrow that I listed on Craigslist & Nextdoor that did not sell at the garage sale. My neighbors & I are in a quandary – large items (like furniture or sporting goods) tend to encourage customers to stop, yet the small (& less expensive) items sell better & we are challenged with the actual sale of large items.

I so enjoy reading about your adventures. I can’t help but think that in your golden years, you will be able to reflect back on your adventure-filled experiences & be incredibly rich in memories.

Reply

Naiveorbrave September 1, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Wow that’s Very organized!

Oh thank you for reading and enjoying my blog! I am so happy to share my stories – and I actually enjoy reading them when I’m back home too

Reply

naiveorbrave August 28, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Five-Frugal-Things – long-term-travel-edition part 3

1. One of my two pants broke* and I’ve been looking for thrift-stores online as I want to avoid buying new. I cycled thousands kilometers in China so far and actually the first 300k convinced me of having to reduce my consumerism. On my second day of my first ever tour, I was cycling past all these factories and the air got so bad, I started to feel sick from it even though I was wearing my filter mask…
*Of course I tried to mend it before but the fabric is just gone by too much sweat, sun and maybe time. I got it of a colleague who was cleaning out her closet last year.
2. Staying in a big city (Busan, Korea) for a few days as I was going to meet some people for rock-climbing. Unfortunately it’s the first rainy weekend in ages. So on Saturday we just explored the site without being able to climb and Sunday, we go to the bouldering gym. I have to pay, but it’s my favourite exercise and we try to get a group-discount
3. Cooking as I am in a hostel with a kitchen. Going to the supermarket to buy food instead of preprepared stuff at the convenience store or eating out. No need to buy swee caffeine drinks as I got this nescafe-style coffee where 20 portions come for the price of two ready-made-ones from the store.
4. Went to a pricey sea-food-restaurant with the fellow climbers as one of them always wanted to try eel. Since I really don’t like sea-food I enjoyed the show (they were cooking it right on our table) but enjoyed sea-food-free, yummy, sweet street-food-pancakes after.
5. Stayed at a hot-spring/spa last night. It’s about 8USD, hotel would have been 40 at least. After cycling through rain and thunderstorms for 7 hours camping just wasn’t an option – plus I was in a city. Was an amazing experience for my last night in Korea 🙂

Reply

Laura August 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

I am enjoying hearing about your travels!

Reply

Naiveorbrave September 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Thank you! I’m happy to read that!

Reply

Jennifer August 29, 2018 at 2:56 am

1) We are 2 weeks into school and everyone has successfully packed lunches every day and I am longing for a leftover night that won’t happen because now 5 of us want those leftovers for lunch.
2) Went to a scout BBQ last night – I took a veggie tray using up veggies I had in the house and we all swam and ate dinner for free.
3) Met my son halfway last weekend for a day of outdoor activities. I took food to have a BBQ and then we hiked several trails. Tried to find natural water slides for the kids, but failed. We did stop in town at a local ice cream shop for a treat before heading our separate ways, but other than that I brought everything from home and it was a fun/cheap day.
4) Dh has been riding his bike to work 3 times a week since school started which saves a lot of gas.
5) I had booked a hotel room through Swagbucks and never received my 840 swagbucks. I tracked down the emails from the purchase and filed a ticket. Got my swagbucks within an hour and I cashed in for a $25 Amazon GC – this was a pain to do, but worth it in the end. I think Swagbucks counts on people not following through with making sure their points credit.

Reply

Elizabeth August 29, 2018 at 3:18 am

1. Received a “new to us” dresser from my mom that has been in my family for 50 years for my son
2. Used dollar store shelfing liner to freshen up the bottoms of the dresser drawers
3. Bought 10 boxes of koolaid jammers at Kroger for $.69 each
4. Decided to buy our plane tickets 4 months early to hopefully save money on a trip
5. My sister got two knots out of a necklace chain for my daughter

