Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 29, 2016 · 69 comments

  1. I’d been unable to book the one nice and affordable motel in the pricey tourist town where my son attends college until today. (We’ll drive down to pick him up for dorm move out day in June.) How did I do it? I called 3-4 times per week until someone finally took pity on me and put my name on a waiting list. Someone cancelled their reservation, which prompted the clerk to call me up. We now have the room booked, which is excellent since it’s directly across the street from the dorms. Squeaky wheel got the room.
  2. I called my son and asked him to save up his cafeteria guest passes for us. Not free by any means, as we paid dearly for that meal plan, but we’ll make good use of them during our stay.
  3. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages today, and took advantage of being near a post office to mail off my Marimekko duvet cover. I’m still awaiting payment for the shoes I sold, so I’ll have to mail those out separately. I did pick up the perfect size Priority Mail box for the shoes while at the post office.
  4. I wrote and submitted two Clark Howard pieces which helps to pad the ol’ college fund.
  5. I stopped into the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet store near Ikea and bought three items for a grand total of 44¢. I bought a bandana, a jar lid with cool vintage lettering and a fabric iPad case which I’ll sell.

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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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Haynes April 29, 2016 at 2:36 am

At first I thought you bought a banana at the outlet not a bandana. First thought was “.44 doesn’t seem like a good price for a used banana.”.
I think I’m going to make some coffee now.


PaperCraneFarm April 29, 2016 at 5:21 am

In our house, used bananas are the leftover bits from the baby and toddler. We feed those to the chickens. I sometimes eat leftovers from the baby and the toddler but pre-gummed banana is a bit over that line.


jennifer April 29, 2016 at 7:05 am

I can relate, I don’t even fix myself breakfast until I see what my kids have left behind. Today they left one piece of cheese toast that only had two small fingerprints in the middle of the cheese. So yeah, I ate it. Yesterday,it was almost a whole sliced apple! I am like a mouse that comes behind them and gobbles it all up. Saved me from making myself oatmeal on this busy morning. I will eat some PB and crackers later when I need a snack.


Mary April 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Haha … I am a closeted eater of kids leftovers … Looks like I am not alone.


Jill April 29, 2016 at 3:38 am

1. Our dishwasher had a small leak that we didn’t know about so our very old linoleum floor was ruined. This started a kitchen reno including new flooring. Due to various things going on – moving his parents, my daughters graduation – we decided to hire the job out, which is unusual for us. But the quotes we received were highway robbery. So…we will attempt to install ourselves this weekend for the cost of renting a tool.
2.Batched all my errands together yesterday and brought a snack in a cooler.
3. My library has a full set of Agatha Christie’s books which I am re-reading so that was one of my errands .
4.We’ve invited family over to celebrate my youngest’s graduation from college. Due to the reno, I was going to be lazy and go with prepared food. But I’ve set a menu deciding that I can still do it myself with some prep work.
5.Spray painted some brass lights in our kitchen with a nickel finish – and they look fantastic.


Bee April 29, 2016 at 4:34 am

I confess. I cannot come up with FFT since my last response. In fact, I have been a bit of a spendypants. Well, today is another day. I’ll get back on track immediately. Thanks for keeping me directed, Katy.


PaperCraneFarm April 29, 2016 at 5:28 am

I’m feeling like a mix of Bee (5 frugual things feels hard today) and Jennifer (I need more coffee today). Let’s see if I can come up with five frugal things I intend to do today:
1) Going to my dentist appointment today. Keep myself healthy is a big part of being frugal, especially when we think about it in terms of decades. They often will give me extra tooth brushes and toothpaste for the kids, let’s see what I can get today. I feel so tired today that I’m looking forward to zoning out in the chair watching their HGTV shows!
2) Batching lots of errands with that dentist appointment – bank, library, Kohls, hardware store, and craft store. Haven’t left the house since the weekend (I work from home) so there’s lots of errands to run.
3) Packing up some books to drop off for the library booksale at the same time I return some books there.
4) Picking up my free bagel-in-the-month-of-April from Paneras.
5) Packing up some things to sell at the Boy Scouts “bikes and sporting goods” consignment sale tomorrow.


janine April 29, 2016 at 5:53 am

1. Continuing my string of good luck – for some reason I have been treated to lunches, snacks and dinner by family and friends for the last few weeks. Last night was no exception – a friend was celebrating the end of tax season (she is an accountant) and treated me to a Chinese dinner at a favorite neighborhood place. We spent the evening at a bookstore ( I withstood temptation to purchase all the interesting offerings)
2. Found sale bread at 50 cents a loaf – good price since husband prefers sandwiches that I pack for him almost every day.
3. Have to do some re-grading of our yard to ward off a wet basement – husband is transplanting bushes to avoid replacements.
4. Planning a frugal weekend – home activities including sweeping the leaves off the patio to frugal pantry sourced dinners.
5. This is somewhat off topic – received your review of the Atlantic Monthly Article about a middle class family facing financial difficulties including a link to statistics about the financial plight of many middle income folks. For some reason , I can’t respond to this post nor does it show up on your home page. I read the original article and have shared it’s content with a couple of friends as a starting point for a discussion on how to handle a new economic reality for many of us.


