Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 28, 2015 · 33 comments

Spider plant

  1. I used a buy-one-get-one-free Redbox code to rent a free single DVD. I’d read this was possible if you put the movie on hold online, rather than at the kiosk itself. We watched Ex Machina, which was intensely suspenseful and well acted. Well worth our $0.00!
  2. I sold two things on Craigslist — A vintage wrought iron plant stand that I found standing next to a dumpster, (the stand was hanging out at the dumpster, not me) and an Amazon FireTV stick that my husband won at a basketball game. $45 more dollars for the ol’ college fund!
  3. I planted some spider plant babies that I’d pinched off my father’s monster plant. I first rooted them in water for a few weeks, and I’m now looking forward to my own lush spider plant. (Spider plants are highly rated for improving indoor air quality.) I have the plant outside right now, but will transition it indoors when temperatures cool down.
  4. I posted in my local buy nothing group asking for twin XL sheets for my son who is soon to head off to college. Surely there are people with this dorm-specific size sheets that they no longer have use for. I also offered up a scratching post, that despite my best effort my cats have shown no interest in.
  5. Last night’s dinner was a collection of leftovers and gotta-use-em-up stragglers. Bean and cheese quesadillas, baked ziti, cubed cantaloupe and bangers and mash all fed my family while serving to avoid food waste. Plus, I didn’t have to cook . . . yay!

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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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathalie July 28, 2015 at 10:31 am

Katy, you can use the BOGO code at the kiosk to get the free DVD without renting the 2nd, I’ve done it several times.

1) We were going to buy a family car for my daughter to use to attend the local community college since she is dual enrolling this semester (college classes and credits for free!). However, she found out that the one class she wants to take this semester is available as an online class, which will work better for her anyway. So we might not need to get a family car just yet 🙂

2) It’s been raining for days so I haven’t had to water my garden in over a week 🙂

3) We only have a few more days to go to use our Racetrac Sodapalooza cups to get free fountain drink refills… since my oldest son and his GF are staying with me this week while they’re working at the local high school’s band camp as clinicians, I gave them the cups so they can get free Gatorade and keep hydrated throughout the day.

4) I went to the library yesterday and borrowed 2 books, donated 2 magazines to the donation pile and took 2 magazines and a coupon insert from their donation pile. The children’s librarian told me that she is wholly supporting my application for their librarian assistant position, which was really nice to hear.

5) I’ve been cranking up my Swagbucks earnings with the Survey Soiree event this week, as well as continuing to try to accrue as much as possible with “tricks” learned during the last team challenge. I’m well on track to earn another $25 Amazon GC hopefully in the next week or so.


A. Marie July 28, 2015 at 10:41 am

(1) Congrats on your spider babies. I’m into about the 14th generation of spider plants descended from my late mother-in-law’s plant.

(2) Regret to report that DH was the target of an attempted scam on Craigslist (one of those where a would-be buyer sends a bogus check for over the amount of purchase and then tries to get you to remit the “excess” to him). Neither of us was fooled by this, so I suppose that saved some money, but neither of us is happy about it. Have you or any of the readers been burned this way?

(3) Harvested that long-awaited first tomato last night, and used it to make our first BLTs of the summer (B from friend’s pig, our own L, our own T). Yum!!

(4) Have almost finished replenishing DH’s wardrobe with new “skinny” clothes, entirely from thrift shops. Still haven’t found a two-piece suit to fit him, but he only wears those to weddings and funerals anyway. Am thinking of asking family and friends not to have anybody get married or die till I can find him a suit.

(5) All the usual stuff: line-drying laundry, keeping the AC on just enough to keep the house tolerable during the current heat wave, eating up leftovers, etc.


stacy July 28, 2015 at 10:46 am

I’ve had a similar experience with a potential renter for my vacation home who was inquiring via email. As soon as they suggested sending a check for over the amount and asking for a refund, I was on to them and immediately discontinued any communication. My vacation web site even warns us that this is now a common occurrence (unfortunately)!


