Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 5, 2015 · 36 comments

Free canning jars

  1. I went to the fridge to pull out some leftover enchiladas for my work lunch only to discover that they were but a distant memory. I was tempted to just buy food at the hospital cafeteria, (didn’t want to be late to work!) but I assembled a quick sandwich and grabbed a couple of yogurts instead for my twelve-hour shift.
  2. My younger son was telling me about how one of his friends is “super wasteful.” When I asked for an example, he explained that this kid was throwing quarters onto the grass at school. But worry not, as my son had no qualms about picking them up to bring home for my found change challenge. Good boy. No mixup at the hospital with this one!
  3. I sold the old Yakima rack from our totaled Subaru, and continue to have a few other Craigslist offerings going right now. Sales are slow, but it doesn’t cost me anything more than a few minutes of my time, so I’ll just keep relisting my stuff every few days until it sells.
  4. I stuck two different lettuce stumps into the soil of my potted tomato plant, and they’re starting to grow new leaves! (I sliced off a small amount on the bottom to help get things going.) This didn’t work too well when I attempted this hack on an indoor windowsill, but being out in the full sunshine seems to be doing the trick!
  5. I passed a small free pile on the way home from dropping my son at school today. I puttered around the house a bit and then returned to find that it had become a huge free pile. I brought home three boxes of cool vintage canning jars, plus two old metal folding chairs that will last through the revolution. I’m thinking I might spray paint them a fun color, but then again I’ll probably just sell them. And are you not in love with that old wooden crate?!

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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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Grammy Sue June 5, 2015 at 10:57 am

My favorite thing in your free pile was the crate! Great find.


A. Marie June 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

(1) Great score on both the canning jars and the crate! But you knew that, of course. What will you do with the jars?

(2) Made a soup yesterday that cleaned out the fridge considerably (I threw in a serving of leftover rice, some very old celery, etc.). But a large addition of fresh herbs from the garden got those leftovers up off the mat!

(3) Returned a trunkload of street-picked NYS deposit containers to the grocery store today, resulting in $9.55 off the bill. (Hey, maybe bottlepicking counts as my form of tightwad “extreme sport.”)

(4) Have been spending large amounts of time outdoors with DH, either working in the gardens or just relaxing. After the winter we had in Upstate NY, we deserve this–and it’s free!

(5) Will be heading to the Regional Market tomorrow for bargains in local produce that I can’t grow myself.


Jill June 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Those canning jars are the bomb! I am actually hitting up the Goodwill this weekend to see if I can find one for our coffee grounds, for composting. We just switched to using one of the gold filters, so now I can add the grounds to our veggie garden.

Hmm, frugal things:
1. Fixing my washing machine myself this weekend. This will only be mildly frugal, since we have to build a platform for our stackable dryer so that we can pull the washer out from under it to work on it.
2. Hitting up Goodwill for a “new” microwave. Ours bit it. I tried a new fuse but no dice.
3. Plan to sit around and do nothing much this weekend (other than repair the washer). Crazy work week.


Katy June 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I have plans for the jars, which are currently in the dishwasher with extra vinegar in the “pots and pans” cycle. (Heaviest cycle, as they’re super filthy.) The ones which have a 70’s mushroom motif will go to the hipster consignment shop. I’ll ask as a local Portlandia-ish DIY terrarium shop if she’d like to buy a dozen of the large lidded ones for $50 and then keep the rest. Enough to go around, plus put some money aside. If the terrarium shop does;t want them I’ll put some on Craigslist.


Nathalie June 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

That crate is very cool and so are the jars. Good for your son to go pick up the quarters from the grass, LOL. I was itching to pick up all the coins that people had thrown on just a regular metallic roof just off one of the queue areas at Universal Studios when we were there last month, but it was out of reach. It was shocking, when I first came to this country 25 years or so ago, how people throw money just about on any surface. I thought “Indeed, this must be a rich country!” Still don’t get it.