Sandy April 29, 2016 at 6:05 am

I work non-profit so I’m becoming an expert at pinching pennies as part of my job as well as part of my everyday life.

1) Instead of buying a $10 package of bean-bags for a one-time event for work, I got out the sewing machine, made my own out of material I already had on-hand and some old beans. I know that $10 can go to better use elsewhere.
2) I made dinner at home all week long and brought lunch to work every day. Healthy and delicious salads for lunch and fried chicken and nachos for dinner. Yummmm. No complaints here!
3) I put on a sweater last night instead of turning on the heat, although I was sorely tempted!
4) This morning I am drinking a nice brand of earl grey tea. I got a handful of teabags for free at a work function when everyone went for coffee and there were tea-bag leftovers up for grabs. Yes please!
5) I have been pinching leaves off my new basil plant sprouts to encourage them to grow out instead of just up this year and giving the leafs to my pet bunny rabbit as a little treat. Happy bunny!
Frugality Fail) I did break down and buy PREMADE cookies last night while out running errands because I felt I needed the comfort food instead of baking up the home-made dough I had in my freezer when I got home. Sigh.


Sheila April 29, 2016 at 6:23 am

May not come up with five, but will do my best
1. Hosted a baby shower at my house last night for a work colleague. Person hosting provides drinks and decorations, everyone else brings the food. Shopped the house for decorations, made herbal iced tea, lemonade with homegrown lemons and sangria with cheap red wine and homegrown lemons/oranges again. Very fun party and appreciated by the guest of honor.
2. We are replacing a garage door that is falling apart (old house). Husband will paint it and install it if he can get some help (very heavy).
3. I’m picking up a friend from the airport today because I live close by and she needs a ride home. She is treating me to breakfast and then we plan to take a long walk around the neighborhood.
4. I also went to the dentist for my regular cleaning yesterday. Love the free toothbrush and toothpaste. My dentist always gives me extra toothpaste
5. I didn’t buy a Lear jet


Ruby April 29, 2016 at 6:26 am

1 & 2. This week’s major frugal victories were brought to us by my husband, who persuaded the water company to come out and check our meter, thus proving that the very high water bill we received was in error. He also kept prodding the appliance repair company until they sent a washer repair guy back out to see why the first repair didn’t quite work. Repair was free (saving us $65) and we received a $140 credit on our water bill.
3-5. The week’s minor frugal successes were: packed my lunch and thermos of iced tea every day, resurrected an old laptop that I’m using right now for under $30, was careful to hang up clothes I’d worn that were still clean for rewearing, and took one for the team by eating leftovers my guys did not want. It all adds up.


Bellen April 29, 2016 at 6:35 am

Always, always call the motel/hotel you want to stay at to get the best room price. Was told this by a desk clerk and boy, was she right!

I follow a whole foods, plant based diet (for major health reasons) so I planted more kale, radishes, rapini, tatsoi, extra dwarf bok choi, peppers and transplanted peppers, swiss chard, eggplants and collards. Our hot, humid hard to grow anything weather is coming up quickly so I’ve got to plant when I can.

Bought 2 pair of jeans 1/2 off at a thrift store – $1 each with no wear evident.

Made another batch of seitan for my evening meals, husband cooked rice, chicken, made coffee several days, made a roast ALL in the solar oven this week.

That outdoor cooking allows us to keep the AC off until about 3pm – our temps have been averageing 88-90 every afternoon. Also collect the condensate water as we haven’t had any rain in I don’t know how long.


jennifer April 29, 2016 at 6:56 am

I’m impressed with all your food prep efforts. Great job!


4TruLady April 29, 2016 at 7:10 pm

My husband and I are making a solar oven for the first time this year–I can’t wait to experiment with it! Sounds like they are very versatile?


jennifer April 29, 2016 at 6:44 am

1. I downloaded my free Friday download from Kroger. It is a loaf of Sara Lee bread. This will make taking lunches next week even better.
2.I packed my daughter’s lunch today and put it in a sack so I wouldn’t have to pay the school $2.75 to fix it for me. They are going on a field trip so the paper sack was required. I have hundreds of those white paper sacks and tealights leftover from when my husband spelled out “will you marry me?” in candles inside paper sacks on the beach years ago. He is not very frugal but he is definately a keeper!
3. I also brought my own lunch to work with me. I have started making enough food the night before so that I have leftovers to take. Simple changes add up. It’s also much healthier than fast food. I’m trying to lose some weight so it keeps me from cheating if I have ready to eat food on hand.
4.Planning to stay home this weekend. I am going to plant a few vegetables in some pots with my kids for a fun learning project.
5. I’m still drinking refreshing icy glasses of water all day long instead of Dt. Mountain Dew. It’s in the 80’s here and the humidity is high. This is by far one of the best frugal things I am doing for myself.


Bee April 29, 2016 at 5:01 pm

#3 — what a romantic proposal!!!!


jennifer April 30, 2016 at 7:35 am

I know! What’s funny is he was surrounded by a bunch of drunk beachgoers while he was putting out all the candles so when I walked down to the beach I got hugs, kisses, clapping, and congrats from drunk strangers. It was so special I didn’t really care. So neat how strangers can come together when something special is happening for another person.


Isabelle April 29, 2016 at 7:05 am

* Paid vacation next week. Will go to the dentist using private insurances (and not having to miss work to do so), and bring daughter to Speech Therapy also using insurances.
* Bringing lunch to work every single day
* Eating less. Cheaper and healthier.
* Will use my pool pass to bring the kids swimming next week (free for them)
* Working out almost everyday, eighter at the pool (aquafit) or at home/outside. Healthy = frugal in the long run, no meds to buy or sicks days at work

Have a great frugal day!


Monica April 29, 2016 at 7:42 am

1) Major score of a LOT of leftover food from a work lunch yesterday. I was in charge of the event, and asked the Head Waitress to box up all the leftover appetizer food for me as the group moved in to the main luncheon. I would never have thought to do this before becoming a fan of this Blog, so thank you Katy! I have at least 3 dinners worth of food to have from those appetizers! I love not having to cook!
2) Resisting the urge to plant Spring flowers, and will wait 3 more weeks to plant summer annuals in hanging baskets — resisting the urge to buy the pre-filled hanging baskets they sell–they are so pretty! I can fill 4 -5 baskets for about $20 in purchased flats of flowers, as opposed to spending $50 on pre-filled baskets. Have to check the state of our existing hanging plastic pots though — they were starting to break apart last year…
3) Encouraging Hubby to make dinner from food we already have in the freezer–we are getting down to the point where we’ll have to re-stock meat soon, but we only buy it on sale.
4) Scraping out every last bit of makeup and face wash from existing tubes. I turn them upside down and cut them open to get every bit out! I will buy new items when I get my Amazon credit card points next week. I find its often cheaper to buy these things on Amazon than in the department stores, and with points I earned making other necessary purchases, it comes out free.
5) My poor old kitty passed away a few weeks ago. I was happy though, to donate many unopened cans of cat food to the local Pet Shelter, and my Daughter got a badge from her Brownies troop for donating to the Shelter. That was nice.


ME April 29, 2016 at 9:33 am

This week, I have really tried to resist the urge to go out on my days off, which resulted in me getting a lot of crap marked off my to-do list. I cleaned out one of our cars. I made a nice pile of stuff that could be sold in a yard sale this summer, I washed the windows with an old Squeegee, warm water, and a drop of soap. My daughters and I stayed home for most of my days off. We enjoyed the nice weather, played with their toys, and walked to the playground.
Didn’t buy a thing this week except a few essentials – milk and enough gas to get to work. I cleaned out the freezer and found some homemade veggie burgers that worked really well for my lunches, and some hamburger for by husband (he’s on a new diet). I also found a bag of frozen banana pieces, which have gone into a bunch of fruit-veggie smoothies this week.
I cut out cloth napkins from an old sheet I got a the goodwill, but didn’t finish the edges yet. I found a free pattern for a child’s apron for another sheet.
A coworker’s daughter got sick this week and had to call off, so I was called in to work for her (I work PRN in healthcare). My husband picked up an extra shift this week and next on his part-time mail delivery job. We got our tax refund, too, which was nice.


amanda April 29, 2016 at 9:37 am

Trying to recover from my frugal fails of last week which aren’t easy to do since we had to pay our property taxes on Monday….ouch. We live on a farm, so I know my frugality is way different than most and may seem odd.

1. Using my plethora of canning jars to store leftovers. I don’t like heating plastic in the microwave, so glass jars are excellent for that and also for a stovetop double burner in lieu of a microwave.

2. Brought my lunch and tea (canning jar) to work every day, except today when I’ll be meeting a girlfriend for lunch. We’ll split a sandwich and I’ll drink water. I replenish my tea with hot water from the water cooler. 2 tea bags last me all day, and I’ll top it off before I leave this afternoon.

3. I’ve been selling compost on craigslist. My co-workers are amazed that I actually sell poop, but people are willing to buy it and travel a considerable distance for it, I’ve got some nice crap!

4. I’m also selling my kids online….the caprine (goat) variety. 4 down, 15 more to go! The money will go towards more hay. I band the scrotum of the bucklings and couldn’t find my bander so had to buy another one. I KNEW it was around the house somewhere, so before I removed the new one’s packaging, I tore the house apart and finally found it. The new one is going back to the store today. Banding the bucklings, disbudding, and vaccinating them myself saves me about $60 per kid, so I taught myself to do those icky chores.

5. Home-cooked meals every day this week. We are drowning in fresh eggs, so every meal has some egg component. Kids’ favorite so far has been fried rice. I’m going to make scrambled egg and bacon burritos and freeze them for easy breakfasts.

6. My work FINALLY started supplying my work clothes (it’s been almost 11 months). Unfortunately, I had to buy ‘new’ GW jeans last week to replace my falling apart ones, but they are nice and not ruined yet by my workplace oil, so they’ll go into my good clothing rotation instead.


Sarah G. April 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Sorry, but what is scrotal banding? That sounds horrific (and painful). Just a question from someone who knows next to nothing about farming…


amanda April 29, 2016 at 5:05 pm

It’s a method of castration. Similar to a rubber band around your finger eventually causing it to fall off. Less invasive than surgery.


4TruLady April 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Personally I don’t think it’s as painful or traumatic as cutting–what is your opinion Amanda?


amanda May 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I agree, not as traumatic as cutting or the ’emasculator’ which crushes the spermatic cord. {shudder}.

4TruLady April 30, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Where I live manure is referred to as “Black Gold”, and most folks around here pay a pretty price for it too! Fortunately we also live on a small farm, and have plenty ourselves (chicken, rabbit, and goat).


Lucy May 1, 2016 at 4:57 am

LOL, I love reading these comments but a great many just don’t apply to the farm! Glad there are others doing the same.

We trade our manure mountain to a neighbor (who is a BTF – big-time farmer) for bobcat and backhoe work, which we are always needing. He does the loading and hauling and my only contribution, other than putting it in the pile in the first place, is moving my truck out of his way!


4TruLady May 1, 2016 at 7:22 am

Seems like a real “win-win situation to me! 😉


Sarah G. April 29, 2016 at 10:12 am

1. Today I’m getting to spend a wonderful day one-on-one with my daughter who’s about to turn four, while my mother watches my 18 month old. Instead of going to places that charge admission, we spent 2.5 hours walking around our nearby outlet mall… We didnt go into any shops; we only spent some quarters for her to ride the little 50 cent rides (merry go round, little rocket ship, etc.), which was the main reason for going there, as she LOVES those simple little things. She also played on the jungle gym, and we watched the ducks, plus a blue heron fishing in the duck pond for a long time. Then we stepped into the ice cream shop and each had a scoop. Priceless quality time for just a few dollars.
2. I reeeeeaally wanted to get myself a coffee from Starbucks but I excercised restraint and made coffee at home.
3. I recently bought two huge bags of greens and trimming the stems was proving to be more tedious than I’d like (No judgment please… I hate kitchen chores, frugal or no). I was just about set to buy a cheap tool that quickly removes tough stems from greens such as kale, but then I remembered Julia Child’s advice on how to do it quickly and easily by hand. So no tool necessary!
4. I’m under budget this month in my household account! Two months in a row! I have cash in my wallet to prove it. I’m a spender by nature, not a saver. So for me this is an accomplishment I’m proud of.
5. I ran out of oxyclean so I have been using baking soda instead. It seems to be working just fine and it’s much cheaper!


4TruLady May 1, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Regarding number 4–doesn’t that feel great?! I’m happy for you.


Patti April 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

I don’t know if these count as Frugal Fails 0r just Life In General, but we have had some extra expenses that we were not planning on (new furniture that I have wanted for 20 years for our deck was on a daily deal site for an excellent price, the car needs repairs that could be put off but were also an excellent price quote, and new eyeglasses/new prescription – all this month!) We have $$ saved for just such incidents but I want to recoup that savings as soon as possible so here is what I plan to do:
1)I declined an invitation to a Cinco de Mayo event next week because we will see the same friends at a birthday party and at a bicycle race in the same week.
2) I am looking around the house for something to take to the birthday girl – both card and small gift.
3)I am planning all our meals from food in the house and do not plan to grocery shop unless it is a dire necessity. This includes my son’s birthday cake and appetizers needed for next week’s events. I need to clean out the freezer anyway in preparation for this summer’s produce so this will “make me” have to do it.
4)I showed my husband a You Tube video on how to fix our dryer to show him that it can be done. He was all set to go out and purchase a new one since ours is about 18 years old. I told him our old one is probably better quality than anything new and all it needs is a new belt and new rollers. We are willing to pay a repairman as hubby is not mechanically inclined and the video shows that you have to take off the front, top, back and remove the drum to get to these parts. We know our limitations. LOL
5)I am going to make a basic list of what I plan to wear this month to show myself that new clothes are not needed just because it is a new season. I do have a family wedding event but I am going to finish a sewing project (a jacket) to wear with basics in my closet.
6) I am not buying a Lear Jet this month either.


Heidi in Ontario, Canada April 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Patti, Thanks for your #5 reminder. I am going to go downstairs right now and pull out my spring/summer clothes bin right now. I will spend the rest of my evening putting together outfits for the new season. (It’s still been cold here in Canada, which is common for this time of year. It’s about freezing at night and some days are chilly still needing coats and other days my kids wear shorts!) Heidi


Juhli April 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

I have been keeping a list of outfits that work for each season to remind myself that I can look fine with what I have. It is really helping.


Lazyretirementgirl May 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Patti, I have been very happy making cards either with digital photos,or just templates, available on the Avery website, printing them on card stock from my computer. Personal, frugal and well received.


sarah m April 29, 2016 at 10:49 am

1. brought home leftover cheese- brie, and two types of goat cheese, from a work event. ~$10 worth
2. asked my landlord to not increase my rent in return for all the gardening I’ve done that improves the property. they agreed!
3. better late than never, finally started my tomato, pepper, basil, and other herb seeds indoors. if they don’t succeed I’ll buy seedlings but figured I’d give this a chance. and either way, growing my own herbs means I’ll eat more herbs and save more money. some blackberry bushes from freecycle and planted them. hoping for a harvest this year, they look healthy and mature. planted them far from where my tomatoes are going just in case. and the guy threw in some free milkweed seeds to attract butterflies, so I started the milkweed seeds together with the rest of them.
5. cancelled netflix. hoping to do more knitting and reading real books, and less mindless TV.


