Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 28, 2015 · 31 comments

  1. I stopped at Whole Foods after dropping my son at school this morning. (Just a few blocks from his high school.) I took advantage of their 25¢ coffee promotion, which apparently has been running all month. How have I not known about this until now?! Anyway, I am now properly caffeinated, yet still able to afford my mortgage. Win-win!
  2. I’m planning a day of food prep, and will be throwing a couple of lasagnas into the freezer, as well as mixing up a new batch of kale pesto. Having backup meals for busy days is always a frugal thing, as it keeps us from getting takeout or succumbing to ready made meals. Plus it simply opens up my day when I’m not having to deal with meal prep.
  3. I put together a Craigslist listing for a cool rolling art storage system that I picked up from the Medford, Oregon Goodwill. They sell for as much as $150, so the $9.99 price tag was a no brainer. Gotta keep adding to the college fund!
  4. My husband and I treated our college student son to a delicious breakfast at the Morning Glory restaurant on our last day in Ashland, Oregon. The meal with amazing, but also filling enough that we ended up not stopping for food during our five-hour drive back home. We did have bananas from the motel’s skimpy continental breakfast, which helped when we started to get hungry.
  5. I spent the weekend catching up on sleep and puttering around the house, which meant I didn’t spend any money beyond a few groceries for a specific meal. Our main entertainment was to walk to the elementary school for a clear view of last night’s lunar eclipse.

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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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim from Philadelphia September 28, 2015 at 9:39 am

I just love great breakfast places!

– I volunteered while Pope Francis was visiting Philadelphia; took public trans, packed my own water and snacks, and bought zero souvenirs. The experience was the best souvenir!

– organized our lunch bag/container area. Packed our lunches using reusable containers. Previously my son would buy 2 days a week, but he admitted he’s happy to have lunch packed 5 days a week.

– enjoying my last few weeks before I return to work in a new position. Putzing around the house and garden, taking the dog on lots of walks, reading books from the library, making an occasional homemade dessert using the apples we picked. Such joy is to be found in the simple life!

– nursing the remainder of our tomato plants. A few greenish ones remain- hoping to get several bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches out of what’s left.

– took another trunkload of stuff to a local thrift store that uses profits to fund a soup kitchen and job program in Philadelphia. Cleaned out things I didn’t need, and someone can enjoy in expensively priced finds while funding a good cause.


Jen September 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

What was the volunteer activity ??? So neat that you did this! I drove from North Carolina to Wash DC last week to be a part of the crowd on Capitol Lawn – that was very kool too!!


Betty Winslow September 28, 2015 at 9:41 am

1. Cooked a crockpot full of applesauce from neighbor’s apples and will be freezing in 1 cup containers, for future baking use (as a sub for oil in quick breads).
2. Grabbed a couple of individual bags of chips at the company picnic, which came with the meal. We don’t eat them, but they’ll make a great (free) addition to the care package I’m putting together for our midshipman neighbor. Also got a tube of fingerpainting bathtub soap (an unawarded bingo prize they were giving away) and a helium balloon for my 3 y0 granddaughter.
3. Dinner last night was spaghetti, with homemade sauce beefed up with some ground beef, a small container of roasted tomato garlic sauce from the freezer, basil from the garden, and 2 cups of shredded zucchini (from the 23 cups I made and froze, from a gifted monster zuke.)
4. Went to what we jokingly called “The Celestial Drive-In” last night – drove over to a local university to a clear, dark spot, to watch the eclipse. The clouds covered it much of the time, but it was lovely to spend time together in a peaceful spot with no TV or computer to distract us from each other.
5. Attended a neighborhood cook-out on Saturday and brought home half a pan of the cheesy potatoes I took (which we usually only make for special events) and a small plate of brownies. Tonight’s dinner will be BBQ chicken, cheesy potatoes, and a caprese salad. Also brought home a container of leftover zucchini bread from yesterday’s church potluck, which is destined for my daughter.
6. bonus – a friend asked me to meet her for lunch, but I had already eaten (leftover spaghetti from last night, plus a small take-out container of chili from going out Th.). Met her anyway, spent no money, and gave the manager a fund-raiser request letter for the upcoming library fund-raiser I’m doing at school.