Reply

tracy August 29, 2018 at 4:02 am

1. Been packing my breakfast and lunch and DD’s lunch now that school has started, used coupons to stock up on some great deals on “filler” for DD’s lunches (rice cakes, crackers, cookies, Goldfish etc.).
2. Have been throwing overripe bananas in freezer for months, they had built up and were taking up too much space so this past weekend made 3 loaves of banana bread and some banana muffins. Threw all but one loaf into freezer. Taking out 1 muffin at a time for my breakfast and DD’s lunch.
3. Been doing really well taking bus to/from work most days, need to keep it up when rain starts, saves $12.50/day on parking.
4. My mom and I are planning our annual trip, at her choice we’re going to Rome this year to celebrate her 80th birthday. Not frugal, but we will try and do it as reasonably as possible. To that end, I’ve been planning an itinerary that focuses on free activities as much as possible (historic churches, parks, fountains, piazzas, markets etc.). Only activities we will pay for are 3 museums (including Vatican museums/Sistine Chapel) plus the Domus Aurea, an ongoing excavation of Nero’s Palace. We have been before so no need to re-visit Colloseum (sp?), Borghese Gallery etc. We will stay in a relatively inexpensive but very nice Airbnb and eat breakfasts and a few other meals in and we will walk and use public transit to get around. We are staying outside the main tourist area but still walking distance to most things and there are lots of good less touristy trattorias nearby where we can eat pasta and pizza for not too much money. We also got good airfare prices. Excluding eating but including all activities, flights, transportation + accommodations cost for trip from US West Coast for 8 nights will be under $1500 pp. Travel is one big incentive for me to be frugal in other areas…
5. Made a pot of Italian sausage white bean soup in crockpot Monday. Will be good for a couple more meals.

Reply

Bee August 29, 2018 at 12:58 pm

What a great way to celebrate your mom’s 80th birthday! I hope you have a great time. I too love to travel and suffer from incurable wanderlust.

Reply

Naiveorbrave September 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Wow – I second that, it’s a great way to spend the birthday and I totally understand the travel bug being a reason to save in other places. That’s what I do too enjoy your trip!

Reply

Mrs. Picky Pincher August 29, 2018 at 5:01 am

Ahh, I love the idea of returning cans/bottles for change. I don’t think that’s done much in our area, unfortunately (outside of Whole Foods on their glass milk jugs, that is).

This week:

1. I used a half off coupon at our local nursery to buy pots and plants for the house. I made sure to buy beautiful herbs like lemon balm that are both beautiful and functional. 😉

2. I just worked out on my elliptical. We bought this in 2014 for $120 as a floor sale. I’m so happy we’ve made it last four years. It’s definitely paid for itself and then some in the form of avoiding gym fees.

3. I made a green smoothie for breakfast using on-hand ingredients from the pantry.

4. Speaking of the pantry, I went through all of our food yesterday and listed it. I’m going to make our September meal plan based on what food we already have on hand. It prevents food waste and saves us money. 🙂

5. I did a load of laundry using homemade soap.

Reply

K D August 29, 2018 at 5:23 am

1. I finally figured that I could use rubber bands to keep soap slivers together. I realize it’s not a million dollar idea but it’s making me happy that the small bits of soap will all be used up, instead of thrown away.

2. I cancelled Amazon Prime. We don’t need it and it takes away the bit of remaining temptation.

3. I’m reading The Address by Fiona Davis. I don’t like it as much as The Doll House but I do want to finish it. I borrowed the Over Drive version from the library.

4. Since we’re keeping Netflix, at least for now I bought a discounted Netflix gift card from Raise. I’ll get a small rebate for using Raise and some credit card points.

5. We attended free concerts at our local outdoor theater last weekend. It was the last weekend of this summer time activity. Also, friends have been sharing their garden bounty, especially tomatoes, butternut squash, and herbs. Finally, I listed a bunch of stuff on Freecycle. I love finding new homes for items we no long need/want.

Reply

Jennifer August 31, 2018 at 3:55 am

Great idea on the soap slivers. I put mine in one of those smaller plastic mesh bags that I get reduced produce in from Kroger, tie a knot in it, then cut off the excess bag. It works pretty well and is kinda exfoliative resembling the mesh bath sponges you can buy. I just hang it on a hook outside my shower to air dry.

Reply

LB August 29, 2018 at 5:41 am

1. Made lunches out of the fridge this week. Baked zucchini with parmesan and breadcrumbs doesn’t look super pretty but tastes great!

2. Had a bunch of large expenses, but have a 3-paycheck month so I’m determined to use that 3rd paycheck to cover them. All exciting things for the next few months, which is keeping me motivated.

