Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 20, 2015 · 37 comments

City Island

  1. Yesterday’s plans to visit a friend in Queens and grab delicious Indian food went kaput when she forgot about our plans and left town. The weather was hot and humid, which threw a haze over our normally keen decision making skills, so we ended up deciding to see a movie instead of some fabulous and envy-inducing NYC adventure. Instead we drove north of the city to New Rochelle, where we parked easily (and for free) and walked in the air conditioned bliss that is a summertime movie theater. I won’t tell you the movie we saw for fear that you will judge my parenting, as the movie was surprisingly sexually graphic. Oops. . . (Okay, okay . . . it was Trainwreck which was the height of hilarity, but probably not exactly what my 17-year-old son wanted to watch with his mother.) We didn’t use Fandango or buy snacks, and our matinee tickets only set us back ten bucks apiece.
  2. I put on my brave-woman pants and figured out how to get to Laguardia airport by subway and bus instead of opening a financial vein for a cab. $2.75 apiece instead of $40 plus tip? You betcha! I was nervous that we’d mess something up along the way, but the process was smooth sailing. (My sister thanked my for “beta testing” the route as she’d never tried getting to Laguardia this way.)
  3. I’ve found 22¢ on the ground at the airport so far.
  4. My son and I packed fresh bagels with lox spread for the trip so we wouldn’t be tempted to buy the overpriced food on our flights. I should have brought a refillable bottle, but we’ll just use the water fountains before the flight and the free non-alcoholic beverages once we board.
  5. I didn’t buy one souvenir during my two-week trip to NYC. Since I brought gifts, I’m actually going home lighter than when I arrived. Decluttering by way of hostess gifting for the win!

A huge thank you to my sister and her family for hosting us in their lovely Bronx City Island home. Right on the Long Island Sound, yet right outside the city. A perfect combination!

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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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Isabelle July 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

* My husband is leaving with the car for a week. I was suppose to rent a car during that time (to go to work and around), but I decided that I will try to borrow my mom’s car or take the bus instead. Will save more than 200$ (will buy gas for my mom).
* Found 50 cents
* Will go to the library to get a book I’ve reserved, even if I don’t plan on reading it. Otherwise they charge a 50 cents fee.
* Started a “one year shopping-ban” mid-july. It’s comprised of : personal restaurant outings, new clothes (used is ok, but just what is really necessary), makeup (I have enough), jewelry and accessories, shoes (unless absolutely necessary, because I don’t buy them used), diet clubs, gym membership (I already have one… that I don’t use…), books and magazines, fancy dishes (love them but don’t use them much), stuff we already have a lot of like deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. And to just be mindful in general of my buys.
* Bought 2 small tables for 5$, sold one back for 5$, so I got my table for free.

One “unfrugal” thing : my house is not selling, so we decided to lower the asking price of 5000$, for the second time! Looking for a corner to go cry……


JD July 20, 2015 at 8:48 am

1. Drinking iced tea brought from home and eating leftovers for my lunch at work.
2. Using the Goodwill-purchased eating utensils I keep here at work, instead of always having to buy and bring disposables.
3. This weekend I made eggplant parmesan using leftover parmesan, leftover spaghetti sauce, and eggplant from the garden. Cheap and yummy.
4. Going through my clothing to de-clutter and get rid of the old, truly out of style or shabby stuff. The stuff in really bad shape becomes rags, which we always need since I don’t buy paper towels.
5. Mixed up five more gallons of homemade laundry detergent, which I use with vinegar (for a fabric softener). Then I hang out my clothes. I’ll do a load of jeans on the delay-start tonight — they’ll be just done and ready to hang out before work tomorrow. Using that free sunshine!
And 6. — it was a new purchase, true, but I stopped by Tractor Supply and found a small bin of the remainders of summer gardening stuff — I picked up sturdy coated steel plant stakes and a big spool of tying ribbon, all for 75% off. My coneflowers and bachelor buttons are much happier now, and I can use this stuff for years to come.


Beth July 20, 2015 at 8:51 am

*Dog/house sitting for a client using their air, water, cable (yeah!), etc., this week – there paying me to stay here, lol. I took a week off from work but am pretending I am at a spa as its a beautiful home. I’m still earning money and living the high life 😉 I’m cooking all our meals accept to treating my daughter.

*Treating my daughter to lunch and a movie (Ant Man) using some of our tip money. Lunch should be cheaper then going for dinner.

*Skipped what looked like an awesome garage sale Saturday so I wouldn’t spend money for things I have lived without so far.