Bettypants July 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

1. Realized the $2 pottery vase I had bought from a garage sale had a label on the bottom and is collectible. Sold it on ebay for $32.
2. She who organizes the monthly office lunch gets to choose the food. Pretty giddy about BLT pizza arriving tomorrow.
3. Walked to our local resale store for their anniversary sale. Another shopper was wearing some very heavy perfumed lotion, which ruined browsing for me. Left without buying a thing.
4. Commented on a Twinkie making appliance and a Smores one on my local FB sale group. $2 each. They are new in the box and would make good gifts for our family white elephant exchange. I’m waiting to hear back from the seller.
5. My tomatoes are reddening! At long last.


Anne July 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

Yeah, what is it with cats and their scratching posts? As a lifelong cat lover I have NEVER had a cat interested in one of them even when I smear them with catnip.

I personally think it is a massive corporate plot to get us cat owners to buy them. 😀

Now, my furniture…….the little sweethearts love to claw.


Michele July 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

My son and I picked about 2 gallons of blackberries from my Grandmother’s abandoned garden (she’s been gone for years) and we dug some wonderful garlic there, too. I found an idea for a DIY bday gift for my little gal that is something she will actually like…A LOT! My parents gave us an old fridge and we dug a hole in our yard and buried it (hardware/Freon removed), making a root cellar for our potatoes and apples this year (it’s a fridge vs. freezer so we have 2 compartments, keeping the 2 types of produce apart….you know….because of gases that rot…). We’ve done some other stuff too, but I have 3 people hovering over my wifely/motherly behind right now, so it’s back to work for me. 😉 <3


cathy July 28, 2015 at 11:57 am

1. The art slipped in a vintage watercolor my parents gave me. I bought some artists’ tape as well as the double stick kind that holds the paper backing in place. Repaired the framing problems and now I’m set for future framing projects.
2. Took my son to the library where he picked up books he had on hold and I returned some that were due. He’s also participating in the summer reading program and has already earned an amazon gift card and some ear buds.
3. Cooler weather yesterday and today so the windows are OPEN and no AC needed.
4. We’ve been making coffee at home almost every day, which cuts down on the temptation to pick one up while out. Neither one of us has a coffee shop habit, so it’s still a treat. I was glad to find that our favorite, locally-roasted coffee was on sale today.
5. Gas bill arrived and they lowered our equal monthly payment again because our usage has gone down. We’ll save $3/month this time.


JD July 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Oh, thanks for the spider plant post! We were saying we needed a houseplant and couldn’t think of anything that would survive in our house. Spider plant! Of course! We have it growing outside (Florida climate). It’s from my sister-in-law’s step-mother-in-law’s plant, a variegated spider baby we received from the sweet old lady years ago.
I’m buying office supplies for our office’s move to a new building, since we can’t take any of our old stuff with us (long story). I have a company credit card to use, but I still bargain shop like crazy. I am completely unable to just go and grab what I like without first checking cheaper, but just as good options. Even with being careful in the shopping, I’m horrified by how much this all costs. And now I see all of the stuff set out to entice new college students’ parents to completely outfit a room — crazy stuff!

The thing I did for their college years was to buy things they needed (they shared apartments with others — the dorms were actually more expensive than splitting rent and utilities for modest, non-student type apartments) at yard sales, on clearance, at thrift stores, wherever, years before they went to college. I figured they’d move out anyway at some point, even if they never went to college; they did go, though! The stuff an empty apartment actually NEEDS, we bought during their high school years, spreading it out and under no pressure, so instead of being one of those parents pushing an overflowing cart through Bed, Bath and Beyond days before college started, wiping out our credit cards, I just bought mostly basic food items and a few small things we saw they still needed, and was done. My kids never lived off all microwavable food or slept on a mattress on a floor — they had real, albeit old and unmatched, furniture, real pots and pans, cooking utensils, dishes, and even a laundry basket. It was amazing how much I could buy very cheaply or find by keeping my eyes open and letting family and friends know we could use their castoffs. They both have their own homes now, and both still have and use a good bit of that stuff.


CT HENRICKS July 28, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Re: cats using scratching posts or not — for ones which can be, try laying it down on floor so post is horizontal. That was the answer for my cat — it was easier to hop onto, didn’t wobble as much, and it was like a whole new activity to her — she’d dig the H out of it!


Marcia July 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

My cat uses the scratching post. We had to buy a new one because the old one was so torn up and getting rope all over the place. We did get her as a just old enough to leave her Mom kitten, though, and taught her to use it right away.