3. Still using apps and free gym for fitness, but shopping around for something next level as I’m not seeing results.

4. Staying out of the house during peak energy hours (anyone else having 100-degree heat? this is bananas!) to conserve AC. Leaving the fans on for the cats to keep them comfortable. I can’t imagine wearing a fur coat in this weather!

5. Trying to make it to Friday without having to fill up my car, but have fallen prey to driving when it’s so hot out. Hope to take the bus home today and leave my car at work and go from there.

Reply

Norma August 29, 2018 at 7:20 am

1. Made over $200 over the last week by selling stuff from the house and garage that we just don’t need. More space.

2. Took tons of stuff to our local recycling center. Items are sold at the thrift store and proceeds go to senior citizen programs.
3. Got a practically new Keurig at auction for $2.50 which I will list of FB Marketplace for $25.
4. Got office chair in excellent condition at same auction for $20.
5. Had friends visiting for three nights. All meals eaten at home with food already on hand except one meal which they treated us to. We paid for ice cream treat. All other activities free – checking on houses for them who hope to move here, tour of our local historic town, walk along the Riverwalk.

Reply

Crosby August 29, 2018 at 7:54 am

1. Rented a movie on Amazon and used free credits that I’d earned by selecting no-rush shipping.
2. Made a large batch of peanut butter, cheaper and healthier than the store stuff.
3. Went to a jazz est this weekend to listen to some free music.
4. Turned down an invite from friends who are coming to town this weekend to join them on some high-cost outings. Instead, I invited them to stay at our house after their day of fun (cheaper for them) and offered to have some drinks with them in the evening. Win for both of us!
Despite how long it’s been since I’ve posted, I don’t have a whole lot more. August was hard, we have been really good all summer and just sort of…gave up? Or fell back into old spending habits this month. We’ve both made the conscious decision to recommit to our more frugal lifestyle for September.

Reply

nancy from mass August 29, 2018 at 9:49 am

August is always an expensive month for me.
1. It was my MIL 80th birthday and cousins from PA/VA/GA came up to surprise her. they went to another cousins house in ME and my son and i drove up as well. She was surprised! we ate at a nice restaurant in Kennebunkport (prepaid) and had a bbq the next day.
2. taking a few days off this week. today is the only day i drove into work (wfh yesterday). leaving in an hour or so and on vacation for the rest of the week. very little commuting mileage.
3. heading to my favorite thrift/consignment shop tomorrow on the south shore. DS needs another book case and they have 3 houses of stuff on the floor – and – they decided to have a 50% off sale for the weekend. (they clean out houses, sell the valuable stuff and donate all their profits from those sales to various charities, mainly in MA but they also donate to other areas of new england.) the maple bookcase i bought him cost $25. i think that was the most expensive thing i ever bought there. they have some really, really nice stuff. i love poking around at that store.
4. DS had a choice of driving to NY to visit a college or two (and spending the night in a hotel) or staying home and doing day trips. hence tomorrows visit to the store. we’ll hit a beach south of the store and look for cool rocks. but, we’ll stay far away from the Cape – traffic that way will be horrible.
5. friday is DS 19th birthday. we may drive into boston, park at my companies parking lot for free and take the T into town – or walk.. it’ll be his choice. he may want to head to NH for the day.
6. we are still down to one car right now, so only one car to fill with gas. FIL still has my car – 5th week now. they should have totaled his car. it didn’t take Ford 9 weeks to build his car. i miss my Nellie! (as in Whoa Nellie). 🙁

Reply

Laurie Maguire August 30, 2018 at 5:56 am

Nancy, would you mind sharing the name of the thrift store? I’m in MA also and I’m always looking for new places to check out. Thank you!

Reply

Nancy from mass August 30, 2018 at 7:44 am

It’s called Good Deeds and it’s in Pembroke. It’s only open Wed thru Sat.

Reply

Nancy from mass August 30, 2018 at 8:42 am

They have an upstairs too!

Reply

Laurie M August 30, 2018 at 8:45 am

Thank you! Can’t wait to check it out some day 🙂

Reply

Bee August 29, 2018 at 10:46 am

I can’t believe that it is the end of August and soon this hot, humid Southern summer will be behind me. I lived through it —again. Every year I swear that I am going to go someplace cool for July and August. Maybe next year.
1) My daughter, a graduate student, was home from university for few days. She was in need of some clothes, so we went thrifting. I bought her a new-to-her fall wardrobe–12 pieces– for $40. She was absolutely tickled.

