Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 18, 2015 · 29 comments

Volunteer tomato plant

  1. My family spent yesterday celebrating my younger son’s 17th birthday. Because we ate a filling lunch in the late afternoon, we didn’t end up needing a dinner.
  2. I finished reading my library books, but have two waiting to be picked up.
  3. My friend dropped off her volunteer cherry tomato, which was quickly transplanted into a large planter that I permanently borrowed from my mother a few years ago.
  4. I mended a pair of my son’s favorite flannel pajamas.
  5. I brought three dozen birthday cupcakes to my husband’s soccer game on Saturday. I used the wacky cake recipe, (which has no eggs) and whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting using the last of some 50¢ cream cheese packets, as well as loss leader butter and powdered sugar given to me as a thank you from a neighbor. The total cost was maybe a couple of bucks including the 59¢ paper liners. There was even enough to share with the opposing team, even though they beat us 5-0.

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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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Dori May 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

I just love your Five Frugal Things posts. They are just enough frugal fun to read through, feel inspired, and then go out and find my own Five (or, hopefully, many more of course!) Frugal Things! Thanks so much for the encouragement.


Katy May 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Glad to hear you enjoy them, they are my blogging crutch. 😉


Bobbi May 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm

I look forward to the Five Frugal Things posts, too! Katy, maybe think of them as a regular column, not a crutch! 🙂


A. Marie May 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

(1) Very charitable of you to share cupcakes with the soccer opponents. My own favorite candidate for a possible Ninth Beatitude is “Love your enemies. It confuses the heck out of them.”

(2) Re: the cherry tomato: As I noted in an earlier comment, if your neighbor was growing an heirloom or other open-pollinated type, you know what you’ll be getting. If the parent was a hybrid, a surprise may be coming your way, as the offspring may revert to one or the other of the parental types. Do you know what your neighbor grew?

(3) My own bestest neighbor did a clothing alteration for me: She hemmed a Flax brand linen dress that I found at the newish local Goodwill (first in our area), and that was about a foot too long for me. In exchange, I gave her a two-piece Flax pantsuit that I also found. (We’re both a little nutty about Flax.)

(4) Am about to go out and shove a few more veg and herb transplants into the ground, just ahead of our next rainstorm.

(5) Leftovers tonight: A chef salad with leftover Cornish hen for me, and tabouli for my husband. We start fresh with another “food cycle” tomorrow.



MW May 18, 2015 at 11:50 am

1- My son and I created a rock garden. We removed the weeds from a patch of ground, covered it with ground cloth (that I had on hand), covered it with rocks (that I had on hand), planted a beautiful succulent that my Dad got us for $5, and placed some pots (that had been hanging around the shed) for some future hens and chicks or other succulents. Beautiful! The boy is 4- he had great fun putting rocks in the bucket and supervising my work.
2- I scored about 2 yards of summery striped fabric for $1 at a new thrift store on SE 82nd Ave to make a swimsuit cover up/ casual summer dress that I need for the summer. Woo hoo!
3- Scored two summer shirts for my husband (2XL!), for a total of $4 at the same thrift store.
4- I’m slowly working my way through (and altering!) patterns that I’ve had since the 90’s as I re-teach myself how to sew. I’m using up a bunch of blue fabric that had been used as window coverings when we bought our house (I hesitate to say they were curtains, it was uglier than that).
5- Today I’m rocking a colorful shift dress that I found at Goodwill for $7. I think I’ve finally managed to put together a post-pregnancy summer wardrobe. Phew. . .


Sharon May 18, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Five frugal things:
1) I cleaned out and straightened my cupboard, pantry, spice cabinet and donated a whole box to the “Stamp out hunger” food drive last weekend
2) During the clean out, I found some things that needed using and made chicken enchiladas with leftover chicken and a long forgotten bag of corn& black bean mix with sauces and cheeses from the back of their respective storages.
3) I dropped off 3 bags to goodwill and did not buy anything
4) I joined a free text club and saved 10% on my dog food purchase at Pet Station
5) I have vowed to not purchase or otherwise let into my house any more tea until I have finished off what I already have on hand. It will be years until I have to even ~think~ about buying tea! Lol


MW May 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I think tea replicates in the cupboard. . . I’m finding tea I have no memory of buying or accepting.