Five frugal things:
1. Took coupons and “went shopping” at Bon Ton after my yoga class today. Even thinking ahead to birthdays and Christmas, I found NOTHING that I wanted.

2. Dinner tonight is leftovers with additions Beef pot roast and gravy over rice, with salad on the side, and leftover spinach to finish along with it.

3. Refilled the cat’s prescription for pain meds from her broken leg–so I can take them after I let my prescription expire by accident. There was a refill left on hers that gave me 23 more pills, and with a few left in the bottle, it will work until my next appointment. I hate to call my doctor for something that’s my fault because he’s busy enough!! And while they did cost a little more than I would pay for my own, an extra appointment with my doctor would have cost more!

4. I don’t think I got to #4 yet, but I will try to make it before the day is over.


Rb July 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Katy, all your son needs is three regular twin flat sheets. Take one sheet and cut it in half and sew one piece to the bottom of the other two. Use one instead of a fitted one


Betty Winslow July 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

1. Stopped at Meijer to pick up my monthly supply of FREE metformin. So thankful Meijer offers so many free prescription items!
2. Dropped off books ta library, picked up some new ones, including The Scavengers’ Manifesto, which they borrowed for me from Flagstaff, AZ! (I’m in NW Ohio…)
3. Worked my last two hours for this school year and turned in my time sheet. Big check coming up!
4. Deposited checks from a jewelry repair job and the column I write, plus my last consignment sale from the gallery that’s closing.
5. Have been faithfully watering my plants and they are doing great!! And the herb garden on the side of the house is, too, except that something is greatly enjoying my basil…. but they did leave enough for me to use it three nights running to flavor the zucchini and summer squash my husband brought home from his work veggie garden. Nothing like fresh veggies and herbs!


Isabelle July 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm

* I got a big stack of books from a free pile, some to read myself and some I might be able to sell at the used books store
* I’ve registered myself to a bunch of Meetups, most of them free activities. I’ve decided to get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there! Dancing, hiking, movie nights, book clubs… will see!
* I was able to get 6 books from the public library for my book clubs mandatory reads
* Going to the movies tonight (Train Wreck). It’s cheap night and I have remaining money on a gift card, probably enough to pay for the movie.
* We needed a towels rack for the bathroom. I checked Craigslist, to no avail. So I bought a new one, but got the cheapest metal one at 7.99$. I went into the store for this and got only this.

Have a great frugal day!


Ruby July 28, 2015 at 1:43 pm

1. CVS emailed me a $5 Extra Care Bucks coupon, so I dropped by there and used it this morning. No actual money spent — sweet!
2. Had to take our older dog to the vet for her annual check-up and shots today. The younger dog has some minor health problems and one of her ailments needed attention. They let me piggy-back the younger dog on the older one’s appointment, so there was only one office visit fee to pay.
3. Needed tie-backs for the kitchen curtains. I used some wide grosgrain ribbon that originally was tied around a set of towels as decorative packaging. It’s one of many times that my bag of scrouged sewing goodies has come in handy.
4. Stopped at Aldi to buy bread and strawberries and discovered watermelons were $1.99, which is $2 less than last week.
5. Was super-diligent about making sure to use coupons this month. I had several each of high-value ones for cat food, cat litter, sandwich-sliced ham, and coffee — all brands that we use — and they saved us a little over $30 this month.


Kristen July 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm

1. My husband does first aid at a music festival and gets free camping and a pass(value $300). I have been putting off buying a ticket because of the cost. In true frugal fashion, I found one cheap day pass. I then posted on a site that I was looking for a offer. I ended up paying half price and got a half price ticket for my friend.

2. Found a funky baby wrap that in going to up cycle into market bags for Xmas gifts (5oc will make two gifts) also got a nwt set for a baby gift for 50c

3. Got free tickets to a great concert through work. Tickets worth $200+ . It’s a drive to a bigger city, but I have company pd gas!

4. Bought two hoodies at a thrift shop and sold them same day for a $15 profit

5. Have been minimizing waste and reusing leftovers. Tonight it’s confetti salad using leftover corn and beans


Van July 28, 2015 at 4:44 pm

I’ve been eating what’s in the house and refusing to get new groceries. Cleaning out the freezer/fridge/pantry and saving some $ for a couple of weeks.