Marcia September 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

Not sure I will make 5 yet today:
1. My car was acting up the other day so husband wanted to drive it. I hopped in too and we went to post office where he mailed a package and I bought a book of stamps.
2. Went to local farm stand to see if any peaches were left. NO. So sad. Bought corn on the cob for supper. Bought 1/2 bushel of butternut squash for $11.
3. Didn’t “waste” the gas taking a ride. Car did not act up. Stay tuned.
4. Put dough in bread machine for hot dog rolls for dinner. Need to use up last 3 meals worth of hot dogs I bought for the summer. Will try the new onion and hot pepper relish I canned last week on the hot dogs. Corn on the cob will complete the meal.
5. Cooked about 1/3 of the squash and am taking a break from peeling them now. Will mash and freeze for winter. Love it that way.
6. Remembered that I forgot to re-wrap peach pie filling I froze last week, so got that out and removed the pie plate and wrapped in foil and returned to the freezer. That will be a yummy pie, possibly for DH’s April birthday like I did last year!


Amanda September 28, 2015 at 2:37 pm

A fun recipe for hotdogs is cornbread muffins. Just Google for a recipe. I don’t follow a recipe, I just dump hot dogs cut into chunks into my favorite cornbread batter. (I add shredded cheddar cheese sometimes.) I don’t even use muffin pans…just bake in a casserole dish. Yum


K D September 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

1. The other day I walked to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items. On the way I passed what looked like the remains of a yard sale. No one was outside but I walked past it again on my way home. I stopped as there were bunch of grape tomatoes. I had no money with me (I took a gift card to the store with me) and there was no price on the tomatoes. I asked how much they were so I could go home to get some cash if they were reasonably priced. I ended up with a large bag of them for free.

2. I friend picked up some pawpaws from her brother for me.

3. I made monster cookies and took some to my Monday morning volunteer gig, where they were deeply appreciated. I gave some to the friend that gave me the pawpaws (her brother did not want any, he is diabetic). I have more for my husband to share at work tomorrow. I enjoyed four cookies myself and all ingredients were on hand.

4. I stopped at SAM’S Club for gas ($2.03/gallon) and a rotisserie chicken (hello dinner).

5. We ate all meals at home this weekend. It was especially good because we used stuff the was in the full freezer and finished open ingredients in the refrigerator and cupboard.


Amy September 28, 2015 at 11:25 am

Reading everyone’s frugal things is one of my favorite parts of the week to see so many people embrace frugality where they can.


Katy September 28, 2015 at 11:32 am

I get great ideas and inspiration from everyone as well!


A. Marie September 28, 2015 at 11:43 am

I too enjoy the wide assortment of frugal ideas here, from large to small. Here are three tiny ones, inspired by the same pot of boiling water:

(1) Put the water on in the first place so I could blanch/skin another quart of tomatoes for the freezer. (This makes 15 quarts this year, tying the all-time record.)

(2) As long as the water was boiling anyway, I put on six eggs to hard-boil.

(3) And when the eggs were done, I scooped them out and carried the water very carefully out to our brick sidewalk, where I dumped it to kill weeds growing between the cracks. Beats herbicide.


Katy September 28, 2015 at 11:48 am

Very impressive!


Ruby September 28, 2015 at 11:58 am

1. I have not been able to find a comfortable thumb splint for my arthritic thumb, so took a skinny Ace bandage we already had, cut it in half and hemmed the cut ends, and then wrapped my thumb and anchored it with a wrap around my hand. It’s working really well and my thumb feels much better.
2. In mending my husband’s underwear the other day, I noticed that I had mended that pair once before. Now we’re joking about how long we can keep that pair going. 😀
3. Made homemade soup last night that used up some frozen tomatoes and frozen tomato paste, along with some tiny spiral pasta that did not make good mac & cheese. However, it’s perfect in the soup.
4. Washed and groomed our dogs yesterday. Gave all the cats a nail trim today. It’s $8 per cat if they do it at the vet’s office, but I can do it at home if my husband or son holds the cat.
5. My husband used a discount card to get two of our prescriptions filled at half price, since we currently don’t have health insurance. He starts his new job next Monday — yay! — and we have health insurance again the first of November.


