Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 20, 2016 · 96 comments

Discover card

  1. I did not take out $36,000 in “parent plus” student loans, as was suggested by my two sons’ financial aid packages.
  2. I did not forward my son the credit card offer that came in the mail for him. You know . . . “For COLLEGE. For LIFE.” Yeah . . . a debt ridden life.
  3. I wrote two Clark Howard pieces, which have been submitted and invoiced. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages and I work a twelve-hour shift tomorrow. #income #collegefund
  4. My next door neighbor had extra organic tomato starts and gave one to me.
  5. I filled out a home energy review through the Energy Trust of Oregon and was mailed 12 free LED lightbulbs!

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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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay May 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

1. My Kindle broke. Instead of buying a new one, as I was tempted to do, I was gifted an old one from a friend.
2. Bought groceries at Aldi and got the normal great deals. 65 cent Greek yogurt ftw!
3. Continuing to eat vegetarian, which has saved us a ton of money.
4. I wanted to celebrate my new job this weekend, so we’ll use the Groupon for a local restaurant we bought a few months ago.
5. Gifted a long-neglected game of Clue to someone on my local Buy Nothing Group. Frugal for them, but also frugal for me since I originally got the game on Freecycle.


marleen May 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm

1. popped into the library today and picked up reading material for the next four weeks.
2. dumped the cat’s water from yesterday into the plants on the deck rather than dumping it down the drain.
3. have been using food on hand rather than doing a major grocery shop this week. I only had to pick up milk, eggs, and bread.
4. we wanted an ice cream treat so I made root beer floats at home rather than going to the ice cream stand.
5. bought a dozen vegetable plants for the garden for a dollar each (tomatoes, peppers, and basil)


Katy May 23, 2016 at 7:54 am

I dump our cat’s water onto my hanging baskets as well. It’s the little things.


Joyce May 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm

1. Hung out my loads of laundry.
2. Made a batch of yogurt
3. Made a loaf of sour dough bread for hubby’s lunch.
4. Watered my free vegetable and flower starts with rain barrel water.
5. Cut up and froze the very cheap strawberries so they didn’t end up in compost.


Beth May 20, 2016 at 1:23 pm

You don’t want your son to be riddled with debt? You don’t want to take out thousands of dollars in loans? I think it’s very clear that you don’t understand the importance of keeping up with the rest of America! 😉

I have no remarkable frugal things to comment on (other than the normal bringing lunches to work, drinking free coffee and water, and trying not to eat out).

Question(s): Do your boys embrace the NCA lifestyle like you do, and if not (or if they haven’t in the past) how do you handle that as a parent? Also, are they ever embarrassed by your frugality, and how do you handle that? And while I’m at it, what about your husband? Does he share your enthusiasm for all of this? I mean no offense, and if you’d rather not share, that’s totally fine. I’m just wondering how you go about encouraging the values of frugality and nonconsumerism in your household…


Katy May 23, 2016 at 7:58 am

My sons, (ages 18 and 20) are both deliberate spenders. They’ve both had jobs since age 15, which means everything they buy is from money they earned themselves. This is very helpful to help them be aware of what went into earning that money. My older son lives away at college, and all his spending money is his own. However, his bank account is tied to ours, so I do occasionally peek into his spanned habits. I see that he hits his local Goodwill every now and then.

My husband very much appreciates that we’re able to live way below our income, which is the key to being able to cash flow college. Does he wish he could spend willy nilly? Of course. But he’s rather set our sons up for success while also funding our retirement plans.


Lide May 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Hi, new here – thought I would try the FFT – hope I can come up with that many. I love reading your blog & all the comments! It makes my day to know that I am not alone in this area!

1. Took my lunch & drinks to work everyday this school year.
2. Found change – so far this year I have found $6.86 in change – high school kids drop change or throw it at each other; then leave it on the ground since its too much effort to pick it up. I don’t mind picking up free $$!
3. Eating from freezer/pantry – cooking most meals at home & making freezer meals for my parents due to Mom’s health issues.
4. Senior class locker clean-out today @ school – nice black blazer in my size that someone decided to throw away. One of the teachers & I also collected a huge number of notebooks; sprial notebooks, loose leaf paper, pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, locker shelves, book covers & highlighters for next year – some of them were still in their original packaging. The kids thought we were insane for salvaging this stuff. On Monday, the underclassmen clean their lockers & we will trash pick again for useful items.
5. My hubby fixed our lawn mower himself; he also repaired the fuel line on his truck instead of taking it to the repair shop.


PaperCraneFarm May 21, 2016 at 1:56 am

You did a great job with your FFT! I lurked for months before getting up the nerve to post but it has helped me to be more accountable.


Lide May 21, 2016 at 9:52 am

I have been lurking for months too – glad I did – lots of helpful hints & friendly people here!


tonya May 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

1) Ate leftovers for lunch.

2) Didn’t drive except to fill up my car with discounted gas for this coming week.

3) Hubby and I have a date night. We won’t spend any money as we are using a restaurant gift card he received for his birthday.

4) Didn’t go to Starbucks. I drank coffee at home instead. This is major!!

5) Reading library books at home today while washing laundry in cold water and bought with a coupon laundry detergent.


janine May 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm

We flew to Denver this morning to pick up a car. Driving across Colorado and Nebraska is beautiful but monotonous so many stops along the way.
1. Bought grocery store treats including fresh fruit and cheese
2. Stopped at rest stop for free coffee and cookies (for coffee drinking husband)
3. One stop at Wendy’s fast food for baked potato for me and small burger for husband.
4. Because of a long wait at the airport we split one breakfast order.
5. Despite incredibly long security lines at airport, a really difficult industrial park to locate ( including construction holdups), we found friendly and interesting people along our route. There was also free juice and cookies on airplane this AM!