2) We have been eating all our meals at home, drinking primarily water and brewing our own coffee. I know this is not very exciting or innovative., but is a huge savings. There has been very little food waste, and I have been keeping in budget a the grocery store. The fruits and veggies have been so good this year!

3) After a very slow summer, I have sold quite a bit on eBay over the last two weeks. I am happy to have this influx of cash and thrilled to have these items out of my house. As usual, I shipped these items in recycled boxes or a Priority Mail box that I picked up free at the post office. I really should schedule a free pick-up of the items that I sell, but my dog looks forward to the car ride to the Post Office.

4) I have picked up several odd jobs over the next month. These are generally close to home or I carpool. I bring my lunch, water and coffee. The extra money is coming in handy!

5) Enjoying many free or nearly free activities — library books, Netflix, workouts at the YMCA, body surfing, and evening walks with the dog.

Reply

KJD509 August 29, 2018 at 12:01 pm

1) Sold the awesome washing machine that we moved 400 miles, only to discover it wouldn’t fit in the new space. Listed it for much less than I wanted to (hubs listed it a couple of weeks ago for way too much), but sold it in a day for cash, so that counts for something.
2) Was finally paid for a grant I wrote about six weeks ago. I fear I’m going to be part of the gig economy going forward, and waiting (and waiting and waiting) for payments to come in is by far what I’m looking forward to the least. But – money in is money in.
3) We’ve figured out to the penny what we need to sell the old house for in order for everything to work out okay. We have a lot of room between its list price and that number, so I’m feeling optimistic – at least momentarily – that we might make it work. As part of that exercise, I’ve updated a number of budget spreadsheets. Seeing those concrete numbers makes everything seem slightly less dreadful, and it’s much more frugal to plan ahead than to scramble to catch up.
4) Kids #3 and #4 have each landed jobs. #4 has been taking a pretty leisurely summer, assuming she’d start back at a different state university next month. She was so certain, in fact, that she withdrew from the university she attended last year. . . and then received a note that the preferred one is too full to accept transfers. After a day of shock and grouchiness, she applied for a dozen jobs, was interviewed for 10, and received 9 offers. Sigh. To be young, adorable, and competent. #3 was offered a job that interfered with his returning to university, so he thanked them profusely and turned it down. They called him a couple of weeks later (while he was visiting us, so we got to hear the surprise and delight on his end of the phone) and said, “We’ve redone the schedule to fit around your classes.” He started yesterday, and he will be able to manage most if not all of his school costs this year. Frugal for us, good for him.
5) Littlest is in a school with a large population of free and reduced lunch families. We’re really impressed that the intensive academic magnet program is in this school, because it provides so much opportunity for traditionally underserved kids. And we’re feeling very lucky that at this particularly disrupted moment in our lives because she’s getting a lot of free school supplies, snacks, etc., as those are provided for the whole school. I’ve spent just a couple of bucks on pens for her, and I think that will be it for the year.

Reply

Michelle H August 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm

1. Attending an out of town wedding next month, and scored an entire house on air bnb that is only 6 miles from the wedding venue, and costs less for an entire weekend than the price of one night in the nearest hotel 20 miles away. I told the bride I had 3 bedrooms if anyone else needed a place, and she’s already found another couple who wants to split the cost with me. Score!

2. Re-listed several items on Craigslist, Facebook and Nextdoor that I had removed before we left for the summer.

3. Hit Goodwill yesterday and found a cute dress for the rehearsal dinner, along with a pair of jeans and a very flattering fitted button down shirt that makes my plus size self look like a million bucks. (I’m a stay at home mom who manages our rental properties. I don’t have anything nice in the closet that fits anymore. Dressed up nowadays is a clean Tshirt, lol.)

4. Also picked up a new handbag with the original tags on it for $4 at Goodwill. (I’ve been carrying a handbag I hate, because I bought it for my very particular grandmother for Christmas, after taking her to 3 different stores and having her pick it out herself, only to find it 2 months later in a box of stuff she asked me to take to the thrift store. Not something I would have chosen for myself, but figured since I paid for it I might as well use it. I managed to tear a hole in the side of it last week, so it was time for an upgrade.)