Vickie April 29, 2016 at 11:56 am

1) Ate for free at the last Staff week event here on Campus today. Gotta love free food.
2) I’m on the last 2 CDs of an audiobook, from the Library, called The Summer Before War. It’s a novel about several family characters in a Sussex, England town right before and during WWI. Great book.
3) I’m watching YouTube videos during breaks here at work. I love learning, so being able to watch videos during the work day is very nice. I learned how to make my own dishwashing liquid today.
4) I’ve been using propolis oil, given to me by a friend, on my right forearm. I’ve had some type of allergic reaction lately on my arm, so I’ve used that oil on it every day. It seems to be clearing up.
5) I bought a few things at the Staff Craft Fair yesterday. If I’m going to spend money on gifts, I love hand-crafted items by local artisans. I did buy a portable solar phone charger for myself. It was being sold by the business college students, who designed it and have to market it themselves. The money goes to a fund for child cancer patients at the University’s Cancer Center.


Is it a need or a want April 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

The solar phone charger sounds amazing. I don’t suppose there is a link incase any of us wanted to order one?


Marion April 30, 2016 at 1:15 am

Loved Summer Before the War. Also, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.


Juhli April 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for the book recommendation. I just reserved it at my library.


Nancy April 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Moving out is harder than moving in! It seems that each time my kids came home from college, they either brought more stuff or were so sleep deprived from finals that packing efficiently went by the wayside. Also, it was very interesting to see what other kids decided was trash and left by the dumpster’s when they moved out. My one kid is an engineer and came home with lots of broken computer stuff that he fixed and reused.


A. Marie April 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm

As I’ve remarked in comments on earlier NCA posts, the end of the school year is Freebie Time in any college town. I encourage anyone who lives near a campus and has the time, inclination, and nerve to do so to get out there and reap the harvest when the kids move out.

And although I no longer get out and hit the streets the way I used to (age, infirmity, and all that), I’ve already had a couple of good scores this spring on my local curbsides. Most intriguing finds so far: a split-oak bushel basket from North Carolina, and two 1980s London Underground posters in excellent condition.


Heidi in Ontario, Canada April 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Amen, A.Marie. Here in our town that is definitely the case! And, other non-university related homes set out their stuff by the curb at the same time. So, I already scored a totally good glass outdoor table for the deck. Last year I scored 2 metal outdoor chairs with cushions. Both table and chairs are set to receive a matching few coats of paint this weekend, and we’ll be good to go. My kiddos are thrilled to have a sitting area and now an eating area on our deck. And, I’m thrilled it was for free (since our sitting area was pronouncedly not free several years ago when purchased new. I was young then — that’s my story, and I’m sticking to It!haha) Heidi


4TruLady April 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

1. Did some freezer cooking to use up a chicken carcass and have soup on hand for when I need something for a sick friend or I just don’t feel good myself. Along with the chicken I used up some veggies that were about to go south on me and some green onions that had come up out in the garden (Hubs was getting ready to till so they had to be yanked).
2. Decided to use a nightlight in the bathroom for most things that don’t require a lot of light. The light fixture in there is 200 watts, and the nightlight is 25. It gives plenty of light for showering, fixing hair, etc…
3. Planned my trips into town so as not to waste gas.
4. Picked up 3 months worth of good quality lunchmeat for $1.79 at the local “Bent & Dent”. While there I also got three pounds of sausage for .99 each and 4 pounds of cheese “ends” for $1.29 a pound.
5. Scored a like-new set of King sized sheets, two twin sheets that I will sew dresses with, and a dress and a new swimsuit for DD, all for $10.00.
6. No Lear jet here either. If this keeps up they may go out of business…


4TruLady April 29, 2016 at 1:40 pm

On number 4. that should read $1.79 a pound!


Mand01 April 29, 2016 at 2:18 pm

1. Last night was our monthly takeaway night. We budget this in so it is a treat we can afford and enjoy, rather than ‘can’t be bothered cooking’ kind of a thing. It makes it fun for us as we make it part of a laid back date night.
2. Every outfit to work this week has been thrifted, including shoes.
3. This next week we are living out of our very full freezer, just buying a few basics.
4. A few apples and pears were starting to go soft , so my husband cooked them up and the kids ate stewed apples yesterday. They weren’t eating them fresh but all the cooked are gone.
5. Our garden produce is ramping up. I’m going to spend the morning out there today and look at what to plant next.


tonya April 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Some major ones here!

1) this was a three paycheck month. We budgeted off of two and saved the third.

2) did our budget today and went to withdraw some cash. The bank made a $200 error!! I went back and they were very quick to reverse it.