Jennifer May 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm

1. I took one, actually two, for the team. I let the water boil out of my 2 breakfast boiled eggs this morning as I was busily getting ready. My daughter informed me that they were burned to which I argued that they were fine. They actually were just a little tough.
2. I downloaded my Free Friday download from Kroger which was a junky 2-liter of soda. Which will be great for my addic- err, I mean, occasional splurge on junky soda.
3. I got a reduced organic chicken at Kroger yesterday. I am going to make a nice low fat chicken salad recipe out of it that I actually like better than the regular kind. Of course, I will make some broth with the carcass to store for future use.
4.I used some leftover potato chips, a few herbs, and some spices to bread some fish and bake. Yum!
5. I had lots of odd and end bags of bread/buns I am grinding up to make home made bread crumbs for future recipes.

I guess its all about food for me this week! I’m also glad my kids out of school so I can quit packing lunches. And one more thing… I’m gonna pat myself on the back for doing my nails/toes/hair home while most women I know are paying for salon visits. This has saved me thousands of dollars already and I don’t look too bad. Or at least that’s what my hubby says.


Marilyn May 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

1. Early this week, the mail brought a little booklet of recipes from FM. Included in the booklet were various coupons for FM Private Selection products including 2 coupons for freebies – a free 48 oz. carton of Private Selection ice cream and a free Private Selection pizza. I picked up both of the freebies yesterday.
2. Doing a little bit of yard work nearly every day now. i hope to keep things under control this way, so I will not have to hire any yard-maintenance people to help me this summer.
3. My husband had to have some minor surgery this week. I checked, double-checked and triple-checked with the doctor’s office, the hospital and our insurance carrier to make sure every provider was in-network and all would be covered. I don not want any surprises when the bill arrives.
4. Received a notice that a group in our neighborhood is organizing a community garage sale for early September. I have already gathered a few things for the sale. My plan is to invite a few neighbors to bring things to my house so we can have a joint sale out of my garage.
5. Continuing to walk for exercise, read books from the library and work part-time.


JennC May 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm

1. Put the birthday money that I was gifted in the savings account

2. Took curriculum items we are finished with to the homeschool consignment store and purchased one item using my credit from previous consignment dropoffs.

3. Bought myself needed summer clothing items at the thrift store.

4. Cut back on coffee and evening relaxation adult beverages.

5. Checked out books for summer homeschool units and for my own personal interest from the library.

6. Made my daughter a cross stitched dragon bookmark for her birthday using linen and thread I already had and a free pattern I found online.

7. Reworked the budget and “found” more money to put in savings each month.


JennC May 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm

I forgot one:

8. Used fabric I had on hand to add cuffs onto my daughters’ cutoff jeans so now they have cute shorts for the summer.


Amy May 20, 2016 at 7:19 pm

I have two boys and then a daughter. Most of their jeans after both boys have worn them have holes in the knees. I am saving them for their little sister!! I can cut off the legs, sew in some cute fabric ruffle at the bottom from my stash, and have some cute summer shorts for her. Hand me downs rock. 🙂


JennC May 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

That’s a great idea! We’re the opposite – two girls then a boy. I’ve seen cute ways to patch boy knees, but haven’t thought up a fun way to finish edges of boy cut offs yet. I guess a boring old hem will do when the time comes. For the girls I’ve also made skirts using the top part of the jeans (cutting under the pockets and above the crotch area) and adding gathered fabric. Kinda eighties, still kinda fun.


Jennifer May 21, 2016 at 5:02 am

Great idea! I don’t have boys but sometimes my girls just get a little taller but not bigger in the waist so a ruffle can be added to the bottom of jeans.


PaperCraneFarm May 21, 2016 at 2:02 am

Wait, there are homeschool consignment stores? My kids are still toddlers but we are on the look out for tools, equipment, and books that let them explore the world around them. Turns out science tools and nonfiction books are ard to find at tag sales. And new stuff is too expensive

Do you have suggestions of store and/or online sources of used homeschool materials?


JennC May 21, 2016 at 7:15 am

We’re in the greater Seattle area and there’s a store nearish here called Homeschool Potpourri. I know they take shipments for consignment and ship things out, but that’s probably spendy for shipping for your purposes. You can look for a homeschool FB page that’s local to your area – people often sell used things through those and you may hear of upcoming used curriculum sales. I have found some decent prices on used nonfiction through amazon, but tend to use the library as much as possible. I’m not sure of other sources.


Cara May 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm

1. Had to cancel 3 yard sales in a row because of rain so I am selling the fanciest things on local facebook groups.

2. Realized I was buying too many frozen meals for work and made several lunches at home for the work freezer.

3. Resisted the intense urge to but a cup of fancy coffee and just drank some at work, which made me show up early!

4. Used a bucket of leftover show water to hand-wash some easily torn clothes.

5. Am trimming/ dying my hair at home for $5 instead of $50 or more.


Cara May 20, 2016 at 2:43 pm

I mean “shower water”!

Anyone have suggestions for a NCA approach to building credit? Is such a thing possible? I actually did get the Discover IT card as a senior in college. I’ve been using it to buy $50 a month of basic food staples/ cleaning supplies. So far I have not had to pass a credit check for any apartments (moved in with friends/ sublet) but soon I will need to. It’s ridiculous that no credit = bad credit! Any thoughts?


Gina May 20, 2016 at 7:36 pm

If you are charging $ on your Discover card each month and making payments on time, it should be building your credit. Also a car payment with on time payments count toward your credit. If you are paying student loans that will also count.