5. Been taking advantage of back to school grocery sales to stockpile lunchbox staples for the kids.

Reply

Julie August 29, 2018 at 4:41 pm

1- today the younger son turns 15, DH suggested dinner out, I suggested his fave meal at home and a homemade cake. He picked my suggestion, smart kid.
2-starting to freeze the garden bounty. It’s still crazy hot but since the oven was on to bake the cake I roasted several trays of tomatoes and froze them for winter.
3-despite vacation this month I met my goal of 10 no spend days.
4- still line drying and my natural gas bill is evidence of that, we are on an equal billing plan and the last two months were zero. The new amount should be lower for the next year.
5-ignoring the call of takeout coffee and plan to try making my own iced coffee with today’s leftovers.

Reply

Trish August 29, 2018 at 6:13 pm

1) Made breakfast casserole with potatoes that were rejected by food bank recipients at my mother’s church and eggs from my mother’s chickens
2) Made pizza using Winco’s 1.49 pizza dough and things we had on-hand (chicken, BBQ sauce, gouda, half a carmelized onion)
3) Scavenged a free pile and found 2 books worth a total of $14 in Amazon’s buy-back program along with several 3-ring binders, a pencil, paperclips, and 3 books of overhead transparencies from a high school US history class. , Th transparencies are useless in an age where teachers use a projector, bu I spent an hour or so removing the perfectly good blank white pages that were between the transparencies. They added up to about 2/3 of a ream of paper that we can use in our printer.
4) Took fruit and veggie scraps and eggshells to my mother’s chickens. Love how they turn food waste into eggs!
5) bought a few children’s books at the good will for 49 cents a piece and donated a few that my kids are done with to a little free library down the street.

Reply

Teresa August 29, 2018 at 7:23 pm

1. Used last weeks leftover bread (that was free with coupon) to make lunch Paninni sandwiches several days in a row… used Costco chicken, fresh garden tomatoes and a little avacado. Mmmmm. Yummy and frugal.

2. Ordered (once again) a mirror for my car for $22 inc. shipping (online order.) It is a 1998 Honda Civic o after-market parts work just fine. This will be my 4th mirror replacement but the first on the driver’s side. I’m now an old pro mirror installer — but not so good at pulling in and out of the car port. :-\

3. Man, I LOVE Grocery Outlet. Coupons ($10 off $30 this week!), discounted everything and it’s near my home. Can’t say enough good things about this store. If you haven’t tried it, please do! You won’t regret it. I noticed that on Tuesday evenings they have more markdowns than the rest of the week.

4. Just purchased a pair of new sandals on Poshmark — my favorite brand at a very low price. Yay! I was going to buy elsewhere but this was a truly good deal.

5. So I spent money on the things above (needed items) but spent much less than I would have spent in other places.

***Also, WE HAVE A KITTEN AND IT WAS FREE!!! What more could I ask for? Cute, cuddly, a friend for the dog and the kitten brings us more joy than anything we could ever buy. <3 <3 <3

Reply

Joyce August 30, 2018 at 6:13 am

Ain’t no such thing as a “ free” puppy or kitten. I do love them though
Joyce

Reply

Alison August 31, 2018 at 6:42 am

I was going to say the same thing. LOL. My nearly free cat is now a diabetic, gets two shots a day, is on special food, and medication now for a problem thyroid. And I love him to bits, and will continue to take care of him as along as necessary.

Reply

Christine Joiner September 2, 2018 at 2:51 pm

At the cat shelter where I work, the price of any cat under one year old is $175.00. If you avoided the initial cost of a kitten, you indeed saved yourself some $$.

Reply

Teresa September 7, 2018 at 7:05 pm

The very old cats died and honestly, I swore no more pets because I’ll be 62 soon and I was afraid a pet might outlive me! Then what happens to the pet? But he’s very sweet (now getting feisty/bitey), he was homeless and I found it hard to say no. It’s ok. No grandkids here, so the kitten will keep me young. I know it will cost money in the long run but we love him so we’ll make it work.

Reply

Cindy in the South August 30, 2018 at 5:32 am

1. After getting over the shock that yet another colleague quit (and his caseload was dumped on me), I am starting to rethink my three and a half year timeline to retire. I may move it up significantly. So, I have spent time going over the numbers….frugal and needed.
2. I wore thrifted clothes.
3. I ate at home.
4. I took a nap on Sunday.
5. I took a walk.
All boring, but whatever…

Reply

Bee August 30, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Boring is a good thing.