*Used up some zucchini I would have previously tossed because the skin was going bad, I just peeled and cut out the bad spots and sauteed it and served with salmon patties and noodles instead of going out to dinner last night

*Taking daughter to overnight camp tomorrow for the rest of the week and it only cost $25! Now I am really at a spa, no child – woot, woot!


Bettypants July 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

1. Checked out four DVDs from my local library, along with a stack of books and magazines.
2. Bought a sofa table for $7 last summer and finally finished painting and waxing it last weekend. Sold it today for $40.
3. Listed a cake pan on freecycle. After four no shows, I had to toss it into my Sally Ann bag. Freecyclers here are very frustrating.
4. Resisted the urge to get a Little Caesars pizza on the way home every day last week. Damn them for being so cheap and delightful.
5. Helped a friend attempt to buy a used fridge. Seller had it stuck in their house, and gave it to us for free for the inconvenience.


K D July 20, 2015 at 9:05 am

I have more non-frugal things going on in my life at the moment, like needing new brake pads and to replace a brake caliper on my car and running the A/C like crazy because it is not only hot but very humid. But my life continues to be mostly frugal:

1. We did splurge on Chinese take-out yesterday. For less than $14 there was enough food to feed four people. Among the cheapest ways to eat out, we consumed plenty of vegetables, and supported a local restaurant.

2. Staples has reams of printer paper free (after rebate) through Tuesday. I bought one ream yesterday and will buy three more tomorrow. They also have a good deal on Kleenex, and I have coupons and will use a gift card (obtained at a discount with Discover Card points).

3. I have been reading the ebook “Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child” courtesy of the public library. It is quite good but possible more exhaustive than I’d like.

4. We watched McFarland USA courtesy of a Red Box free rental code.

5. I charged our auto insurance and my dental crown on our airlines credit card. That gave us enough spending to receive 3000 bonus points.

Safe travel back to Portland Katy and son.


Katy July 20, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Thank you, we’re almost home!


Betty Winslow July 20, 2015 at 11:07 am

1. Met our adopted daughter and granddaughter and some of their friends at the A/C’d library to spend time together without spending money. The library has a lovely toddler play area that the kids adore. (This was in place of a free food and fun outing we already had planned, that the weather ruined.)

2. Treated myself to a cheap iced coffee on my favorite coffeehouse’s birthday special day.

3. Ate metaball subs one night for dinner and philly cheese steaks another, thus using up a package of whole wheat sub buns, part of a package of provolone slices, as couple of on-their-way-out onions, a slightly wrinkled bell pepper, and the rest of two bags of meatballs.

4. Checked out 4 more books on CD from our library for use in the kitchen.

5. Will make taco salad for dinner tonight, using up a partial head of lettuce, some cheap ground beef, the crumbles in the bottom of a bag of tortilla chips, and the rest of a bag of grated cheese, plus a can of beans, some chopped tomato, and a packet of low sodium taco seasoning.


Katy July 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Meals at your house sound delicious!


Sharon July 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Safe travels!
Five frugal things:
1. Despite the humidity and higher temps, I have been able to keep the a/c off
2. The only grocery shopping I have done is the free download to get a receipt to do the survey to get 50 free fuel points… And scored a gallon of milk for $1.73
3. All meals have been from my stockpile and made at home
4. I received notification that I have earned a free drink from Starbucks just for downloading stars on packages of grocery store bought coffee
5. I have a dinner and movie planned with friends here at my house and I have all the ingredients on hand at home to make orange chicken and beef!


Nathalie July 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Have a good trip home!

My 5 frugal things for today…

1) My husband and son went on an out-of-state camping trip yesterday. As they pulled into their first campground, the engine light came on on the truck 🙁 This morning my husband checked everything and realized that his radiator was very low on fluid. He found an auto parts store, bought some antifreeze, the light went off and they’re on to continue their trip. Potentially expensive disaster averted… phew!

2) I walked to my son’s school today to pick up his schedule instead of driving there, despite the heat and humidity (Central Florida). Since there is a Racetrac station just past the school, I brought my son’s Sodapalooza cup (he left it at home since there aren’t any Racetracs where they’re camping) and got a free Caffeine-Free Diet Coke refill. I also redeemed my July Racetrac Insider coupon for a free hot dog and a survey reward code from a past receipt for a free Extra Large Chocolate Chip Cookie. It’s so large that it deserves capitalization 🙂 So my lunch was free and I walked it off too!

3) I made Strawberries & Cream Bread Pudding in my crockpot to use up 5 hot dog buns that had started to mold and a quart of strawberries that I soaked in diluted vinegar a little too long. Using the crockpot prevented me from overheating the kitchen.

4) As soon as my husband and son left yesterday, I turned up the AC to 78 throughout the house. I plan on sleeping downstairs in the living room while they’re away and I’m using the pedestal fan to help be more comfortable. Hopefully our electric bill will be smaller than usual during this time period.

5) I applied for a job yesterday. Now, we don’t need the income strictly speaking and I’m perfectly happy being a SAHM whose kids are teens because I’m finally being able to relax and not be on the go-go-go all the time. But the position is that of a library assistant at my library, within walking distance of my house. I love my library and I’ve always wanted to work in a library! I could walk or bike to work. I like all the people who work there. I would have kicked myself had I not at least applied for it. So I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get it, but getting it would also bring in extra income that we could use to speed up paying off our house even faster and then to put toward our retirement fund. Wish me luck!


Pidge July 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Good luck!! Sounds like a great opportunity! 🙂


Nathalie July 20, 2015 at 4:04 pm



Marcia July 20, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Five Frugal Things–not sure I’ve done that many today but let’s see:
made bread in bread machine
made cheeseburger pie for dinner, using homemade “Bisquick” and carrots for a veg
stayed inside all day so didn’t spend any money
used pepper jack cheese–which I accidentally bought double of a week or so ago
wrote a letter to a lawyer who owes me some money from my Mom’s estate–if I get it back from him, my sisters and I will each get another $69.56 each.
filed some household papers so I can find them when I need them, and also they are no longer cluttering up the living room!
I guess I made it, although it was a stretch.


Happy Mum July 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Is that your sister in the photo with you? You both look so beautiful — happy, and full of good spirits. Even on a muggy day.


Katy July 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Yes, that’s the two Wolk-Stanley sisters! And it never feels muggy when the wind is coming off the ocean water.


cathy July 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm

five frugal things:
* sold a few things at a kids’ consignment shop. They let me take half in cash and the other half in store credit, which I promptly “spent” on a needed dress shirt for my son.
* went to a potluck the other day and took a baguette I got for $1 at a local French bakery and a dip. I wasn’t in the mood to cook, and it was nicer than chips & salsa.
* harvested some of my garlic yesterday.
* putting together a large reception for the end of the summer. I found the drink dispenser I was eyeing for half off at our local Kroger affiliate and was also able to use a spend $30 save $5 coupon. I figure the dispenser cost me $12.50 and I can use it for lots of parties.
* gardening is my favorite hobby. I got some late-season tomato plants for 65 cents each (and they each had at least two nearly-ripe tomatoes on them). Daily entertainment: watching the hummingbirds dive bomb the feeder. Also the neighborhood cats who seem to think they can outsmart the hummers.
* adding a 6th: cooler weather and some rain today so all the windows are open and we won’t need the AC at all!!


Katy July 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Hoping you will write about the Tenement Museum. Hope to go there again when I’m in NYC in the fall.


Katy July 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm

It was great, but also odd, which I’ll elaborate on in its own blog post.


Heidi July 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

I don’t buy souvenirs when on holiday either. That’s what photos and memories are for.

I made a large pitcher of iced tea and another of iced coffee. Those will keep my sweet tooth happy all week

I’ve been enjoying sunny days in the screened porch, reading my library books.

Our neighbours bought a new fridge and gave us their old one. We are using it as a spare and in turn gave the old and inefficient fridge we were previously using to another neighbour.

Enjoying watching my 14 yr old working this summer. She has always helped with household and barn chores and gardening/lawns, but this summer has also started helping the neighbouring farms load hay and is working for her aunt, babysitting 3 younger cousins. We are trying to encourage a strong work ethic in our kids.


Anne July 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm

1. Knew I needed new glasses so brought in old frames for them.

2. – 5. Husband loves tools and has been collecting them all his life. There isn’t much that can be done at home on cars theses days and because of his age his Harry Homeowner days are slipping away, too. I have nagged, I mean gently asked him to let me sell some but he hangs on like they were the only things keeping his nose above water. But I finally wrested some from him and we made $175 this week. That accomplishment will have to stand for numbers 2 through 5.


Alison July 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I’m not nearly as frugal as most of you, but I do try.

This week’s attempt at frugality:
– making applesauce and apple crumble from my one fruit tree that produces
– hung my laundry to dry
– used a $15.00 off coupon at Eddie Bauer to buy purple (I LOVE purple) walking shoes that were $120 regularly price, now at 60% off. Using coupon, total spent $38.00
– closed a bank account that I had stopped using to avoid the $14 a month fee
– cancelled my daughter’s auto club membership, which was secondary on mine. Saved $40 on the renewal (she no longer owns a car, and is in Australia until the end of the year).
– arranged to rent said daughter’s bedroom out to a German girl coming to our university from Sept-Dec. The $750 per month will be welcome income, but more than that, it will help fill the “empty nest” that I have been experiencing.
One fail ( that I will admit to):
– bought a small wooden coffee table for $168.00 at a consignment store. I have been looking for two years, as I have a very small living room, it was hard to find. This one was not cheap, but will work well.


Karen July 21, 2015 at 6:24 am

You seem very frugal to me. And enjoy that coffee table, that is why you are frugal, so you CAN buy the things you really want and will use and enjoy.


Amanda July 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

1. I made sausage stuffed zucchini for supper with zucchini and sausage passed along to us by my parents.
2. Our weekend renters left us 3/4 of a leftover box of exactly the tea we drink!
3. My husband needed a new top quality monitor. He is a freelance graphic designer, so the display needs to be sharp and the colors accurate. Instead of buying a brand new Apple monitor he went for refurbished, which is under warranty but significantly less than expensive than new.
4. Enjoyed some family time at the free city pool before supper.
5. Did our weekly grocery run at Aldi. The Frugal Girl’s recommendation is saving me a good $20 a week.


auntiali July 20, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Safe travels!
1. Went to dr. appointment. While driving I kept my foot off the gas when going down a couple of big hills.
2. I will no longer be able to use my specially compounded pain cream for my feet as my insurance won’t pay for it. But the dr. suggested over the counter cream like Salon Pas and others like that.
3. Inside house lights were off for most of the day.
4. Turned AC up to 76. Just had new refridgerent put in and it’s too cold at a lower temp.
5. Turned on my tv and cable box to watch a tv show in my bedroom. I always unplug the two as I don’t watch tv that often.


ELLEN July 21, 2015 at 4:40 am

Can’t your dr call in insurance company and fight it? to see if they will pay for your cream. My dr has done this for some meds they wouldn’t pay for..
its worth a shot..


Marilyn July 20, 2015 at 6:47 pm

So glad you’ve had this nice time with your sister. My 2 sisters live on the east coast and I wish I could spend more time with them but I really love the time we do spend together. Frugal things:
1. At a yard sale on Saturday, I bought 2 pretty needlepoint pillows for $1 each. They’re truly lovely.
2. Went to the eye doctor. I have great vision insurance which covers all but $10 of an annual eye exam, but for some reason, I keep putting off making an appointment. Finally, made myself go last week. Now I have to push myself to go to the dentist.
3. Checked out 2 movies from the library – “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Imitation Game.” Watched “Saving Mr. Banks”last weekend and enjoyed it. We’ll watch Imitation Game next weekend.
4. Just finished reading “The Primates of Park Avenue.” (From the library, of course). There is an interesting (or funny or sad) chapter about the obsession with ultra-expensive handbags.
5. Doing everything I can to limit use of AC. Keeping shades down during the day, using fan in our bedroom, spending time in our cool daylight basement. It works for us.


Katy July 21, 2015 at 6:34 am

Can you imagine how many hours those needlepoint cushions took to make? And at $1 apiece you’re looking at .5¢ per hour for the cost of labor. Crazy!


Canadian Lilly July 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Glad you had such a fun and frugal time with your sister and son.

This week’s frugalness (New word!)–
–Hung laundry out to dry in the sun and breeze.
–Was planning a weekend away during my 2 weeks vacation but decided to have a stay-cation, save the money and look for some free or low cost things to do in our own city-so far we have planned to go to a lavender farm-free, walk a labyrinth-free, get a pedicure-free as I received a gift card at Christmas, go to the movies-free-due to gift cards from Mother’s day. See some local bands as our city is one of the host cities for the Pan Am games this week and there is lots of free entertainment going on.
–Sat outside in my garden and enjoyed watching the dogs play.
–We purchased tickets to the Pan Am Women’s soccer–for $20 got to see 2 games, received free commemorative pins, free flags, free water fill ups in our refillable bottles and lots of fun! Our tickets also included free public transit to get to the game and back home so no parking cost.

Have a fantastic and frugal day!


Katy July 21, 2015 at 6:33 am

I love your staycation!


dusty July 21, 2015 at 3:10 am

Have a safe trip home Katy.

