Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 15, 2014 · 32 comments

  1. My work lunch is all packed and ready for tomorrow. I’ve become complacent lately about packing a work lunch, as the cafeteria’s salad bar is amazing, with fresh spinach, poached salmon and endless fresh veggies. It’s pretty cheap at $5 or so, but it adds up.
  2. I (almost) only went places today that were within walking distance from the house, and my most impressive activity was a massive nap on the couch.
  3. I loaded up the back of the mini-van to donate the garage sale leftovers to Goodwill. At first my plan was to just donate the clothing and a few other small items, but once I got started it felt so amazingly cathartic, and I ended up donating almost everything. (This was my only driving errand today.) And let’s give me a pat on the back for donating at Goodwill without going into the store!
  4. I hung two loads of laundry on the clothesline today, after washing them in cold water and only using a small amount of detergent. (I use the tiny Oxyclean scoop, which cuts down on how much detergent gets used.)
  5. I am starting to plan out some fun and frugal staycation ideas for my 14-year-old nephew’s two week visit.

Now your turn. What frugal activities have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

AnnDenee July 15, 2014 at 1:57 am

1 baking muffins from scratch,
2 starting a sustainable living discussion group
3 organizing the charter committee for community gardens
4 dropped husband’s slacks at tailor to replace broken zipper
5 stopped buying diapers for daughter overnite… just in case


Hannah July 15, 2014 at 2:40 am

1. Crocheting a blanket for my older daughter’s 5th birthday. Extra points for buying all the yarn on sale for $15!
2. Line drying my younger daugher’s cloth diapers
3. Looking forward to hubby’s hamburgers and homemade hand cut fries for dinner. Seriously…who needs a burger joint?
4. Ridiculously giddy about the hand me down shorts and capris my mom gave me.
5. Enjoyed playing with homemade play-doh and sidewalk chalk paint yesterday with my girls. Making them instead of buying them is half the fun!


kris July 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

Who needs a burger joint…Exactly! My husband makes some awesome homemade burgers on the grill and we just top them with whatever we’re in the mood for. I seriously can not find better burgers than he can do.


Diane July 15, 2014 at 4:25 am

Making folk art bird and owl ornaments from 23 cent felt, an afternoon at Deep Eddy freshwater swimming pool for $1.00, picking up novels and DVDS from the library zero $, purchasing a remnant fabric for part of a new baby quilt $1.88 and walking the trail early every morning zero $.

Living large on little.


Paula in the UP July 15, 2014 at 5:20 am

So glad you were able to get in a good ‘ol nap!!!

I always feel so much lighter and satisfied after a good drop off at Goodwill. Bravo for not going in and finding replacements for your donations!


jill July 15, 2014 at 6:08 am

1. Haven’t had a pedicure in a few years and really wanted to splurge on one but resisted and gave myself a “pedicure at home”
2. Had 5 weekends of visitors and spent about $300 on food to feed all. We went out for 3 meals total of all 5 weekends and I cooked all the other meals. Did what we call “eat down the pantry”
3.Leaving for vacation soon and wanted to go buy something new or new-to-me to wear but I organized my clothing for the trip and resisted. I have plenty of clothes and don’t need anything new.
4.My husband needs an MRI and was told the cost would be $1500 and that would be our deductible. Called several places and found one for $600, so even though that will be out of pocket it is still less expensive.
5. Made a trip to the library for reading material for my trip.

Congrats Katy on your Goodwill donation without shopping! Impressive


Maureen July 15, 2014 at 6:23 am

1) Eating home more often and eating what is in the refrig and pantry. Hoping my husband likes sloppy joes over baked potatoes as an alternative to our usual rolls or rice.

2) Recently moved to this area so I haven’t found someone to cut my hair. I’m going to bite the bullet and use a coupon for Fantastic Sam’s and see if they can cut my hair the way I want and not the way they want (I so hate that in a hair stylist!) The coupon is for $19.99 and with a tip is less than what I used to pay. And no, I cannot cut my own hair!

3) Organized my garage from the big move and now there is plenty of room in the garage to walk around. Now to work on my office/craft room/guest room. Also hung some pictures over the weekend so they are not laying around. The apartment is starting to feel like home.

4) Went to the rental office and asked for an air filter for the air conditioner. Being new to constantly running an air conditioner (I’m new to So Florida), I asked when the filter should be changed when maintenance was in testing the smoke alarms. He said that the rental office will give you a new filter everytime you pay your rent at the beginning of the month. I’m sure that will also save on the electric bill too as the A/C will not have to run that hard. And boy, was it dirty after 3 months!

5) I’m doing an experiment this month and tracking every last penny. I’ve never done that and since our house has not sold yet and we are also paying for rent, we have to keep track of every last penny. This month is particularly hard and I do not want to dip into the savings account. Already had to do that to fork over money to register my car to the tune of $423!!!!!!


Audry July 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

re: #1 – I recently served meatballs and sauce on baked potatoes to my husband. My mom did it all the time. We’ve been married for 33 years and I never served it that way to my hubby. He looked at me funny when he saw his plate, but he actually liked it! Told me mom had a good idea….:-)


Maureen July 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Well I asked him about it and he said no — picky eater. He said he would eat it separately. UGH!

And I got my haircut and it was $15. more than I expected. At least it was a decent cut, but not exactly what I’m used to. Oh well.


JD July 17, 2014 at 7:27 am

Maureen — welcome to Florida, land of outrageous A/C bills. Going without A/C is always an option, of course, if you don’t mind mold on your leather shoes, damp towels that won’t dry but just sour, bread that is moldy in a couple of days, and leftovers that disintigrate in no time because your refrigerator can’t combat that moist heat that comes in every time the door is opened, plus the heat and humidity in your kitchen the rest of the time.
Ah, hurry winter!


WilliamB July 15, 2014 at 8:08 am

1. Eating down the freezer. There’s a lot of odds and ends that I may not get to for years, such as 6 lbs lard and 3 c. ham fat (the hazards of buying a whole pig) but this is a great improvement. I managed to get pizza crust, pizza sauce, and grated cheese to come out evenly.

2. Made blueberry muffins. Ingredients included farmer’s market blueberries bought in bulk and barley flour, both from the freezer, natch.

3. Still bringing breakfast, lunch, and snacks to work.

4. Mended small holes in work socks and a t-shirt, before they got big. My sewing skills are risible but they’re good enough to extend the life of my clothes.


Terri W. July 15, 2014 at 11:14 am

That lard would make the most fantastic pie crust! I know it’s not healthy, but an occasional pie is good for the soul!!


WilliamB July 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

Agree about the pie crust – my fave is half lard, half butter. But that’s still a *lot* of pies and while I make good ones, I’m not that fond of pie. My plan is to experiment with making soap.

The muffins weren’t as good as I hoped. Made with half barley flour, half ww, and about half the recommended sugar (most comments indicated the stated recipe was too sweet), they’re a little crumbly and not quite sweet enough. I’m going to try again, using white flour instead of ww, and more sugar. That barley flour must go!


Renee July 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

And you get bonus points for using the word “risible!”


Kristen July 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

How have I not heard that word before?


Kristen July 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

(adds to vocabulary)


lauren July 15, 2014 at 8:41 am

1. Getting back into the swing of bringing lunch and snacks to work after falling off that wagon for awhile.
2. Making conscious effort to eat perishables before they go bad and leftovers before they become chicken food.
3. Spent a few extra minutes with the supermarket circular this weekend and spent far less than usual while stocking up the pantry.
4. Wearing a dress that I’ve had for ten years to work today and it still looks great. Wish I could find quality like this more easily.
5. Encouraging my daughter to make her own cards for two bday parties this week.


Sadye July 15, 2014 at 8:59 am

A co-worker moved and left all her pantry goods, so I took a few items I needed anyway from the pile.


Gladys (The Pinay Mom) July 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

1. I make pizza from scratch,it’s easy to make and cheap too.
2.I just learned how to make chocolate cake from scratch.
3.I used the $7 off coupon the grocery store mailed me and used coupons too! Double savings.
4.We haven’t bought pop for few weeks now,water tastes the best.
5.I just bought clothes for our oldest daughter at the garage sale for a very cheap price,50 cents each.


kris July 15, 2014 at 9:23 am

1. Made a hodge-podge breakfast by heating up the last few bites of some dirty rice and great northern beans, then fried an egg to put on top. Weird but tasty.
2. Will be taking my son up to church tonight, they are showing “Frozen” which he has already seen but I haven’t, so we are saving the $1.29 Redbox fee. Free popcorn and I’ll bring a thermos of kool aid for us to drink.
3. Heading to the eye dr. apt this afternoon (which wont be a frugal save) but coming home to make our dinner, instead of eating out before the movie. Baked Ziti (minus the meat), so it’s a pretty frugal meal.
4. Tomorrow I’ll be making blueberry muffins from scratch. A friend picked the blueberries and gave me about 12 cups of them, so I froze them in individual baggies and I’ll use those, along with everything else that’ll come from my pantry.


Amy D. July 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I made a menu plan yesterday for the week and then went shopping. The grocery bill was less than usual, and I doubt there will be any food waste because of my planning! Frugal win!


Sandra July 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm

A house one street over from ours burned down yesterday, the family lost everything. We didn’t know the family but went over and got some info from the mom about what she needed. My daughter and I went to Salvation Army this morning and were able to pick out 2 sets of clothes for each of the 3 kids. The lady in line behind me overheard my conversation with the cashier and generously paid half the bill which brought tears to my eyes. We brought it all home, washed it and delivered it to the family this evening along with some snacks and drinks I had extras of in the pantry. Not such a frugal day, but satisfying to have hopefully helped a family in need. Makes you realize what is important in life.


Stacey July 16, 2014 at 5:35 am

What a lovely and considerate thing to do Sandra and kudos to the lady behind you for helping out.


WilliamB July 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

Frugality is a means to an end. Today, your end was being able to help your neighbors. Nice going.


Shebear July 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Went for a walk this morning as we’ve cancelled our gym membership. Cut my partners hair. Took yummy leftovers for lunch. Priced items for upcoming garage sale. Stayed home for an awesome pasta dinner. A win, win day!


Joyce July 16, 2014 at 5:25 am

–I’m waiting until Thursday to do laundry as rain is in forecast for today. (clothesline)
— I have been baking sour dough bread for lunches and toast.
–I made my own laundry detergent with my SIL. Soooo cheap.
–Collecting rain water for all my gardens.
–Trading clothes with the same SIL to avoid buying new.


K D July 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

1. It is finally drier weather so I hung laundry outside this morning.
2. We have not been eating out and have been focusing on eating from the pantry and freezer.
3. I made apple/blueberry crisp, using on sale blueberries and some apples that had seen better days. I have been making it in the microwave (instead of the oven) for decades. It is just as good, cooks faster, and I assume it is cheaper.
4. I turned the A/C off and opened the windows. Not only will that save money but it feels wonderful.
5. I cut back on my newspaper subscription because they raised the price. It is not worth it to me at the increased price.


Alexa McAllister July 17, 2014 at 3:20 am

What an interesting blog… A great find especially as my hubby has just retired…happy dance:)
1. Made an Asian meal by using what was in the freezer; cooked rice, frozen prawns, half a jar of green curry, added carrots, spinach and corn as veggies…yummo
2. Explained to my youngest daughter ; mother to two little boys , that when you use prewash to pre treat grubby washing that she can use way less wash powder than the half quantity she already uses
3. Searched out a recipe to try and make Gozleme which are similar to pizza pockets
4. Learnt recently that you can grow chamomile flowers from the camomile tea…will try this once weather warms up here Down Under in Australia
5. My usual haircut went up by $4 so will just stretch out the time a bit further again
Hubby put a beanie/hat on to work in his office instead of turning on the a/c….also cause he just had a haircut and it’s winter here
An extra …Preparing to take our breakfast things for an early start minding a grandson…must think what to take for lunch