Went to a library book sale and scored a bag full of books for $10, with the amount of books in the bag they were about .40 cents each and all useful for my herbalism homework and studies.

Also used the goodwill by-the-pound store and found nearly everything on my “to find” list and will go to the flea market tomorrow to hunt down a couple more wanted/needed things. 🙂

The tip above is a good idea, I have beans and corn, gotta try that confetti salad…


Chris July 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

1. Husband is on vaca with a friend – he jumped into the water to pull the boat in with his phone in his pocket – so much for the cheap vacation.
2. Ate all meals at home while he’s gone – using up leftovers.
3.Baked cookies with the 99 cent bag of chocolate chips I bought at Christmas – have 2 more bags in the pantry. Have to get the cookies in freezer soon or it will end badly.
4. Picked the first green beans from the garden – finally!
5. We had a one month free membership to Sam’s Club in April – used it once to realize that it was not for us – using the last pork roast that we bought then for dinner for our daughter and her boyfriend for dinner tomorrow night.


Mrs. LC@LooseChangeLiving July 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Five frugal things:

1. Picked raspberries and froze for winter smoothies
2. Showered at the gym to save on water, electricity, and soap
3. Turned old cooked roast beef that was taking up space in the freezer into toasted roast beef/mozzarella sandwiches for lunch
4. Ate green beans and cucumbers from the garden
5. Didn’t turn the a/c on even though it is very warm and humid


Tracy July 28, 2015 at 9:03 pm

If you can’t find any twin XL sheets using your sources….target sells them in a jersey knit (love these sheets). They stretch to fit really thick beds too. Usually they are on sale for under $20 for a fitted, flat and pillow case. I’d sell you the one we have but my son uses it on his twin XL mattress.


Another Trish July 28, 2015 at 9:22 pm

About spider plants: NASA (yes the space people) tested house plants for their air purifying capabilities and found 19 plants, including the spider plant, that are better at cleaning the air than any of the air purifiers that NASA engineered!!! Plants are amazing!!!


Another Trish July 28, 2015 at 9:29 pm

1) sold new in box hand mixer we got for our wedding but haven’t used in 5 years for $50 on amazon 🙂
2) ramped up the nutritional content of spaghetti sauce without spending a cent by adding shredded zucchini from the garden and dried spinach (I dry it whenever we have any left over)
3) went to the playground to fly a kite- free entertainment!
4) wrote a list of kids things to sell at a future consignment sale and researched pricing online.
5) line dried laundry


Karen July 29, 2015 at 2:59 am

Not exactly non-consumer, more like using the services one pays for. I had in-home tech support for my system, second encounter in 4 weeks. Very efficient once he arrived, but could not get any errands run. But fixed for now.


K D July 29, 2015 at 3:17 am

1. I made two dozen muffins. I served them with eggs for dinner. I froze the rest to use in packed lunches.

2. I found $.80 while on a walk then $.01 in the Aldi parking lot. While there, I picked up two avocados, two pints of blueberries, a pineapple, a pound of organic baby carrots, and a seedless watermelon for less than $10.

3. I attended a yoga class that does not work with my schedule during the school year. Attendance is lighter in the summer so the attention is even more personalized.

4. Today is another Energy Saving Day with the utility company. I will super cool the house this morning, then turn the A/C off from 1:00 – 7:00. We have saved $55 so far this summer (during two previous Energy Saving Days).

5. I stretched out my last haircut to 8+ weeks. That’s a long time for someone with short hair. But that is the only time and money I spend on my hair (besides cheap shampoo).


lori July 29, 2015 at 3:24 am

After spending like a Rockefeller at the vet last week, the dog is better! Which I am grateful for.
Haven’t eaten out at all this week, only two days to go!
Getting a bag of fall kids clothes ready to take to consignment.
Went to u-pick for the last of the local strawberries an made some freezer jam.

Reading library books
Didn’t buy a Lear jet or a mansion, despite feeling like a Rockefeller!


