Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 25, 2015 · 49 comments

Old rice

  1. I broke the handle off this Fiestaware sugar bowl a few years ago, and then pushed it to the back of the cupboard with full intent to glue it back together. (Since it was a clean break, I knew that a tiny bit of epoxy glue would bring it back to life.) One barrier to the project was that the bowl would need to stand on its side while the glue dried, despite the second intact handle. But then I realized that the super crappy rice that I keep on hand for drying out electronics would work perfectly for the job. (This rice is so truly awful, I will only eat it in an apocalypse situation.) So now the sugar bowl  has come back to life and my after-the-zombies-come rice has one again saved the day!
  2. I gave my used newspaper and bread bags to my father for scooping his dogs’s poop, and then I gave two small vials of Subaru specific paint to my mother’s friend. (She and I had the same color Subarus, but since ours was totaled, we no longer had need for the paint.)
  3. I’m planning a dinner tonight to try and recreate the Brian’s Bowl from my favorite restaurant, ¿Porqué No? I’ve already started pinto beans in the crock pot, and plan on scaring up some additional tasty tidbits to spice things up. This will be the perfect way to use up some random ingredients while also making a special meal for my family.
  4. My son is taking a weeklong lifeguard certification class that’s from 1 P.M. – 9 P.M. The students are told to “bring snacks.” (Umm . . . don’t they mean “bring meals?”) Instead of packing food from home we’re just stopping by Subway each day for a footlong sandwich, which is actually cheaper than it would be to pack the amount of food that a 19-year-old man would eat during those hours. And easier, so much easier . . .
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia March 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

Just made mac & cheese using up the ends of various cheeses. I cut of the moldy bits and threw them into the white sauce. That was a leftover Brie — rind and all (I picked out the rind before blending into the noodles); some veggie-flavored cream cheese and some pepper jack. It makes for a slightly spicy mac & cheese. I topped that with bread crumbs I made from leftover heels of bread, toasted and pulverized. In an old favorite casserole with a broken-off handle. (I don’t care. I love it.) Sounds jankity, but it will taste delicious.
Also: making iced tea for the Boy instead of buying juice. Made his and hub’s lunches today. And I didn’t buy a Lear jet, either.


Sabrina | Frugal Italian Family March 25, 2015 at 10:51 am

Today I managed to take to the thrift shop some cothes that are too small for my kids 🙂


Kelly in MA March 26, 2015 at 6:47 am

Don’t forget- Didn’t buy a Lear Jet! Unless you did, which would be super cool but not super frugal. 😉


Meredith P. March 25, 2015 at 11:08 am

Need to lose 20lbs…so I’ve been longing for an elliptical or similar machine to lose them for me. 😉

Instead, I used the two steps into my kitchen as a makeshift stair climber.

Also, my 11 year wedding anniversary is Friday. We received a full set of beautiful China from our showers. I took the stickers off it YESTERDAY! I finally decided to use the nice stuff instead of keeping it “safe” packed away!


Gina March 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Good for you – life is too short to save the good stuff. When my mother passed away she had beautiful things packed away for “good” that she never got to enjoy. Made me sad to see items I saved up to purchase for her just packed away safely.


Kelly in MA March 26, 2015 at 6:50 am

I’m sorry about your Mother. I can’t imagine a loss like that. Make sure you use some of those ‘good’ things!

My Mom’s best friend used her wedding china every day, She had no other dishes. Her ‘argument’ was that any day that she got to sit and eat with her family was a special occasion. A few years ago (her boys are all grown up now) her husband passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly, She said it made her truly grateful that she treated everyday as “good”


Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:57 am

What a great lesson.


AnnW March 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Meredith, just try to lose two pounds at a time. The twenty never seems to work. I’m going to try for 10 by the end of the summer.


Isabelle March 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

Still declutering. Lately, I’ve been aiming at giving/recycling/throwing out at least 1 thing each day. Today : giving 3 kids bracelets, a necklace, a doll and a cd. I wish my family was into declutering too!!

My frugal of the day:
* went to the movies on cheap night, with a gift card
* brought home half a unsued jar of laundry soap from work (sitting there for a year)
* had free cereals and milk for breakfast, at work, this morning
* using my 1 month unlimited yoga pass like crazy! I will get my money’s worth!
* using cold water to wash clothes

Have a great frugal day!