Reply

tracy August 31, 2018 at 3:42 am

Cindy — work sounds stressful, but sounds like you have light at the end of the tunnel (however long that tunnel is!). Hang in there.

Reply

Cindy in the South August 31, 2018 at 5:18 am

Thanks!

Reply

Christine Joiner September 2, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Status quo is always a good thing.

Reply

Susie's Daughter August 30, 2018 at 8:47 am

I feel like it has been a long while since I posted, but I have been reading up on everyone’s efforts. Thanks for helping to keep me motivated!

1) First day of school for DS yesterday. Last week he and I went through all of the clothes in his dresser and the hand me down “too big” stash to make sure he is all set for school. I paid him to try on about 50 pieces of clothing (including underwear, socks and Christmas sweater ) and the going rate is .10 per piece or pair. He made $5.25 and I didn’t have to go shopping. A big win win in my book.

2) Clothes that no longer fit are going 3 places: a younger cousin out of state, the next little boy in our neighborhood hand me down chain and consignment (where I hope to cover the cost of a “new” pair of jeans for DS).

3) Sweaty summer me is trying to remember how grateful winter me will be to pull out zucchini, summer squash, carrots, blueberries and kale pesto from the freezer. I haven’t started to make ratatouille yet – that is next for the freezer.

4) We had my parents over for a lobster anniversary dinner since our wedding anniversaries are two days apart. My in laws had given us money for a date night and that paid for the lobsters . A lovely time for so much less than a restaurant.

5) I continue to love the results from my homemade stain remover recommended by another website. The recipe is equal parts Dawn detergent, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mix together and apply to the fabric (I use an IKEA dish brush). It has worked wonders on all kinds of summer stains including DS’s khaki “dress” shorts which were covered in spaghetti sauce and grass stains. It took a couple of washings, but they look good again.

Reply

ouvickie August 30, 2018 at 9:59 am

1) I really wanted Chinese today, when running errands, but managed to control myself and ate the entree I had in the freezer here at work.
2) I took back a Library book and picked up two more audiobooks – shopping with my favorite card again.
3) A co-worker handed me a free mini-chocolate bar when I came back from running errands – so free dessert bar! LOL!
4) I had an OKWIT (Women’s tech group) meeting in the City last evening. The bar was Cash Only and I had no cash, so I spent no money on dinner and drank water with lemon in it. I usually allow myself one glass of wine, but that cash bar saved me $6+tip.
5) I stopped in at Dollar Tree to pick up a few items needed for the house. They had their Italian Ice bars stocked, so I bought two boxes for the freezer here at work. $2 is cheap for a frozen treat, when it’s hot outside.

Reply

E August 30, 2018 at 6:37 pm

I visit Seattle a few times a year, and thanks to hearing about it on your blog, I went to the Goodwill on S. Lane today! Excellent!

Reply

Linda August 31, 2018 at 5:02 am

Please be aware that machines like Soda Stream work by adding carbon dioxide to the water making it more acidic and harder on your teeth.

Reply

Mand01 August 31, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Actually I listened to a podcast on Soda water recently and the conclusion of scientists was that while this is true for sugary sodas, there are no problems drinking plain Soda water.

Reply

Alexandra@IHeartTightwads.com August 31, 2018 at 6:11 am

1. Continuing to work through our budget wedding planning for DSD. the plan is to keep the whole thing under $2, 500 including the dress. 70 people are invited. Reception is at our home. Groom works in a restaurant. Working on participating in making the food to keep the cost below $500.
2. Met with bride’s coworker who is hosting a shower. I am helping with food. We are both using things we already have for decorations.
3. order the dress online. Got two sizes. Sent the ill-fitting one back. Total cost including shipping and return $215. Need to have the length altered. Going to local lady next week. Budgeting $100, Only the hem for dress and two under layers. We’ll see.
4. Two family members are contributing to the alcohol for reception as part of their gift. Reception is only slated to go 4-9 pm. Cut-off time should keep the alcohol costs down a bit. Most of the “grown-ups” will be done by 9 p.m. anyway. After that the young people are heading downtown on their own ticket.
5. Groom is a musician and his friend is going to make a playlist and bring a good speaker.
6. rented a 20-foot by 30-foot tent with white lights strung on the inside for our front yard. That and tables, chairs, tablecloths, napkins and 2 serving tables is 750.
7. bride and groom are deliriously happy with the direction things are going which makes us all very happy.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: