Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 21, 2015 · 38 comments

Tillamook cheese Jenga

  1. I took advantage of Fred Meyer’s sale on Tillamook cheese this week. Even though the coupon had a buy-two limit, I was able to stop in four times while out and about. $4.99 for a two-lb loaf is a great deal, plus I stocked up on white cheddar and colby jack, which rarely go on sale. (Luckily, the store is a just a couple of blocks from the house, and I pass by it on a daily basis.)
  2. My breakfast this morning was a Tillamook yogurt I bought when they were priced 3/$1 at The Grocery Outlet. I cut in a couple of strawberries that my friend brought by as a thank you for having her son to the house.
  3. I’m on a roll with cleaning out our nasty garage. After donating the dregs of last summer’s garage sale and returning my mother’s huge tables, there’s starting to be some light at the end of the tunnel. So when someone on my local buy nothing group posted two brand new REI hanging bicycle racks, I quickly snapped them up. Like any Portland family we have too many bikes, so this was an opportunity to get a bit more organized without actually spending any money.
  4. I brought three magazines to the nearby Little Free Library on my way to Fred Meyer this morning. Magazines that I get for free from cashing in dormant frequent flyer miles.
  5. I drove my husband and his equipment across town this morning to teach his CPR class. He always picks up a jug of Starbucks coffee along the way, for which he’s reimbursed. He poured me a big creamy cup before sending me on my way. Although we have a second car we plan on buying, there’s a possibility it’ll fall through, so we’re continuing to make it do and get along with just the single automobile for our family of four.

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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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

nycdesigner March 21, 2015 at 10:52 am

How do you use that much cheese before expiration? I always buy the Cracker Barrel bricks on sale 2/$4 (good for approx. 6 mos.), but that’s a higher-quality cheese, so I feel good about that value.


Katy March 21, 2015 at 10:58 am

We only open them one at a time, and their expiration date isn’t until November/December. And my younger son? He’s a grilled cheese sandwich machine!


beckie Abbott March 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

Cheese also freezes well. I grate it up and in it goes!


kris March 21, 2015 at 11:40 am

**I’ve been reading a book that my daughter received as a gift
**Working on a bible study from a workbook I bought used from Amazon (used as in it was someone else’s but it hasn’t been written in, lol)
**Watching some tv shows on Netflix on my Roku since I cut the cable cord over a year ago. I don’t miss it one bit!
**Broke up a pack of on-sale family pack chicken breasts into 3 meals. Butterflied the breasts and will use some tonight to make Grilled Hawaiian Chicken (made with a homemade marinade) and use some later this week, then froze the tenderloins I cut off that I’ll boil and use on a later date in a casserole **Thinking about taking my son in town to the park for the free outdoor movie that’s being shown tonight (Field of Dreams). He’s 9 and I’m not sure if he’ll enjoy it. So we’ll see. If not, we’ll continue working on watching thru Friday Night Lights (tv show) on Netflix.
**Cleaned my house today, so that means I’m home…not out spending any money or gas, lol.


Nathalie March 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

1) We had a frugal failure last night as in I didn’t feel like cooking so we went to Subway. However, I’m kind of over Subway so I decided that I would eat the rest of the leftovers at home while Greg and our son bought foot-long sandwiches (I might have taken a bite from each sandwich to make sure they weren’t poisoned, though, you know…). So we spent less than we could have and I finished the leftovers from the fridge so they didn’t get thrown away (they were over a week old).
2) However, since Great Clips was right next door and our son badly needed a haircut, we dropped him off there first… and were told his haircut would be free since it was the 10th on our record (they use our home phone number to keep track). Woohoo! We were going to use our Prepaid Great Clips card (I loaded it with $9.99 haircuts a few months back, full price is $14 nowadays) but free is so much better!
3) After we got the subs and before he was done getting his hair cut, I ducked into Publix (just a few doors down) and grabbed the SavingStar freebie of the weekend: an 8-oz can of (no salt added) Hunt’s tomato sauce.
4) My youngest son and I were going to drive to UCF (an hour away, all on toll roads) to attend my oldest son’s jazz festival concert tonight, but my ex, by chance, told me that he thought the time had been changed. My son had forgotten to tell me… so we missed the concert (there wasn’t enough time to get there by the time I learned of it) but I saved about $50-$60 between tickets, gas, and tolls.
5) My daughter had entered a speech contest with the local Optimists Club (I think that’s the name) and she presented her speech this morning and got first place! Her prize was $300 in Amazon gift cards and she gets to compete at the district level where she could win up to $2,500! I’m so proud of her. Especially since I kind of laughed when she told me she had entered the contest because I am the most pessimistic person on Earth and the idea of an Optimists’ Club struck me as slightly delusional. I might become an optimist myself cuz I don’t think there is a Pessimists’ Club, lol. If there is, they probably don’t hold competitions because they probably think no one will bother showing up 🙂


Anne March 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

You are the very first person, besides our family, I have ever heard of who also takes a bite out of their spouses/kids sandwiches “to make sure they’re not poison.” My grown son now does it to his family.

How can they get mad when you’re just trying to save their lives? 😀


Kelly in MA March 23, 2015 at 10:18 am

I tell my daughter. Every King and Queen has a food tester!


marleen March 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

1) I made a list of all the perishable foods in my kitchen before making my meal plan for next week.
2) I found a few celery stalks that were a bit limp, so I placed them in a tall glass of cold water to firm them up.
3) I went onto my 401K site to check my balance this morning and saw where I could increase my contribution, so I upped it another percent.
4) I made a batch of granola, which is the only cereal we have in the house besides oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat.
5) I rinsed out some ziploc bags that I had carried snacks to work in last week.


A. Marie March 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm

(1) Made a soup yesterday. Actually remembered to soak beans instead of using canned ones, and–YES!–waded out into the remaining snow in my garden and harvested a few surviving leaves of curly kale!! (This is the real virtue of kale, folks: It’ll get through an Upstate NY winter. It won’t be produce-department pretty, but it’ll be usable.)

(2) Came home from a Jane Austen Society of North America meeting in the next city over, where a couple of friends had books, magazines, etc. they’d been saving for me (I couldn’t make the February meeting because of snow). Am very grateful for all my JASNA friends.

(3) Am also very grateful for the return of spring, slow though it is.

(4) Donated two boxes of books to a local library’s sale. As I get older, I’d rather donate books and take the tax deduction than mess around with trying to resell them.

(5) Good tip about the 401k, Marleen. Will look into doing the same.


Kim March 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

1. I am finishing the last of the lemons I picked for free a few weeks ago at the campground I was staying in. I’ll be back there at the end of April. I wonder if there will be fruit that is ripe?
2.I managed to pick up three fast food mystery shops this week. Free meals and I’ll get paid more than $40. They must not have available mystery shoppers in town!
3. This campground has good wifi, so I am catching up on all the shows I like.
4. Canceling my HuluPlus subscripting. I just realized that the shows I like are available for free.
5. Posting pictures of my adventures on Facebook and enjoying chatting with people about what I am doing.


Rachael Telford March 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

If you miss hulu plus, you can pay for it using bing rewards. We can only get it through our roku with the plus account, and it takes about 3 minutes a day to do enough searches to pay for one month.


Susanne g March 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Are you on an adventure of sorts?


Joanna March 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

1) Heat has been off for quite a while now, that’s great!
2) Had thought of going to one of two indoor yard sales but ended up staying home and napping…no spending or gas used!
3) Cooked several meals with DH for our freezer.
4) Found white rice and cooked cabbage in the back of the fridge and made it into fried rice with more veggies and had it for both lunch and supper!
5) If it’s yellow let it mellow? haha….couldn’t think of anything else…


TerriC March 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

We live 30 miles round trip from the nearest pizza place, so I made pizza at home.

I started shifting furniture and moving items about in the living room and soon had a ‘different’ look without spending any money.

My grand daughter wanted stationery like her older sister. I received a mailing from MD Anderson this week that had four free cards in it and realized that I had saved two or three other sets of the same. I pieced together a dozen envelopes and cards for her for free.

Have been consistent in using leftovers.

Thursday was my free day in which I normally do light housework and then have fun. I stayed home all day long and worked hard. I had a free day on Friday and stayd home that day as well. Savings, savings.

By the way, I love the header!


Betty Winslow March 21, 2015 at 3:06 pm

My best frugal move of the week was offering to make three batches of gourmet popcorn for my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday party (theme, Movie Night) as my potluck contribution. Besides the three boxes of popcorn required, I didn’t have to buy anything else and came up with Chocolate, Caramel, and Savory Herb. When we left the party, there was still a bunch left, so it looks like my baby girl and her buddies (and her mom) will have lots of snacks this week!


Katy @ Purposely Frugal March 21, 2015 at 3:58 pm

One of my 5 things is finding coins, and every time it makes me think of you!


Isabelle March 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I wish we could get cheese that cheap around here, we eat so much of it!

My frugal things:
* I don’t do anything with my hair. Yep, long hair, poney tails, cheap products, it’s my way to go. My friend just bought a house and can’t go to the hairdresser so often anymore because it cost her *gasp!* 200$ a pop!! Say whaaaaaat??! Crazy to me. Don’t even remember the last time I went to a hairdresser.
* got 2 books from a free pile
* I also don’t use makeup (Ok, maybe a couple times a year). It’s not that I find it frivolous or anything, but I am just too lazy to put in on/off and in my line of work we don’t have to be all dolled-up. So this ends-up being cheap too
* I am happy to report that our taxes are done! We are receiving, and this money will be used toward the mortgage and savings.
* Quiet Saturday night at home with hubby. Netflix perhaps?

Have a great frugal day!


Diane March 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

A home day sewing, cleaning and cooking. Made a pair of PJ shorts using another pair for a pattern, cooked New Orleans white beans and sausage and blueberry bran muffins from scratch, and did my weekly house cleaning.

No money spent or gasoline used. Comfy and cozy at home.


Ruth March 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm

*This is my third day in a row if staying home so no petrol usage ….only one day left after today then it’s back to work
* made two zucchini slices from zucchinis given to my mother – she was given 20 so she shared them out, I recieved 4 massive ones but one was bad … The other 3 were plenty as they were large …my son will eat one batch today I’m sure, he loves it the other I will cut up and freeze
* forgot to put the cheese in the zucchini slice 😦 so more cheese left for another use and the taste is barely different
* want to try Bullet Journalling ( look it up on google or YouTube) I thought about going out today and buying a nice journal but decided instead to look through my office area and sure enough there is a partly used little journal , I tore out the used pages that were not important and now I have a free little journal that I can use to see if bullet Journalling is effective
* enjoying some peaches off our tree that my mother preserved… Thank goodness for my mum … I know she has jars and jars at her house do I will pick up a couple more soon
Have a lovely day all …and thanks for this fabulous site, it’s my favourite


Terri W. March 21, 2015 at 5:51 pm

1. We had a brand new experience and it turned out fairly frugal! We tapped 8 maple trees in our woods and cooked down maple syrup! We did purchase the tree taps from ebay, but they are stainless steel, so they will last us forever! In all, about 65 gallons of sap was collected over several days. Cooking it over a wood fire, it boiled down to 6 pints of maple syrup! Completely delicious!!
2. Waffles for supper…..with free syrup!
3. I’m finally letting my hair return to its natural gray! After coloring it for 20 plus years, this will be a huge savings!
4. Cashed in my swagbuck points for $25 paypal!
5. Downloaded some free e-books from Pixel of Ink!


Ruth March 22, 2015 at 2:10 am

Yummmm I’m so jealous of your maple syrup..lucky you !


Thea March 21, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Hey y’all,
Do you ever age your Tillamook on purpose. You can leave the mild cheddar out in the package for almost a month and you’ll end up with sharp cheese. It works.


Lee March 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

–We went to the beach today. We had to pay to enter (state park), but I like supporting our excellent state parks, so that’s okay. I packed a picnic and snacks and even brought iced coffee for my mom and me, so no extra money spent on food.
–Dinner featured the chicken thighs I bought several pounds of on sale and froze last week, plus some noodles from the clearance section (99 cents/package and we used 1/3 of a package).
–Also bought spouse a couple of bags of gourmet tortilla chips (sriracha!) that were on sale for 50 cents each.
–I made chocolate muffins for breakfast and snacks.
–Offspring is having a movie night with a 99-cent movie from Redbox and homemade popcorn.


Practical Parsimony March 21, 2015 at 8:32 pm

1) As usual, I use washcloths instead of tp.
2) I ate for lunch a leftover baked potato I brought home from a church dinner. There was sour cream in the refrigerator.
3) I hung all my panties in the house to dry as it is raining outdoors.
4) I am using the crockpot to cook 4 lbs. of hamburger meat that will be used for spaghetti and several other meals. Using sales and coupons, the meat was free. I put it in the crockpot in a chunk and press it to be one thickness. Add water. The meat cooks overnight to look like one huge hamburger. I can slice off a piece to put on a bun. Then, I chop up the rest for spaghetti or Spanish rice in a pepper. I will cook the pasta separately and add two jars of spaghetti sauce, plus onion, garlic, celery, and cinnamon. This gives me several meals without cooking every day. If I am in the mood, I can make homemade spaghetti sauce in the crockpot after the meat is done.
5) My two free-range hens give me two eggs each day, so I have great nutrition for little cost. I had two eggs for breakfast.


marieann March 22, 2015 at 4:22 am

1)I volunteered at a cooking/food event and came home with free leftover food
5lb bag of potatoes and onions,3lb carrots,2 bags of mini cukes,6 tomatoes,ginger-root,a huge green pepper and some garlic.
2)I’m sewing up a bag for my friend to help her with a baby shower and when she brought over the fabric she noticed a bag I had made for our upcoming quilt show, and she bought it from me.
3) We had out usual homemade pizza for supper, my husband makes the dough in the breadmaker.
4)We don’t have a Costco card but my son does so he picked up 2-2.5 kg bags of chocolate chips for us, the cheapest in town. Yes I make a lot of chocolate chip cookies for my family:)
5)Washday yesterday and the clothes are hanging on the line in the basement…roll on summer when we can hang them outside. I make my own washing powder.