Rachael May 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

-My kids have been waking up too early. I requested a clock radio in our buy nothing group, and got one. I’m also going to be receiving a Patagonia jacket for our family hikes from the same group. I’m really grateful it exists!
-Some church friends and I arranged a field trip for our kids to a local charity. I ducked out of lunch with them after. No funds for it.
-I wanted to get some extra options for the scrapbooking app I use, so I busted butt to earn enough swagbucks to get an itunes gift card for the in-app purchases.
-We had a dinner/movie night with my brother and his family, so stayed in and didn’t spend extra money for entertainment. The next night we celebrated my mom’s birthday, so didn’t go out again.
-Friday was a frugal grocery success. We got 2 large chickens on a good sale, plus some cereal on $5/Friday at Safeway. On our way home, we saw a sign for Honeycrisps for $1/lb and cantaloupes for $1 each, so we stocked up and used those as part of our family dinner.
-I’ve started doing the 5 minute journal, and found the pdf online. (put up by one of the authors, so legally) I write it in the same comp notebook I bullet journal in for a planner, so no extra cost for big effects


beth sowulewski May 18, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Five frugal things:
1) I am here sweating – the humidity matches the temperature, not a good thing! I am determined not to turn the air on, but everything feels so sticky and does not dry out.
2) Did I mention I didn’t turn the air on? Lol, although I probably should test it. I did buy two window fans for upstairs and downstairs that lets you bring cool air in or send hot air out the window, which were not cheap but I figure in the long run will be cheaper then air by the end of the summer.
3) Have not cooked with the oven to prevent more heat saving money on that.
4) Filled out a Subway satisfaction survey and earned a free cookie. 🙂
5) Earned enough Swagbucks to get a $25 gift card to Olive Garden for my Mom’s gift now I’m working on earning enough for a gift for my Dad.


Nathalie May 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm

1) I’m harvesting Supersweet 100 grape tomatoes, pole beans and jalapeños from my garden every day.
2) I’m saving the seeds from my overgrown Romaine lettuce, a little bit every day, and will replant them in the fall.
3) I made odor eaters with some (free) cat litter and an old pair of pantyhose.
4) My husband’s boss is in town for meetings so lunch is catered every day and he’s also having 2 business dinners. (I tried to convince him to only eat half portions since he’s on a diet and bring the other half home but he feels uncomfortable doing this with his colleagues, sheesh!)
5) I made pineapple popsicles for my son with a can of Dole pineapple juice that I got for free after sale, coupons and rebate a few months ago.


Betty Winslow May 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm

1. Lunch at work today and tomorrow will be leftovers (plus our carnival director made us a breakfast casserole and a fruit bowl as a thank-you, so had breakfast at work!)
2. Attended a ribbon-cutting at a local mediterranean restaurant and they not only fed the celebrants, but they encouraged us all to take leftovers home. Free hummus, baba ganoush, pita chips, and bahklava!!
3. Growing sprouted onions on the kitchen windowsill and the patio provides a lot of yummy and pretty green oniony goodness. Now, if only the romaine will grow, too…
4. Have been buying avocados, 4/$2.99, and putting them in the frig when they ripen. They stay good for a long time, to my delight – haven’t had to throw away any in weeks!
5. Bought a boxed pasta salad mix from Aldi and made it for a cook-out this past weekend, but we didn’t like it, so I saved the box and dug out the receipt and will be getting my momey back!


Betty Winslow May 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Oooh, forgot my favorite frugal win lately: DH figured out how to stream the Stanley Cup playoffs for free on our TV via his computer (since we don’t have cable). GO BLACKHAWKS!!


Ruby May 18, 2015 at 5:50 pm

1. We ran out of store-bought pickles, so I made a batch of quick refrigerator pickles using the two big cukes and one smallish onion we had on hand.

2. Today I refreshed some throw pillows by opening up the covers, pulling apart the flattened poly-fil and adding some extra filling from my stash. I stitched them closed and they look good as new.

3. I like toothpaste in a squeeze bottle (due to arthritis having fused the thumb on my dominant hand) and the toothpaste ran out this morning. I mixed two of those little sample tubes of toothpaste from the dentist with some of a sample bottle of mouthwash in the toothpaste bottle, shook it up to mix thoroughly, and it seems to be a good substitute that cost nothing.

4. Made up a pitcher of iced tea concentrate, which should last me a week. This is made by brewing a pot of tea quadruple strength, using 16 tea bags instead of four. I add a splash of concentrate to a glass of ice water and it’s delicious.

5. Got my library card renewed for free.


MamaMinou May 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

1. Ate leftover lentils and rice for lunch
2. Had a cup of tea instead of the mocha I was craving this afternoon
3. Rode my bike to work and back
4. Kept the weekly grocery/household shopping trip under$100
5. Had a fun frugal socializing night with friends, bringing a not-bad $6 bottle of wine and chocolate from trader joes…an indulgence, but in the budget
6. Found a light colored camisole on a garage sale Free table while out for a walk…I wanted one
7. Watching Call the Midwife from the library and knitting socks with thrifted/recycled sock yarn
Life is pretty good!


Alison May 18, 2015 at 9:59 pm

1. Took leftovers to work for lunch.
2. Fed the dogs the ends/scraps of the vegetables I was cutting up for stir fry.
3. Did a real-life “cut & paste” at work. Instead of taking file to printers & paying $10 for a blueprint size page, I used our copier, enlarged the small page, used a few pieces of tape & made a large enough version for my boss to read.
4. Rescued a piece of Tupperware from a certain death. Co-worker had moldy watermelon in Tupperware container in fridge. She was going to throw the entire thing away. Told her I would dump it out & wash it for her.
5. Put one square of toilet paper back for Cheryl Crow. I know she thinks you only need 1 square, but I need more! So I always roll out how much I think I need, then I back up 1 square. Bet I save at least 10 squares a day!lol.


shannon May 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

I bet Sheryl Crow is still haunted to this day by that comment. Its so disturbing on many levels.


Joy May 21, 2015 at 7:12 am

I totally had to google that! LOL


Lynda May 19, 2015 at 1:40 am

1) Am looking at a new flat (apartment) tomorrow. £200/$310 cheaper per month than the one I’m in now.


Bellen May 19, 2015 at 2:54 am

Frugal things:
Given 1/2 a medium watermelon from next door neighbors – we’re both just 2 adults so one watermelon is too large

Harvested 2 smallish zucchini, 14.25 oz salad greens (I weigh them to see how much I save by growing my own – in containers), and 4 count ’em green beans to use raw in salad

Took photos of various flowering & fruiting shrubs & trees to have enlarged for wall art, already have 3 frames from the thrift store.

Made seitan – enough for 8 servings, a week’s worth. I’m vegan and it is so cheap to make my own. I vary the spices when I’m using it to make it Mexican, Asian, etc

RE: toilet paper – the old adage “3 if it’s pee, 4 if it’s more” seems to work

RE: Wacky Cake – that’s an old recipe from WWII that I got from my mother who used it all the time. To make it different you can change the liquid to coffee or the vinegar to raspberry (make your own). Instead of icing serve with mint flavored whipped cream, or a cherry sauce. To go all out make 2 layers instead of cupcakes, use a thin layer of cream cheese frosting between the layers and on the sides, pipe an edge on top. Then put whipped cream on the top, then raspberries then a chocolate drizzle – mouth watering delicious.


Jill May 19, 2015 at 6:59 am

Well, my motto lately is “you have to spend a little money to save a lot of money”. We think that we had a power surge or something at our house, because the microwave, washer, and lawnmower charger all quit working at the same time. SO, I had to purchase a set of security torx bits to crack open the microwave ($9), a new water inlet valve for the washer ($33), and a second lawnmower charger ($36 – on sale). We can send the other charger in (hopefully) for warranty repair, but it takes 90 days, and we can’t not mow for 90 days, hence second charger (the charge also works on the weed wacker – I love Ryobi). Hopefully, the microwave is only a fuse ($100-150 saved) and the washer part will fix the problem there ($1000 saved). The washer and dryer are 12 years old, and I am kind of making it a personal challenge to see how long we can keep them going!


K D May 19, 2015 at 8:24 am

1. I’ll me able to fit an extra yoga class into my schedule this week, lowering my average cost per class (I pay a monthly membership) fee. Hubby will be getting a free (work related) dinner that evening.

2. My husband and I have fulfilled the requirements of our medical insurance (designating a Primary Care Physician and completing a health assessment). This means the co-pay is waived for Primary Care visits.

3. Dinner last night was pulled beef (marked down at Safeway), with carrots and potatoes that needed to be used. It was delicious and there are leftovers.

4. My favorite Buffalo sauce was BOGO at Safeway and I had coupons. I stocked up for a great price.

5. I am working on earning Swagbucks while reading this blog and the reader comments. I have learned to love the $3.00 Amazon gift cards.


Vickie May 19, 2015 at 8:39 am

1) Making use of leftovers from our weekend meals.
2) Dropped off an audio book at the Library yesterday and checked out 4 more by Jan Karon. I love her series.
3) I get my long haired chihuahua groomed about every 2-3 months and they give me a 10% discount each time. I’ve tried doing this myself, but it’s not worth the fight and the bad job I do, so I’d rather support my groomer – she’s great lady and does a fantastic job.
4) I met my friend and co-worker yesterday at Rib-Crib to buy her birthday lunch. She brought a coupon she got in email. Gotta love great friends with equally frugal ways!
5) I yet to purchase a lear jet.


