Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 7, 2015 · 35 comments

Fresh hydrangeas

  1. I stopped at Fred Meyer yesterday to grab a couple items, (milk, cereal and molasses) but ended up buying six dozen eggs. Why so many eggs? Because the store had a shelf of repackaged eggs priced at $1.19 apiece, which is a screaming deal these days. Four dozen were brown eggs, which usually means a schwankier brand, but really, I’ll never know. . . (I have no worry about having overbought, as eggs last forever in the fridge!)
  2. I picked up Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale at the library yesterday. I put it on hold so long ago that I don’t remember who recommended it, or frankly anything at all about why I wanted to read it! Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to grabbing a throw blanket and my reading glasses for a frugal and indulgent reading session.
  3. My husband and I are welcoming an old roommate for a visit today. I could have tarted up the spare bedroom with a few items from Target, (or even Goodwill) but instead I did a deep cleaning including the thick velvet curtains which tend to hold onto cat hair. I cut some hydrangeas from the backyard and moved in a few decor items from other areas of the house. The room now looks fresh and inviting. (I love to decorate with stuff I already own!)
  4. I hung out with my younger sister the other afternoon. Her washing machine had broken, so she schlepped over a load of laundry to put through my machines. We enjoyed a lovely few hours together drinking tea and mending. (She brought her own mending!) Sadly I hadn’t anticipated her visit and had already started chicken soup for our dinner, (she’s a vegetarian) but otherwise the time together was pretty damned perfect!
  5. I paid my son’s college bill online, but I must have put the numbers in incorrectly, as the payment never went through. Luckily, I paid nine days in advance, so I was able to properly put the payment through last night. The deadline isn’t until Friday, so I still have time to confirm that all is well. I do not want to be paying any unnecessary late fees! If I had procrastinated until the last minute, I would have been seriously screwed!

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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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcia October 7, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Cooked more squash today from the half bushel I bought last week. Looks like about 7 more meals worth. (I only have 4 containers so have 1st four in freezer and will bag that and freeze the rest when the first is frozen solid.

Yesterday I froze 4 meals worth of beets that I had roasted the day before when the oven was on.

Refund came in DGD’s name for visit to urgent care which she put on Mastercard because they told her that her insurance didn’t come up on the computer and nothing was wrong with her card. Took several months and my DD’s persistence (impersonating her on phone because DGD wouldn’t have done it promptly). She said DGD has to cash it–you want her to just keep it and you won’t have to give her $$ next time. I said NO. I’d like her to cash it and give me the money. (I just gave her $$ yesterday.) I’d like her to experience the feeling of PAYING ME BACK, something she rarely does. Even if I end up giving it back to her in a couple weeks, I don’t want her to have “extra” because she is job hunting again. I want her to exhibit a little discomfort while she is unemployed, and have to cut back on things. She doesn’t go without too often. I help support her because both parents are on disability right now, and are on a pretty tight budget themselves.

That’s it for today, I think.


Marilyn October 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I also do my best to avoid thoses crazy late fees. Much better to pay a little bit early. My frugal things:
1. Today I sold some of our Halloween decorations on Craigslist. A very nice lady seemed happy to get them and paid me $15. I think it was a good deal for both of us.
2. My employer has approved a 2-day out-of-town project for me so I will have meals and travel costs covered for 2 days.
3. I just finished reading my latest book from the library: Roz Chast’s “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” Very poignant, but funny as well ( since she is a cartoonist).


Carole R October 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

I enjoyed that book too!


Heidi October 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I do the same thing when guests come. I clean the room, wash the bedding and put out some towels and extra blankets.

1. I’ve sold two items through a Facebook yardsale group today. $45 in my pocket. Neither of the items had cost me anything to begin with.
2. Making one last batch of roasted tomato sauce today. Tomorrow I’m going to make pesto with the last of the basil.
3. I’ve been cleaning out the guest room closet to make room for an exchange student from Turkey. The added bonus is finding more items to list for sale.
4. Making dinner using chicken from the freezer and carrots and potatoes from the garden.
5. We have allowed a neighbour access to hunt on our land and he always in turn provides us with some venison. Hunting season just started again, so we will have some soon.