Katy May 20, 2016 at 9:02 pm

I would encourage my sons to not take out any debt.


PaperCraneFarm May 21, 2016 at 1:54 am

Have you pulled a free copy of your own credit report to see what is reporting to it? Some landlords, utilities etc do so there might be more one your credit report than you think. You are allowed one free credit report from each of the three agencies per year – order one to see what is on it. They are free via:

Note – this is the only legitimate website for credit reports. They’ll still try to get you to upgrade to see your credit score. Don’t do it because…

the Discover It card should offer you your free FICO credit score in your online account and on your bill. How does that look?


Cara May 21, 2016 at 5:27 am

Thanks for your replies! And thanks so much for the website! The FICO score on the Discover website is decent, slowly improving. I will definitely check out the website you mentioned because I was concerned about what another credit report may look like, especially because I’ve had more medical bills than usual this year. It’s probably fine because I’ve kept good track of the payments, but I know if any bills went to collections it would affect the score.


Lindsey May 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm

1. Made pretzel rolls for lunches.
2. Made brioche for a breakfast potluck
3. Wanted to make curried shrimp sandwiches for supper but that would have required buying shrimp. Made curried chicken sandwiches, from shredded chicken found in the freezer and thawed, instead.
4. Traded some excess flower starts and seeds for six marigold seedlings for my garden
5. Took a load of stuff to Salvation Army. Due to an injury, I now have to wear a leg brace during the day for the rest of my life. It has to be inserted inside the shoe, under the insole. And it bulges out, so the only shoes that really fit are sneakers or ortho shoes. My husband and I love ballroom dancing so I have a number of pairs of fancy shoes but they all had to go, as did my Berk sandals and four pair of Crocs in lovely vivid colors. I got my tax receipt and then sat in the car and cried for the loss of nice shoes forever.


Cara May 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm

I’m sorry to hear that, that sounds incredibly difficult. Living with a chronic condition takes a lot of energy and adjustment. Have you thought about visiting a shoe repair place to see if they can modify a larger size or different type of shoe to comfortably accommodate the brace? I’ve heard about repair places adding orthopedic inserts or modifying shoes around assertive devices.


Cara May 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I mean “assistive devices”!


Lindsey May 20, 2016 at 6:36 pm

I had not thought of that. THanks for the suggestion!


Lucy May 21, 2016 at 4:33 am

I feel your pain! After an ankle injury in 2014 and a year of therapy my doctor told me the remaining swelling just was not going to go away. I had to part with my (slowly, frugally acquired) boot collection. I’m still in a brace, too.

I need to wear boots for work. Brace + boots = frustration!


Jill May 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm

1. Moved a button on a pair of shorts that no longer fit. Like getting a new pair of shorts.
2.Hosting my family for a cook-out lunch tomorrow. Using up food I bought for my daughter’s grad party. And made a batch of homemade cookies – ahem, for the kids.
3.Picked up my on hold book from the library.
4.My husband and I combined errands so we only made one trip to town.
5.Really wanted to go out to eat – but pulled some already made up burgers from the freezer for grilling.


Ruby May 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I miss Kroger so much when folks here talk about the great deals. *sigh*

This week was less than frugal, due to my husband’s sudden medical almost-emergency. However, after the expensive part, a wonderful pharmacy tech knew about a non-insurance discount that more than halved the cost of his medication. (Our health insurance truly sucks.)

Five frugal things, because we have to keep on keeping on:
1. Made some homemade rice in beef broth for sick husband, which perked him up considerably.
2. Had oatmeal and sale coffee every morning for breakfast, packed my lunch of home-cooked foods for work, and ate it with a Thermos of homemade iced tea. Wore a variety of cute thrifted outfits to work this week.
3. Repaired the straps on a bra with elastic from my stash of sewing goodies.
4. Had today off work, stayed home, cleaned house, tended to sick husband, hung laundry on the drying rack. A perfect, frugal day is always wonderful.
5. Was having trouble with my car earlier this week. Did some Googling and discovered the culprit was probably a loose battery cable, so we were able to take care of that at home.


Jennifer May 21, 2016 at 5:24 am

Ruby, I use Goodrx. It’s a free app for your phone, if you have a fancy-schmancy phone, and has saved a lot more money than my insurance discount card does. You can use the app to shop around your area and find out which pharmacy has the best price on your med. Goodrx will then provide you a discount card, on your phone, that you can show the pharmacist. I actually got a lady in line in front of me to use it for one of her meds and it saved her $120!!! It may not help for some meds but it’s worth downloading to look your med up and see, I think. I usually take my ins company discount card and the Goodrx discount card(on my phone) and let the pharmacy run both to see which saves me the most money. It’s almost always Goodrx that has the better deal though. I just recently figured out to shop around for meds. I like that I can sit on the couch, put my med in on the app and it tells me which place has the best price. As soon a I get a prescription, I immediately try to find who has the best price. We get the best deals on everything else so why be a slave to what the pharmacy charges? The only negative effect I can think of is some of the mom and pop type pharmacies may not be listed but you can just call them and ask their price. Anyway, I have been doing this for 3 years and am completely satisfied.


Jennifer May 21, 2016 at 5:29 am

FYI if you don’t have a phone that you can put this app on and you know someone who does you don’t have to use YOUR phone. For the woman in line that I saved $120 we used my phone.


Ruby May 21, 2016 at 10:41 am

I have a Good RX card and have even used it on my dog’s pain medication prescription. (Our vet does not like having to do all the paperwork to dispense a narcotic, so he writes a scrip for Rosie that we take to the people pharmacy.) But pharmacies sometimes have other discount cards that take off even more than Good RX, and that’s what the clerk used.

