Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 25, 2016 · 74 comments

Lexie House

  1. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages. She’s put it up for sale and today is the first day she’s allowing realtors and their clients to tour it. (She didn’t want to disturb her tenants.) We gave it a very thorough cleaning to show off the natural adorableness of the house. (I even dusted the iron gate and cleaned the cobwebs from the porch ceiling!) I brought home a single craft beer and a head of lettuce.
  2. I returned a bag of disgusting black bean snacks to Trader Joe’s, as they have a money back guarantee. Seriously, so foul! I only bought the items on my list, (chips, cereal and toilet paper) which I think deserves a medal. I swear that entire store is designed to fill your cart with nothing but impulse purchases! Brie! Crunchy snacks! Wine! Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!
  3. I made a large batch of pico de gallo salsa using the leftover onions and tomatoes that my husband brought home from work. I already had jalapeños in the freezer, so no money left my wallet. Well . . . except for the chips that suddenly became a need!
  4. I finished reading a library book, I listed an unused welcome mat on my Buy Nothing Group, I hung laundry to dry on an indoor rack, I updated my budget and I deposited $6.65 in leftover nickels from an arcade trip into our savings account.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan May 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

Your mum’s rental is very sweet. Just curious, it said one bedroom but I saw two beds?

I’ve been very frugal lately myself with not working. I know that soon, job hunting will begin but there is something nice about not having that stress for now.
I’ve just been listing things on eBay, cooking at home, going for walks for basic food (milk, bread, but sticking to my list) and knitting/sewing. It has been so therapeutic.


Katy May 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

The second bedroom cannot officially be called a bedroom because there’s no closet.


WilliamB May 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm

In some places the definition rests on whether there are two exits – focusing on the safety factor rather than features.

And I’m totally with you about Trader Joe’s. Just about the only things I buy there are snacks – fruit leather, their brand of pirate’s booty and veggie sticks, All The Chocolate. It’s as if I’m preparing for the biggest dope-smoking weekend ever!


Katy May 25, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Well . . . my Trader Joe’s is right next to Reed College. Plus, recreational marijuana is now legal in Oregon.


Ellen May 25, 2016 at 9:52 am

Its very cute!


Kendall May 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

That is a cute house – nice neighborhood, too!

Ok. Here’s my five frugal things. Hopefully, I can keep this up. It is quite motivational to read your FFFs and then think about what I have/haven’t been doing!

1. Washed 2 loads of laundry in cold water. Air-dried one load on the line in the basement.
2. Got my assigned schedule for volunteer ushering at our local Performing Arts Center. Will see 2 shows in June for free (after ushering) that were my first choices. It doesn’t always work out that we get our first choices, but it’s great when it does!
3. Picked up one of my reading group book selections that was on hold at my local library branch.
4. Am using up some mature bananas to make a banana cake to take to a birthday function this evening.
5. Directed darling husband as to where the leftovers for reheating tonight’s dinner are in the refrigerator, as I will be going by myself to the birthday event.



PaperCraneFarm May 26, 2016 at 2:14 am

“Mature bananas”. HA! Love the name. Much more appealing than scratch and dent!


jennifer May 25, 2016 at 10:31 am

1. My washing machine broke. My husband wanted to go get a new one. He is a very handy man but was just being a bit lazy. I talked with him of the possibility of it being not much to fix. I also explained it would be a lot more trouble to remove the old washer and put in a new one than just repairing ours if it was a simple repair. I like my washer and think it has many good years left. He took the front off the washer and sure enough the belt was broken. We picked up a new belt for $12 and will install it tonight. I had a load of towels that had washed but never got to the spin cycle as that’s when the washer broke. I threw all my towels in a laundry basket, took them outside, and like Lucy stomping on grapes, I began to push all that excess water out with my feet. Surprisingly worked like a charm!
2. I took my younger daughter to a local splash pad because her older sister was gone to a spend the night party and she was kinda bummed. I filled up her reusable container with ice water and drink mix rather than buying one. My husband and daughter ate fast food burgers and I opted to eat leftover chicken salad from home.
3. I am squeezing the very last little bits of toothpaste out of the container someone in my house decided to throw in the bathroom garbage. Thank goodness I, like a hawk, spotted it in there then dug it out. There are at least 10 more uses probably after I cut it open.
4. We gave my daughter’s friend a birthday present in a gift bag leftover from Valentine’ s Day with some Tinkerbell tissue paper that cost 13 cents. I got that 2 years ago from a store going out of business.
5. I have been studying all the sale papers and coupons for things I need this week. I have avoided grocery shopping for weeks now so I am out of almost everything that isn’t frozen. I have noticed grocery prices are considerably higher lately so I started being more vigilant of using coupons for things I will be buying anyway. I went to the grocery store a few weeks ago and spent $60 on just a couple small bags. What’s up with that? Am I the only one who has noticed things a a little higher the past few months or is it just my area?