My 5 frugal things for today…
1) My best friend and I wanted to get together before my departure and were supposed to go out for a meal but she has to be home tonight so she invited me over (free food!). I offered to pick up a dessert but then remembered that I have a lot of strawberries to use up before my vacation so I offered to make Strawberry Summer Cake and she gladly accepted (no extra expenses). I will bring it to her in a glass pie dish that my husband brought back from his parents’ RV when he cleaned it up. I couldn’t let him throw it away but in truth we have plenty of pie dishes so I’ll just let her keep it (decluttering).
2) My son was disappointed when I told him the cake was for my BFF’s house so I made a 2nd one for our house (getting rid of things that could spoil) and gleefully baked both cakes at the same time with the 2nd oven rack that I had bought from last week (electricity savings).
3) I used margarine sticks instead of butter in the cakes (way cheaper) and used the wrappers to grease the pie pans (no waste).
4) I finally tested the rumor that if you use a Rent 1 Get 1 Free Redbox code to just get 1 movie, the movie will be free. It worked! We got to watch the latest Spongebob movie for free last night (well, I fell asleep during it because I was exhausted but my son and my husband were laughing).
5) I will drop off the movie at the Publix Redbox kiosk on my way to my BFF’s later on (no extra trip) and will also pick up a free can of Lipton Sparkling Tea while I’m at it (I have a digital coupon for a free can uploaded to my account and I have read that it reset so I’m hoping that if I use mine, I’ll get another one before my trip). I’ll also stop by Racetrac to get a free soda refill for the road (she lives 40 minutes away) with my son’s Sodapalooza cup and a free Twix bar with the coupon that they emailed me yesterday (Racetrac Insider program). Both Publix and Racetrac are on the way to my BFF so all of this saves me extra trips.
A bonus 6) Meanwhile, my husband and son will be having leftovers for dinner. We have enough leftovers for a couple of nights. No cooking, yay!


Nathalie June 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Oh and I’m also bringing all the coupons that will expire during my trip to my BFF. They would go to waste anyway so I told her just to pitch whatever she won’t be using. A huge portion of them were printed via Swagbucks so if she uses any of them, I’ll get 10 SB per coupon 🙂


Katy June 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I always delete those codes, as who want to watch two movies in a 24 hour period? I am totally trying this out!


Patti June 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Me, too! Who knew??? Hope it works!!


K D June 6, 2015 at 8:09 am

I just tried it and it worked.


lauren June 6, 2015 at 8:35 am

This is an awesome tip! Can’t wait to use it.


Anne June 5, 2015 at 12:20 pm

I have total canning jar envy.


Katy June 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

That’s totally a thing.


Marcia June 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I really need to de-clutter my own canning jars one of these days. I used to can a LOT and now I don’t, and I’m sure someone else could put those extras to good use. I still can some. We have to see how this summer goes–last year I only did grape juice and grape jelly–everything else went in the freezer or the dehydrator. I want to make hot pepper relish this year and maybe bread and butter pickles–only maybe– because I’m supposed to be low salt– but I do like a good pickle now and again.


Betty Winslow June 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

1. Finally sold my mom’s glass fiddle bottle collection, plus a pair of bizarre earrings, to a local antique store. Might have made more money by listing online, but this way, no shipping, no listing, no storing, and $70 richer.
2. Brought home a free pepper plant from an neighbor, for the herb/veggie garden hubby’s putting in along the side of the house.
3. Stopped at a few garage sales, found an adorable Hello Kitty nightie and a wooden rolling kitten, for my kitten-obsessed granddaughter, a plastic storage box filled with smaller boxes, for my Swaravski crystal bead storage, and a stocking stuffer for my older son’s Xmas stocking (never too early to Xmas shop) and spent a total of $3!
4. Found an angel food cake marked down to $2 at the grocery store and a can of whipped cream for $2. I already have strawberries. Strawberry shortcake it is!!
5. Found a black summer dress that will look cute with the black shortsleeved cardigan I bought a few weeks ago, and can be dressed up or down. It was originally $28, but it was marked down, plus a 25% extra discount today and a 15% discount from mperks. I think it ended up being less than $12! I also bought the other sweater I liked of a line I bought one of in November, also marked down and discounted. $6? Love it!!