I’m not as frugal as everyone else here but I do try. I did have a great day the other day though. I had an old ring, took it to a jeweler and sold it for $800. I probably could have gotten more, but I’m glad to be rid of it. That was the highlight of my week. Next, going to sell some things on Craigslist!


Katy July 21, 2015 at 6:32 am

Umm . . . hello! You just got $800 for something that was otherwise a dust collector! Not too shabby.

And we did have a safe trip home, thank you!


Jill A July 21, 2015 at 4:15 am

Have a had a not so frugal summer. Daughter got married, sent the two youngest on a school trip to Europe and went on our own trip. We’re trying to make up for it now. Summers are more expensive than Christmas for us. Oh well….

1. Hung two loads of my husbands shirts up to dry on a wooden coat rack my Grandfather made to hold his six daughters coats when they were growing up. Thanks Grandpa!
2. Ran a load of dishes in the dishwasher on the light china cycle and didn’t use the heated dry. I’m hoping this lowers our electric bill. We use our dishwasher alot.
3. Also took our daughters to see Trainwreck. So funny. So embarrassing. I had no idea, but oh well. We try to always go to a cheap movie theater. We usually get out of there for $20 for all four of us. If they get snacks it’s less than $25. I love it and I’m happy to support them.
4. Drove to a small beach town an hour away and went on a dune ride. It wasn’t cheap. We did avoid going out to dinner. Stopped at Aldi on the way home for bread and buns. We made sandwiches for dinner.
5. Picked up some hair dye at the store to do my own hair. Saves me $80.


Katy July 21, 2015 at 6:31 am

We’ve certainly had some very expensive summers as well when we were sending our sons to Japan! But it all balances out when the rest of the year is dedicated to frugality.


Kristen July 21, 2015 at 6:17 am

Five frugal things

1. Wanted to read the Tightwad Gazette. Instead of heading to Amazon, I requested it from the library.

2. I bought a 12v cooler for a Danika vacation to avoid restaurants this summer. I’m on the road 4 days a week for work, so I am going to use it to keep fruit, veg, water and lunch cold. This will save me hundreds of Dollars in wasted money on takeout.

3. Found $5 on the ground!

4. I love thrift shopping and made $8oo for my family vacation by buying low and selling high! Now that our trip is over I’m going to open an account dedicated to this business and watch my money grow. I transport bags of stuff from a small rural thrift shop to a large centre as they get too many donations. Part of the deal is that I get to go through it before donating it. I sell some stuff through Twice and local Facebook pages. I donate some to needy families and the rest to Value Village. I just got a vintage slide projector which I think I can sell for 25-30.

5. Used coupons to buy healthy snacks. Got $41 of rice cakes for $4.50.


Katy July 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

Wow, I love your list! Back in the day I had The Complete Tightwad Gazette from the library for such a long time that I considered it to belong to me. My hubs and finally bought me my own copy as a birthday gift!


Vickie July 21, 2015 at 6:52 am

Good job, Katy!!

1) I’m reading and listening to books by Peter Walsh. I love his decluttering/organization books. All from the Library, my favorite place to shop!
2) I’m trying to get more rest, it makes a huge difference in my mood and focus if I can get at least 6-7 hours of rest each night. I seem to accomplish more and I’m able to avoid carbs better.
3) I watch youtube videos online when I don’t have a project at work. I’ve found so many good tips and instructions on how to repair things – they save me money.
4) I need to replace some of my curtains on the west side of the house with thermal/light blocking curtains – plus they are just wearing out after 17 years. I need to wait until after August though, so I’ve thrown blankets over the windows and put aluminum foil in one to block the hot sun, for now.
5) I got a compliment this morning on a pretty & comfortable blouse I bought at the thrift store about a month ago. I think it cost me less than $3. I love that it goes with slacks, shorts or skirts.


Chris July 21, 2015 at 5:57 pm

– Drove to a family reunion – a total of 5 hours of driving and 2 hours with family but we only go every other year. Won the guess how many tootsie rolls are in this jar – gave them to the youngest child there – scored points with the relatives and saved myself from eating them all on the way home.
– Coordinated a funeral lunch at church yesterday – potato salad and fruit as part of tonight’s dinner brought home from that. Also brought home a bouquet of daisies that were table decorations.
– Bought more 3-6 month sized clothes at garage sales for first grandchild due in early September!!
– Today drove only to the post office to mail etsy sales (it was a good weekend!).
– Husband is going for a 3 day vacation at a cabin with a friend – planned meals for them and will do shopping at Aldi’s before they leave. Feel a bit controlling but they will save tons of money and time!!


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