K D March 22, 2015 at 4:54 am

1. It was almost warm yesterday (after the snow melted) so I hung laundry in our screened breeze-way, for the first time in months.

2. We walked up to the drug store and grocery store to pick up a few items that we needed or that were on a great sale. Found $.02.

3. I had bought a sports bra that I liked, for a good price, at Macy’s last weekend. One is not enough so I checked at the store yesterday and they were all full price. I looked on-line and they had the same ones (in a different color) for 64% off. I received free shipping and since I ordered through SavingStar I will also get 5% back.

4. I have been filling out surveys through eRewards and redeeming the earnings for Southwest points. We love the flexibility of Southwest, as there is no cost to change/cancel flights. I will be able to go visit my sister next month using Southwest points.

5. All meals at home this weekend. Tonight will be pancakes, as my husband loves to have leftovers, from the freezer, for a few breakfasts each week. A triple batch will last for a while.


Sandy March 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

Got our Missouri license plates this week. We now have 2 for each vehicle. GA only required 1, so my husband ordered a holder for my car, local parts store had one for his truck. Attached holders and license plates to both vehicles. Don’t know how much that saved, but he enjoys taking care of our vehicles himself.
Put landlady’ s deck furniture in her storage shed, made room for our own chairs which are more comfortable!
Hand washed my vintage car. Gave us a chance to really look her over after having her transported here. I’ll get her new license plates this week, just in time to enjoy a weekly drive! Priceless except for some regular gas!
I, too, cook ground beef in the crock pot and freeze it for future meals. Been doing this for decades. So convenient and easy.
Hair cuts are a thing of the past for me, as well. Pony tail is so cool and easy for working outside as I’ll be doing once we start building our new home. Gave up coloring several years ago, too.
Located a free pattern for egg shaped placemats. Located suitable fabric in my resource boxes. Will make some today!
Dinner, chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts and potatoes, going to roast in the oven for dinner.
OH! Made room darkening curtain for east facing window in master bedroom. Used fabric from stash, so much easier to sleep this morning!


Kim March 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm

1. DH and I went to the circus last night for free except for the cost of parking ($21!) in DC. His company has a corporate box which the owner made available to employees and their families if they wanted to attend. We got the last 2 tickets and were the only ones there without our kids, since our 20 & 18 yr. old sons said no thanks. We waited until we got home to eat since I really didn’t feel like the hassle of finding someplace to eat after the show. Btw, it has been quite awhile since I went to the circus and I guess I forgot how much absolute junk they are selling at such ridiculous prices.
2. Receives a $10 check from Russell Stover candy for the box of candy my mom gave us for Valentines Day. It tasted terrible and I called to tell them and they said they would look up the cost and send me a check.
3. Went to Staples to use a $5 Reward and turn in 16 toner and ink cartridges for credit. I purchased some puzzles for my next trip to Nicaragua for the school and some Post its for son to take to college in the fall. Cost was $0 and will receive $32 in rewards for cartridges. I can turn in 20 a month because we are Premiere Rewards members thanks to DH’s corporate purchasing.
4. Bought $294 of groceries for $68 combining sales, coupons and store promotions thanks to Frozen Food Month. Will get back $5 from Snap and Saving Star rebates. Freezer is stocked with veggies, fish, cheese, Alexia Potato products and ice cream!
5. Sold 5 things on Amazon- 2 patterns, 2 books and a DVD going to Australia!