Good RX is an awesome thing and saved our butts last year when we went from September to December without any health insurance.


Mand01 May 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Good on you for fighting back on the PP loans.
1. We have been squeezing our grocery bill until it squeals. Last night was the final night of the fortnight and although the fridge was bare we had a nice dinner. Thank goodness it’s shopping day though.
2. My boss bought me a coffee yesterday after he made an error I had to fix. Yay – free apology coffee!
3. I had the last of my homemade bread for breakfast this morning topped with almost the last of my homemade marmalade. I made the marmalade last year with gifted oranges and grapefruit from my own trees.
4. I’m halfway through the final essay of my final course of my final degree. It’s due in a month but I’m champing to get it done. I also paid my final fees yesterday.
5. To keep going with our tight budget and cope with our crazy schedules we’ve written a very organised meal plan. I’ve always meal planned but we are taking it to a whole new level, frugalistas.


Krystal May 20, 2016 at 2:54 pm

I know meal plans aren’t for everyone, but we swear by them–they really help us cut down on food waste and shop with focus.


LisaC May 21, 2016 at 11:16 am

I love making meal plans. I start with the pantry and freezer, then look at the grocery store sale ads. I use sometimes and come up with some really good dinners. Right now I’m making split pea/potato/kielbasa soup.


Krystal May 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm

1. Leftovers!
2. I groom my own dog, clean my own house, do my own shopping, etc. I have friends who hire out for a lot of these tasks and I’m always surprised by how expensive it is to do so!
3. Batching events and errands with my husband for the next few days as we both have busy schedules, and share one car.
4. My friend is coming up from Portland next weekend, and I am planning at least one frugal night in–wine and cheese and time with the pets (she’s an animal lover too!)
5. Carefully budgeting for our lifestyle over the rest of the summer. We will be gone a total of 4 weeks in the next 2 months (and already have the cash saved up beyond our target goal!), but need to plan for the return months since I do not have PTO, our income will be a little light. Travel is our splurge and I like to be able to spend reasonably comfortably and return with a plan to stay on track with the loss of income (budget!)


Chris May 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

1. Our fancy-ish grocery store had great deals on burger, brats and pork so stopped twice – I needed to spend an additional $10 so bought BOGO frozen yogurt the first time and bread and milk the second. Good grilling food for weeks to come.
2. Continued to supplement soil with manure/garden soil bought 2 weeks ago. Nearly done.
3. Watching TV on Hulu (share my daughter’s plan as she uses my Amazon Prime).
4. Baked cookies for church treats and passed on offering ice cream treats over the summer since I can’t do that as inexpensively (and last year church covered those costs vs volunteers).
5. No work next week – yea! – so little driving with a big stack of library books! The following week will be 3 days of work/driving.


Lilypad May 20, 2016 at 3:07 pm

We got 20 free LED lights from an energy assessment sponsored by our local utility a few weeks ago—that was awesome. Have you found that they’re so much brighter? In my son’s bathroom now, it’s like being on the surface of the sun. 😉


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:05 am

They are crazy bright. But I switched some out to lights that are on dimmers in order to compensate.


Bettypants May 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm

1. Schlepped to Aldi today and bought some necessities. They had 1.5 pound packages of vine ripened tomatoes for $1.29. I already had fresh mozzarella and frozen pesto at home, so I sprung for the ciabatta rolls and made paninis for dinner.
2. Aldi also had large heads of broccoli for $1.29. So much cheaper than other stores and I love roasted broccoli with rice.
3. Bought a North Face down jacket for $30 and sold it for more than double that on ebay. Also sold a set of vintage drink stirrers. I am lucky that our postman is super nice and happily picks up my packages when he delivers our office mail.
4. Garage sale season is in full force here. I’ve made so much progress decluttering my house that I need to not go to many sales. Hard though, knowing all the treasures and deals I am missing out on.
5. Just saw a water bottle advertised in my magazine (from the library) that “creates daily drinking goals, keeps track of progress, and glows to remind you to sip.” all for $60. I drank plenty of water for free this week.


Betty Winslow May 20, 2016 at 3:33 pm

My husband replaced the bulbs in our overhead fan/light fixture in the bedroom with LEDs. Pretty sure you can get a tan in there now…..


Susie's Daughter May 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

This is hilarious! And I can relate – our kitchen counter is so bright now that I changed bulbs I need sunglasses in the am…


Jennifer May 21, 2016 at 5:36 am

Hubby replaced all our ceiling fan lights with new ones. We have 2 ceiling fans in each of the two larger rooms in our home. Each fan has four lights and it was so bright I had to remove a couple. I’m still used to the old yellowish glow that I had before so these were too overwhelming.


LisaC May 20, 2016 at 3:52 pm

1. Planned meals for my husband to heat up all week. If I don’t, he wants to order out.
2. Found 50 cents on the ground and 20 cents in the CoinStar change return.
3. Made home made popcorn with a paper bag (olive oil, salt and a little cayenne with the kernels), stayed home and watched a DVD.
4. Using the ties from hoodies (I hate wearing them dangling down) for cat toys.
5. Opening the windows all week, what beautiful weather.
6. Wearing a thrifted Life is Good hoodie when I get home from work.


LisaC May 20, 2016 at 3:53 pm

OH and still watching on my old box TV. It cuts off the side of movies, but I’m not buying a flat screen until this one breaks. I’ve been told it will never break!


Jennifer May 21, 2016 at 5:39 am

Me too! My hubby got a flat screen for our livingroom. He is not frugal when it come to electronics but we still have a huge projection screen TV in our other livingroom. Works just fine.


Susie's Daughter May 20, 2016 at 3:59 pm

1) Thought I was going thru dish soap and liquid laundry detergent a lot faster than I should. I use an old liquid hand soap bottle for dish soap so it is now half soap/half water and dishes are still clean. I double checked the “line” on the laundry detergent cap (which I could barely see with my 40 something eyes) and once I found it, outlined the “medium” and “large” load measurements in sharpie. Will just use the same cap for the next bottle.
2) Started working in the garden in earnest today. Will plant more this weekend with nature providing the moisture Sunday night.
3) Traveling next weekend and will use a birthday gift card from two years ago for dinner out with dear spouse and friends.
4) Scrounged up a recipe for dinner last night on the internet that used the random bits still in the fridge and pantry. Let’s hear it for chicken carbonara pasta!
5) Our local nonprofit thrift shop is preparing to move down the street and had a 50% off sale yesterday. Scored a lovely date night top and some capris for this summer for $ Yay!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:07 am

That’s a seriously cheap outfit!


Sarah m May 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

1. Biked to and from work- happy bike to work day! But then I bought ice cream in honor of it finally being hot, and because I wanted a snack before driving home.
2. Browsed for linen pants (used) on eBay but didn’t buy any, and closed that browser window to get rid of the temptation.
3. Made my own coffee and packed breakfast and lunch. Ate it too.
4. Used leftover matza from Passover to make matza brei (pancakes) for dinner.
5. Gave another extra blackberry plant to a friend from work.


Ella May 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm

1) Managed not to eat out at all this week, and have eaten leftovers twice. This is actually kind of a big deal for us as we usually end up getting take out at least once.
2) Estate sale-ing like crazy for the etsy shop, and found a few bargains for my house along the way.
3) Picked up a movie for tonight at the library.
4) I’m wearing pj pants that are falling apart, but I figured that since I’m only sleeping in them, I’ll continue to wear them until they’re too far gone. Then I’ll turn them into rags!
5) Used a $50 amazon gift card from a survey to buy new music. I almost used it to buy toothpaste and toilet paper, but I have resisted new music for a while and really needed a fix. This was a free fix. And, I have another amazon card coming from swagbucks that I will use for toiletries.
6) Chose no rush shipping for some other amazon things, which means the weekly movie we watch at my house with friends will be free to rent from amazon with the credit they offer.


Vickie May 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

I love your #4!
I have a night shirt I’ve been wearing for nearly a decade. It started getting holes in it this past year and the print is pretty much worn off, but it is SO comfortable. I plan to do the same thing, once the seams come apart, it will become rags. When we travel I use two nicer night shirts I have and rotate them.


Ella May 23, 2016 at 8:10 am

Nice! Really worn clothing makes such good rags too…. I also have nicer pj pants that I wear when I have a girl’s movie night or something like that. But you can’t beat super worn-in pjs for comfort!


Tricia May 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm

1. Used a coupon for a free razor over $15 value.
2. Sent back rented textbooks and for some reason did not have a box– UPS packaged them for free.
3. Hung all comforters and sheets out to dry from son that returned from college.
4. Ate out of the pantry.
5. Froze cilantro in ice cube trays and picked lettuce from the garden.
Great frugal week!


Marcia May 20, 2016 at 6:55 pm

1. Had a week in which someone had an appointment every day, and still managed to cook all meals at home.
2. Husband painted both front and side porches, making some required repairs before he painted.
3. Mending–noticed a hole starting in the bottom of the mesh laundry bag, and fixed it right away before it got bigger.
4. While the white thread was still in the sewing machine, I cut some frayed edges off a kitchen towel and re-hemmed it, making an intact, but smaller hand wipe or cleaning rag. There are more to be done, but one is finished.
5. Saved 31% on groceries this week by buying on sale, BOGOs, and using 3 coupons. Much better than the last couple weeks, when I had no coupons for things I needed. Having trouble printing coupons from the computer so really need to figure out my problem and get it working again. Also, the Sunday coupon supplements have not had coupons for items I use lately. I actually had to buy Listerine WITHOUT a coupon this week–but it was on sale.


Heather May 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Our daughter is working on her Master’s degree and is working part time. She gets a credit card application weekly! We have been shredded them.


Katy May 20, 2016 at 9:03 pm

This is a good reminder to sign my son up to opt out of credit card offers.


Stacie m May 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

Wait….there’s a way to do that? I get at least two a week I swear and would love to stop that junk mail!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:10 am

Yes, it’s Opt Out Prescreen:


Amy May 20, 2016 at 7:36 pm

1. Vegetarian meals most of the week for me. I feel much better eating this way, too!
2. Went to a FREE sale today and came home with a Misto oil spritzer, several items of clothing for the kids, a few books for homeschooling, and a skirt to sell.
3. Bought my son a new comforter for $4. He has been wanting one with Cars on it, and this one was on the swap.
4. Bought groceries for the week tonight and earned 33 cents off per gallon on gasoline.
5. We are saving up the cents off on gas for a trip to the city we will be taking next month. 🙂


PaperCraneFarm May 21, 2016 at 2:13 am

Crazy busy week at work. Didn’t have time for more than the boring usual combination of:

1. Pack leftovers up for lunches while we’re cleaning up from each meal
2. Save leftover coffee in a thermos for iced coffee to take to work
3. Divide scraps between chickens and compost
4. Track receipts to be reimbursed by employers or medical flex spending and save other receipts in the folder for next year’s taxes
5. Continue to repost Craigslist items


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 21, 2016 at 3:54 am

Agreed! Avoid college debt like the plague!
This week:
1. Today I’m making a ciabatta loaf for the first time, instead of buying one at the store for $4. Woohoo!
2. I’m also making homemade yogurt.
3. I’m using the whey strained from the homemade yogurt to bake sandwich bread and to make smoothies
4. I’m mending clothes and sewing buttons onto Mr. Picky Pincher’s shirt
5. We anticipate having a $50 grocery bill this week, thanks to doing more vegetarian meals. Our bill used to be $150!


