Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 13, 2015 · 28 comments

Diagon Alley

  1. My husband and I drove down to Salem, Oregon for the governor’s volunteer awards luncheon. We chose the Prius over the minivan and gave a ride to two fellow volunteers from The Timber’s Army. Our meal was free, and the company terrific. (It turns out that the woman we gave a ride to used to work with my sister in New York City!) I’d never been to the historic downtown area of Salem, and enjoyed looking up at the wonderful old buildings. Sadly, the governor was unable to attend the event, as she was down in Roseburg for the first day back of Umpqua Community College.
  2. I signed up to participate in another in-person consumer opinion poll. The last one I went to was overbooked, which meant they handed me a hundred dollar bill and told me to go away. This poll is about home ownership, which is a subject I’m quite familiar with. Not sure if I’ll be picked to come in, but it won’t happen unless I sign up. If I am chosen, I’ll make sure to show up a few minutes ahead of time, as last time they had a twenty dollar bill they raffled off to those who came early.
  3. I’m planning a December trip to New York City, this time to help my sister celebrate her 50th birthday. My mother doesn’t want to travel alone, so she’s covering my flight. Thanks, mom!
  4. I relisted my Craigslist ads last night and already have someone who wants to buy the racquetball racquet that I’ve been trying to sell over the past month. This may sound like a lot of effort for a small return, but since I paid $1.99 for it, the $13 I’ll earn makes it worth it in my book. The work of putting together a Craigslist ad is a one-time job, and relisting it takes around fifteen seconds, tops. I try not to buy for resale if the item is expensive or takes up a lot of space, which makes this racquet the perfect resale candidate!
  5. My husband repainted our front porch this summer, but there are a couple of tiny spots that need touching up. Unfortunately, the specialized porch paint costs $80 per gallon. He and I were discussing it today and realized we could simply buy a $3 sample at the Benjamin Moore store which is plenty for our needs. Luckily it’s a standard color, which should make this frugal solution a slam dunk!

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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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie October 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm

(1) Re: your recent post on leftovers and my comment there: The neighbors with whom we regularly swap leftovers had us over last night for a fine spread (the residue from a recent visit from relatives). I’m not sure I’d recommend fried chicken, potato salad, spaghetti pie, and apple pie as a USDA balanced meal, but for one night it was a blast.

(2) Colder weather is at last moving into Upstate NY, so DH and I are moving toward winterizing the garden. It’s “All ashore that’s going ashore” for the tomatoes, peppers, and okra, I’m afraid. (Yes, as an expatriate Southerner, I do grow okra here.)

(3) Got a major problem with our solar panels (installed about 5 years ago) resolved last week. Not happy about two months’ loss of sun energy, but glad that the panels are no longer likely to burn down our garage!

(4) Working on making up sets of dried herbs for holiday gifts.

(5) And kudos on Katy’s entire list, especially #5. At the price of paint these days, that’s a major frugal hack. (Spoken as the wife of a retired contractor.)


Betty Winslow October 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

1. Brought home some more apples from work today, courtesy of our kindergarden teacher. So far, I’ve made two apple crisps. This time, one will go in the freezer, the other will go to friends who just had a baby.
2. Found two books I’m interested in reading, but not owning, so will be requesting them from the library (which sometimes uses my requests to add books to their collection.)
3. Found the perfect gift today for my granddaughter’s little sister, after much agonizing over it (she’s 9 and I don’t know what she wants/likes/needs and can’t ask her mom).
4. Was able to finally give away the last few children’s clothing items from my major score this summer. Gave them to my nephew’s GF, who is expecting, and to a single mom friend of ours. The rest will go to GW. So glad to get rid of the stacks sitting around everywhere!
5. Finally soaked off/scraped the stuck-on paper on the top and inside of the cute side table I found on heavy pick-up day. A few taps with a hammer, two new knobs, and it’ll be good as new and perfect for our bedroom.


Ruby October 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Sample paint is a wonderful thing, and that is so awesome that you and your husband’s volunteer work was honored.

My frugal things:
1. Mended several rips in the pad/cover for our mattress. Also flipped and turned the mattress and box springs so that they’ll last longer. That pretty much qualified as a gym work out for the day. 😀
2. Cooked us a lovely dinner entirely from stuff in the pantry and freezer.
3. Got enough detergent out of a supposedly empty bottle to do a load of laundry.
4. Used coupons to score six bottles of shampoo free, although I did have to pay sales tax. This was a very timely purchase as our son had just used up the last bottle of shampoo in the house.
5. Dried a load of laundry on the drying rack, and took advantage of a day of beautiful weather to have the windows open all day.


Desiree October 13, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I have lived in and around Salem all my life and have never seen (to my memory) this building!!! How could I have missed such a sight!!! What street is it on?


Kathy October 13, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I think this building is on Commercial. I have always loved Salems down town area.


Katy October 14, 2015 at 8:35 am

Yes, it’s on Commercial street up from the convention center.


Diane October 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I noticed a lot of limes on my fridge and got a craving for key lime pie. So I made it with regular limes since I had everything on hand. Now waiting for it to cool and top it with whipped cream!

Also my normal free swimming , free library books and now free streaming movies from my library with Hoopla, free trails for walking and this weekend the free Texas Book Festival and the author of Orphan Train is one of 300 authors speaking. And I’ll be getting there with my senior reduced fare bus pass.

Living large on little every day!


Lindsey October 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

1. Didn’t find any money while out today, but found a potato by the side of my car when I returned from grocery shopping. Was not there when I left, so the person in the car next to me must have dropped it when s/he loaded her groceries in and left. Hey, it’s not money but it was in pristine condition so I’ll peel it and add it to the hash I am making for dinner.

2. A neighbor got his first moose and brought over a roast to thank us for a giving them some of our tomatoes when the tomatoes in their garden failed this past summer. Unexpected but very welcome since I can’t hunt anymore due to health and my husband never hunted. The roast is large enough to feed us for at least three meals!

3. Our dog has wised up to the fact that we hide his pills in the tablespoon of peanut butter we give him every night. I was telling a friend about this and she offered me more than 30 hot dogs that she’d brought home from an event in August. They were already cooked and cold when she rescued them, so her family would not eat them. She hated to throw them out, so was basically going to use her freezer as a stop off to the garbage. ONce they got freezer burned, she would have no qualms about tossing them out. So far, the dog has been gobbling down a fifth of a hot dog every night, unaware that there is a pill in the middle. (Frankly, I like the occasional hot dog, especially Nathan’s, which these were. I have no problem reheating and eating them so have had to fight myself not to eat them myself instead of giving them to the dog!)

4. Checked six books out of the library. I am trying to train myself to use the library instead of buying them from Amazon.

5. Earned a ten dollar gift certificate to one of our local grocery stores, using Swagbucks.


Anne October 14, 2015 at 7:08 am

I loved number one. How smart you are. Also, the dog. We once had to “sneak” meds to a dog in food. She also got so she could actually eat the food without getting the pill down. It was hilarious.


Katy October 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

Free moose and a potato? I think that’s a first on this blog!


Kim October 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

1. Drove our 20 year old car to the junkyard where we received $300. It was over 225K miles and DS#1 had driven it the past 2 1/2 years. He purchased his own car in the spring and DH thought we’d keep it for DS#2. The car now has too many things wrong with it for it to be safe to drive and the fact that DS#2 is going to university 535 miles away finally convince DH that it needed to go! One less car on insurance.
2. DH’s Blazer with over 180K miles blew it’s 2nd transmission a few weeks ago so we have been looking for a car to replace it. He drives about 35K miles a year for his job so we need something reliable but didn’t want a new car payment. He found a 2005 Hyundai with only 40K miles on it and in great shape driven by 1 driver and it really was a little old lady! We will pick it up tomorrow and his Blazer will be taken away to go to the junkyard on Thursday. They are giving us $200 for it which we are fine with.
3. I stopped back into Aldi”s where I got the chicken breasts on Sunday with $4 off stickers on each package. They had more so I picked up 2 more packages that I have already repackaged, labeled and they are now cooling their heels in the freezer. Almost 10 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts for about $14. I love cheap meat!
4. Our neighbors trellis finally died under the weight of their wisteria. Knowing that we burn food in the winter, she asked my DH if we would like it. He said yes even though it isn’t the right thing to burn in our woodstove. We’ll either burn it off in our fire bowl or use some of it to start fires in the woodstove. It was the neighborly thing to say yes.
5. A frugal dinner at home tonight. Two of my cheap chicken breasts cooked in the crockpot with black beans, some salsa and a block of cream cheese and then shredded once it’s cooked. Served with Texmati brown rice bought on sale and with a coupon, cooked in my yard sale rice cooker. A package of Chi-Chi’s corncake, a splurge at $1.49, is baking in the oven to go along with it. Yummy and plenty of left overs for lunches!


Carol M. October 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

1. Have been eyeing a fruit tree that smells delicious that hangs over the fence of a Korean Women’s Association. The fruit is just falling to the ground and rotting. Took a footstool there, and picked a few pieces of mysterious fruit. Posted a photo on Facebook and it turns out it’s guava!
2. Broke down and bought a snack while waiting for my smog check. I never buy convenience food anymore, but this was only $1.09–a burrito from Del Taco.
3. Drove under 60 mph for part of the way home on the highway to save gas.
4. Have been fantasizing about having a good butt. Instead of signing up for the gym, dug out an old folder of magazine workouts I had clipped a few years ago and followed the one for “shapely legs and tush.”
5. A sweet kid gave me a free card that he had made during subbing the other day. I asked him how much and he said “free.” I wish I had thought to pay him anyway. It said things like “you are the best you!” I sent it to my aunt, who always sends me letters.


Sharon H. October 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Great list, Katy.

1. I had a call from a friend who lives on the far side of the metro area. We arranged a time for her to drive out to my house. She’s giving me a bucket of apples for the use of my Shark hand-held steamer. And I’m going to check out an audiobook from our library for her to listen to. It’s part of her daughter’s school reading, and she wanted to be able to *read* it while she drives. Although our libraries are part of a loan system, my library won’t lend out its audio-visual materials. She’s the most reliable person I know, so I have no qualms about checking it out myself and loaning it to her.

2. Worked a full day with DH as a fill-in for the regular receptionist who is taking care of her ailing mother today. My occasional paychecks go straight into the emergency fund. We carpooled, naturally.

3. I remembered to rummage through the deep freezer last night for a pound of smoked sausage purchased on sale a while back. When we got home from work I was able to make a super-fast skillet dinner with browned sausage rounds, the last of a head of red cabbage that I shredded and wilted on the meat, then added a sliced apple, poured on some apple cider, and let it simmer a few minutes. Twenty minutes from start to finish, all from things on hand, and very good.

4. Doing laundry in the evening to take advantage of lower electricity periods. I’ll hang this load to dry tomorrow.

5. Working on updating a spreadsheet of medical visits, so I don’t have to scramble to find information like tests and dates, and keep track of insurance payments. Much handier than a file folder of innumerable pieces of paper. Organized and neat, so I can avoid duplication of effort and stress.


Katy October 14, 2015 at 8:36 am

That sounds yummy!


marleen October 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm

1. I used a vinegar-soaked rag to wrap around our tub fixture that had hard water deposits. After soaking overnight, a quick scrub loosened up all the crud.
2. Had a dental floss container where the floss was no longer threaded to come out. I took some tweezers and pulled the end piece back up and threaded it back through so I could continue to use it.
3. we had a major car repair and the shop sent the core of the part we had replaced back to the supplier. They can reuse it, so they sent us a $200 refund.
4. We kept the furnace turned off all week.
5. Went through boxes in our basement of things our adult children left behind when they moved out. We found unused notebooks, stationery, a typewriter, a garnet ring that my daughter forgot she owned, and silverware that went off to college that we have been missing for years! We are only through two boxes, and have about ten more to go. We’re looking forward to more surprises!


karen October 16, 2015 at 10:21 am

It sounds like you have a great repair shop for your cars.


Monica October 13, 2015 at 7:06 pm

1. My oldest DD recently started a job but didn’t have any business casual clothing. We found 9 pieces at a favorite consignment for under $60. Store credit & a discount card saved us some money.

2. I sold another item on The money from these sales is going toward my youngest DD’s senior year expenses.

3. Put together of dinner of sausages & roasted veggies that were expiring rather quickly.

4. We layered up clothes in the mornings to avoid turning on our propane fireplace. We are trying to make it on a 60% full tank from the end of September to November 1st.

5. Comined errands to save time, gas and money.


marie October 13, 2015 at 8:23 pm

1.Made my first pumpkin pie from the sugar pie pumpkins I grew this year. I got 13 little guys, so I’ll be burning the midnight oil with the crockpot.
2.Had my husband trim my hair, $12 savings
3. Had another warm day so line-dryed towels.
4. Tomatoes still coming on here and there, so still making sauce to freeze. Just a
little at a time
5. And chickens love all the pumpkin peels, so less to haul to the compost pile


K D October 14, 2015 at 4:12 am

1. I stopped at Aldi to pick up three bags of sweet potatoes, priced @ $.99/3 pound bag.

2. I renewed our SAM’S Club membership with a Discover offer. I received a gift card for putting the renewal on my Discover card.

3. A friend and I caught up with each other while taking a walk. We live less than a mile apart so we met in the middle and took a nice long walk around a few neighborhoods.

4. My daughter gave me a pile of shirts she doesn’t want. I suspect she’ll see me wearing at least a few of them.

5. I have thought of a few things I’d like to have for Christmas. That is unusual and I am notoriously hard to buy for so this will be a help to my loved ones (and better than receiving items I don’t appreciate).


Bettypants October 14, 2015 at 4:31 am

1. Had a Kroger coupon for $1.25 off a bag of Starbucks coffee and found one bag on clearance marked down to $1.75. I don’t think I’ve ever found clearance coffee before.
2. Also found a quart of Dannon plain yogurt (which I use for smoothies and baking) for $0.79, and a six pack of Stonyfield organic yogurt for $0.99.
3. A friend at work gave me a huge box of candles and votives. I kept what I liked and posted the rest on freecycle, which were picked up yesterday.
4. Went out and stripped my basil plants before the frost hit, and made a giant batch of walnut pesto. I’m freezing it in small portions, so it will be readily useable all winter.
5. Still going through the house trying to rid the excess. Man, we have a lot of stuff.


Mand01 October 14, 2015 at 4:56 am

1. I am cramming for exams – the last two exams of my law degree. This is frugal because if I fail I will have to study again next year…and pay for it again, in both time and money!

2. I have been making iced tea to take to work now the weather is heating up here in Australia. Still trying to kick my coffee habit. It is something I fight each day. Hard when I want to get up from my desk and see something different, but I am trying.

3. Wore my new four dollar linen pants to work today (by new I mean thrift store new) along with my thrifted top and shoes given to me by my sister. I reflected as I was strolling along in my secondhand finery that almost none of my work clothes were purchased new. People always compliment my outfits and ask where I buy my clothes and I just say ‘oh, here and there’. A Goodwill here, a Salvos there…hehe.

4. Trying to watch my caloric intake as I have been sitting on my butt for about 18 hours a day as I study and work. Packing as healthy a lunch as I can and trying to limit chocolate and other non-healthy study snacks. If I don’t watch it now I will be regretting it in four weeks time when I have stacked on 5 kg and none of my thrifted clothes fit – that won’t be frugal at all.

5. Paying my brother to do my garden. That doesn’t sound frugal, but I honestly don’t have time right now and he is trying to start his own landscaping business. I’d rather pay family to do it and have it looking good for Christmas, than pay a stranger to do it – keep it in the family, I say.


Vickie October 14, 2015 at 6:57 am

Best of Luck passing your Law exams!!


Isabelle October 14, 2015 at 5:31 am

* While being stuck in a hotel room 4 hours from home because of car trouble, we loaded up on food there so to not have to buy lunch. We had included breakfast and tooked bagels, PB, cream cheese, yogourts, tea and fruits for the road. And I took the shampoo and little soap and asked for an extra one. Every little bit helps
* Went to the bank to do a mystery shopper mission. They are paying me 15$ for 30 minutes of work (10 minutes travels+10 minutes visit+10 minutes report sending). Plus, they had cookies, coffee and apples there for customers, so I ate a couple of cookies while waiting and grabbed 2 apples on my way out.
* Exchanges Petro Points (that I get by doing online surveys) for a 10$ gas card
* Exchanged PC points for 30$ free groceries
* My friend is giving me a bunch of clothes she is not longer using. Getting them today. Can’t wait, it’s like Christmas!! And she’s making meat pies and will give me 2, yay!
* Using half lentils and half beef in sheperds pie (cheaper)
* Got a turkey for 1.17$/pounds yesterday
* Picking rosebuds (don’t know the name….) from neighbors (with permission) to do tea (not super tasty, but full of Vitamin C!) and then freezing them to put in smoothies.

Have a great frugal day!


Katy October 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

Rosehips, right?


Isabelle October 15, 2015 at 5:29 am

yes, it think this is it


Sara G. October 14, 2015 at 6:25 pm

1. I sewed the holes in my son’s socks to get some more wear out of them. His feet have been growing like crazy, so he may just need bigger socks soon.

2. I returned a $44 pair of designer jeans to TJ Maxx since they would have needed alterations to fit well. I found a $6 pair of almost new crop jeans at Goodwill. These are actually a good option for fall since it is still hot here.

3. I continue to check out books from our library instead of purchasing books.

4. I am still driving the first car that I bought in the fall of 2002. It runs well, but it is not looking as good these days.

5. Even better, some days we ride our bikes around instead of driving.


Amanda October 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

1. Continuing to work on our gleaned apples, tonight I’m going to cider the rest. I promised my co-workers fresh cider tomorrow morning if they bring in donuts.

2. Sold my wether goats last week. No more feeding AND I got $$

3. Sold a truckload of compost to a gardener. The compost would just be sitting there not being used. As a farmer, I have tons of poo every year!

4. Family took a camping trip, they are taking advantage of the “Child in every park” by the federal park service. Every 4th grader (and family) get free access to our national parks.

5. For preparation for their trip, I checked out 47 library books for them to peruse of all the different states and geography they will see.

6. I made a batch of laundry detergent (fels naptha, washing soda, and borax) it will last our family of 5 about 10 months and cost $2.31!


Michelle H. October 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm

1. Bought a set of Jadeite mixing bowls for $5 at a thrift store a few months ago, and sold them today for $25 on Craigslist. The man who bought them works for a national potato chip company and gave me a 50 ct box of snack size chips.

2. My boys have beanbag armchairs they sit in to play video games, and they have flattened out over the past year. I put a request on our neighborhood website for free packing peanuts and picked up a big bag today. One chair stuffed and one to go!

3. Tonight’s dinner is choose-your-own-leftovers in an attempt to clean out the fridge ahead of the weekend.

4. Made homemade granola to use up some raisins that were starting to dry out.

5. Swapped babysitting with a neighbor.


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