Patti June 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

When my son was younger he came home from a friend’s home and told me it was just a bunch of wasted space!! I sure hope he didn’t tell them that because it was, in fact, their brand new HUGE home (maybe 5000 square feet?) that I feel sure they were unable to afford furniture for it right away. They had empty rooms and he thought that was so wasteful… yes, they do pick up what we are modeling with our frugal ways!! Your son was so nice to bring the change home to you for the found change fund!!


Ruby June 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm

All of my frugalities today centered on fixing up/cleaning up our laundry room:
1. Painted the dingy cream 1952 steel laundry sink cabinet a cheerful robin’s egg blue today. It looks amazing and was just the pop of color the room needed.
2. Rather than buying trendy/expensive paint, I mixed the color myself from little cans of oil-based Rustoleum and thinned it with some pure acetone we had leftover from another project. It went on so smoothly with a foam roller and dried quickly.
3. Also used some of the white Rustoleum to touch up some little chips in the edge of the laundry sink. They’re in a spot that will never get wet, so it was worth the experiment. The paint covered them almost perfectly.
4. Discovered our cats have been using the old rug under their litter box as a urinal. (I had wondered why the room never smelled ‘clean’ any more.) I went to Family Dollar to see what they had in the way of rubber mats to put around the litter box, and all the throw rugs and mats were on half-price sale. So I was also able to replace the raggedy old runner we had in the front of the washer and dryer for $5.
5. Rummaged in my husband’s barrel of scrap wood and found a piece of trim to repair a spot in the paneling behind the washer.


Trish June 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm

I was wondering about your work Katy – you haven’t mentioned it in a while. I didn’t want to be nosy, but glad to hear that you are getting shifts!


Isabelle June 5, 2015 at 5:51 pm

We are buying a new house, so I’m trying to cut cost here and there ….
* getting free moving boxes from work instead of buying some
* will buy back a 500$ moving company voucher for 250$ tommorow (craigs list)
* Asking the in-laws for a personal loan to put on the house, in order to reduce the mortgage. Long story short, we are buying this house while ours is not sold yet, so mortgage wise it will be tricky and expensive without the down payment (money from the sale of current house) to lower the loan’s amount. Will repay the in-laws, with interets, once our house is sold.
* will try to bring all the boxes ourselves to the new house (2 streets down) in order to cut cost on official moving day (120$/hour, it goes up fast!). Let the movers deal with big pieces only.
* Not planning on buying any new/fancy furniture for the house. If something is needed, will look for used first.

Have a great frugal day!


Diane June 6, 2015 at 3:33 am

I forgot to take my coupons with me to HEB for my weekly grocery shopping. But, instead I downloaded the Checkout 51 app and used coupons there plus the savings for buying strawberries and apples. You upload your receipt and when your savings reach $20, you get a check.

Listed 2 baby quilts on craigslist. I agree, it takes just a little time with no fees involved.

Staying out of stores except for grocery shopping. That’s my biggest savings right there!


amber June 6, 2015 at 4:16 am

1. Started shopping a Aldis again. I forgot how much cheaper they are.

2. I got four shirts in the mail for my daughters from schoola.

3. I earned a $5 amazon gift card (swagbucks).

4. My husband brought home a pretty potted flower a teacher threw away.

5. Last night I had my girl try on their swimsuits from last year. All but one of them still fit so I won’t buy them any more this year.


Jamie June 6, 2015 at 5:41 am

1. Turned down going out for dinner/drinks EIGHT TIMES this week – I have goals that I need to stick to this month!

2. I’ve stretched $17 in groceries for almost a whole week – have the last bit of what I bought simmering in the crockpot

3. Invited a friend for a dogwalk today at 1pm where we shall walk through Philly (and I can drop off some mail and UPS packages…)

4. I’m being a hermit and cleaning out the basement with my roommate (it’s her home) and we found some amazing things and are making space to put a fridge down there for drinks and freezer meats!

5. Half of the outfit I’m wearing came from my roommate’s closet that she cleared out for the first time in YEARS – it’s like I got a whole new wardrobe for free.