Frugal fail- My husband brought home one of those big bags of flour from Sam’s. Not having any freezer space to put it in there for a few days I left it sitting on the counter tightly closed. I opened it yesterday and, yep, full of yucky bugs.


Rachel H May 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm

No, you’re not the only one to notice the high cost of food. I am in Florida, and meat and produce are outrageous.


jennifer May 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Ok, I am in Mississippi so it must be a Southern thing. And yes it’s mostly meat and produce. Someone told me it had to do with the fuel cost but I have no clue. Just really frustrated with it right now.


Gina in KY May 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Funny, I just murmured this same thing to myself about food prices after looking at this week’s papers.


PaperCraneFarm May 26, 2016 at 2:17 am

It was an unopened bag that had bugs in it? Take it back to the store.


Tammy May 26, 2016 at 4:21 am

If you haven’t thrown the flour out yet, take it back! Sam’s will return stuff like that. A few days on your counter should not result in bugs – means they were in the flour to start with!


Lindsay May 25, 2016 at 10:47 am

1. Scored some free cream cheese that was left over after a bagel breakfast at school. It was left in the fridge with a sign that said, “Extra! Please take!”, so take, I did.
2. An item I purchased online was lost in the mail, and I was assertive in arguing for a refund.
3. All of my meals so far this week have been home-cooked.
4. Unfortunately had to buy a new bra because one of mine disintegrated, but I got a great promotional code for 70% off a clearance item at (best place to buy ethical lingerie online!).
5. Grabbed an office chair from a free pile and listed it on Craigslist.


Lesley May 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

1–Wore my usual thrifted wardrobe to work and drove my used-Granny-car-like-Dave-Ramsey-says-to-buy (paid $6k cash for it, had only 20k miles despite being 15 years old … yes it’s a champagne colored boat but still)
2–Ate leftovers from my son’s graduation party … hello empty nest in August!
3–Paid bills on time to avoid late fees
4–Will walk to the library this evening with my daughter for the multiple benefits of returning materials, picking new ones, enjoying the library’s A/C, and getting a few miles of exercise in along the way
5–Drank water, ran fans instead of turning on the A/C (it’s hot here in the midwest), collected water for plants while waiting for hot water, gave a friend my son’s graduation cap and gown for her son next year, and did not buy a Lear jet.


Amanda May 25, 2016 at 10:50 am

1. Had a friend over for coffee instead if meeting at a coffee shop like we normally do. Much cheaper!

2. Used discarded paint from the thrift store to paint a painting yesterday. Its large and lovely and was very relaxing. It was nice not to stress that the larg amount of paint was expensive to use!

3. Stretched tacos to cover two dinners, yesterday and today.

4. Bought a letterpress tray for very inexpensive yesterday. I plan to resell it to vintage collectors for 3x what I spent.

5. Missed the sand on my feet (was vacationing last week on the coast) and the softening effect it had on my feet. Figured out I could use my epsom salts and castor oil (both very inexpensive) to create a scrub for them!


Monica May 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

That cottage is too cute for words! Hope your Mom gets a quick sale.
1) Bringing lunch to work a few days this week, and buying the oatmeal at the cafeteria for b’fast. Its only about 50 cents for a full cup, and I earn “healthy points” which can add up to free cafeteria food in the future. Can’t bring oatmeal from home as I have an hour commute and it would dry up too much before I got to eat it at my desk.
2) Utilizing the wardrobe I have by going outside my comfort zone and using accessories I have that I wouldn’t ordinarily pair up with outfits. It adds a modern edge to my outfits.
3) To get ideas for putting outfits together I am looking at online blogs during my lunch hour, rather than buying fashion magazines.
4) Hubby is prepping the garden soil for him to plant tomatoes, cukes, fig trees, peppers
5) Took home a lot of leftover meeting food from work last night. Fruit salad and muffins were used for b’fast today, and salad greens for dinner last night and tonight.
1) Frugal Fail! I didn’t have my DD’s school birthdays celebration on the calendar, and I saw this morning that it is tomorrow! No outside food is allowed in the classroom but parents are encouraged to come in a play a game or do a craft. I can’t take off time from work, so I had to scramble at lunch hour to find a few little items to put in a ‘goody bag’ for my daughter to hand out to classmates. I ended up going to a local Michael’s Crafts and buying individual mini- clipboards with notepads for $1.50 each, packets of cute pencils and plastic goody bags. I couldn’t remember how many kids are in her class, so I bought a few extra. In the past I would have hit the Dollar store for packets of flower seeds and pencils. I drove around for 30 min unable to find the Dollar store, so I had to cave and go to Michael’s. I hope this is the last year I have to do this. I spent 3 times the amount I have in the past, but the kids are getting older now, and unfortunately the cheap little plastic toy packets you where you get 6 items for $1 just won’t cut it any more. I wrote a little “Happy Summer” note on each of the note pads, so I think the kids will like them.


Katy May 25, 2016 at 11:13 am

She already has a bid at full asking price, but in the current hot real estate market that is Portland, Oregon, there will likely be a bidding war.


Monica May 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm



jennifer May 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

I have been there on the frugal fail. I have found that anything like this that I have to do in haste costs a lot. I’m sure that bringing your lunch, eating leftovers. etc. more than makes up for these rare slip-ups so cut yourself some slack because you are doing great, mom!


reese May 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm

I bring oatmeal to work everyday and it’s about an hour until I can eat it. I put it in a tupperware container with a lid, and then put 2-3 tablespoons of milk/cream on it (I use almond milk these days, but it all works).

It’s truly the perfect consistency, and nothing will go bad in just an hour’s time. 🙂 Give it a try! I even keep blueberries/strawberries on it. Yum.


amanda May 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

1. I sold the peafowl that I hatched out last year. We raised them to help take care of the rattlesnakes that live around us (Yes, I know they were there first), but they are more freaked out by the rattlers than we are, so the poo-monsters had to go. And they did, to the tune of $300!

2. I ordered a tablecloth for my new 8′ folding table. The company sent a 6′ instead, so I contacted them and they immediately sent out the proper size and did not want the 6′ back. Yay!

3. I made chevre cheese from my wonderful Nigerian Dwarf goat milk. It’s so yummy and I can make a ton of it since my girls give me lots of milk every day.

4. My hubby has been helping our friend cut hay, and we’ll get a portion of the hay after it’s baled. I love watching my barn fill up with hay to feed my critters and support a local farmer in the process.

5. I didn’t buy a lear jet.


Laura May 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

I laughed out loud at “poo-monsters.” Best thing I’ve read all day – thanks!


4TruLady May 25, 2016 at 6:02 pm

I love Chevre! Is it difficult to make? My LaMancha doe is coming next week, and I hope to be able to keep her in milk (it’s a short trip and she already knows us,…so maybe?).


amanda May 25, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Chevre is super easy! Pateurize your milk, cool to room temp, add some culture, let it sit for a day or two (until thick), drain in butter muslin. Enjoy! You can add herbs, but I love it plain. CheeseMaking.Com is a great resource.


4TruLady May 26, 2016 at 7:52 am

Thanks, I will check that site out!


Krystal May 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Great time to be a seller of “extra” property in Portland! We always talk about we could sell our current home and have some pretty cash left over to move back to NCW (my home), but that would be a major job shift for one of us. We couldn’t afford to sell and re-buy in Seattle right now!

1) Bought 3 items for $31 dollars at Goodwill, replacing 2 pairs of jeans that have bit the dust (even post repairs) with an pair of jeans and 1 pair of shorts. Bought a jacket for a theme party that I will resell for about the same price at consignment. I am searching for a new sunhat and then I will have a complete summer wardrobe.
2) Tons of leftovers, and beat a craving to eat off the meal plan last night–thus not wasting any ingredients we had purchased.
3) Rewatching Big Love (and almost done) through a shared Xfinity subscription, since we don’t have cable! My husband uses our swap (we share our Netflix) to watch Game of Thrones too. Access to both Netflix and Xfinity for only $15 a month!
4) Found a free notary at our credit union for our wills that need to be notarized. Part of our membership benefits. Yay!
5) Taking my mother in law up on a free dinner.


Katy May 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Good tip! I have paid for notary services, but now I know that it might be free through my credit union.


Lucy May 26, 2016 at 5:45 am

My bank has free notary services, but it is a “small town bank”.


Jennifer May 25, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I love that guest cottage – it is absolutely darling. Let’s see if I can come up with 5 things…

1. I think I may have discarded my entire summer top collection last year when I purged my clothes, so off to Goodwill I went. I purchased 3 tops for $3.60 each. One is actually long-sleeved, but I loved it and let’s face it, it won’t be there when cooler weather hits.

2. I hit the shoe aisle just because it’s right by the register and found a pair of almost new, navy blue Naturalizer ballet flats. It’s my favorite summer style for work shoes and they will match half of my clothing. For less than $5.

3. I did not buy the adorable white (and unlined) eyelet dress that I tried on because I knew I would also have to purchase a slip to go under. Purchases that create new purchases really irk me.

4. I finally found my son’s lunchbox post-move – don’t judge me. What is missing is a reusable ice pack that fits in his lunchbox, so I grabbed a few of those off Amazon. I’m looking forward to having the option of sending him to school with lunch once he goes back in a couple weeks (year-round calendar). I was being stubborn and refused to buy him a new one when I knew his was somewhere in our house!

5. I also did not buy a Lear Jet 😉


TJ May 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Wow, I could not afford to live in Portland,OR!
1. Did a cold load of wash, it’s hanging out on my tiny back patio, on a folding rack. We have a screened in patio on our 2nd floor condo that we rent, and until 6PM are permitted a rack out for drying. Hello Florida sunshine!
2. Took a frozen pork chop out for my dinner. Will cook in my George Forman style inside grill, along with a turkey burger for my daughter, who is too picky for pork chops. She’s 27, as picky as I am, so OK.
3. I sewed a vest, hemmed 2 trousers, and will be paid $25 for my work. This is a side job to make pin money for me, as our budget is very tight.
4. We received a DVD from Netflix today, having sent back the Martian. This one is “the Room”. Daughter picked this one, have to wait and see. Loved the Martian.
5. Am listing one thing today on my local Craigslist, my old sewing machine. I finally bought a new one after 12 years, on New one has 99 stitches, does monograms, and is wonderful! $500 brand new, I bought the refurbished model for $160.