Kale May 19, 2015 at 10:32 am

1. Made a light dinner of Carrot Coconut Soup using ingredients I had at home and a bag of carrots that was going bad.
2. Bought day old lettuce that was reduced down to $1 at a local market. It was used in our weekend lunch and now my workday lunch with some left over.
3. On the weekend had lunch at home using left over camping supplies we didn’t get through.
4. Was tempted by the patios this weekend but opted to stay in because we had everything we needed for Caesars…although we did by the celery garnish.
5. Skipped the dryer and hung laundry to dry in our sunroom

Wow this is really food focused haha


pattilou May 19, 2015 at 10:49 am

1. worked overtime yesterday so will be adding that extra bit to my vacation fund.
2. Because of the hours we had to work yesterday we were provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
3. we were provided lunch today at work as well. It was a thank you from the department head for all of our work yesterday.
4. picked up a new book from the library
5. My niece wants a wipe warmer as one of her baby gifts. One of my co-workers gave me one that she had received for her new baby and had not used.


JD May 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

1. Checking on my insurance — I’m pretty sure my husband’s preventative exam last week will qualify for bonus payment to me through my voluntary cancer policy at work.
2. My DH is sweating in the sun to trace an electrical problem in our mower. He can do mechanical repair, but he hates it. He’s doing it anyway.
3. I’m still cutting stalks from our “re-grown” celery; the kind where you plant the root end and let it grow new stalks. We’ve been eating off of it for months now. The stalks aren’t as big as the store-bought kind, but they are much cheaper!
4. I hung clothes out this morning before work. I set the washer on delay last night, to start at five a.m. today, then it’s ready to hang out before I need to leave the house.
5. I have been asked to interview for a job that will pay more. Here’s hoping!


Jess May 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

1. Used black beans and corn tortillas from the freezer for dinner.
2. Planted 2 grape vines with hopes of a plentiful harvest in years to come.
3. Hubby changed truck oil himself.
4. Cleaning out parts of house left untouched and finding hidden treasures.
5. Downloading free movies for my son while he is home sick.


Kim May 19, 2015 at 2:08 pm

1. Today was our last MOPS meeting and we had ordered Mexican food for our end of year picnic for 35 people. Well there was so much food leftover that we sent lots of ladies home with a plate and since I had volunteered for cleanup I also got a unopened 32 oz. tub of sour cream, 16 oz. of fresh salsa and a big unopened bag of the best tortilla chips. Chicken sour cream enchiladas and stroganoff have now moved onto this week’s menu! Also received a begonia as a thank you for being a Mentor Mom to our MOPS group the past 4 years. Brought it home and potted it in a thrift store pot to beautify my deck.
2. Husband has been trimming trees and actually dropped 2 trees. We are trying to rid of the branches that hang over our pool so it gets warm enough to swim in. Turns out one of the trees was rotting inside so it’s a good thing we took it down. His tree lopper wasn’t long enough so he duct taped it to an extension pole we use for the pool.
3. Finally planted some seeds in some pots to get things growing. I seeded heavy since the seeds are left from last year and the germination rate won’t be as good.
4. Received from a friend at church an extra long comforter and 2 sheet sets for DS to take to college in the fall. Her son used them for only one year at college and then he decided college wasn’t for him and joined the Marines.
5. When planting seeds in a basket I use as a flower box, I discovered that the top edge has seen better days as it is rotting and had started to separate. I already have a coco liner in it and was determined to get another year out of it. Cable ties to the rescue! I wove them through in a couple of key spots , clipped them short and planted my seeds. If I get real ambitious I may give it another coat of spray paint.


Bobbi May 19, 2015 at 5:29 pm

1) Foraged some garlic scapes I found while hiking in the forest, and made a big batch of scape pesto. I froze half of it.
2) Defrosted some homemade chili for dinner. I didn’t feel like cooking, which is exactly when I’m glad I have frozen leftovers on hand.
3) With milder weather, I have been hiking a lot, which is free and good exercise and just really relaxing and fun. (And, see #1!)
4) I have been good about making my morning coffee at home, including splurging on more expensive coffee beans so it feels like a treat. It’s still MUCH cheaper than my weakness of going to Starbucks!
5) My first experiment fermenting cabbage for sauerkraut was a success! So easy. I loved it, ate it all up, and already started another jar of it. Less food waste, because I often use just half a head of cabbage in recipes, and am not sure what to do with the other half.


Isabelle May 20, 2015 at 7:22 am

* I am doing a food pantry/freezer challenge for the next month or so. I am *a bit* of a food hoarder so we have so much food at home… I will only buy fruits/veggies/eggs/milk and necessary items if absolutely needed, to complete meals
* Visited my in-laws for 4 days and did not buy groceries while there (they do the same when they come to visit), so we saved quite a bit of money during those 4 days, being 2 adults and 2 kids.
* Decided against going to the movies yesterday, even if it was cheap night, and watched Netflix instead
* Decided not to buy toothpaste, shampoo, deodorants, toothbrushes and soap until my (big) stash is gone. Will probably last at least another year without having to buy them.
* Starting the garden this week-end! So almost free organic veggies for a couple of weeks (the season is short here), yay! We still have kale in the freezer from last season.

Have a great frugal day!


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