Nan May 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

Some college debt it fine though- my son got his master’s degree with credit cards and loans- he makes $100 an hour now. Yes, that’s $4,000 a week unless he works overtime. He researched his field before he started his program and I might add, although he’s very intelligent, he was unable to work even part time as a student.


Emily May 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Got home from vacation, holy moly, time to buckle down on the frugal train and get back on track!
1. Ride fell through from the airport so we used an uber, way cheaper than a taxi and I had a 5 dollar coupon.
2. Made steak casadillas for dinner using left overs from before we left . Our apartment complex was supposed to have a cook out today but it was cancelled because of rain so we had to improvise.
3. My dad sent us home with tide and cascade pods left over from vacation which is nice since I am almost out of my homemade stuff
4. Split lunch at the airport with the boyfriend, not cheap but we were in the airport for 12 hours today between 3 airports so what can you do other than starve!
5. Already started making a meal plan and grocery list for this week. After this vacation hit we will be on a rice and beans budget for a while!
—ps , any easy and cheap summer lunch ideas would be greatly appreciated, I’m off from my full time job for summer and will be home to cook!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:12 am

It sounds like your son was very deliberate with his major and is doing well. Unfortunately, many students graduate saddled with debt and certainly not making $100 per hour.


K D May 21, 2016 at 4:56 am

1. I had a big week for finding coins. On Tuesday I found $.50, picking up change in 6 different places. Yesterday I found $.52 (all pennies), much of it in and on the floor near the Safeway CoinStar.

2. Our electric usage is down. I’m hoping it’s our new water heater and washing machine and the trend will continue.

3. I stopped at Aldi one day. Another customer started talking to me and it was her first time there. She was interested so I gave her the spiel about it being a German company, environmentally conscious, a fair employer, the best deals, etc.

4. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few sale items. They also had good ground beef marked down and I had a store coupon to use on it. I like to cook large amounts of meat and then freeze it in meal sized portions.

5. I am still using the Brother printer cartridge I installed 13 months ago, that Brother wanted me to change out in January. I print things every day. You can’t beat a black ink laser printer for keeping your printing costs down and with Brother you simply put a piece of black electrical tape over the eye when it stops printing because the toner is “low”. I also find that using Pinterest keeps me from printing so many recipes and craft projects.


Diane May 21, 2016 at 6:12 am

I admire your aversion to credit cads. But, for some of us hard working adults credit cards have saved out lives in an medical emergency or life tragedy.

Not saying it is the best solution, but sometimes the only solution when life turns on a dime and your livelihood and all worldly possessions are gone. This happened to me and I had to use credit for basic needs. Finally after 11 years, I see light at the end of the tunnel and have most of my debt paid off.


maureen searles May 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm

I agree. Credit cards and building credit are important for everything from renting a hotel room to purchasing a vehicle. I can’t see how anyone would want to be a full grown adult and need to have their parents or someone cosign. It isn’t always possible to buy a vehicle outright cash especially if you want a decent running vehicle. Emergency car repairs while out of town travel would be another good reason to have credit. I don’t get the anti credit people. I have 850 credit which allows me 3 to 4 percent interest rates and overdraft protection. I don’t abuse it but it is nice to know if my well goes dry I won’t be asking family and friends to loan me money.


Mand01 May 21, 2016 at 6:59 pm

To each his own I guess. We haven’t had a credit card for fifteen years and despite some hard times have always managed without one, because having one was not an option for us.


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:14 am

We do have a Visa card through our credit union that’s tied to our checking account for overdraft, but we don’t use it and it carries zero balance.

I’m very sorry to hear about your experience, but am happy to hear that you’re almost through the hard stuff.


Florencia May 21, 2016 at 6:33 am

1. I worked three times this week as a brand promoter. I was originally scheduled just one day and then another day as a back up, for which they didn’t need me but that still payed some for being available. The people in charge were really happy with me, so they offered me one more day yesterday.
2. Have been having breakfast and lunch at work for free on days I worked this week. Really saved me yesterday when I went from one job to the other. 🙂
3. Contacted another brand promotion company local to me. They want me to get all the paperwork done for when they need me.
4. I needed khaki pants for the promotion gig, so I went to three different thrift stores last Saturday and bought two pairs of pants for $12, a casual capri and a long dressy one. The $5 one already paid for itself 30+ times over!
5. GOT A NEW JOB! I got hired at the job I interviewed at last week. My background check went through yesterday and I’ll start Monday. It’s a temp-to-hire, three months long, but a great pay raise and, most importantly, experience in my chosen field.
One fail: I dropped my phone at work yesterday and the screen won’t light up, so until I get it fixed, I have no phone. I’m glad I choose not to replace the screen last Thanksgiving when I dropped it and the bottom cracked. It’s been over two years I’ve had it and it’s the first fix I’ll have to pay for, so it’s a great deal for a smart phone. Of course, I’ll get it fixed and keep taking care of it. I’ve always said I’d use it until it gave out.


priskill May 23, 2016 at 5:45 am

Congrats on new job!!!
Just a quick thought on the phone — cannot recommend an Otter box holder enough for your phone — they aren’t cheap but man do they protect! We use them at school (small, special needs children) for our mini iPads, and I have my phone in one. Not sleek or cool looking but they really work. Drop my phone all the time with no problems. Just something to think about — really enjoy your posts, Florencia!