Betty Winslow October 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

1. Husband is schlepping firewood from our driveway to the backyard rack. Got a truckload of seasoned split hardwood for $75, delivered. Deal! Now we have wood for heating the family room in case of electrical failure this winter. (Rest of house is on furnace, but we can close off the family room where the fireplace is…)
2. Bought my GD a YoGabbaGabba laptop toy for $5 from a friend, to entertain her when she comes over.
3. Started calling around to various stores to get donations for prizes for the penny contest I’m running at school this month. Got some really nice responses!
4. Stopped at Dollar Tree to get a kiddy toothbrush for one of the foster child journey bags our church is assembling, found two nice cotton Ts for our OCC boxes which we’ll be filling soon, a lovely scented soap and some cute superhero washcloths, for stocking stuffers. Bought a few other things for Xmas at Meijer’s. I’d like to be pretty much done with shopping for Xmas by Dec. 1….
5. Treated myself to a special coffee at Biggby’s, which came with a free bragel sandwich, for $5.50, and saved half the coffee in a travel cup for tomorrow.


Ruby October 7, 2015 at 2:02 pm

1. Had the last of a pasta dish that used up some leftovers for lunch today. It was very yummy.
2. Spent most of the day painting stuff around the house with paint and tools from my stash of cheap/scrounged painting materials.
3. The mini-paint tray I used is the bottom cut off an empty plastic cat litter jug.
4. My “spray booth” for painting light switch plates out in the yard is a cardboard box some dog food was shipped to us in. And I was painting the switch plates instead of buying new ones because one can of good spray paint is a lot cheaper than a houseful of snazzy new hardware.
5. Hung a load of laundry on the drying rack.


Diane October 7, 2015 at 3:10 pm

I was feeling down so I indulged in “retail therapy” at my favorite thrift store on senior discount day. For a total of $15.00 I now have a lovely raspberry color fleece jacket and 4 T shirts from LL Bean and Ann Taylor Loft. Quickly washed and dried in the sun to make sure no critters could invade my home.

And then a swim in one of our free neighborhood outdoor pools. Off season swimming is the best. Tomorrow I get my free flu shot and pick up free library books on hold.

Can’t get enough of that word FREE!


KT October 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

1. Conserved water. I’ve always been frugal in everything I use, but recently after seeing photos of dry lakes in CA, I wondered what else I could do even though I do not live in a drought area. Now each morning, after the first use of the toilet, when I wash my hands, I pull the plunger in the sink and save that water. Each time I use the bathroom during the day, I wash with soap in the same water. I do something similar in the kitchen: I keep a medium sized bowl of sudsy water in the sink in which I wash my hands after eating or while working in the kitchen. I already use a small glass for water to brush my teeth twice a day instead of letting the water run. I also capture the cold water in the shower with a pail,while waiting for the water to reach the desired temperature for a shower. I use that water to flush the toilet. I shower once a week and take a sink bath every 2 days, washing every body part.

2.While returning from a medical appointment, I stopped at a nearby restaurant got a refund for being overcharged $4.10. I check my credit card statement every week and yesterday I saw the error made last week. I had the receipt and did not sign for the amount charged.

3. Wrote a letter to a church cemetery in another part of the state, asking them to buy back graves we bought 36 years ago for $400. I enclosed a copy of the deed and will send the original when $ is received. We are now planning cremation and spending the least amount necessary.

4. Used flannel from my stash to sew diaper wipes, baby washcloths, and receiving blankets for expected grandchild.

5. Sold a piece of gold jewelry inherited from an in-law to the local jeweler and received $1,100 for the piece + an extra $110 by using a coupon clipped from a flyer. Coupon was for 10% additional with the coupon. That $ + the $ expected from the sale of graves will start a new savings account for expected grandchild.

I found your site through The and now read yours every day, too.


Bonnie October 8, 2015 at 6:37 am

I’m not sure I’m understanding #1 correctly, but it seems like a bad idea.


Anne October 8, 2015 at 7:36 am

I was reluctant to say so but I agree. The “rinse” water you are saving might have, well, “stuff” in it you don’t want back on your hands.


Jamie Deangelis October 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

1. My roommate was kind enough to share her dinner with me and told me to have at the leftovers – saving me another grocery trip until Friday!
2. Going on a lady date with my friend tomorrow for the gym and then using a gift certificate and opentable to eat dinner.
3. I really want tacos. I crave dinner tacos. Yet here I am eating leftovers – my downpayment will be made one saved dinner out at a time!!
4. I’m really terrible at using iBotta because I…don’t buy anything!
5. I didn’t buy a lear jet lol


Michele October 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm

1. Have to bring a dish to work tomorrow. I chose veggie tray. Husband cut tiny carrot and celery sticks and I’ll add black olives and a few peppers.
2. Ate leftovers for dinner. Have MANY empty leftover containers and an empty fridge….. Think I can make do with pantry and freezer until weekend.
3. Packed lunch for son and I, as always. School lunch is 2.40 and I can do for much less.
5. Gave up on pods. Can’t justify the cost for “convenience”. Really, how hard is it to pour detergent?
4. Resisted urge to drive thru on way to conference this AM. I was so glad… They had snacks for us.


pattilou October 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

1. I was given a free ticket to see a play. My friends and I split the parking fee so I ended up paying two dollars for an evening out that should have cost about $60.
2. My friends and I had two potlucks in the last few days and I am still eating left overs.
3.I cleaned the filter on my dehumidifier. My house is built into a hillside so the basement is damp and it runs continually. A clean filter means a more effecient machine which saves money in the end – and keeps the mold away!
4. I also cleaned the filter on my vaccum.
5. I’ve been working alot the last week and bringing left overs for meals so I’m making a little extra money and saving at the same time.


Christine October 7, 2015 at 7:15 pm

1. Filled my car’s gas tank for free using affiliated grocery store’s points.
2. Sold a watch on eBay for $41.00
3. Brought my lunch and morning tea from home, as I do every day.
4. Made homemade mini muffins for the kids’ lunches rather than buying the very processed ones from the baked goods aisle.
5. Bought four athletic shirts, some new w/ tags, and a really nice sweatshirt, for my son at the local consignment shop. Had $30 to put toward my purchase from sale of my own items. Super inexpensive! The athletic attire is generally so expensive!


MamaMinou October 7, 2015 at 7:44 pm

1. Enjoying frugal snacks at work from fruits and veggies coworkers keep bringing in to share.
2. Showered at work today after lunchtime exercise.
3. Simple meals with what’s in the cupboards.
4. Flu shots for husband and I at work
5. Birthday gifts for my mom are thrifted….and thoughtful and to her taste.


Isabelle October 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

* Got a pair of Naturalizer shoes at Value Village using a 30% off card. Cost me 12$ taxes in, instead of the retail price of 90$. Swore I would not buy used shoes anymore, but the budget is just too tight right now… and I love them!! I would never buy 90$ shoes, but now I understand why people do.
* Cooking more vegetarian meals lately, and stretching the meat when using it (mixing it with beans, tofu, quinoa…)
* Work potluck tommorow. Bringing 2 bottles of pop that are just taking space and didn’t cost much (3$?)
* Got 2 “imperfect” loafs of bread at 0.99$ each instead 5$ each
* Planning groceries according to the weekly specials, trying to stay close to 1$/pound or less for produce.
* School is closed tommorow. Daughter is staying home with hubby – who will be working from home – instead of paying 32$ to send her to daycare. Then, after lunch, we take the road in our long-ago paid-off 2004 Echo (good on gas, cheap insurance), to go visit the in-laws for the long weekend (Thanksgiving here), so 3 days providing the 4 of us meals and shelter (and love!! Ahhhhhhhh) *we return the favor when they visit*. It is a 6h drive (x2), but it’s worth it, they are awesome people, I love them dearly.

Have a great frugal day!


Greta October 7, 2015 at 7:51 pm

5 things:

Got a clean car from a free car wash for pumping 8 gallons on a Tuesday or Wednesday at local gas station.

Free milkyways and milk duds from taking photos of parade for my newspaper job. I gave all the other sweets away to kids around me.

Shopped at aldi w $5 off coupon. Bought whole milk to make more yogurt which has taken away my stomach issues since I’ve been eating it. I found this out by complete chance I guess time will tell if it is a real solution.

Sold two musical ties to a Californian in my etsy shop.

Worked out the bugs in a basically new printer which I purchased for $10 at a garage sale. It was a trying 1 1/2 hours because Im not that mechanical or patient but I overcame the machine in the end.

Thank you for the blog!


Monica October 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm

1. Used part of the balance on a Visa gift card earned from a survey to buy an air horn for my teenager’s school’s pep assembly. We’ve been using this card since August for school-related things and there is still money on it.

2. Sold 1 thing on eBay and 1 item on Swap.

3. Added some sad looking celery with some happier veggies to the crockpot for our roast dinner tonight.

4. Called the electric company to be put on the budget plan after our latest bill creeper up. The rep informed me it was better to sign up in the summer as the bill would be lower. I agreed but I wanted to save money now. I will be watching the bill to see if we will owe when the budget plan is recalculated in 8 months.

5. I’m saving up Amazon gift cards earned from surveys to pay for a new cell phone to switch to another provider to save money. My oldest will inherit my current phone.


Isabelle October 8, 2015 at 4:56 am

frugal fail…. discovering a 30$ gift card in my daughter’s baby shower cards…. 6 years later! The card is now expired, dammmmmmmit!


Laure October 8, 2015 at 9:04 am

You might want to check with (1) the store and/or (2) your state’s laws. When our state changed to no-gift-card-ever-expires, many existing cards still stated that they expired, although that was no longer the case. Some stores also changed their store policies, so it might be good even if your state allows gift cards to expire.


Isabelle October 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Yah, I checked. I live in Canada, it’s the old way. I think they don’t do this anymore, but this one is definitely expired.


Lucy October 8, 2015 at 5:03 am

1. I decluttered in the garage in order to fill the garbage and recycling bins absolutely full. Sometimes I feel guilty about the big bin we have, but most farms doing about the same things we do just get a dumpster and don’t recycle, so that makes me feel a bit better about our bins.
2. Scored some really nice beef roasts on a loss leader sale. I rewrapped them to prevent freezer burn and put them in the deep freezer. They will make nice pot roasts in the crock pot for the cold months ahead.
3. Filled the propane tank at a price even lower than what was advertised as their “lowest price of the year” this past summer.
4. Filled hubby’s car with gas using a coupon.
5. Did some comparision shopping online and purchased a bunch of farm-related supplies with free shipping, saving 35% off what they would have cost locally.


Carol M. October 8, 2015 at 7:11 am

1. On our way back from San Diego, I was tempted to stop for lunch and get some fresh oysters. Since I rarely spend money on restaurants, it probably would have been worth it. However, I resisted the temptation, and now I have $20 extra towards our honeymoon. And a few hours later, the craving had passed.
2. I’ve made a pretty good habit over the last few years of only keeping the light on in the room I need.
3. Still making great use of the library. I was inspired by you, Katy, to reinvestigate Judy Blume, since I loved her as a child. I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, in two days while I was sick. Amazing how a story about a 12 year old from nearly 50 years ago is still relateable to a woman today.
4. Continuing to keep my eye out for wild edibles. Ate a few small passionfruits from our parking lot vine–still haven’t bought fruit in weeks.
5. Very good lately at making do with a granola bar as an after school snack between teaching and tutoring, instead of stopping for coffee or another snack.

Frugal fail: Have missed a couple of days of subbing this week. Not good, since I have bills and an upcoming wedding!


Rachel H October 8, 2015 at 7:40 am

1. Got a quote on auto insurance that looks about $300 less every six months. Hubby will have to look it over. We had this insurance many years ago, and we’re dropped due to his speeding tickets. He still has a lead foot.

2. Visited my dad and came home with peas he had picked in his garden that morning, as well as jelly my uncle had canned.

3. Eating leftovers tonight. Bought some ground beef last week for $3.39 a pound. Looks like we will get four meals from the package. Paid around $10 for the package, so $2.50 for the meat in each meal is not bad.

4. Bought a cherry pie for $1 are the store in my neighborhood. I hit it just right as they were marking them down. I can’t bake it myself for that price.

Reading books loaned to me by friends, watching t.v. on our antenna, and Netflix. Love paying only $9 per month for entertainment!


JD October 8, 2015 at 9:06 am

1. Going to wash 2 dozen canning jars my husband picked up for free from trash being cleaned up from an abandoned site (we have permission to take what we want). I can food, so they can be used, but I might also sell one dozen, since they are the size I have the most of already.
2. He also picked up a free, cute ceramic vase and filled it with pretty red wild ginger cones and green leaves from our yard to make a very pretty arrangement to take to the personnel at the clinic where he goes for treatments. They’ve been so helpful to him. I’m wondering where this florist side of him has been hiding all these years!
3. Gathering the bones as we eat up the roast chicken I made night before last, and keeping them in the frig with the pan juices and onions and garlic that had stuffed the bird. Going to cook them in the crock pot with water and seasoning to make a yummy chicken stock.
4. Helped my husband install a new glass insert in our French door — the old one simply shattered on it’s own — instead of paying $100 for the glass man to come put it in. It wasn’t hard, just a little nerve-wracking, because we were afraid we would drop it on the brick porch floor while getting it in. No problems, though! Extra points: the brick floor is from free brick pavers my husband collected with permission from his work site before he had to quit working, and which we laid ourselves on the concrete porch floor. He brought home enough that we’ve also build two sets of steps off the porch, a walkway, and a formal pond with them (we had professional help with those), and still have more left to use.
5. Exchanging gift ideas with my grown kids, for Christmas. It gives us time to find the really good bargains.
This is mostly my husband’s five frugals!


Madeline October 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

1. Ate leftovers for 2 days as I had over-cooked! Cleared out refrig!
2. Roasted a pan of almost round the bend vegetables in a big pan to use all week, we have eaten through 3/4 of them.
3. Made a homemade apple pie using apples from the “old” bin at grocery , just 99 cents for all the apples I needed. 2 leftover:Used to make apple curry rice main dish for supper.
4. Looked through my closet and made new commitment: NO clothes shopping for? A long time.Not even thrift stores! I have enough.
5. Planning a “free date night” list for me and hubby to enjoy as our temps have gotten great again for all outdoor activities here in Phoenix. (Bike rides,picnics, nature hunts, hikes, happy hour on our own patio with Trader Joe wine vs. restaurants.
6. Planning out a month’s worth of vegan meals ,having fun looking at new recipes, as we want to improve our health,reduce grocery bills, plus I love to cook!


A. Marie October 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Items that are mainly inspired by/reflections on those of other folks:

(1) Re: the greywater reuse described by KT: I’m secretly addicted to tub baths as therapy for mild arthritis, so for some time now, I’ve been letting the tub water stand and scooping it out to flush the toilet. Dunno how much $ I’m actually saving, but I figure that this water is already paid for, so I’m good with using it twice!

(2) Re: firewood: We haven’t paid for any in years. DH is a skilled chainsaw user and routinely takes down trees for people, in exchange for the wood–and we find trees on the curb as well. Not bad, since our wood-burning insert is our primary source of winter heat.

(3) Re: JD’s found canning jars: I love those. Between cleaning three cases out of a neighbor’s attic and picking up three more for a few bucks apiece at a garage sale last year, I’m in good shape.