MW May 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm

To be fair, that is one of the nicer areas of Portland. My family lived near by in the early ’80s, and has it ever changed! When I think what my Dad sold that house for. . . I visit, but I live further out.


Katy May 25, 2016 at 4:45 pm

It’s in the Sellwood neighborhood.


Mand01 May 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm

1. Made muffins last night from the remaining two quarters of canned pears and their juice that no one was eating. Everyone declared them delicious.
2. I desperately wanted to feed my caffeine habit yesterday afternoon with expensive store bought coffee, but kept reminding myself that I’d regret the purchase (I did last time). Made chai tea instead. Craving went away. Saved $5.
3. Brought lunch from home
4. Made yoghurt
5. Had a basic BLT for dinner; it was good. Lettuce was from my garden.


Nancy May 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

Do you have a recipe for the muffins?


Mand01 May 27, 2016 at 4:14 am

Hi – sure.
My muffin recipe is a ‘base’ recipe and then you mix and match. In this case, it was:
1 cup pear juice (leftover from the can)
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 canned pear quarters, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Whisk together in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, place a half cup dried currants. Cover with a cup of boiling water and let stand five minutes, or until the currants have softened. Strain.

To the wet ingredients, add two cups self raising flour. Mix until just combined. Fold in the soaked currants.
Divide into 12muffin cases and bake at 190 degrees Celsius until golden.


MW May 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Funny, I lived in the very early ’80s just on the other side of SE 13th. When I think of what my parents sold that house for. . .
Anyway. . .
1) Thanks to patience and a great Buy Nothing group, I received a replacement for the ancient diaper genie that my sons destroyed. It’s even nicer than the 15 year old one that we had.
2) I’m putting together a patio area on a bit of unused driveway. After pricing outdoor rugs, I realized that a section of indoor/ outdoor rug off the bolt from Home Depot would be WAY cheaper and fit the bill.
3) My Dad repainted my Grandma’s metal 1950’s lawn chairs for our patio area. They outclass that outdoor carpet by a wide margin, oh well.
4) I pulled a 50% off roast out of the freezer for a Memorial Day weekend meal. We don’t tend to eat much meat, but since I’m cooking for my Dad. . .
5) Still packing my lunch, bringing my own coffee and riding the bus (free pass) every work day.


Rachel H May 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Yes, I also had sticker shock when I saw the asking price on the cottage! Florida real estate now looks much more affordable! But it’s extremely cute, just love it!
1. Cooking everything out of the fridge and freezer before we leave on vacation this Saturday. We are taking our two grandchildren who live here with us to Texas, where our son and the other four grandkids live. They mostly just want to swim, so we will spend most of the time at the hotel pool. No plans for any expensive side trips, but there is a lot to do in San Antonio.
2. Taking my mother out to Bonefish grill tonight with a buy one, get one coupon that came in the mail. A treat for both of us!
3. Bought a shirt and four 1,000 piece puzzles at the thrift store for $2.13. We get countless hours of entertainment from puzzles.
4. I will be out of town when my girlfriends attend the next play at our local community theater. But had planned to decline the invitation anyway. Tickets are $18, and truthfully I’d rather see a movie at the $1 theater and fill my $4 popcorn bucket.
5. Saw the Dr. Today and scheduled my second knee replacement for August. I need it done anyway and my husband said that we will have new insurance next year that won’t pay as well. So not going to put it off. They gave me a cortisone shot which will help while on this trip. Had a credit, so didn’t have to pay.


Elizabeth May 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm

– Just found out I won the spring body transformation class at my gym! I won a $250 gift card and a $200 personal training certificate! I just started using the $200 in training that I won in the fall! Both of those challenge sessions paid for themselves when I won! So I got in shape and wasn’t out any money in the end because I won back what I put in!
– Got a free car wash
– Used a Qdoba coupon for a free taco no purchase needed for lunch
– Went shopping at Aldi and got a tower fan for my daughter for $30 less than the one she had been looking at. Got 5 beautiful potted flowers for the front and back porches for a total of $30. It would have easily been double that at a nursery. And spent $50 on lots of food. I love Aldi!
– Connected my fitness pal and Fitbit accounts to my Walgreens account to earn balance reward points


reese May 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm

How amazing for you winning those gift cards and certificates! I just joined DietBet, which is an online competition. You put in $30 (as does everyone else) and if you hit your % lost, you get at least your money back. You get more if you hit it and then some, as many people don’t make it to the end!

Way to go!!


Katy May 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Wow, you are killing it! Great job!


JD May 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Love, love, love that cottage.
1. We’d grown tired of the leftover sloppy joe, but I carried it to work and made myself eat it for lunch two days. With no snack machines or cafeteria here, it was eat it or go hungry so I ate it. Ha.
2. Checked my credit score and report today. Still all good!
3. The husband is about to need a shower chair, so I’m on the hunt for a used, even perhaps a free one. It’s sad, but elderly people die or have to go to a nursing home, or, it’s happier, someone recovers from surgery, so they donate or sell the chairs for next to nothing.
4. We’ve had an offer to come pick fresh beans and peas in a friend’s garden and take all we want for free. We are going, for sure.
5. I’m getting better and better about freezing those tiny amounts of leftovers instead of trying to figure how to re-use them one more time. They can be thawed then combined in soups or casseroles or added to more of the same food, made fresh. It beats letting them spoil in the refrigerator.


Vickie May 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Wow! What a cute house. It’s the perfect size for one person or a couple.

1) I returned an audiobook to the Library today. I have two to finish.
2) Instead of having an expensive party for my grandson, who is graduating this Saturday, we decided to just take him, my daughter and granddaughters out to eat. My daughter just had surgery, otherwise we would have done something at her house, but I don’t want to put her on the spot.
3) I enjoyed a free red velvet cake doughnut with my coffee at work this morning.
4) No need to water anything lately. We’ve had a LOT of rain. It was keeping the temps cool, but not now. The humidity has arrived, so I’m guessing Summer temps have arrived.
5) I didn’t buy a Lear jet or a Yacht.


Teri May 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

1. Visiting daughter and was forced to valet park while we shopped. When we picked up the car, because it was taking longer to return they said “no charge”! (I hate paying for parking)
2. Found 21 cents, I’m up to $6.25, hoping to double what ever I have come June.
3. Used my “Nordstrom Notes” at their cafe for a free lunch of bagels and cream cheese.
4. Buying discounted (half-dead) plants at Fred Meyer, so far, so good.
5. Neighbor was tossing out pots with potting soil, I rescued from the trash and reused both. Saved me from buying more potting soil.


John May 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

I’ve always wondered how your mom manages a short term rental year round. From what I’ve read, short term rentals need to be owner occupied for > 270 days / year.

We had a neighbor doing the same… someone complained and the owner has to move to long-term rental.

Sorry if this is a sensitive topic… I’ve always been curious if she has a workaround or has just been under the radar…


Katy May 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

This house is zoned commercially, and the other one has a 30-day minimum stay rule.


Elizabeth May 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm

What a beautiful cottage! So cozy!


Florencia May 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

1. Started my new job on Monday. That day, my trainer took me out to lunch on company account. The company buys lunch for everyone on Fridays and there is a fridge full of sodas and juice, tea, snack bars, candy, nuts, and even string cheese and some fruit for everyone to snack on. So far I’ve had some M&Ms, an apple, a string cheese, and some nuts. I’ve also been eating breakfast at home and bringing a sandwich and fruit for lunch. I also bring my tea and water bottles.
2. My best friend and I went to my phone carrier to activate a phone he lent me. They didn’t charge anything and although this phone doesn’t have app capabilities, I can now call, text and access the internet.
3. I needed to send a fax for the new brand promotion company I contacted. I was able to do it for free at work. Now I’m just waiting for my employer’s letter with a copy of my food handler’s permit and then I can get scheduled for work.
4. My friend is coming tonight and we’ll finish fixing the dryer.
5. If she can meet me, I’ll interview someone for my other job tomorrow. That’s at least 45 minutes of work. I’ll also test my computer id and if it works I’ll stay to do on line training.
6. Someone gifted me a lot of bread, so that’s why I’ve been having sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.
7. My new job is in an office, but it’s pretty casual. I can wear my own clothes and don’t have to worry about doing laundry as often as when I must wear a uniform. I’ve been wearing clothes I thought were too small for me. Although I’ve gained weight, I still look good in these clothes.
8. My mom and I went to get a wooden bench she bought at a thrift store yesterday. We decided to go in and I found a Bissel rug shampooer, the little one with the hose for $8. I will have to buy the attachments online, but it’s a bargain considering those cost at least $100.
9. A friend of my mom’s asked her if she wanted to rent a rug shampooer, splitting the cost 50/50, but she won’t have to now due to #8.


