Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 13, 2014 · 21 comments

Bean soup mix

  1. I planned a get together with my friend Leslie today, and instead of going out for coffee, we stayed in and I served tea. She had a Starbucks reward, and used it to pick up some pastries. We then went for a walk and enjoyed a nice long chat. Money spent? Nothing!
  2. I used a $2-off-$5 meat coupon at Fred Meyer to pick up a large pack of drumsticks. I then boiled up the leftover bones to make chicken soup for last night’ s dinner. I did have to add a single chicken breast to ensure there was enough meat, but it was still a perfectly nourishing meal.
  3. I foraged in my pantry and forced myself to prepare one of the bean soup mixes I’d put together for Christmas 2012. (Yup, that’s no typo!) It was pretty tasty, although the resulting soup pretty much resembled thinned out refried beans once I’d pureed it. Everyone ate it on night #1, but I was the only one who would eat the leftovers. Alright by me, and no one can accuse me of not getting my recommended fiber for the week!
  4. I’ve been listening to free library audiobooks through the Overdrive app on my iPhone 4. I just finished listening to Anne Lamott’s Word by Word, which is a speech she presented at a 2004 writing conference. I loved it so much, that as soon as I was done listening to it, I listened to it all over again. The advice she gives may be directed towards writers, but the lessons about being honest and present in the moment are without category.
  5. My sixteen-year-old son is very good about getting himself up and off to school with time enough to take the city bus. And since he’s my only student now, I no longer make the five mile round trip drive to school and back each day. And since the school district provides free bus passes, we’re buying a lot less gasoline this year!

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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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Tonya October 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

-Baked banana bread from overdue bananas.

-Traded said banana bread with neighbor for beer (he works at a brewery and gets the just about to expire cases). He said he got the best part of the trade!

-Made a batch of homemade bean burritos for the freezer for busy days and snacks for my growing teens.

-Used a coupon code to order some photos. Will frame them and give as holiday gifts.

-Planning scrambled eggs for dinner tonight.


Katy October 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm

That would be my husband’s ideal neighbor. 😀


Tonya October 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

We kind of like him. 🙂


Lilypad October 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Anne Lamott is the best! Have you liked her Facebook page? She doesn’t post that often but her writing is always so thought-provoking and moving.

And congrats on no longer having to make the drive to school! When we started homeschooling 6 years ago, two of my favorite things about it were 1) not having to wake up my son early in the morning! and 2) not having to drive him to/from school.


Katy October 13, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I actually just liked her Facebook page today. I’ve followed her on Twitter for years, but I think she’ll be better when she has more than 140 characters to work with!


WilliamB October 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Took a cooler & snack bag on my road trip, rather than buy drinks & snacks along the way. (Doesn’t work perfectly, I still bought lunch.)

Took the extra time and extra walking to find street parking in the crowded city, rather than pay for a garage spot.

Waited 10 days to read a just-published book from the library, rather than buying a hardback. Since I liked it – in fact, the plot is such that a reread is in order – I will buy it when it comes out in paperback.


Katy October 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I’m with you, as I hate to pay for parking!


Andrea A. October 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

My this has been mentioned before but Paperback Swap ( is a great website for exchanging books. You can also transfer credits you earn by swapping at the DVD Swap site and CD Swap site.


Maureen October 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Planned all my dinners for the week, and started dinner for tonight, but hubby had some extra cash left over from his trip, so he took me out to dinner. Now Friday’s dinner won’t be so lame because I’ll move everything a day.

We used a coupon at TGIF’s and ended up only paying for 1 dinner and 2 drinks and tip. My $9.00 salad was free.

Hubby paid cash for his gasoline for his car and saved 5 cents a gallon. And he only paid $3.18/gal here in So FL. Most places are still $3.29. That will last him another weekend and a half.

Did not go shopping over the weekend!

Still tracking my groceries for the month. So far, we spent well over $200. for 2 adults, personal care items, dog food, cat food and supplies. I’m going to track everything this month and really see what it costs us per month. I’ve never really done that.


Betsey October 15, 2014 at 3:10 am

Gas in Iowa was 2.82 yesterday!


Megyn October 13, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Oh how I envy not driving to school! We actually just bought the house we did (despite it needing work and much larger than we hoped for) because all levels of school are less than a mile away. Next year, both our boys will finally be in elementary school, and I will be done with the 30mile round trip drive to preschool!

As for my 5 frugal things:
– Our oldest had the day off for Columbus Day (I know, Texans are crazy and celebrate Columbus Day but not Veteran’s Day!). We gave him a lot of options since we rarely get him at home by himself. He opted to spend no money and just stay at home to do art and build Snap Circuits.
– I spent the semi-free morning baking muffins and cookies. I always make a double batch, so it saves me time the following week.
-I actually meal planned with my hubby for once. We’re more motivated to eat at home now that we are finally running out of restaurant gift cards.
-I got a $0.25 discount at Sprouts for bringing my own bags. They often give me extra because I bring mesh bags for produce. It’s not much, but every quarter helps 😉
-I’m trying to help my hubby’s cousin find a wedding photographer by trading my services as a pro organizer to offset the cost. This also spares me from having to buy a gift. I can spare time more than money, and I’m happy to help them have fabulous photos of their special day 🙂


Kim October 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I was extra diligent over the long weekend to use up some produce that was on its last legs.
~Some apples that were a little shriveled were turned into a yummy apple crisp that made a nice breakfast along with scrambled eggs. ~Potatoes that were also a bit shriveled were transformed into a delicious potato cheese soup for lunch today.
~Roasted grape tomatoes and portabella mushrooms with garlic and olive oil that I put over pasta last night.
~Made spinach salad which I topped with some mushrooms and bacon that needed to used up. The extra bacon garnished the potato soup today.
My fridge is a bit cleaner and I used up a bunch of produce that was going south fast.

Also I went to Staples to use my rewards that expire this month. Columbus Day sale so extra 20% off entire purchase, 40% off coupon on 1 packing item and $43 in rewards means I got 2 HP ink cartridges, 6 rolls of packing tape, an insulated tumbler that looks like a canning jar that was on clearance and 2 rolls of washi tape for 60 cents!


Alison October 14, 2014 at 5:02 am

We just finished Canadian Thanksgiving, which was quiet for us because we live quite far from our family. We puttered around the house, took the kids for a gorgeous fall walk and to the playground, went to church and ate good food. We realized while cleaning up from turkey dinner (turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, squash, beets, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin pie) that our dinner cost the same amount of money as burgers and fries for our family when we get takeout. But in this case, we not only had a wonderful meal, but we also made two 9×13 pans of turkey shepherds pie for the freezer, froze the turkey bones for soup another time, and had lots of turkey and gravy in the fridge for sandwiches! 🙂

Today I’m rendering lard in my crock pot and cooking a large batch of black beans for supper tonight and to freeze.


JD October 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

1. Eating the last of the leftover Sunday dinner acre peas with my lunch today (also leftovers, but from just last night). Usually, that last bit of peas gets forgotten and goes bad. Finally, none wasted this time!
2. Going back to work on a wood project tonight – wood was scrap, the sandpaper, fasteners, primer, paint and brushes already owned. Cost- free!
3. Watching the native squash quickly grow in our backyard. The original seeds came from one we purchased at a local market and ate. Because it’s heirloom, the seeds grow back true, and because it’s native to our area, it needs next to no care; just plant and wait. This is the second year we’ve grown them from our harvested seeds, and my sister’s family is already eating their squash from seeds we gave them this past summer.
4. Planning again for a frugal Thanksgiving celebration, so I start now watching sales and farmer’s markets. We use our 35 year old china and crystal, our cloth napkins and tablecloth, and cut autumn blossoms from the yard to make a centerpiece in an old hand-me-down vase. It’s a “fine dining experience” without the high-end pricing.
5. I’m not doing any laundry today although I have a load or two to wash. It’s pouring outside, so I’ll wait until tomorrow or next day, when sunshine is again forecast, so I can hang it out to dry for free.


Joe McBee October 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

1. I made all my lunches and snacks for the week on Sunday. That saves me at least $30 for the week. (I do this every week.)

2. Changed our phone plan at the house so that we dropped unnecessary lines and services. This will take our phone bill from $200/month to $60/month.

That’s all I got. But I am trying!


Rowen G. October 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

As I was waking up this morning, feeling not quite warm enough, I thought, “I need an honest wool blanket.” So I went down to my favorite thrift shop, and found a nice nearly new “Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket”, 100% wool, made in Canada – for $8. (I’ll wash it and sun dry it, of course, before it goes on the bed.) Out of curiosity, I checked prices on new ones after I brought it home – they seem to start at about $300.


Katy October 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

THAT was an incredible find!

Check out these Pinterest photos!


Kim from Philadelphia October 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

You’ve motivated me to use up pantry items, so tonight we’re having rice and beans with chopped red pepper and onion

We bought our large ( obligatory) carving pumpkin at our local discount fruit and veggie store; $5 is much better than the $11 they were charging at a local nursery.

I’ve been diligently packing my lunch for work and using our workplace funded Keurig.

Made arrangements for a post- Christmas trip to Santa Fe. Though traveling isn’t “frugal” per se, we rented a casita instead of a hotel room and got a very good deal. For the cost if a hotel we can eat breakfasts before heading out and plan to cook at least one dinner “in”. Plus it has a kiva fireplace ( yeah!!)


Betsey October 15, 2014 at 3:19 am

I am moving, so I am doing the following:
I happened to be at Lowes when they were putting up Christmas stuff. I got all the boxes for free.
People have been saving newspapers for me.
I have been eating up my pantry so I don’t have to move cans.
The church is helping me move; they are building a new building, and all I have to do is donate to the fund.
I already got rid of SIDN (stuff I don’t need), so I have few things to move.
My friends and I swap our expertise on a routine basis so I had an abundance of packers, etc. They also volunteered to clean the apartment so I get my deposit back.
The only thing I have to do is watch the movers!


K D October 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

1. It was rainy on Monday so I didn’t stop by any stores/run any errands when I finished my volunteer job for the day. Therefore I spent no money

2. I stopped at SAM’S Club this morning to fill my car with $3.049 gas and return some items I decided not to keep. I did not have the time/need to go any further into the store.

3. I’ll make dinner tonight, just like almost every night. We’ll have an extra body to feed but since she is here so often I don’t worry about it being fancy enough.

4. On Friday night relatives will be in town. Since they enjoy dining out we will patronize a restaurant owned by a friend’s family. The food is good, the prices reasonable, and we’ll be supporting a local family. Not frugal, but something I feel good about.

5. I bought sweet potatoes on sale. I will be making Sweet Potato Carrot soup for my lunch for the next few days.


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