Florencia May 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Thanks! And also thanks on the recommendation. My phone had a case on, bought on eBay, a gift from my sister, but I think it was the angle and the fact that some of the screen was already cracked that did it. I will definitely look into Otterbox. 😀


Kim from Philadelphia May 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

I don’t think credit cards are evil. I think how they are used can be dangerous. I think it’s actually good to give a young adult a credit card and tech them how to use it modestly and pay off the balance every month.
Not necessarily something a college freshman needs to do; perhaps someone in their early 20’s.


Nan May 21, 2016 at 11:48 am

That’s what I did with my youngest. She was very responsible with money and budgeting and still is. The plus is she really tracked all her expenses and did not expect the bank of mom to pay for everything. She even got a job in college and maintained an A average!


Jamie May 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm

1. My dad just left from coming over and doing some home repairs and he came with a gently used Dyson vaccuum that he took apart and cleaned up for me! My mom bought this long ago but he still loves his 1990’s Elecrtolux. LOVE MY DAD!
2. I ran out of poo bags for my dog 2 weeks ago – I ordered 880 on Groupon (7swagbucks/$1) but didn’t get them until today. I survived by using other bags (bread, produce, newspaper, any other small bag…)and double-using when they were large enough. It turns out I bought this exact same Groupon….in October 2014. ended up being $1.10/month! It will be a fun challenge to see if I can stretch this $21 purchase longer than 19 months.
3. I’ve switched from credit cards to cash this week….I’m finding it way easier to squirrel cash away at home for later. I’ve got a kitchen remodeling fund started at home and even though I won’t collect pennies of interest, I am less likely to spend cash and change it seems! which is good because I challenged myself to a spend fast for the last 2 weeks where I only gave myself $20 in cash so it has been interesting!
4. Going to batch errands tomorrow by going to the laundromat and then Aldi exactly for the 6 items on my grocery list.
5. I didn’t buy a lear jet!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:17 am

Funny about the “poo bags.” I don’t have a dog, but my father does. I save all my bread and newspaper bags for him and bring them over to him every month or so. He doesn’t like cereal bags, so I save those for our litter boxes.


rjr May 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Having a spend free day today.
1. Eating from fridge and freezer
2. Catching up on some paperwork.
3. watched the movie “Spotlight.”
4. Have to turn down a birthday party at a paint bar that will cost $35. I love my cousin but not interested in this particular activity. Will figure out a more frugal way to celebrate with her.
5. Donating a bread maker and other things to savers.


meg May 21, 2016 at 4:16 pm

1. Took whole family to Free trip to zoo with our museum membership.
2. Bought several full size boxes of nice chocolates for 99 cents each to use for thank you/hostess gifts.
3. Used good rx to bring down the cost of a rx from $60/month to $4/month
4. Saved 51% at grocery yesterday buying Friday deals. $2.48/lb for london broil!
5. On track to use up all leftovers this week!


Delorise May 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

1. Picked up the Friday free download for a 2 liter drink at Kroger today. Got to love free!!
2. Found a dime in parking lot–picked it up.
3. Dried clothes on clothesline– saved electricity.
4. This morning I used coupons at Publix — picked up 8 oz Cool whip, 2 boxes of Hefty freezer bags and 2 Suave deodorants all for 65 cents and that included tax— love those coupons!!
5. Later dropped off stuff at recycling center and found a pile of newspapers dumped by carriers with coupon inserts inside. So in the next week I will be picking up free plus profit Suave deodorant and 25 cents per jar Ragu pasta sauce. Time will tell what other deals I will get with other coupons.


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:18 am

Thanks to everyone who wrote about the free soda today from Kroger. I loaded the coupon and picked it up over the weekend. I normally don’t buy soda, but I’m planning a graduation party for my younger son and will need drinks.


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones May 22, 2016 at 6:11 am

We have 8 years before our oldest starts college. I am planning to be ignoring those Parent Plus loans too.

I sold some of my son’d old shoes on Ebay. It wasn’t a big profit, but something is better than nothing!

I couldn’t pick up any full shifts this week, but I offered to enter discharges for two hours a day Tues through Friday and that ended up being the equivalent of a full shift. The bonus was I didn’t have to pay for a sitter to do it.


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:19 am

Hey, I am living proof that those small amounts of money add up to large amounts!


Vickie May 22, 2016 at 12:01 pm

1) Bought some butterfly pork chops for tonight’s dinner. I plan to make a salad, use some asparagus a friend gave us and make mashed potatoes to go with it.
2) We had some canned tuna I bought a while back, in the pantry, so I fixed tuna salad sandwiches for dinner last night.
3) Doing laundry today, while hubby does yard work. Entertaining myself on breaks from housework by watching YouTube videos from the different frugal channels I subscribe to.
4) Our evening entertainment will be watching our Thunder basketball team play another game in the Finals.
5) I was at my daughter’s house for the past 3 days taking care of her after she had hernia repair surgery. It wasn’t a very frugal week over there, but we did get plenty of mother-daughter time together. Thankfully she’s doing better and has this surgery behind her.


Amanda May 22, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I have been slacking lately….I need to tighten up the budget to pay off my student loans finally….they have just kind of been sitting and barely being touched beyond the minimum…. 🙁 So here are some newly frugal habits:

1. Used the electric razor hubby uses for his facial hair and buzzed his head. Its a little shorter than we thought it would look, but it will grow. Next time we will use the next size up. Saved 20.00!

2. Intended on buying stones to surround our fire pit (started the project months ago..finally finishing it). Instead, we were clearing brush in our yard and found a pile of leftover stone edging from an earlier time in our property’s history. Used those stones instead….easily saved 30ish dollars.