3) Did my monthly Costco run and ate “lunch” there.

4) Tonight’s dinner is leftovers.

5) My sister is in a local theater production. Used her discount to get 2 for 1 tickets for this weekend’s matinee.


Betty Winslow April 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

1. Continuing to use the green sprouts from an onion I “planted” in a glass of water on the window sill. Free oniony flavor!
2. Bought a potted basil plant instead of a container of basil leaves, which was more expensive. Put the plant in the window for lots of light, Future free herby goodness!!
3. Wanted to have a nice steak and potato dinner for me and hubby since the boys are both at work and it’s cheaper to eat here than go out (and he took the day off from work). Bought wine at Aldi’s. Cheap. Adequate.
4. Bought a box of kitchen castoffs from a garage sale for $3 that included scads of pots and pans, lids, flatware, and various kitchen utensils, took out what I wanted (which included a Revereware frying pan/lid, three stainless steel kitchen utensils I needed, and a few other odds and ends that all added up to way more than $3 value) and let my sons go through the rest. The things they didn’t need will go to Global Connection, a local parachurch group that helps outfit homes for international students and profs and their families (who usually arrive with a suitcase of clothes and a laptop and that’s about it).
5. Decided to make out a complete list of all the main dishes I can make that my family will eat, in order to make it easier to plan weekly menus with less stress and to remind myself what I can make with what’s on hand. I’m up to 70 items….


Lucy May 1, 2016 at 5:01 am

I did your #5 a few years ago and use the list regularly. It is a great help to get out of a rut as well.


Marcia April 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

1. The week’s shopping came to $54.52 for two people. Included a gallon of canola oil (cheaper by the gallon), three meals worth of Italian sausage on sale,
3 (formerly) half gallon but now smaller containers of ice cream on sale, selected Campbell’s soups for 88 cents a can (normally$1.99), dried fruit, 2 kinds, a large canister of oatmeal and three pounds of apples. A few misc. items, but those were the best buys for the week.
2. Used a coupon for our weekly “dinner out” saving $6 on our meal. I brought home leftovers which I will eat for lunch tomorrow.
3. Granddaughter finally moved to new apartment and her mother stopped and picked up her ironing board so one more thing “decluttered” from my house. Also the recyclers came this week so our bin was empty for a short time–now half full again with my sorted old household papers. This isn’t precisely frugal but it sure will make life easier to rid myself of excess clutter!
4. Husband fixed the dishwasher at no cost. Wire shorted out. It’s 2 years old.
5. I finally collected all the Easter baskets from the family and was preparing to package them up for the attic again—in with a couple wire baskets I bought for $1 each at the supermarket, I found 2 bags of candy that were meant to go in Easter baskets. We never missed them, but I didn’t have to buy any snacks this week. I had forgotten they were in the same bag and, since I never used the wire baskets for Easter either, I can now use them for receptacles for tidying up stuff that collects on surfaces around the house! Baskets always look nicer than piles of “stuff.” I had bought them thinking that not all the Easter baskets came back to me last year, but they were all there.
6. Trying to eat from the freezer in the fridge, we have found some interesting artifacts that I have used to augment meals this week. We need a new fridge so I’m trying to empty that freezer in anticipation of getting rid of the old fridge soon. I used up the ends of two bags of frozen ravioli–a favorite of mine–so had an easy meal to fix at the same time.


Chris April 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

1. Sold a Singer Featherweight sewing machine on Craigslist – $ for savings.
2. Paid off the Home Equity Line of Credit – most from tax returns
3. Set to return a dress that my daughter was considering for her wedding dress – we’ll get a full refund and she will try again.
4. Coordinating the library book sale as well as working this week meant no time to grocery shop – eating from the pantry – though did take some salad stuff from work to supplement what we were missing from home.
5. Ordered a new garage door and opener from a local guy – way under what we anticipated – so happy to use a contractor who is an independent contractor who does one thing and one thing only – with a great reputation.


Bettypants April 30, 2016 at 3:04 am

1. I sold two items on ebay this week. One was a box of perfume that I had bought off a local FB site for $5 and sold for $25.
2. Made a batch of rice krispy treats last night that perfectly used up the open bag of marshmallows and the rest of the cereal.
3. Sold the Pampered Chef stoneware pan that I had bought at the church rummage sale last week, for a $17 profit.
4. Cleaned my house yesterday and unearthed a variety of items to list on FB and ebay.
5. Set up the Pottery Barn playhouse that I bought, which was challenging with no instructions. I have a few minor repairs to make, then I will be taking photographs and boxing it up for ebay.


Jane April 30, 2016 at 5:01 am

1.Did grocery shopping at Aldi, sticking carefully to my list.
2. Got free lunch with work Wednesday
3. Brought lunch, water, snacks etc with me to appointment at maternity hospital
4. Parked at sisters house and walked into the city – only 20 mins and the day was lovely
5. Used coupon to pay for jeans for son, making them a very reasonable buy
6 Ate at home all week, used up over ripe bananas in smoothies, dried clothes outside on clothes line, got books out of library, went to park with son for free entertainment..not a bad week on the frugal front!