Jane in Seattle September 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Five frugal things.
1) went to Fred Meyers and bought the specials. As well as Costco. Sausage 2.66 instead if drive dollars. 7 percent hamburger for 3.99.
2) spent this morning cooking it portion controlling it. Twelve dinners for sixteen dollars.
3) spent my birthday at home purging the studio instead of going out .
4) made coffee at home with my .25 Kerig cup- twice. ( dollar tree)
4) I didn’t go to the circus!


M Wahl September 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm

The tides have so clearly turned when I, someone who helped pay the bills of many a coffee-house-establishment in my 20’s, saw the $0.25 Whole Foods coffee deal and decided not to hit it up because I have several 31oz containers of ground coffee I bought for $5 a piece that I *know* I get more than 20 cups of coffee out of. Bittersweet – I miss being able to guiltlessly buy $4 coffee drinks – but saving for more important things feels good too. Glad all seems to have gone well with your oldest’s college drop-off! I’ve loved reading your experience with it as one day we’ll have two in college one right after the other 🙂


Sharon September 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm

1) I hit the grocery store yesterday for the free downloaded item, Bogo English muffins, Chex GF oatmeal on clearance for 99 cents/ 6 pkgs, and found Starbucks Carmel latte via on clearance making them less than 75 cents per “tall” latte!
2) yesterday’s entertainment was streaming Netflix thru a friend’s account.
3) dinner was leftover salad and frozen fish, keeping the fresh foods from perishing and the frozen in rotation.
4) washed the dog at home, saving $30. Used 1/6th of a bottle of $6 shampoo… Great deal. She does get one proffesional wash once a year for a full brush out that she needs and I seem to not be able to do completely.
5) breakfast this morning was one oatmeal packet and one scrambled egg (eggs were given to me).


Randi September 28, 2015 at 1:01 pm

I called Jarden Solutions (the parent company for Crock Pot) because my crock is cracked, and they are replacing it for FREE! $35 saved!

I contacted Cutco because a knife that was gifted to me failed (the blade snapped). They are replacing it for (almost) free. I just need to pay shipping and handling. While I’m at it, I’m sending in my other knives so that they can sharpen them (for free), since I’m already paying for shipping. Best bang for my buck!

I made ahead a week’s worth the meals so we aren’t tempted to order in.

I opted for an in-network provider rather than someone who came highly recommended. Savings: $130/visit.


Vickie September 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

1) I made smothered butterfly pork steaks Saturday, with potatoes, peas & salad. There was enough left for two meals, so I ate half at lunch today and will eat the other half tomorrow.
2) I made crockpot full of stew yesterday, which will feed us dinner for a few nights.
3) I didn’t go anywhere other than church this past weekend, so the gas I bought Friday should last all week for my work commute.
4) Instead of buying pill pockets to dose my dog, I bought a package of cheap hot dogs. I’ve been stuffing the pills in those and he scarfs them right down.
5) I plan to make carpet shampoo solution from Dawn dish liquid, vinegar & a drop of essential oil to make it smell nice.


Juhli September 28, 2015 at 1:32 pm

1) We had an exciting game of Scrabble for our “date night”
1) Washed the dog to stretch time between her grooming appointments (she’s a poodle)
3) Reading from the library as usual
4) Planning a mid October vacation in NYC with an eye to having fun but balancing the costly with the free – very open to ideas!
5. Used notecards on hand as birthday cards instead of buying them.


Carol M. September 30, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Be sure to buy a cup of coffee and drink it in the beautiful Bryant Park next to the New York Public Library. You’ll feel like you’re sitting inside a New Yorker cartoon! While you’re at it, check out the beautiful interior of the library.