MamaMinou March 22, 2015 at 1:09 pm

1. Haven’t used the car all weekend!
2. Went to a potluck dinner last night and fried a pound of delicious, locally-made tofu with soy sauce that I bought at the tofu factory outlet store for $1.25 (retails around $2.75)
3. Planning meals for this week and thinking about NOT doing my usual big weekend shopping, since both teen boys will be on a trip with their grandma for half the week


Michelle March 22, 2015 at 1:24 pm

1. We bought a Yaris to help with the price of my commute to work. It is a 45 minute drive, and I was driving the Odyssey (yikes).
2. I found 3 coupon inserts at work from the Saturday (Sunday early edition) newspaper. I work again tonight, so I’m hoping to find more. I also was able to clip and organize my coupons at work since our night was slow.
3. I bought valentine’s day candy that looks un-valentinesy when it was 75-90% off this year. I also bought Easter baskets and Easter things last year at 90% off which I kept very neatly in my basement. I will be using all of these things to put together very inexpensive and simple Easter Day baskets.
4. I’ve been turning down all offers to order out at work regardless of how tempted I feel.
5. We’ve been doing a massive organization project at home. It’s surprising how much you can save by simply cleaning and organizing. I found 7 rolls of Scott tape which I placed in the drawer. I also found various random tiny gift/jewelry boxes which I placed in a shoe box. I plan to make earrings for Christmas/birthdays and use these little boxes to put the earrings in.


Loretta March 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Love reading everyone’s frugal ideas!
This weekend/Monday morning I:
1) Took the kids to our local beach for a swim, which is only 5 minutes’ drive. No one else was around so it felt like we were on an exotic holiday!
2) Made another batch of my homemade deodorant.
3) Made my first batch of moisturing body bars (using almost the same ingredients as the deodorant!)
4) Made chicken stock out of last night’s roast chicken bones.
5) Hung out 2 loads of washing on the line to dry. About to do 2 more, but as it’s about to pour down, will have to hang the clothes on the indoor racks. Never use our dryer; only my husband uses it occasionally.


Elise March 23, 2015 at 4:21 am

I have to admit I haven’t been terribly frugal this week. Does taking care of sick kids so we don’t spend any money on activities or gas count as being frugal?

Oh well…tomorrow is another day!


Isabelle March 23, 2015 at 5:12 am

* Went to the museum with a community pass, so free for myself, hubby and 2 kids + free parking
* Got a box of chocolate at 50% off for a gift
* Received a 20$ gas gift card for answering some online surveys that gives Air Miles and Petro Points.
* Went through my girl’s summer clothes to see what fits. Figures out they are good to go for summer (except for sandals), so I won’t be spending much this year for summer clothes (I buy used anyways, except for shoes/undies).
* I, myself, will have to buy summer clothes, but I will look into used and/or cheap clothes. And minimalist (2 dresses, 2-3 shorts, couple shirts). I don’t like summer clothes…..

Frugal fail : Hubby asking me this morning if I went to the freezer yesterday because their is a chicken BESIDE the freezer. (I did not, so impossible to figure out how long it was there….) So we lost an organic chicken. Bouhou. Could be worst, it’s just one chicken. Still sucks.

Have a great frugal day!


MarieMakesCents March 23, 2015 at 6:16 am

1. We had our inlaws over and had them help build a custom sized bookcase for an awkward corner.
2. We bbq’d at home and then went out for a pint at our favorite brewery (instead of getting lunch and beer).
3. Bought a Baby Gap sweater for $2 (though this is a debatable frugal choice since our baby isn’t even born yet…).

I’m sure there are others, but that’s all off the top of my head!


Michele March 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

1. Have been keeping track of all grocery/household/beauty purchases each month. Try to “beat” the month before.
2. Packing lunch EVERY day and resisting all the “We’re having lunch delivered” invitations.
3. Had a big family Birthday yesterday and will be eating up all the leftovers for next few dinners/lunches.
4. Reading NCA and getting a “boost” from it every day!
5. Putting off purchases (grill, patio furniture) until I can find what I want on Craigslist.


Jill March 23, 2015 at 10:52 am

Lately, reusing dryer sheets and making my own soap have been my biggest frugal activities. And not buying new – I gave up buying new for Lent, to see how long I could keep it going. So far, so good!


Lisa March 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm

What a great deal on cheese!
My five frugal things:
1. I found 15 lbs of mark down ground chuck for $2.79/lb.
2. We made all meals at home this week.
3. We are using a trial version of YNAB and loving it.
4. I am growing tomatoes and peppers from seed.
5. We planted lettuce, radishes, English peas, swiss chard, onions and potatoes in the garden.


Nathalie March 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Lisa, FYI YNAB is sometimes on sale via Steam. I got on on December 30 or 31st for just $14.99! The full price is $60 so I was pretty excited. From comments on the Slickdeals post that gave the heads-up about the post, they sold it for $14.99 on Black Friday as well. If you’re not familiar with Slickdeals, just Google it. The forum that advertised it was the Hot Deals forum, but hundreds of posts are published every day in that forum so you might want to set up an alarm for “YNAB” and “You Need A Budget”. Not sure if it’ll go back on sale anytime soon though… Also, students can get it for free. Details on the YNAB website. I hope that helps.


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