Betty Winslow March 25, 2015 at 11:11 am

1. Bought groceries today at Kroger, where (with the help of coupons, my loyalty card, and my Golden Buckeye card) I saved $99.30, stocked up on meat and frozen veggies, got two of my supplements BOGO (also with a coupon), added 182 fuel points to our account (and will be filling up on my way to pick up my husband), and (when I complained about the nice BOGO coupons I keep getting for a yogurt the store doesn’t even carry) got three free of my favorite yogurts instead! Spent $164.54 total…. and the cashier forgot to remove the peel-off coupons from two items, so I removed them before putting the itmes away and clipped them to today’s receipt, which I’ll take back next time for a refund.
2. Volunteered to make banana pudding for the church potluck Sunday, for which all I have to buy are bananas, since I have a box of vanilla wafers from Xmas, as well as two boxes of instant pudding I need to use.
3. Signed up to take my nephew and his wife a meal to help them out while they get life arranged with a toddler, a humungous dog, and a 2 mo old foster child, and will be making beef stew, homemade bread, and spinach/strawberry salad, which I pretty much already have the ingredients for, except for the spinach and strawberries, which I’ll buy closer to the 3rd.
4. Bought myself a BOGO Biggby’s latte yesterday – one mocha mocha, one butter bear, both to go split them in half and put in frig in jars. Results? Four servings of yummy coffee for $4.25!
5. Picked up a Twix Easter egg candy bar at work yesterday from a teacher gift box. I don’t like them, but husband does. Free gift to say I love you and was thinking of you.
(And ‘m waiting forthe day someone posts, “I bought a Lear jet – it was on sale and came with a full tank of gas!”)


Jill A March 25, 2015 at 11:24 am

1. Finishing up leftovers for dinner tonight. Pea Soup I made with a ham bone leftover from Christmas dinner and peas discounted to .49 a bag at Aldi.
2. Fixed a frame that I dropped the other day. Glued in together with wood glue and then I melted a black crayon to fill in the gaps where the wood had chipped. You can’t really tell unless you look really close.
3. Combined errands today and drove my husbands hybrid, so less gas used.
4. Purchased paint today. My husband and I are still working on our basement project. He’s hung the drywall, mudded and sanded and we are finishing up the primer coat. Tons of money saved by doing it ourselves
5. Washed another load of laundry in cold water and hung it to dry on drying racks inside.


A. Marie March 25, 2015 at 11:30 am

(1) Looking out the window and being grateful that it’s raining (and thawing the remaining snow) instead of snowing. Gratitude is extremely frugal.

(2) Working on the trash set-outs of another neighbor family that’s starting a pre-moving cleanout. These folks are a bit older than the ones from whom we profited so hugely back in January, and I thought they had a bit more sense. But so far, we’ve scooped a largish strip of linoleum, an armload of Martha Stewart Living magazines (more material for the M. Stewart calendar I make as a Christmas gift for other friends), a double-wide legal attache case (which I’m using for storage of old family documents), and two boxes of books off the curb. Watch this space for further developments!

(3) Discovered yesterday that the four or five sweet potatoes I had in storage were starting to go a bit spotty. Instead of discarding them, I just carved off the spotty parts, added some other veg (onions, garlic, beets, carrots, and yellow potatoes), and made roasted root veg.

(4) Enjoying some bottlepicking once again, now that the snows are receding. Can’t find many NYS 5-cent deposit containers in three feet of snow.

(5) Joining Katy in not buying yet another Lear jet. (Boy, the Lear jet manufacturers must be hurting from all this lost business.)


Betsey March 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

1. Ashamedly I bought $155 worth of skin care products guaranteed to make me look young. Unashamedly, I sent it all back today for credit. My worst trait is impulsiveness.
2. I also returned a squeegee that did not work (the handle did not elongate) for the cash.
3. I ate lunch at home today instead of going out with my study class. Next week we are all going to pack a lunch and stay at the church for the fellowship.
4. Organized my file cabinet and tossed out a few papers that were no longer needed.
5. We can still buy my friend’s small plane for $50,000 or best offer. I declined.


Vickie March 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm

1) I bought Blue dog food on sale yesterday at Petsmart and got an extra $5 off by using my rewards points. I’d saved even more than that last week by using a coupon Petco coupon when I bought Cat food. It’s worth it to sign up for rewards points!
2) I found a Taco Bueno coupon this morning on a receipt for 49 cent breakfast burritos. I think I’ll use that tomorrow morning.
3) I went “shopping” with my Library card yesterday and found 4 more audio books to listen to during my work commute.
4) I was so hungry after a Board meeting last night I almost stopped at Sonic for a corn dog. I managed to avoid it by thinking about peanut butter and crackers I could eat at home.
5) I’m with A. Marie – I bet those Lear jet guys are in bad shape. Although, I think I could afford a model of one and wouldn’t have to spend money on gas for it!!


Sandy March 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Entertained family members who have been so helpful with our move. Made stuffed pasta shells, cooked the beef and chicken to make filling. Used jarred red sauce and made diy cream of chicken soup mix for the chicken shells. Yummy, but, the chicken wasn’t quite the texture I want. Will try again.
Made a Pineapple Upside Down cake from scratch, it was delicious! Used dark sweet canned cherries instead of maraschino. Used the rest of the cherries on cheesecake. The other dessert.
Dishes all done and put away. Left overs already in freezer for 2-3 more meals!
Meeting with builder this afternoon, one of two we are interviewing.
Wanted the latest Lear Jet, but, there’s no room in the garage for it. I’ll just keep my little, old sports car, she doesn’t use much gas and I know how to drive her!


auntiali March 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Reused a box from Lands End to pack ds’s golf shorts so I can send them to him.
Finished the decluttering I started a couple of weeks ago. The living room looks good and I’ve got one bag to go to Goodwill and the box to ds to get rid of.
Turned the heat down cause I was warm.
Picked up a couple of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I’m supporting an organization that I like and I like those cookies! Thank goodness they only come out once a year.
Got to “talk” to my cousin who is semi-conscious and days away from passing. Her daughter held the phone up to her ear so I could say goodbye. Sob!
Wish I had a Lear jet so I could be with her and her family.


Melissa March 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

So sorry to hear of your cousin.
I wish I had a Lear Jet I could loan you!


Kelly in MA March 26, 2015 at 7:02 am

Melissa, agreed. I wish I had a jet to lend.

auntiali- I’m so sorry about your cousin. Years ago my Aunt spent 2 weeks in a coma after a medication reaction. When she woke up and started speaking again she told us that she heard us and was even able to repeat some of the things that were said to her. Please know that even if your cousin couldn’t feel you there physically and hear your words with her ears, that her heart felt your love and heard your words.


Katy March 27, 2015 at 8:04 am

So sorry about your cousin. ((((hugs))))


Maggie March 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm

It’s board meeting week at work, so I’ve been happily pilfering leftover food for lunches and snacks, and drinking the free coffee that’s always offered. I even brought my son a brownie yesterday, which resulted in a big chocolatey kiss!
I just stopped by the library to drop off a few books before they were due, and to pick up a new movie and a book on tape.
We had a free night at a hotel through from when we moved, so I booked a room for this weekend. There’s a huge flea market going on a few towns over (135 miles away), and we’re going to go to that.
I didn’t buy a lear jet, although I am looking for an economical four seat single engine aircraft. Anyone know of any for sale?


tonya March 25, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Just used a $10 off $50 coupon at the local grocery store. I ended up with 30 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $40. We have an extra freezer for these types of stocking up opportunities.


Jill A March 26, 2015 at 2:59 am

I used the same coupon. Unfortunately my freezer was to full to stock up on their sale chicken. Instead I purchased some shoes I’ve had my eye on for the past year. I got the last pair in the color I wanted. They were $41 on clearance. I also stocked up on 10 for 10 2L diet coke. I got my 10 dollars off, plus I got a 10 off my next purchase for buying skecher shoes. So $60 shoes for $20.


Diane March 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm

1. Trail walk
2. Porch quilting
3.Swimming outdoors
all beautiful and free
4. Novels pickup at the library
5. Veggie dinner from the fridge. Smashed new potatoes and roasted carrots with rosemary.

Living large on little!


Marilyn March 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm

1. Walked 3 miles this morning with a group of neighbors. This is the most enjoyable exercise for me and it does not cost a penny .(Although I do have to buy decent walking shoes from time to time). Since I only work 2 1/2 days per week, I have time to walk 4 mornings every week. Since I enjoy it, I have been doing this regularly for years.
2. Cleaned out a closet. Amazing what I found. Gave a bag of stuff to Goodwill. Some of the things I am keeping are: 3 boxes of Xmas cards, a nice briefcase, a backpack, a decorative pillow, 2 rolls of wrapping paper and and an insulated lunch bag. These are all things I can use and I forgot I had them stuffed in the
3. Went to the nearby branch library and read the new magazines.
4. Did the math and decided that it is no longer worth it for us to renew our Costco membership now that my husband and I are empty-nesters.
5. Read everybody,s 5 frugal things to get inspired.


Katy March 27, 2015 at 8:02 am

I need neighbors like yours!


Sharon March 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

1) breakfast was leftover homemade muffins, a spotty banana (I like them that way), and tea (I really need to use up my teas before I get more, but it may take years! Lol)
2) bought 5 of a “buy 5 get $5 off items, then got $1.20 and $1 off those from downloaded coupons
3) lunch was a smoothie using an apple that was a bit wrinkled, frozen blueberries from last summer and gifted yogurt
4) dinner included MYO copycat KFC coleslaw (yummy) and leftover spaghetti
5) paid my bills… And still have money in the account! And that is where it will stay.


Michelle March 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm

1. I’ve been able to save the 60 out of 80 bucks of “my allowance” from the past couple weeks. My fiancé and I both have a 40 dollar a week allowance we can use on whatever. Thrifting, fast food (for the fiancé) etc. I know it seems high, but it keeps fiancé happy. I’m saving my allowance for a nice vacation.
2. I added water to a V8 fusion drink to “make more” juice.
3. I picked up a pair of free Victoria Secret undies with a coupon (no purchase required) I received in the mail.
4. I’ve been “making money” via extra care bucks, etc. I “made” 70 cents at Walgreens, I “made” 2 bucks at CVS, and i “made” 6 bucks at Rite Aid all int the past couple of days.
5. Cleaning out the garage! I found containers to use for food storage.


Nathalie March 25, 2015 at 6:28 pm

1) Went on my weekly grocery shopping trip and since we were talking about stocking up yesterday, it put me in the mood to stock up on clearance meats and other items! So I spent about $10 extra ($60 or so after rebates) but I got some good deals and several freebies.
2) Donated a large box of items to my favorite thrift store as well as many pet coupons (it’s a thrift store benefiting a local animal shelter) that they were very excited to receive. I also purchased several items from that thrift store, making them even happier 🙂
3) Donated a large container of plastic Easter eggs to my local children’s librarian for her upcoming Easter egg hunt. My kids are too old for those so I wasn’t using them. While there, I dropped off a couple of books before they were overdue, picked up a couple of new ones, as well as 24 food/lifestyle magazines from the donation pile. This will keep me in new recipes for the next few weeks/months and provide entertainment as well.
4) I thought my husband had borrowed and misplaced our son’s water bottle so I got him a new one for $0.50 at the thrift store today. However, when I went to speak to my daughter in her room, I noticed ALL of our water bottles sitting around, unused. I was annoyed, but relieved that we still had them and that I hadn’t texted my husband accusing him of “stealing” our son’s water bottle, lol.
5) I didn’t buy the jet either… and neither did I buy the burnt orange Kitchen Aid mixer that looked brand new and was for sale at the thrift store for $275!


Katy March 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

Yikes, that’s an insane price!


Lee March 25, 2015 at 7:01 pm

This week at work I got five free meals (out to dinner one night, lunch meetings 4 other days). The day I didn’t get a free lunch I brought my own from home.

I pack lunches for my non-sandwich-eating child that are leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

Today I went for a run and then showered at my gym, saving on my own water/electricity. My gym provides towels and shampoo. My membership there is a corporate rate through my job. Yay!

After dinner #2 child went for a bike ride (new skill) on the bike handed down from #1 child.


Ruth March 26, 2015 at 2:23 am

I bought the Lear jet with a coupon… looks great in my back yard


Stacey March 27, 2015 at 3:58 am

But it was used right?


Kelly in MA March 27, 2015 at 4:55 am



Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:59 am

Pics or it didn’t happen. 😉


Ruth March 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Woke up this morning …someone stole my Lear jet…. Well I couldn’t afford the fuel anyhow


K D March 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

1. I made chicken soup without a recipe: stock, quinoa, sweet potato, mushrooms, chicken (from the carcass boil), greens, spices. It used items on hand, was delicious, and I have enough left for another meal. The leftovers are stored in a Mason jar (re-purposed pasta sauce jar).

2. Staples emailed a mystery value rewards. I figured it would be of $5.00 value and stopped to get almost free after store coupon and rebate paper. It turned out the reward was worth $50. The receipt included a coupon for the balance. I have one month to use it (in one transaction).

3. Other than the trip to Staples I haven’t done any shopping this week. The Safeway ad is uninteresting so I’ll skip shopping there this week.

4. The ice is gone so I am able to walk to yoga, instead of driving (the ice was at a very busy intersection and just not worth the risk of breaking something or being hit by a vehicle).

5. A friend has gone on hospice, I am working on a letter to let her know how much her friendship has meant to me and thank her for all she has contributed to the world.


Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:58 am

Doesn’t Staples sell some food items?


K D March 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

Just name brand items and they are so over-priced. I hope they have the 5-ream case of paper for $1 after coupon and rebate offer next week. That would use up the remaining value and give most of it to me as a Visa pre-paid card.


rebecca March 26, 2015 at 4:28 am

Get to stay with my mil in myrtle beach for free for spring break. Got a free place to stay for beach lax in June. Maybe not super frugal, but we get to enjoy some time away from home for not too much money.


Rae March 26, 2015 at 1:51 pm

1 Meal Planning: I started a leftovers list on my fridge. when I add something ,it goes to the bottom of the list. I try to use what’s at the top first so food doesn’t go to waste I’ve started buying a brand of lunch meat that comes in reusable containers that are just right for portioning out leftovers and have been using those. This week has also necessitated a lot of “use it up” meal planning. It doesn’t always mean we’re eating the same thing, but we’re using up the odds and ends in the pantry and freezer, and I think that has its own merit.
2- Transportation: While rocking a grumpy baby yesterday, I binge read some Mr Money Mustache, and I now feel guilty for how often we use our car for things within a mile to a half mile radius. Now I’m trying to do the school runs, dance classes, library trips and community center trips on foot. Healthier and free. When I did have to run some errands, I grouped them together in a loop and planned them around a story time that’s farther out than I can walk with the kids.
3- Getting it Free: I want to start making bread for our family, but only have one bread pan when most recipes make two. I put a request in on the local Buy Nothing group and I had an answer in less than 24 hours. I have also been looking out for some storage for the bulk flour and sugar I get at the store, and remembered that my mom usually has some of those gallon ice cream containers that would work perfectly for free
4- I bartered some tp in exchange for some bananas and some extra DVDs that came in a blu-ray combo pack for babysitting for one kid while I take another to the dentist. I sold one extra DVD for $5.
5- We decided that the books I won in a giveaway plus some edible treats would be enough, and didn’t order a butterfly kit to give the kids for Easter, saving us $15 ( and probably some arguing from the boys)


J. Pario March 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Today I scored from free bricks from a Craigslist post.

(You know, the “Come get them they are in the alley with leafs” kind of free-on-Craigslist post.)

I need to repeat this process a dozen more times until we have enough bricks to go around the new garden beds we’re going to be putting in this year!


Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:56 am

I built a large brick patio using bricks I got for free. It took years to assemble enough, but the end result is perfect!


Kim March 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm

1. Started my first ever batch of lacto-fermented sauerkraut. If all goes well in a few weeks I’ll have something yummy to eat!
2. Picked up several packs of colored legal sized paper from a fellow freecycler. I’ll use it to print coupons.
3. Since my whole family was either at work or out for an activity tonight, I decided to go get a burrito. It was free since you get a free one after 10 visits.
4. Made a delicious pot of cream of mushroom soup from s pound of mushrooms that needed to be used before they were too far gone. Took it for my lunch today.
5. Have taken my lunch to work everyday for weeks. Have resisted the temptation of the fabulous deli department in the grocery store 1/2 block from my office.


Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:55 am

Mmm . . I love homemade cream of mushroom soup!


Bree March 26, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Totally didn’t buy a Lear jet either. Maybe next week. They might be on sale. Lol

Great laugh for the end of the day. Thanks 🙂


Kim from Philadelphia March 27, 2015 at 4:45 am

“Apocalyptic rice”….. love it!


JD March 27, 2015 at 7:26 am

Kim — we make our own lacto-fermented sauerkraut a lot, and it is good! Good luck with yours!
1. We got husband set up with the VA yesterday and his card should arrive soon. This will save us some cash on prescriptions and some procedures. A VA clinic is opening in our town finally, so soon we won’t have to drive over an hour to get to one. We wish we had known years ago that one didn’t have to be career military or service-injured to go to the VA.
2. Ate lunch out while we were out of town to go to the current clinic, but we had been gifted with cards to Chick-fil-A, so we ate there for free.
3. I didn’t have leftovers for lunch today, but I have a box of organic soup at my desk that I will have instead. No going out for lunch, no matter how tempting.
4. I received a free sample of a mineral makeup blusher that was much too strong in color. I’ll add arrowroot powder or cornstarch to it and use it that way. It will go farther, be the right color and I already have arrowroot and cornstarch in my pantry.
5. The Lear jet jokes are giving me a good chuckle today. Thanks! Funnily enough, my sister used to live down the road from John Travolta and he DOES keep a jet in his yard. My sister never gave in to the temptation to buy one for her yard, though. Smart lady, my sister.


Katy March 27, 2015 at 7:54 am

I’m hoping that your sister has some good stories to tell!


Angela Wilder May 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

I’m glad you mentioned Subway. I often take my son there after a Monday appt I don’t eat but it seems it’s cheaper and easier than me trying to fill his stomach at home.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: