Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 21, 2015 · 40 comments

Found change receipt

  1. I cashed in my Found Change Challenge jar as we’re gathering any and all available money to send our older son off to college. It contained $23.21 in coins plus $26 in bills, which added up to $49.21! Not quite enough to fund a year of college, but not a bad addition either.
  2. I Craigslisted a small black and white striped rug that had been in my younger son’s bedroom. I sold it for $15, even though I’d bought it years ago at Goodwill for only $10. It was replaced by one I pulled from a garbage can and shampooed back to life. Buy low, sell high, people.
  3. My husband was given an extra ticket to tonight’s Portland Thorns women’s MLS soccer game. Our team includes a few members from the U.S. World Cup champions, and there will be a special ceremony at the game. I expect there will be many tears of happiness. (And not just because of free tickets.)
  4. I checked out two books from the library today. Judy Blume’s In The Unlikely Event and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Revisited. 
  5. My son had a friend over this afternoon. I served home popped popcorn drizzled with honey butter and bottles of icy tap water. I also prepared a large quesadilla. Just because my sons are teenagers doesn’t mean they require expensive and unhealthy junk food.

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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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth July 22, 2015 at 12:28 am

As I sit here after my fourth shift in a row in ED ( always crazy busy ) with another early to go tomorrow I’m trying to think what I’ve done to save money and how you as a nurse Katy has so much energy in your posts ….you seem to have masses of energy and that’s fabulous…well I’ve given up thinking …I feel like all I’ve done is work so maybe next time will be better …tonight is catch up on my budget with hopefully an early night before yet another shift


Katy July 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

Keep in mind that I work part time.


Ruth July 23, 2015 at 4:30 am

So do I 4 days a week , but we consider that basically full time to prevent complete burn out …. 3 days off now ahhhhhhhhhhhh


Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life July 22, 2015 at 3:18 am

Lots and lots of library books! Having a few books around reminds me that instead of going out, I can easily sit out on the back porch, enjoy some home brewed tea and an awesome book!


Heidi July 22, 2015 at 7:07 am

Add to that a radio playing in the background and it feels like you are away at a cottage, right?

We live rurally, down a long lane way, with trees all around the property (that my husband planted as a kid 30 yrs ago). With the breeze rustling the leaves and the sound of the birds it always feels like I’m at the cottage when I sit in the porch.


Diane July 22, 2015 at 3:56 am

I sorted through my basket of fabric scraps to come up with enough pieces to begin a new baby quilt. Sometimes my quilting obsession gets the best of me. But, when I work from what I have it’s all good.


K D July 22, 2015 at 3:56 am

Just the usual:

1. Meals at home and packed lunches. Yesterday chicken breast were marked down at Safeway so I bought some and put them in the crock pot with Mexican spices and chicken broth. I shredded the meat and put out tortillas, cheese, etc. along with fresh fruit and vegetables for dinner. Tonight may be the same meal, then I’ll freeze the rest of the meat.

2. Yesterday was an “Energy Saving Day” with our local utility. If you use less electricity than usual from 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm then they credit your bill. I ran the A/C in the morning so the house was cold when I turned it off at 1:00. That should save us some money, they’ll let us know today how much we saved.

3. Laundry hung outside to dry.

4. Entertainment is ebooks from the library and a bit of Netflix with my husband in the evening (as well as time on the internet).

5. Exercise is walking, yard work, and yoga (not very expensive because of my monthly membership and the frequency with which I attend classes).


K D July 22, 2015 at 10:04 am

We just received an automated phone that informed us that we received a $28.75 bill credit for using less electricity for that 6 hour time period yesterday. That seems unbelievable, as our bill last month was ~$150 (after our $26.25 credit for doing the same thing one day in June) but I’ll take it.


Katy July 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

Very cool!