Isabelle September 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

We are now on a strict budget, since the second house is not selling, so our frugality is upping by necessity…

* Micheal’s was having an activity for kids for 2$ each. Usually we would bring the kids, but we skipped it and went to the Farmers market instead. Saved 4$, and bought a bunch of stuff on the discount racks. Made and froze 9 Masson jars of tomatoes juice.
* Was waiting to see if I could pick free apples instead of buying some. My neighbor let’s me take the ones on the ground. So I got lucky, grabbed enough to make 3 Masson jars of apple sauce plus a couple in good enough shape to eat as is.
* We determined that we will try to keep groceries at 500$/month until the house sells. We did good this month (and prior to our decision), finishing at 550$.
* I’m doing a lot of online surveys lately to get Petro Points, which I can then exchange for gas gift cards.
* We are eating less meat, more eggs and beans/tofu. Cheaper.
* Analysing every “need” and figuring out what is a real necessity and what is not. Spending less that way.

Have a great frugal day!


Robin September 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

It must be a dog kind of week.

1) bathed one of my dogs (I have 4) and will not get them groomed till December. In the meantime I bathe them and trim their hair when it gets too long.

2) had my new-to-me dog get an impacted anal gland. And then a reoccurrence. Instead of taking him back in for a vet visit, they just prescribed the meds so I saved the cost of a visit. Meds were still expensive :/

3) I had planned on feeding friends who came over yesterday but they weren’t hungry so all the goodies I made are in the freezer. No complaints here!

4) been saving plastic bags to pick up after my (four – did I mention four?) dogs.

5) found a lace tablecloth in my linen closet. No idea where it came from (maybe my I las trip to Portugal), it is lovely, but it’s also not me. So I will be selling it. The tablecloth I had ordered also didn’t work in the dining room so I’m returning it and just using what I have.


linda September 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

most frugal thing today—bought a dozen extra large eggs for 99 cents. actually bought 8 dozen —4 for me and 4 for a friend. the store was changing the code and trying to get rid of them. /saved lots $$$$$ eggs are expensive these days.
Bought gas at Cost/co$2.79 a gallon. I live in San Diego, California. gas is higher here.


Anne September 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm

I’m up the road in Menifee, and that Costco price is the best deal in So Cal. 😀


marleen September 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm

1. I’m on my third week of paying cash for groceries. I set aside $80 per week since it’s just my husband and me now. I am much more conscious of every purchase, whereas I would impulse buy quite easily when I was putting it on a card. Each week I have come home with money left in my pocket – $1.35 leftover the first week, $11.05 the second week, and $14.77 this past week. I’ve been keeping what is leftover to add to the next week if needed, but I think at the end of the month, I’ll put the leftover into savings.
2. picked another tomato from my little garden and waiting to see if the last few on the vine show signs of ripening.
3. our entertainment last night was sitting out on the front lawn watching the eclipse.
4. hung my weekend laundry out on the clothesline, and when a few things didn’t get quite dry before sunset, I brought them in and put them on a drying rack inside overnight.
5. I received the book ‘Simple Living Guide’ through Paperbackswap.


Theresa September 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

I love Janet Luhrs book The Simple Living Guide. I hope you enjoy it too!


Monica September 28, 2015 at 7:07 pm

1. Made homemade vegetable broth for salmon chowder instead of buying a carton.

2. Used up some pears on their way out & made a crisp.

3. Bought a piece of pipe insulation with a Home Depot gc earned from surveys to make draft dodgers for our doors. I might be making some out of a ratty bed skirt and old socks too.

4. Watched a movie on Netflix while mending clothes.

5. Watched Insurgent on Google Play & used credit earned from surveys to pay for it.


cathy September 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm

1. Beautiful weather, so the windows are open. No AC or heat needed.
2. Returning various things bought for son’s bar mitzvah, then not needed (non-perishable food items, a drink dispenser, blouse, etc). Not making special trips, though. Everything is in the car and gets returned when I have another reason to be in that area.
3. Husband got a free Redbox rental. While at the store, he found a great sale on meat. Stocked up on a couple things I will repack into smaller, meal-size portions and freeze.
4. Reading library books and returning them on time!
5. Found a quarter on the ground @the grocery store. Put it into my found change container.


auntiali September 28, 2015 at 9:32 pm

1. Didn’t go anywhere today so no gas was used.
2. Filled up the gas tank yesterday at $1.83/gal.
3. Thanks for the reminder about draft dodgers for the doors. I have three old beach towels that I roll up and use.
4. Drank water all day out of my re-usable water bottle.
5. Kept the lights off all day except where I was working.


Bettypants September 29, 2015 at 4:49 am

1. On Sunday, I sold 9 items that I had listed on a local FB board. Goodbye to a hodge podge of books, jewelry, vintage items, etc.
2. I had a $5 Kohls coupon expiring in 2 days, but I only wanted to buy something we actually needed. Paid $11 for a pair of boys’ dress shoes that my son is required to have for band. So happy I remembered.
3. One person is interested in buying the Jarts I listed on CL. For such a small item, we realized it would be cheaper for me to mail, than for him to drive out to pick up. Crossing my fingers that he pays this week and I can mail out.
4. Listed 5 more items on ebay that were sitting in closets at our house, unused. No bids yet, but I consider it a win to get the photographs taken and descriptions written.
5. My office ordered Jimmy John’s for everyone for lunch today.


Amanda September 29, 2015 at 6:24 am

1. I’ve been bugging my hubby to fix up our bicycles for the last few years, so he finally got around to it. (I think it was me mentioning that I was going to buy a new one….never would have done it, but my bike got fixed!)
2. I walk every day on my lunch hour, no gym membership required!
3. Canned tomato sauce from my wonderful homegrown tomatoes. This will be turned into soups, stews, lasagna sauce, pizza sauce, etc, this winter.
4. I started planning our Halloween costumes, we go with a family theme, this year the theme is “Star Wars”, and I got all the things I needed either around the house or at thrift stores.
5.For lunch at work, I eat an apple brought from home. I belong to a gleaner group, so I have free produce!
6. I use a quart mason jar for all my water and tea every day. I refill from work’s water cooler.


Sheila September 29, 2015 at 10:06 am

1. I’m baking some cornbread this morning while it’s still cool. I’m using a mix – yes, I almost always bake from scratch but I picked this Marie Callender’s mix up at Grocery Outlet. Thanks for your recommendation, Katy!
2. My sister gave me a decorative pillow she was getting rid of before she was moving and while I wasn’t totally loving it at first, it goes with my other pillows and was FREE!
3. I poured half full glasses of water into a pitcher I use for watering plants. We live in San Diego and have had to cut back on watering {even though we’ve cut back tremendously before} so it’s great to be mindful of every little bit. Another way we’re saving water inadvertently is with our younger son at college *sniff*. One less person taking showers
4. I heard on NPR that there’s an earlier deadline for the FAFSA – sometime in October, I believe – so I’m going to find out when so we can make sure to apply right away. Our son got some great scholarships and we think it was partly because we applied for FAFSA Ina the first day possible.
5. I’m driving up to visit my brother and will be stopping at my favorite Goodwill up there. They get tons of stuff from Target {most of it brand new} and I was able to stock up on Method liquid soap refills for $1.99 each last time – they’re usually $4 .99-$5.99.


Carol M. September 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm

1. I felt like my cold was coming back today, and I thought about skipping my tutoring job. But that would have meant less money for me, so I splurged on a Jamba Juice–orange/ginger. Although it was $5, it helped me to not skip the tutoring.
2. Have been making good use of a belt I bought at a thrift store 15 years ago. Banana Republic. Funny how when you buy something quality, it has a more timeless style.
3. Fiance made use of a pizza coupon for our weekly takeout. Many of you would never buy weekly takeout, but as adults with no kids, it’s a luxury we let ourselves have.
4. Going through supplements I’ve had in the closet to keep myself healthy–unused vitamins, etc.
5. I did not gallivant around town in a limo with my head sticking out the roof, shouting “woo hoo!”


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