Katy June 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

Eight times in one week?! I don’t think I’ve been asked to dinner that many times in my life! Maybe I’m doing something wrong . . .


Stacie M. June 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I was thinking the same thing, Katy! 😉


Betsey June 6, 2015 at 6:45 am

1.I actually fixed my mower to avoid a huge bill. Lest you think I am a closet mechanic, I am not. It was just luck and a book from the library on basic mechanics. I learned how to put in a new plug, sharpen the blades, and lean it out myself. Yes!
2. I cut cable again. I am now down to 5 basic channels. I confess: I am a TV addict. One day I thought how is this adding to my life watching reruns of NCIS or listening to others opinions of the news events? I took a deep breath, called the company, and quit. I have rediscovered reading and journaling, have acquainted myself with the neighbors, and get more exercise. Love it.
3. I have not eaten out all week.
4. I bought a pair of shears and clipped the dog myself. I did pretty well. The going price for grooming here is $85 per session to have it done.
non-frugal thing: Since I saved so much on cable, I decided to treat myself to a few new books. $100 later, I fear my treat wasn’t so good. Library, here I come.


lauren June 6, 2015 at 7:43 am

1. Trying to figure out how to use up food we have before leaving for two weeks next Friday. I need to buy some things but I want to get the right amount — enough to use up and not waste but not too little or we (cough, my hubby) will fall into take-out trap. So far, “tapas” are on tap for lunch today. That’s how I market random leftovers to my kids.
2. Stretching some leftover chili and tomato sauce (different meals) into chili mac with some rigatoni.
3. Redeemed some Swagbucks for $6 in Amazon cards.
4 . Used Bookbub (thangs to the NCA FB page) and downloaded three free e-books for my daughter.
5. Sent kids around the house to fill a “penny jar.” Remarkable where you find pennies.


K D June 6, 2015 at 8:17 am

1. My daughter brought home a few loaves of half price bread, from our local bread store. I like supporting local businesses and having bread with ingredients I recognize.

2. I have done just a bit of grocery shopping this week. We are mainly eating from the pantry and freezer.

3. Received a rebate check from Staples, for four reams of $.01 paper. I used a discounted gift card for the paper purchase, so it was money laundering.

4. We received a $25 Visa pre-paid gift card for switching electricity suppliers (we switched to a lower rate).

5. SAM’S Club had Clif Bars at a reduced price (they were a promotional item and the use by date is September). A 24 pack was under $10 so I stocked up.


LisaC June 6, 2015 at 8:17 am

I went to the thrift store to drop some things off, went in, tried some things on, and left WITHOUT buying anything. That’s a new one for me. 🙂


Katy June 6, 2015 at 9:54 am

That’s the real bargain!


Kim from Philadelphia June 6, 2015 at 11:35 am

Those are some friggin’ awesome freebies!

I had a coworker that would throw change in the trash. She said it “annoyed her.” This only happened once, mind you, because I immediately brought in a bank and put it in my desk. So I then proceeded to make money off of her every single workday!!


Katy June 6, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Love it!


Michelle Hart June 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm

My best frugal thing of the week was to try and try again to replace our tub spout in our master bath. My late father was a plumber, so I picked up some skills from him. Unfortunately, my husband was “helping” and tightened the spout too hard and ruined the inner workings. He wanted to call someone in to fix it, but I managed to make it work by using the old spouts inner works. Saved us a weekend call to a plumber!