Isabelle July 22, 2015 at 4:52 am

* I am still going strong with my shopping-ban. I am wanting to buy new clothes “just because”, but I am refraining.
* Planning a date night with my mom. Got us 2 free movie tickets thought a Meetup, and a groupon 25$ for 12$ at a restaurant, so it will be a cheap night
* Decided to cut all junk food from our groceries. It will not be frugal in the sense that junk food is cheaper, but in the long run I think it will be frugal because less sick days for all (= more working days= more money), living longer and healthier, being happier in our bodies and mind, etc. And to us, investing in quality food is always a priority,
* Meeting with a friend. Instead of doing the usual “restaurant/coffee” we are going for a long walk.
* Putting any extra money on the mortgage instead of spending it on non-important stuff = less interests in the end

Have a great frugal day!


Bettypants July 22, 2015 at 4:56 am

1. Found a Fila performance sport type shirt for my son on clearance at Kohls, and used my 30% coupon, which brought it to $5.34, with free shipping.
2. Bought an antique crock for $7 at a yard sale and sold it for $20 yesterday.
3. Dried cherries from Aldi paired with roasted almonds as a snack.
4. Found a cache of Stonyfield Farms Petite Creme yogurts on clearance at Kroger for 45 cents each.
5. Traded my friend a plant for one of her Jack in the Pulpit plants, which I have always wanted.


Amanda July 22, 2015 at 5:50 am

1. I’ve been shopping at Aldi this summer, and since you can’t pay with credit cards, I’ve been using cash to pay for groceries. I seem to get cash from multiple places a little at a time (my mom paid me back for something, our renters left me cash for cleaning). So it feels like groceries have been free this month.
2. I discovered that the hospital did not submit a claim for our emergency room visit in April. It was just past the deadline to submit claims, but if it is denied I will fight hard about it.
3. I did a dry run pack yesterday for our trip to Bali next week. Good planning means I can anticipate things we need and take care of them frugally this week instead of panicking at midnight the night before our flight and buying a bunch of stuff at CVS.
4. Last night supper was ribs that my dad gave us a while back. They had been in the freezer a while because I don’t really love ribs, but they weren’t that bad. I paired them with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
5. Repaired three items of clothing yesterday. I just realized the items I fixed were frugal. One was a gift, one came from Goodwill, and one was free with a coupon. By fixing them for free I am stretching the dollar already invested in them even further.


Maureen July 22, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Hey Amanda, if your hospital is contracted with your insurance company, you do not have to pay the bill, only the portion you normally would pay such as copays and deductibles and coinsurance. The hospital is under contract to get that bill to your insurance within so many days. So just make sure they are contracted and verify your benefit with your insurance carrier. The hospital is the one who is incorrect by not following their contract. Good luck!


J. Pario July 22, 2015 at 6:50 am

* Grinding up dried oregano from our garden.
* Making progress on a baby shower gift. Very slow progress….


Beth July 22, 2015 at 7:43 am

Still on my dog/house sitting work-ca-tion! Its a joy to stay here and they pay me 🙂 (Took a weeks vacation off from my day job, will end up earning more doing this!) The little dogs I care for are sweeties and no trouble what so ever.

Daughter away at camp yesterday so I decided I am officially now at “Camp Mom. ” 🙂

Taking the dogs for strolls by a creek down the road next to a farm/museum this afternoon. Living in the metro area not alot of opportunities to just walk by a stream. Also enjoyed watching the fireflies on their back patio and seeing the deer come out last night into the yard and had a frozen Hurricane drink – ah Camp Mom is pretty fun. 😉

My goal why staying here was to earn over 100 Swagbucks a day – only 150 away from my next $25 Paypal 🙂

Using their cable and DVR (what I miss the most from cable tv is the DVR!!!) – watched Boyhood last night and have many more recorded but not enough time to watch but will enjoy what I can fit in.

Watching library videos and books lately. Watched the last disc in season four of the Midwives, daughter watched a movie and finished reading last night The Queen Of The Tearling (its being made in to a movie, Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame is staring in it), requested the second book, can’t wait for it.

Requested from the library season one of Cedar Cove and The Good Witch series. Wish the Murder She Baked/Hannah Swenson show was available on disc, not yet.