Betty Winslow May 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Love the cottage!
1. Picked up a free cat sticker at the doctor last visit and gave it to our granddaughter tonight – worth the trouble for her smile!
2. Went to the farmer’s market and scored three herb plants for $6, plus a gigantic tomato which will be perfect for Memorial Day burgers. Went with adopted daughter and granddaughter, so we had fun testing jams and kettle corn, then brought some popcorn home where we were entertained by watching the little one feed it to my son’s dog.
3. Talked son into hanging his washed bedding and towels on the clothesline instead of throwing it in the dryer.
4. Washer broke down last week, but the repair guy said it needed a $250 part to get fixed. He got it to work without it, though, and we’ve been babying it – crossing fingers we can get a few more months out of it.
5. Bought a dozen jars of tapas spread from the Spanish foods exhibit at Kroger for 20 cents a jar!!


rjr May 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm

1. Roasted a chicken from the freezer that I had bought on sale.
2. Made a salvage salad from ingredients in vegetable bin that were quickly headed to spoiling.
3. Reading library books.
4. Made peanut butter buddy bars (nestle website recipe-highly recommend) from ingredients on hand.
5. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the buying a house process and was so grateful to my class tonight because, while they don’t know, they kept me grounded and fully present. Priceless!


janine May 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

1. Bought lunch for a friend who helps me in honor or her new job . Discussed frugality and finances!
2. Made dinner soup out of leftovers tonight. Paired it with chef salads (sale cold cuts) and leftover homemade apple/pineapple crisp for a satisfactory supper.
3. Produced our TV program tonight and resisted the urge to stop at a fast food stand for snacks on the way home.
4. Attended an elegant free reception BUT, car broke down in parking lot. We were forced to call tow truck and pay for repairs. Took taxi home. Lucky it happened in a place that wasn’t dangerous, but still frugal fail. (We just bought a new car but decided to take our old one because it was parked in back of new vehicle!)
5. Went grocery shopping last night and stuck mostly to my list plus clearance items too good to pass up. Did not buy some expensive but convenient items. I will eventually find them at a better price.
Katy: Loved the cottage and can envision it as a cozy retreat.


lauren May 25, 2016 at 8:26 pm

I’ve had way more fails this week than success stories but maybe some of you will get a chuckle out of them, regardless. Laughter is cheaper than therapy after all.

1.Rented 3 DVDs to watch from the library*

2.The jars of paint “samples” from Lowes are .99 this week instead of $4 so I stocked up on them in various beachy colors*. I tend to spend a lot of time scouring my neighborhood in the summer for thrown out furniture and I hope to re-paint and flip some items. We don’t have television or internet at my grandmother’s house at the shore so it’s either “shopping” the neighborhood, reading books, or gardening. I love it.

3. Noticed someone in my building had thrown out a bunch of clothes and shoes so I dragged them into the basement to sort, through what I wanted directly into the washer – this INCLUDES – a full length Northface Jacket ($300 retail!!!! WHAT). Among the other things I snagged were a pair of suede Jcrew booties and a two cookie cutter wedding favors shaped like NY and NJ that were still in the cello bag with confetti. What a multitude of riches lol

4. Another neighbor was moving and threw out so.much.stuff. However they just dumped everything into black garbage bags like “That’s it, I give up” but also then threw in pizza slices and random food items. It was all too much for me and when I saw a bag ONLY filled with books I literally dragged it back to our stoop, sorted out what I wanted, and schlepped the bag back over to them when I was done. It was all hardcover books so they threw out at least $300. Some things I just don’t understand; we live 5 houses down from the library and the churches have book sales. Donate the books! If it wasn’t 9pm on a Tuesday I would have tried to do the same but it was just too much for me to try to carry without help. We’re in a very craigslist friendly area and a simple curb alert would have had people gladly taking everything this couple was getting rid of.

5. Continued to wear my fitbit to earn Walgreens points. It’s really taking a long time to earn $5 but any free money is good money.

6. Found a dime. I’m officially starting a found change count. I really hate picking stuff up off the ground but!

7. Sold a Lilly shirt and a Vera phone wristlet on eBay. Had purchased them at rummage sales and flipped them for a small profit. The fees for selling really don’t make it worthwhile.

Well, I didn’t think I had that many! Now on to those fails I mentioned….

**You may have noticed the asterisks after some of those… well that’s because……

After renewing my borrowed DVDs over the phone for the first time they were due, forgot about them again and now owe $6. Didn’t even watch the 3 DVDs. Epic Fail.

I ordered the paint samples from on Sunday night… went on Wednesday to pick them up.. and when they handed me the box of them… 8/11 were plain white.. apparently whoever filled the order didn’t mix any of the colors…. this delayed me another half an hour from the rest of my errands and made me spend more gas driving around in circles running other errands in the meantime I had spaced out for this particular reason.

Trying to be more frugal I had boiled some blueberries that were on their way out with water and sugar to make a compote to use later on and when I put my new groceries away knocked this over… did not notice until I opened my fridge 3 hours later and it looked like The Blob had taken over the refrigerator. Dripping blueberry syrup, from the top shelf, all the way down into the bottom drawer. Cleaned that up, washed everything off, and then dropped a full glass jar of pickles right on my foot.

Didn’t realize college classes were over last week and missed checking out what the youths were leaving behind. I probably could have re-furnished my whole apartment.

Also today I totally missed a free meditation class I wanted to go to tonight even though I marked it on my calendar. It was outside on the pier and tonight would have been an absolutely gorgeous night for it.

And SOMEHOW I missed the Memorial Day parade which was at 7pm. How did I miss a PARADE? I only live a few blocks off the route, I should have heard it!