Stacie M. June 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Honestly, I would love some ideas on what to do with those old type jars! I use some for dry goods storage, to hold cotton balls, for our toothbrushes etc…but my parents pawned a whole bunch off on me (my dad worked at the transfer station aka dump for awhile and couldn’t let them go in the garbage) and I’ve no idea what to do with them! I wonder if a craigslist ad is in order…haha.
On to my list;
1.) grilling out tonight with some steaks our neighbor gave us (AKA freee!) and yummy pasta salad made with loss leader grocery sale items
2.) cutting my husband’s hair tonight. so yay for no haircut fees!
3.) our local liquor store always has a discounted and discontinued section and I found some great apple ales for .50 a piece! So I grabbed a bunch to stuff in my dad’s birthday/fathers’s day gift bag. I also made him a hat (actually, a Jayne Cobb Firefly hat to be exact…we are nerds)
4.) Ate some romaine on wraps this afternoon that my dad gave me from his garden
5.) On vacation for the week coming up with no plans but decluttering, puttering, working in the garden, and grocery shopping. Oh, and finishing Dollhouse on netflix while I finish crocheting my husband’s bday gift! For his other gift I got him a show he wanted on DVD which was free with my Amazon points (I use my Amazon CC for everything and then pay it off every month to earn points). Wahooo!


Katy June 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Love the Firefly hat!!!!!

Even if the actor is an idiot.

Reply June 7, 2015 at 8:38 pm

I am so envious of anyone with canning jars. Mine were stolen in my move so I am having to buy new. I have lots of food allergies so I try to can non-allergy food for me. Canning is great because it takes up no space in my teeny freezer. Sarah


Bobbi June 8, 2015 at 1:23 am

Love your free find of vintage jars!

My weekend was pretty low-key and frugal.
1. I ate from the pantry all weekend, with minimal cooking due to hot weather.
2. My daughter had a piano recital Sunday. It was an awards ceremony with lots of talented kids, and a real pleasure. It definitely felt like free, fancy entertainment.
3. I went clothes shopping with my teen daughter to Goodwill, to refresh our summer wardrobes. The shopping gods were with us, and we both found several things we like, plus we had fun together.
4. I used Netflix for TV watching. I haven’t had cable in years and I don’t miss it a bit.
5. I drank tap water all weekend as my beverage of choice. I don’t get tired of plain water, but I know it seems boring to lots of people.


JD June 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

Love the canning jars! My favorite ones I have are the blue ones with zinc lids and the big half gallon mason jar given to me by my mother. I don’t have a canner tall enough for it, but it holds my bulk purchased oatmeal.
1. I cooked cauliflower in homemade chicken stock to make “mashed potatoes” out of them, but they were too runny. We ate just some of the cauliflower and I pondered on what to do with the rest. Duh. I had half a cup of English peas, half a cup of cut corn, some cut up tomato and a two-inch piece of sausage in the refrigerator, and I always have onion and seasonings. It turned into a very nice soup, just right for another meal for the husband and me.
2. We ate out on a gift certificate and didn’t go crazy, so I still have enough left for us to eat out again. We tipped out of our pockets, of course, but it was way, way cheaper than the meal would have been!
3. My husband buys local eggs from a chicken hobbyist, and always pays him a bit extra, since we used to have chickens and know they aren’t that cheap to raise. In return, we’ve received several nice, large zucchini from his garden, some sweet onions (he buys Vidalias in bulk and gives us some), and an entire crate of squash off of his vines which are in their final flush of producing. He gave us huge bundles of greens from his plot last fall. We spent several hours this weekend blanching and freezing summer squash, which my whole family loves.
4. My husband also raises veggie plants from seed and gives a few plants away to a few family and friends each Spring– this weekend we also received a bowl of mixed varieties of tomatoes and a beautiful white Clara eggplant from a family member who grew them on the plants given to him by my husband. We always eat and/or put up the free produce. We don’t waste it even if it is free.
5. We’ve adopted a cat (not by our choice, she chose us) and we didn’t know if she was spayed or not — she used to belong to our druggie neighbor who isn’t good about vet care, but his ex-wife was good about taking care of the pets when she was still his wife, so she might have had it done. When she left him to find her own place to live, she couldn’t have pets at her new home; her ex made the cat fend for itself and it was nearly starved when it came to our yard. Anyway, I called the vet I was pretty sure the wife had used, and told them the situation and they looked it up once I assured them we had taken ownership — she was indeed taken there and was spayed when younger. So we don’t have to pay $300 for them to open her up and see if she was spayed or not, only to find out she was. Yay!
Hm, there is a lesson in some of these items about generosity being repaid. Frugal folks are often generous, contrary to public opinion, don’t you agree?


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