Mandy Erasmus April 30, 2016 at 5:04 am

I am really finding so many great tips in the comments for earning some extra money! Well done ladies! I must look into reselling items!

1. I altered a dress my daughter already owned but that did not fit for her to wear to a function. Came out great and no money spent!
2. I replaced worn laces with beautiful slate gray ribbon in my daughters lace up boots. I already had the ribbon on hand so no money spent and my daughter loves the funky new look!
3. I’m using odds and ends of colouful wool to crochet some baby hats for a special project – a bunch of us are providing little kits of baby things to a local hospital that provides healthcare for the underpriviledged living in squatter camps near Johannesburg. Babies are being born and sent home wrapped in newspaper and plastic bags because their mothers are so poor. Just heartbreaking!
4. It’s autumn in South Africa and so I have started taking out winter clothes and have been doing repairs and some alterations so they can last for another winter season.
5. I’m crocheting bedsocks/house slippers for the four of us to keep our feet warm during the cooler evenings. The wool was given to me so no money spent!


LisaC April 30, 2016 at 5:10 am

1. Our outdoor cushions were ripped and pretty rotten, so I’ve been looking for replacements. Found 2 lounge cushions for a dollar each at a yard sale. Faded but in great shape.
2. Eating previously hard boiled eggs for breakfast (given to me by a friend who owns chickens)
3. Drinking coffee at home, even though we are out of creamer or 1/2 and 1/2.
4. Watching movies we already own instead of looking through Redbox.
5. Taking cans of soup (bought with a coupon and on sale of course) to work to heat in my little desktop Crockpot that my daughter gave to me for Christmas. I’d take my own soup, but I don’t have a refrigerator at work.


LisaC April 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

AND after I wrote this, I stopped by the end of a community yard sale. You know it can go either way being late to a yard sale, either nothing’s left, or everything is priced to go. I was there 2 minutes, and they started handing out bags…one dollar for each filled up bag. I got some large trivets and a beautiful candle holder for me, some gifts for others in my family, most brand new. Score! What a fun morning. I’m slowly filling up my gift bin for Christmas 2016.


Bethc April 30, 2016 at 5:49 am

1..Unearthed frozen lemonade that I found at the bottom of the freezer and mixed it up.
2. Read 4 books at night after work-I am at zero Paperback Swap credits for the first time ever and need to relist books and mail out o be more credits.
3. Mailed out said books to other PBS swappers for free from work.
4. Made 2 freezer meals-honey Siracha chicken using only ingredients that we have on hand. Now I have 2 after work meals that can simmer in the creockpot for no effort.
5. Went to Panera and used a $2 coupon that they were handing out for our local store to get chili and soup you pick 2-and bought a $50 gift card that had a $10 bonus card attached. Used the $50 gift card to pay for my meal. Not super frugal, but we love buying gift cards with bonus when we can to stretch our dining out budget.


Bethc April 30, 2016 at 5:50 am

Sorry meant to say that I have zero PBS credits and need to get more fast by listing books.


Emily April 30, 2016 at 6:58 am

This one is a struggle. I had a very off week probably with more fails than successes. Blah.

1. Got my new chase credit card in the mail, I will easily hit the minimum with some big expenses coming up and be awarded tons of travel points. If you can use CC responsibly you can travel for free or very cheap!

2. Babysat last night so I didn’t spend money at the bar like most 20 somethings.

3. Didn’t go yardsaling this morning, the reason this is frugal is because I have too many things to list already, and don’t need to add to the pile of stuff, although we reallllly need a dresser and its driving me nuts that I haven’t scored one yet. Ugh, maybe next weekend when we both arent working until 4am.

4. Ate lunch at work with a pot luck salad bar for a co-workers birthday.

5. Streamed the nhl playoffs to my phone, air played onto the tv using my parents log in info for cable.

Frugal Fail:

Stopped on my way home from work to get olives, shredded cheese and croutons for salad at work. Used coupons and spent next to nothing. Left the bag at home with the birthday card I already had at home yesterday morning, so had to stop near work and spent almost 9 dollars replacing everything. Ugh I was irrationally upset, pretty sure there were tears, I just hate feeling like I lit money on fire! AM I RIGHT?!


Bethc May 1, 2016 at 5:45 am

Second your credit card idea. My daughter and I are flying first class the Paris then on to Frankfurt and returning business class to home for very little thanks to points. also staying 8 nights in France and 1 in Germany on points with free breakfast included!


Lazyretirementgirl May 1, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Emily, I find when I get too perfectionistic about frugality, I make myself miserable and manic over tiny stuff. I encourage you to think of all your wins and let go,of the fail.


WilliamB April 30, 2016 at 7:12 am

Only one unusual item but it’s a big one.

1. Got a free window.
One of the local window companies will give you a free window if you’re actually in the market for home windows. The new window replaces the cracked, ill fitting, downright breezy bathroom window. It allows me to see exactly what gets changed with a new window install, and what doesn’t. It also lets me see what vinyl windows look like (fine), inside-the-window pane separators look like (good enough) and what the no-peeking window looks like (nope).