I think it’s time to call it a day!!!!


PaperCraneFarm May 26, 2016 at 6:51 am

I’ve had some bad customer service experiences at Lowe’s as well when they haven’t pulled an online order (despite my having received an email saying it was ready for pick-up). Try writing an email to customer service commenting on your disappointment. I got a call from the store manager as a result (and a small gift card). None of that solved the fact that my husband had to drive around the block dozens of times with screaming toddlers in the back while they pulled the order for me…


Carrie May 26, 2016 at 3:03 am

Wow Katy. You could collate these comments and write an ebook and retire. Such gems here!

My things:
– salvaged two limp zucchini and made them into chocolate zucchini cake
– laundered a disposable swim diaper (yes you can!)
– packed lunch when we met friends instead of succumbing to fast food
– washed all my laundry in cold
– made lentil soup with homemade chicken broth


Bettypants May 26, 2016 at 3:48 am

1. Took my car in yesterday for an oil change and new brake pads, expecting to also need new rotors. Instead, mechanic said it would be another 10k – 12k miles before I need pads or rotors, and since I am selling the car in the next six months, he wouldn’t recommend doing it now.
2. My office bought lunch for us on Tuesday afternoon, with enough for leftovers on Wednesday.
3. Sold two large rolls of chicken wire on a local FB board (glad to have the room in the garage) along with other random items.
4. Trimmed back the overgrown burning bush by the kitchen window to improve the view. There was a bit of green mold on the siding which I scrubbed off with a solution of water, bleach, and TSP like the internet suggested.
5. Bought a Nike sports jersey from the local FB board yesterday for $7. Pickup was on my way home, and I’m pretty sure it will sell for a decent profit on ebay.


Gina in KY May 26, 2016 at 3:53 am

It is a beautiful cottage!

1. Made lentils and rice (both pantry items) and then used the leftover lentils with limp (ha ha-loved this description provided by Carrie) to make tacos. They were muy delicioso. I’ve also made a couple of “clean-out-the-crisper” salads such as an Asian slaw (cabbage is an amazing vegetable that lasts forever and mocks you silently every time you look through the refrigerator).

2. Had work travel this week and brought my own food. I also saved part of my breakfast from the hotel for a midday snack (box of Cheerios and an orange). Perhaps some could say this is not ethical, but I rarely eat breakfast as early as I have to leave, so I generally eat a small amount of oatmeal and save the rest for later. I never take what I can’t eat. Often, I get to know the hotel staff (I travel a lot for work) and they give me “to-go” bags of water, fruit and granola bars as I am checking out.
3. I’ve been hanging out all my laundry. This is pretty much a given as I don’t own a dryer.
4. Removed the dumb upcharge on my internet bill that supposedly boosts my internet (saving me $20 a month). I have noticed no difference and after talking to them and hearing them unable to explain how speeds would be different in my house compared to my siblings and friends, I decided to just have slower internet. I really despise that I can’t shop around for other service. I telework so no internet is not an option.
5. Reading a great library book called _What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding”. I love memoirs! I love them better when I can check them out from our great library!

Now the fails:
1. Decided I wanted IHOP pancakes last weekend and so we went and spent. And, the pancakes were gross. I am never going there again.
2. Not only were they disgusting, but one bite made one of my teeth that were just filled feel like a drill was going through my head. Apparently, filling was “too high” and caused pressure on the tooth. Now they think it may be broken. 🙁
3. I was frugal with my work trip, but then came home last night and was so exhausted I gave into Chinese. Fortunately (for me), my boyfriend paid, but I am encouraging him to be frugal as well, so it’s still a fail.


priskill May 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm

I think it’s perfectly ethical — your room price includes a breakfast that you don’t have time to eat, so why not take it for later? And you aren’t just filling garbage bags to sell later on Ebay — you are taking your serving. Seems okay to me 🙂


janine May 27, 2016 at 8:04 am

I also try to encourage my family to grab a piece of fruit on the way out of hotels. I don’t often eat breakfast but appreciate the fresh fruit when we are on the road.


Gina May 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Great points!


Tammy May 26, 2016 at 4:44 am

We are moving to another state! And having to list our house has been stressful, but we are doing it as frugally as possible.

1. There was a large flower bed that needed something in it, and I found someone who was splitting hostas for only $1/plant. I bought ten (it was a large area!) and my husband planted them. It doesn’t look established but it looks like it has promise! It’s what I was going to do if we had stayed here anyhow. $10 to fill an entire flower bed is not bad at all!

2. The only things I bought for staging the inside of the house were the towel bars in the bathroom (they desperately needed replacing) and white towels for the bathroom. Since I bought them at Walmart they weren’t terribly expensive. And I needed new towels anyhow.

3. I accepted the (free) help that was offered to me by my in-laws and two friends. I didn’t want to, but I did and I am so glad I did!!! I wouldn’t have been able to get everything done on time otherwise.