Actively decided not to treat myself to going out with daughter gone at camp so I can treat her this weekend to ice cream from Sanders, a special treat why we both wrap up our vacations. 😉


Nathalie July 22, 2015 at 9:28 am

Here are mine:

1) for the 3rd day in a row I walked to Racetrac (round-trip is 2 miles) to get free diet soda refills with one of the Sodapalooza cups that I had bought for the kids. They’re both away for the week and there isn’t a Racetrac where they are. Sodapalooza ends on 7/31 so I’m definitely getting my money’s worth. Today, I brought my hiking belly pack that can hold both cups so I got 2 refills. I looked funny walking home like this (I had to be careful so the cups wouldn’t spill as I tend to bounce when I walk) but I have free diet soda to enjoy all afternoon.

2) I also redeemed reward codes from the surveys I have taken on my and Greg’s receipts for a free XL chocolate chip cookie, every day.

3) I just ordered an 8 x10 reprint from Walgreens photo, free with code HOTDEAL61 and store pick-up (code expires 7/25). I’ll put the photo in a frame that I picked up at Dollar Tree for $1.

4) I rescheduled today’s grocery trip to tomorrow because I will be earning enough BR points to earn a $5 Balance Reward tonight when I input today’s physical activity and my weight into Walgreens’ Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices. I will use that reward tomorrow to get some free boxes of Special K cereal for my daughter.

5) I ordered an inexpensive birthday present for my daughter that was on her Amazon wishlist and earned a $5 Amazon Prime Pantry credit for choosing the No Rush Shipping option.


Karen July 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Thank you for the free code I just got my picture. I too have bought $1 frames at the dollar tree but have bought nicer frames for $1 at yard sales.


Jill A July 22, 2015 at 10:34 am

1. Reading books on my kindle that I got from the library website. I haven’t bought a book in months. I have one author I like to read and his books aren’t available at the library.
2. Baked chocolate chip cookies using chocolate chips I got on sale at Christmas with a coupon make them about .79 a bag.
3. Picked up diet coke on sale with two $1 off coupons making four of the 12 packs just $2 each.
4. Ate leftovers for dinner last night and eating from the freezer tonight. I’m trying to clean out my freezer & pantry.
5. Picked up a free chocolate shake for my daughter at McD. I filled a rewards card.


Katy July 22, 2015 at 10:58 am

Wow, your chocolate chips last a lot longer than they do at my house!


Chris July 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

My husband and a buddy are going to a cabin next Sun through Wednesday. The cabin stay is free. I went to Aldi’s today and spent just under $35 for their meals. They thought they might just go to the grocery near the cabin but I volunteered to get everything in advance – saving quite a bit, I’m sure!

Am painting a small dresser I got from freecycle for when my daughter moves to a new apt on 8/1. I will take the one she has now (which matches one I have here-they were in my husband’s room when he was a child- vintage!) and paint them both for sale on craigslist.

My sister had bought a raspberry-lime 1/2 pie when she was visiting. We tried it last night and weren’t big fans. Dropped it off at a friend’s house – she has 2 teenage boys who eat any and everything.

Made dog biscuits from scratch.

All meals at home or brought from home.


Katy July 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I hear you on the teenage boy thing.


Ruby July 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm

1. My son helped me replace the latches on two cabinets and repaired my closet door today. Cost: $1.99 for two new latches. Time spent working with my son: priceless.
2. Used a 10 percent off coupon at the clearance store today to buy ten cans of pumpkin. At 59 cents a can, they were way cheaper than any grocery store. Scored 10 cans for the price of nine with the coupon. (One of our dogs needs a high-fiber diet, and it’s easy to do by putting a small dollop of pumpkin in her kibble.)
3. Priced the oil paint needed to repaint the inside of our pantry and decided it would do just fine with a good scrubbing and some fresh $1-a-roll Con-Tact paper on the shelves.
4. Painted the trim around our den windows using a $4.99 can of sample paint and a 20 cent foam brush. It looks great.
5. Used Amazon gift credits from selling a book to pay for some deep cleaning supplies I could not get at the local hardware store.


Debby July 22, 2015 at 2:31 pm

We are keeping it simple here. I took the kids to the playground for free fun and I found $0.11 on the ground. Not too shabby. We are in the middle of moving back in to our home after renting it out. And doing some fairly frugal updates as well. And I have won several fabric giveaways for my little sewing hobby. It is great to be able to do what I like without costing extra!


Sarah July 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

1- Drying basil to use in home made italian seasoning to give at Christmas. With cute jars from World Market at less than a $1 a piece, great, very cheap and unique gift!

2- Placed 5 holds for audio books and checked out two from the library website.

3- bought toilet paper and wipes, the two items on my Costco list. No impluse purchases!!!!

4- filled car at Costco, saved 12 cents a gallon and combined errands. Had made sure I was driving on empty before I made the trip.

5- Combined trip to Costco with trip to dermatologist, thus saving an hour of driving for a single errand.


Monica July 23, 2015 at 9:40 am

While I am tempted to drive the car to empty before I fill it out, it can actually cause condensation in your gas tank (bad) and stress out your fuel pump–putting a quicker end to its life (the pump has to work harder to get the gas out of the low tank — a pump is incredibly expensive to replace). Best to fill the car up at just under half a tank.


Heather Elaine July 22, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Where is your receipt from? I’m curious if you used a machine like Coinstar to count your coins. I hate the charges on those machines so much that I’m tempted to tell complete strangers in the store not to use them. If you didn’t use Coinstar, you could use that as a frugal thing. A 9c charge per dollar avoided is a lot of money saved!


Katy July 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

My credit union has a free coin counting machine.


Delorise July 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm

1. Hit the clearance section at Kroger– got 2 bottles of Pantene conditioner for 40 cents and a tube of Sensodyne toothpaste (my brother in law has to use this for gum problems) for less than half price. I then strolled the aisles for closeout items and found Progresso and Campbells soups marked down over 50% (cheap winter meals).
2. Talked myself out of stopping at Wendys and spending $1.03 on French fries. I didn’t really want the fries– I wanted the free frosty and Senior drink that came with any purchase. Saved the money and made healthy choices at home.


nerokitty1 July 22, 2015 at 6:22 pm

As silly as this may sound, my biggest frugal adventure is to take care of my health. I run 5 times a week, buy quality running shoes and eat incredibly healthy. My family has been trying to do the same. I’m able to face other challenges as I get older because of good health.

We have had the challenge of taking care of my mother who never cared for herself and the economic and physical toll were staggering. So, always, care for your health, it will save you in the future.


Mrs. LC@LooseChangeLiving July 22, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Picked raspberries and green beans and froze what we couldn’t eat fresh.
Ate potatoes from the volunteers that grew in the garden.
Cut fresh flowers from the yard for a table centerpiece.
Ate leftovers for lunch and supper today.
Built several rolling workbenches in the shop using scrap lumber.


pattilou July 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm

1. made pesto with the basil from my garden and pine nuts my brother gave me
2. my brother also brought me an extra garlic press that he had since I needed one.
3.discovered that I was over charged for an item on my grocery bill so I went back to customer service and got the difference. I also returned some ground beef to the same store for a refund because when I opened it, it did not appear to be good.
4. ate at home the last two nights even though my schedule was insane and I was so tempted to grab take-out. Luckily I had the pesto.
5. rented a movie with a free Redbox code and had a relaxing evening at home


Bobbi July 22, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Mostly the usual, since I’m home from vacation and back to work:
• made coffee at home this morning, instead of indulging my (less and less frequent) Starbucks habit.
• ate all 3 meals at home today.
• exercised for free at home by dusting off a workout DVD I have had for years.
• relaxed with some Netflix after that.
• didn’t actually spend any money today except for paying some bills online.


Mand01 July 23, 2015 at 12:49 am

1. Cashed in our change jar and had $82.35 in it. This is going to our bulk meat purchase fund. We need about another $100 to cover a quarter of a cow and a side of lamb, which will last us at least past the new year.
2. I’m trying to break my buying coffee habit. Today is day one. Made it. It’s such a waste of money. $4 for a coffee is a disgrace.
3. Homemade sloppy joes for dinner. The kids weren’t too happy, but they survived.
4. Its about week three of our ‘eat down’ the freezer challenge. This is to make room for the meat arriving next week. We are just digging out whatever is in there for dinner. Hence the sloppy joes. It has saved quite a lot of dough lately. I had forgotten what was in there. Any savings are going to the meat fund.
5. I got a quote for new home & contents insurance and discovered I can save $400 a year with a new provider. Sayonara.


Katy July 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

“The kids weren’t too happy, but they survived.” Such truth to this statement. I tell my kids that it’s okay to eat food that’s not exactly their favorite. Sometimes it sinks in, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s a good lesson.


Mand01 July 23, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I take a leaf from The Frugal Zealot’s book. We don’t usually recall what we’ve eaten even an hour later, so as long as it is healthy, for the most part it doesn’t matter that much. not that I’ll feed them swill, but the occasional meal they don’t love won’t ruin their lives or have them off to therapy .
It’s the approach I’m taking to break my coffee habit as well.


meg July 23, 2015 at 7:54 am

1. Using toys and books that my son “received” as gifts that we never opened as birthday presents for his friends.
2. Thrilled that preschool and childcare seems to be coming in line for us. We only will need to pay for exactly the time we use. This has been hard to negotiate because many places have minimum hours or set schedules which did exactly work for my family and we so expensive. I will NOT have to spend most of my paycheck on child care!
3. Spending a warm day at a neighbor’s pool, kids wearing thrifted suits and playing with thrifted water toys.
4. Will be passing on some infant things to a friend that will use them. So glad that I can pass these on as they were passed to me.
5. Gathering schools supplies for upcoming year. Reusing or using existing stock of many things. Will supplement with some deep discounts found this time of year. School system says to expect to pay $75….what??? No way, $10 at most, if that.


Isabelle July 23, 2015 at 8:15 am

You’re lucky you have the option, for school supplies. For us, for first through third grade, we have to pay a fee and the school provides the basic material, 70$…. I’m sure I could do better!! And my mom had offered to pay for the supplies this year, because she was excited to go shopping with my kid, but now that this is a “writing a check” situation, it’s probably up to me to pay… double sucks!


Vickie July 23, 2015 at 8:08 am

1) I need to buy some gift boxes for jewelry I’m donating to a non-profit auction. I have a 50% off coupon, plus I can use the donations as tax write-offs – and it’s helping me declutter stuff I don’t want or need.
2) I’m using another coupon for $9 off an oil change at Valvoline. I’m going to get this done today before I take my grandson to camp this weekend.
3) I found a sprayer on sale for $11 bucks at Harbor Freight and I have a super coupon for that. I love getting coupons by email!
4) I’m heading over to p/u another Library book I put a hold on.
5) Hubby avoided a $1500 repair on his car yesterday. Our mechanic told him if he’s planning to sell/trade it for another vehicle soon, it’s cheaper to just add freon instead of replacing the AC or fixing it. We’re so fortunate to have an honest mechanic.


JD July 23, 2015 at 8:08 am

1. Taking a long awaited weekend away this weekend, and we’ll be splitting a suite with our grown kids, so the costs will be less. A kitchen is included, so we’ll save on eating costs, too.
2. I trimmed my own bangs again last night — it means more time between hair cuts. Cutting the rest of my hair has not always been successful, so I usually pay to get it cut about 4 times a year.
3. I just made five gallons of laundry detergent. It works great with my well-water and washing machine, so I’ve been making my own for years now. I think it comes out to about three cents a load.
4. It was too rainy yesterday to hang jeans out, so I used the drying rack and pushed it under the ceiling fan to help them dry faster and avoid souring. It works.
5. Do NOT park under the lone magnolia tree in our work parking area, even though it means my car is blistering hot when I get in it. For the second time since I’ve been working here, two people’s vehicles were hit by lightning while sitting under that same tree yesterday. Two others’ were hit about 3 years ago. One had to replace his vehicle and insurance never covered all of the cost of that, and the others all had or have deductibles to pay. Ouch.


Katy July 23, 2015 at 9:19 am

Wow, that’s insane! Never even thought about the lightening risk when parking under a tree. Where do you live?


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