There’s so many ways that we already do frugal without even realizing which is a good way to go
Alexa from Sydney, Australia


Amanda July 17, 2014 at 5:33 am

1. We are in the market for a car, which feels like a very unfrugal thing. But my frugal heart has faced facts that we need a bigger car for our growing family. I’m looking at different models that are three to five years old. I am shocked how much value these cars have lost in three years. Looks like we will save half off the original price but still get a safe, reliable car with many years left.
2. I’m going back to school and will have an hour commute a couple days a week. I did the math on buying a very old, very good on gas car. It just didn’t work out, so I’ll be driving my husband’s 18 yo truck, which still runs great.
3. The expensive day care centers on whose waiting list my son has been on for a year are still being wishy washy about giving him a spot. Then out of the blue a woman I have known since kindergarten who I love and trust told me she has openings in her home for kids. I like this arrangement better and it will save me about $50 a week.
4. My dad bought a whole box of frozen burgers and decided he didn’t like them. Our family has had burgers several times this week.
5. I am going back to school for history, and my advisor recommended I look for an old microfish machine for home use so I can work on research after the kids are in the bed. Then my husband remembered that my dad (in addition to free burgers) has a microfish machine. He brought it home to look at old film strips when his work was going to trash it. I have promised to take the film to Costco to be put on a DVD in exchange for the machine.

It is so fun to write this list up. In the throws of having babies and building careers I feel so spendy. It feels good to sit down and think about the ways I actually still am frugal.


WilliamB July 17, 2014 at 9:57 am

Being frugal about car buying is high-powered frugal. Think of how much couponing you’d have to do to save as much as not buying a car saves you.


cathy July 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

This has been a good frugal past couple of weeks.
* Negotiated faster internet service and lowered the bill at the same time.
* A friend offered apricots from her tree. When she mentioned that she was planning to borrow a dehydrator, I offered to give her the one I had just placed in my yard sale pile. A great trade!
* Received apricots from another friend and zucchini from a neighbor.
* A local Kroger-owned pharmacy offered 1000 fuel points (= $1 off/gallon) if you transferred a prescription to their pharmacy. My husband needed to fill a prescription, so he did the transfer, but when I picked it up, no one in the pharmacy was aware of the new offer. I came home and called customer service for the loyalty program. For some reason, THEY couldn’t figure it out. Called again today, got someone who could help. Instead of the 1000 points, the pharmacy manager offered a $25 grocery store credit instead (MUCH better for us). Then to make up for the hour of my life it took to work this out, customer service guy gave me 500 bonus fuel points. Combine all this with the $20 grocery store gift card my husband earned by participating in a focus group at work and we have $45 to spend in store and will save anywhere from $5-$10 on our next gas fill up!
* Picked up Maeve Binchy’s _Chestnut Street_ from the library. Never read her before. Going on recommendations of Katy and readers of this blog.
* Husband has been getting up early to make coffee before he goes to work. We store it in a thermos to keep it hot all day.
* We removed our front lawn last fall and I xeriscaped the yard. All the plants are either cuttings from friends, transplants from other parts of the yard, or bought on end-of-season discounts. Even though we need to water it some–especially this first summer–we’re seeing huge savings in our water bill.
* Keeping windows open and AC off except during hottest part of the day…like the other day when it hit 103.


Laurie B July 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

Was laid off this past April (was expected – company’s been downsizing for a while) and taking the summer off to spend with my kids. So excited to be able to do that and having a great time.

1. picked some berries from the back yard to have with our breakfast this morning – raspberry plants were here when we moved in and 2 years ago black raspberry’s showed up – we left them alone and they’ve exploded!
2. took the kids to their swimming lessons (inexpensive great lessons through our town’s Rec Dept) and we walked there (a leisurely 1/2 hr walk) instead of driving.
3. Bringing a blanket and book and going to a local park with a playground for the afternoon – free and fun!
4. Will take our weekly trip to the library tomorrow for books and movies – we got rid of cable/satellite a few years ago (saving $68 per month) and the kids pick out movies instead.
5. Having vegetables for dinner from our CSA – local, organic, and cheaper.


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