I will get estimates from 2-3 other companies, negotiate a discount for payment up front, another for a lot of windows all at once, and maybe also one for group membership. And make changes in the window configuration in the sunroom, because a four digit estimate for a single room is exorbitant.

Finally, I don’t actually need to replace the windows this year. But if I don’t, I need to paint the frames and such. So by replacing windows a year or two yearly, I save the cost and hassle of window painting.


Helena April 30, 2016 at 11:15 am

I ate my first dumpster-dived food today!

On the way to a playdate with my daughter today, I noticed a university student putting boxes and boxes of things by the dumpster and made a mental note to check it out on my way home.
I 1) Remembered to check it out,
2) Found a nice flowerpot and a toddler blow-up pool in the shape of a rubber ducky, and
3) Saw an unopened can of lychees sitting in one of the boxes. It was past its date, but there was no rust or denting, so I brought it home. After further careful inspection of the can and then its contents, it became my afternoon snack 🙂
It’s an especially nice treat because I don’t buy them very often. My husband doesn’t like them, so they don’t usually make it on the grocery list.

The whole time I was thinking “Katy would be so proud of me”. So, thanks for being my garbage-picking mentor 😉


Juhli April 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm

We are preparing to sell our house and move in a year so some of these are related to that.
1. Found a bistro table and two chairs half price at Rite Aid of all places for $60. Updated the furniture on our sun porch for staging the house. Replaces a 25+ year old white plastic 4 seat set that was too big for the space.
2. Rummaged in the basement and found enough paint of the right color to prime the feature walls we need to repaint in a the guest bedroom and family room so that they are the same color as the rest of the walls.
3. A hose was leaking outside so we bought hose washers for $1.29 instead of a new hose. Solved the problem and we updated the washer in another one since we have extras.
4. Donated 2 bags of items we will not move and got a receipt for taxes.
5. Altered a knit top I bought a year ago that never fit right. Great color for me and now it fits.


Gina in Ky April 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Well, I have a really big one this time around…

1. Someone here (or on the NCA FB page) mentioned they enter found lottery tickets for the second chance. I do this too occasionally and had gather a fairly good size stack. I decided to enter some of them while watching TV when one refused to enter. The ticket turned out to be a $50 winner!

2. Stopped at Kroger with the BF to buy a package of veggie egg rolls to go with the “clean-out” the ‘fridge stir-fry. While walking through the store, I saw a cart full of clearance cranberry + some other fruit juices marked $1.49. I pulled out three and we went to pay. I said I would use some of the cash from the ticket win to pay and scanned my store card. I guess they were having a “mega-sale” and all of the juices and the eggrolls received a dollar off. On top of that…

3. I had loaded a few manufacture coupons on the ecard (despite rarely buying these types of foods) and the egg rolls received another $1 off. My total was $3.06 for the 3 juices and the egg rolls.

4. Worked on house projects this weekend, including gathering a huge box of donations. I itemized the contents for tax purposes.

5. Oh, I scored four 25c avocados at Aldi this weekend as well.

Frugal Fail: Bought a air compressor and accessories some time back to finish a (looonnng) ongoing bathroom remodel project. Today was the day to use it and it turns out you need yet another part to attach the hose. I ended up just going to Home Depot (which I generally boycott) and bought finishing nails which were attached the old fashion way using a hammer.


LisaC May 1, 2016 at 6:17 am

Awesome deals!


Amy May 1, 2016 at 10:05 am

1. Eating from the pantry and freezer.
2. Bough some fleece and fabric at a huge discount. Will be making my.daughter.a blanket.and pillowcase for her bed with these for her bday.
3. Saved money on gas this week by using up points and money on our fuel saver card. Almost free tank of gas.
4. Bought book 2 in a series my son is reading for free off Amazon. Almost bought the paper book for him, but so glad I waited. Saved $11.50
5. Bought some books on a huge sale and spent about $1.50 each for brand new books for my kids. I will hide some back for birthdays and possibly Christmas as.well. I am one of those.crazy people who buy presents and stash them back all year long. Lol


Emily May 1, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Totally not crazy. I already have a gift for our employee gift exchange next Christmas. I also gather things here and there throughout the year (toys, personal care items, craft supplies, stuffed animals) when I find them super cheap and then when Christmas comes I can sponsor a family and fill shoe boxes for sumaritains purse. That way when Christmas comes I don’t have to spend a lot all at once, but I can still help out some families without even noticing the money I spent on it!


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones May 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

We held a garage sale and made about $140. We were going to send all of the leftovers to Goodwill until I discovered the set of hideous Lenox porcelain cat spice jars my husband’s late aunt had (think single older librarian with a penchant for cats and hoarding things she bought and never opened) are actually worth a loooot of money. They are now listed on Ebay, along with a a few other items that may be worth listing.


Mariana May 2, 2016 at 4:35 am

1. I found a board game of top of a recycling bin in my office building. The box was slightly ‘used’ but the fame inside was never played

2. Received a $10 gift card to Starbucks

3. Got some great deals at CVS, Duane Reade and Stop&Shop

4. Ate 2 free lunches at work

5. All the boring stuff (home cooking, coffee made at home)


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