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down July 29, 2015 at 4:33 am

Awesome job!
1) Checked out some new Palaniuk books from the library.
2) We moved and our rent is now $115 less a month! Woot!
3) We moved ourselves. I wanted to kill myself but it saved us a lot of money
4) We have been eatinp up our pantry to help with the move so I haven’t bought groceries in a month!
5) I didn’t buy that gold encrusted toilet paper I’ve been eyeing.


amber July 29, 2015 at 6:03 am

1- My husband brought home a few cupcakes leftover from a work potluck.
2- We have been enjoying tomatoes and blackberries from our garden.
3- I saved about $80 on home school books buy getting some off of amazon for free using giftcards I earned this summer doing swagbucks.
4- I found a few things in my youngest daughters closet she can no longer wear and I will take them later to Once Upon a Child to sell.
5- I continue to sign up for free samples on the computer. Last night I washed my hair with free shampoo and conditioner.


J. Pario July 29, 2015 at 6:53 am

Reading library books. 🙂


Vickie July 29, 2015 at 8:32 am

1) Doing a favorite thing today – reserving more audio books online to p/u at the Library. They will keep me well entertained during my long drive on Friday.
2) Last night I ate some smoked sausage on crackers for dinner. No overeating and no cooking. My kinda dinner!!
3) Sophos provides free anti-virus protection for mobile devices. They’ve encouraged us to use this for our work phones. If it’s free, I’m in!
4) Malwarebytes provides a free anti-malware product for computers. I used the free version, then I invested $20 for their premiere version. It’s a cheap solution and it works wonderfully. I love my geek Team, they teach me so much.
5) I’m leaving early today, so I think I’ll have chips & salsa for lunch – leftovers from our last potluck at work.


Carol M. July 29, 2015 at 8:54 am

1. Still using same sparkly blue eyeliner that I got four years ago–they say to throw make-up away, but I’m not having problems.
2. Bought a used Chromebook off Craigslist as my new laptop, saving hundreds of dollars.
3. Fed our cats for two weeks with a bag of cat food a neighbor didn’t want.
4. Entertaining myself with crocheting and reading blogs, for free.
5. Selling a coffeemaker that I got used for $10, for $5–we no longer need it.


MamaMinou July 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm

1. Also looking for twin XL sheets for son headed to college–appreciated the tips above.
2. Grateful to friends who will let my husband and myself crash on their couch (actually in their comfortable spare room) when taking said son to his college orientation at the end of August–it’s in Portland!
3. Picked blackberries from the alley last night and whipped together a pie.
4. Walked home from work, getting exercise and saving gas.
5. Foolishly forgot my lunch at home today, but bought day-old bagels and bananas at the market instead of a pre-made something (I also keep a stash of almonds in my desk drawer).
6. Decided to stop coloring my hair with henna, and let all those silver roots grow out. Gave myself the first of several trims tonight. 🙂


Debra July 30, 2015 at 12:06 am

How was coloring your hair with henna? I have thought about it. I have lots of gray throughout and white, yes absolutely white racing stripes at my temples. and my hair grows really fast. Really interested in learning what you thought about using henna.
thanks, Debra


Canadian Lilly July 29, 2015 at 9:42 pm

Love reading everyone’s lists~
-have hung laundry out to dry all week
-spending evenings at a local beach due to it being so very hot and humid here
-making and eating meals at home
-batched our errands today to save on gas
-tomorrow is the last day of my very low budget staycation and we are heading to a local church to walk a labyrinth. I do this every year on vacation as I appreciate how it allows me to empty my mind of thoughts for a while.

Have a fabulous and frugal day!


Debra July 30, 2015 at 12:21 am

1. Didn’t give in to cravings for a take out burger; made crockpot chicken fajitats and crockpot chili this week.
2. I am currently redecorating, but trying to have the buy and sell equal out. I figure it’s going to take me 3 months to get it done.
3. My daughter and I are having a garage sale at her house this week.
4. Finished the summer reading program (I read to my 3 grand daughters) and received as prizes: 4 tickets to the Indianapolis Indians baseballs games, 4 tickets to the Haunted House at the Children’s Museum in October, 2 tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum (Western and Native American Culture), 13 books, 4 light up balls and 2 light up wands.
5. Picked up a box of plastic hangers, a large plastic plant pot, a smaller metal pot and who knows what’s wrong with this drill in a case from a free pile, which are infrequent in Indy, unlike Portland.


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