3. Using some cuttings to start some indoor houseplants, and a cutting from our boxwoods to try to grow an additional bush for our landscaping. Needing to fill in a hole in the hedge, but don’t want to buy one if I don’t have to! We will see how that goes….

4. Rehabbed a decor piece given to us by my grandmother. It wasn’t my style, but with some removal of several decorative parts and the addition of a candle, it is now a lantern piece for our front porch. Considered thrifting one a few times. Took it one step further and “got” a free one!

5. Trying out ground flaxseed and cranberry supplements to combat our female dog’s slight incontinence issues. She’s young and the vet thinks she can get past it with some help and rest for her muscles. The pills were expensive and didn’t agree with her, so instead of another vet trip and 50.00 worth of different pills, we are having some success so far with 14.00 worth of health supplements instead 🙂


Amanda May 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

I have to add!

Our TV has had some slight color issues for 2 years now, after a move. Husband keeps wanting to replace, but (thankfully) talking himself out of it. Talked himself out of a 200.00 goodwill one this week because the weather is warm and we are canceling netflix for the warm months to inspire us to be outside and save the expense 😉 In the meantime, we are stalking local buy/sell sites to see if we can find one for as little as 100.00 for when it gets cold again.

And, as stated above…canceling netflix for several months 🙂

Packing our lunches too! We eat out way too much!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:21 am

I know they aren;t sleek look, but we have a older Sony HDTV that’s around 2-1/2 feet thick but works perfectly and is completely crisp and color correct. People give these away for free because they’re so bulky.


janine May 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Interesting solution.
We are also having incontinence problems with our elderly dog. Do you sprinkle flax seed on her food or use another method? I assume cranberry takes the form of tablets? I was about to take her in for a checkup and what I anticipate to be a very expensive “vet fix.” Of course this just might be due to old age. She does seem healthy otherwise.


Isabelle May 23, 2016 at 5:18 am

* Did a lot of laundry and hung it all outside
* Borrowed my mom’s car this weekend instead of renting one
* Went clothes shopping with my mom – for her – and I didn’t buy anything
* Passed the 25$ parking fee for an event and parked in the streets further
* Got free passes for myself and hubby for a movie premier
* Exchanged PC Points for 20$ worth of free groceries

Have a great frugal day!


JD May 23, 2016 at 5:39 am

1. The health food coop we shop at has opened a second store, and they had ground beef (non -CAFO) for $2.99 a pound as a grand opening special. We bought 10 pounds, and the nice butcher lady wrapped them in one pound portions for free; it was even her own suggestion to do so.
2. I started going through my old canning jars in preparation for canning season, and found a quart of canned blueberries from, well, a while back, that had been missed. I checked the berries out and put them in a dessert that cooks for long enough to kill any bad boys in there, just in case. It was delicious, and the blueberries didn’t go to waste (just to waist, ha).
3. I pulled the last of the cabbages that we hadn’t used because they didn’t head properly, only to find three of them actually had very small but clean heads buried deep down inside those bug-eaten outer leaves. All in all, we got nine usable heads out of a tiny raised bed.
4. When pulling cabbages, I also pulled up some “rattlesnake weed” tubers, which is an edible weed tuber. I washed them off and kept them; we eat them alone on in salads.
5. We looked at some more plants in town but didn’t buy them. We looked at some would-be-nice-to-have garden equipment and didn’t buy it. We ate lunch at home after church and didn’t buy lunch “out.” And of course, we walked right past that Lear jet and didn’t buy it.


AN May 23, 2016 at 7:26 am

1. Was feeling antsy yesterday and wanted to go out and do something. Instead, I put the energy towards finally cleaning out my garage. Free and productive!
2. While cleaning my garage, I found a brand-new tire pump. I have no idea where it came from, but am happy I have it. I was getting ready to buy a pump for my bike tires. I’ll still keep an eye out for a manual pump, but this will at least get my bike ready for summer so I can ride it to the grocery store.
3. I’m hoping for a no-spend week for groceries this week. I love meal planning from my refrigerator and freezer!
4. Ordered a clean-out kit from an online consignment store. I have a few items I no longer wear and am hoping to get a little bit of money for them.
5. The usual: eating leftovers, hanging laundry up to dry, not buying expensive drinks out, etc.


Emily May 23, 2016 at 7:37 am

I just wanted to comment because I am so fired up right now and needed to share.

I am currently babysitting for a family I babysit for part time. Both mom and dad work crazy hours, travel frequently (never home), and they have 4 kids. They have a full time nanny, but I fill in on nights and weekends.

I am constantly amazed on how wasteful these types of families are: I know they are busy and can’t keep track of everything, but I constantly al throwing stuff away because it has gone bad or has been mistreated. Aside from the excessive amount of things they have crammed into their 4,000+ square foot home, it is not taken care of.

I just had to toss out 3 lbs of chicken breasts, 2 lbs of turkey lunch meat (high quality, 11.99 lb ) , tons of left overs, 5 moldy limes; a rotten cucumber, zucchini, and squash, and I’m not done yet.

I thought I would share this to remind everyone that if you are reading this blog, even occasionally, you are at the very least, more aware of yourself and your actions, and that’s more than most can say.

I constantly ask myself, is a high income worth this lifestyle? And what’s worse, teaching, SHOWING your 4 kids that everything is disposable without repercussions.

So, if you’ve done anything today to save a little more; or make something work that didn’t before, or decide not to go out and get something new until you research the quality, give yourself a pat on the back. I think frugality can be hard and we can be hard on ourselves when we “mess up”. But the awareness you have and appreciation for that you have is invaluable.

I will get off my soapbox now lol, I really wanted to share that!


Katy May 23, 2016 at 8:23 am

Interesting observation. Thank you for sharing.


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