(4) Re: various people’s gas deals: I’m not a conscientious collector of gas points, but I did save enough to fill up the car for $1.99/gal. last week, probably for the first time in a couple of decades!

(5) Still harvesting tomatoes, although the pace is slowing somewhat as daylight decreases and our nights get cooler.


Kim from Philadelphia October 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I decided to nix the chocolate milk/juice boxes for my son’s school lunch. I filled up our smallest metal refillable bottle with water and packed that instead. Not sure what took me so long to figure this out.

We’re still enjoying our U-pick apples from our haul 2 weeks ago. I haven’t needed to buy any other fruit as we’ve been working our way through this very large, reasonably priced bag.

Filled up the gas tank while in NJ today- $1.99 a gallon!

I found a new brand of locally roasted, fair trade coffee at our co-op. The price per bag is the same as the others, however it’s 16 instead of 12 ounces. I’ll take an extra 4 ounces!

I collected all the partially stamped free haircut cards between all household members and consolidated them. We had 4!! Next haircut is free and we only need 2 more cuts to get another free one.


Kim October 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm

1. The person I work for treated me to lunch today. My favorite- shrimp salad from the local neighborhood market!
2. I’ve sold 4 items on Amazon in the past day, 2 books and 2 patterns.
3. My MIL had a huge oak tree taken down back in the summer up the hill and in the woods at the back of her lot. All that to say it was going to be a pain to get it down the hill and transport to our house to use in our woodstove. She hired some guys to do some work for her and part of the work was to cut the wood to length and transport it to our driveway. My husband helped on Tuesday and will now have to split these huge sections of tree but free wood and we didn’t have to load it and get it here!
4. Picked up some free basil and sage and 2 Texas Star Hibiscus plants from a fellow Freecycler. The hibiscus are going in my curbside garden to fill 2 holes and will do great there. The funny thing is the leaves look exactly like marijuana leaves! :-O
5. I’m also still harvesting grape tomatoes and mine too are slowing down due to temperature and the days getting shorter. Soon I will pick all the green ones that are left and pickle them. Then I can get the garden ready for winter and have it crossed off my To DO list!


Jennifer October 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm

The Nightingale is so good! I’m almost finished with my library copy that I also had to wait forever for. It’s the story of 2 sisters in Nazi occupied France. Heart breaking and wonderful at the same time.


Kathie October 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Loved The Nightingale! All of Kristin Hannah’s books are excellent!!


Jim October 10, 2015 at 1:09 am

Great post!!!

I’m fan of your series “Frugal Things”.

Keep the updates please.



Bettypants October 10, 2015 at 5:35 am

1. Gave away a huge bag of clothing on freecycle, along with a random kitchen item. Our freecycle is pretty frustrating but I’m trying to stick with it, as I recently got a great item for free and I’m trying to pay it forward.
2. Bought a piece of jewelry at a yard sale and sold it on ebay yesterday for a $7 profit.
3. Met my friend and took items to our local resale store. Although they accepted one item, this is my last try, as they just are not worth the trouble.
4. Made pizzelles last night, my all time favorite cookie. I bought my pizzelle iron over 10 years ago at a yard sale for $5. I have really gotten my money’s worth.
5. I recommend Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders. I check it out from our local library and absolutely loved it.


Michelle October 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

I had something like your online payment happen to me last week. I paid my electric bill online and apparently didn’t input one of the numbers correctly on my payment. So one glorious morning I got a call at work from my husband who said, “We have no electricity.” Needless to say my lunch hour was spent running from the electric company to the bank, back to the electric company. They shut my power off. LESS than a week after the payment was due. No notification, nothing. It cost me over an extra $300 to get my power back on. Now, what bills don’t get paid this month. Sheesh!!!!! Sorry, I thought I had a really enlightened post by it sounds like all I’m doing is venting…….yep, I’m venting. Glad your experience turned out better than mine!!!


Katy October 19, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Luckily, we caught it on time and were able to input the correct numbers a few days before the deadline!


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