4. Elbow grease and touching up paint go a long way! We did have to buy some paint for touching up because our paint that we used was bad (too old! moldy and gross!), but we bought quarts not gallons. Much cheaper than repainting everything. Side note: I wish I’d done more touching up of paint over the 11 years we’ve lived here. It really makes things look so much better!

5. We’ve sold off so many of our large belongings, that we didn’t necessarily love or need. Cleared out the basement, made some cash which will be helpful, and we won’t have to pay moving or storage costs for those items. Win, win, win.

Frugal “fail”: what with staging and cleaning and packing, we’ve grabbed food out more than we ever do. It’s hard to want to make dinner in a super clean kitchen when you know you’ll have to get it back to that point ASAP and you’re already tired from working all day on the house!


priskill May 26, 2016 at 5:57 am

Trying Very Hard . . . Thanks for all the inspiration here!

1. Shopping closet for clothes and found stuff I don’t even remember. Was able to outfit for Open House night at school without spending a penny — everything had been highly discounted originally (Ross clearance, etc.) down to the peds.

2. Found tons of smaller size stuff of which I truly had no memory — losing weight so won’t need to buy new stuff.

3. Most breakfasts and lunches from home, as usual. Eating up pantry and freezer. Last of the various frozen raviolis last night and tuna salad tonight. All fruits for lunch from the “scratch and dent” produce pile at Ralphs so apples, oranges and minerals all cost about .16 per. Tracking grocery costs. . .

4. Hung around school from noon til 5:00 instead of driving 26 miles home and back for open house. Stayed at the gorgeous county library reading and chillaxing.

5. Hypermiling! Come to find that going slower really does save gas! Who knew??? Especially coming home from work which is mostly downhill.

Frugal Fails: Drove down to meet old friend at the Coronado for lunch. Yikes!! expensive but so lovely. Met daughter and husband another night for dinner, which was lots less than the Coronado but still. I ordered soup and water to keep costs down; they had sandwiches. Walked with husband to El Pollo Loco for dinner and used a coupon. Saw an actual chicken crossing the road on the way back.

Eating out is our biggest fail . . .Working on it. Thank you for all the tips!


Hobart Chic May 26, 2016 at 6:04 am

1) I made activated charcoal worm food. It was meant to be oat bread, then it morphed into oat cake, then it became muesli. Now, the worms are being well fed.
2) I made italian stew. It should have been lasagne but was a bit of a edible failure. This at least was edible. People, starving clearly, asked for seconds, and ate them. By people, I mean family. Visitors would have necessitated the buying of foods.
3) I checked my bank balance and was horrified to see I’d spent an awful lot today. Then I realized it was health insurance and tried to forget it, and be grateful, or something.
4) Going out to dinner this week. With my current cooking standard, this is probably a good move and entirely frugal.


priskill May 26, 2016 at 6:14 am

You are too funny!! Your theme this week is Metamorphoses and you successfully transitioned potential failures frugal wins. I second #4, always.


Beth May 26, 2016 at 6:15 am

1. Brought lunches to work this week and am drinking free coffee/water at work, with milk that I brought from home (for the coffee).
2. Grocery shopped for healthy and cheap food this week after a few weeks of McDonalds, frozen pizza, chipotle, etc…
3. Currently breastfeeding and pumping at work-putting in the extra effort to maintain my supply so that we don’t have to supplement with formula. Hopefully it works, because breastmilk is free.
4. Had an unexpected long meeting at work yesterday, so the company ordered/paid for lunch for us.
5. ???


AN May 26, 2016 at 7:37 am

1. Using up odds and ends of produce in omelettes and stir fry this week, rather than grocery shopping.
2. Elected not to purchase my own Sam’s Club membership and instead will ask my parents if I can come with them to pick up the couple of items I purchase there.
3. Used the leftover water from the cat’s bowl to fill my bird bath rather than dumping it down the drain.
4. Planning to use a Target gift card from Swagbucks to purchase a few sale items that I need.
5. The usual: working out at home, eating leftovers for lunch, free coffee and water from work


Jane May 26, 2016 at 9:58 am

1. Made my own cleaning spray using diluted dettol & water instead of buying expensive store bought ones..bottle old recycled one I have for years that can be easily topped up
2. Ate at home all week, brought lunchs to work & appointment in city
3. Cleaned house instead of paying cleaner to come in & do it.. I’ve always done this but just recently a friend was telling me she has a cleaner come in every two weeks to clean hers, costs her €1200 a year!
4. Washed clothes & dried them on line saving on dryer
5. Shopped at Aldi using list I had made..cleaned out fridge, used up spinach and bananas in smoothies..tomatoes in pasta sauce, got books out of library..


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 26, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Bravo for not falling for the Trader Joe’s trap! The cheese selection is what gets me every time!

1. Last night our homemade dinner was less-than-good (bad, okay, it was just bad). Instead of grabbing fast food like usual, we made an impromptu dinner of vegetarian bean and cheese tostadas with avocado. Win!
2. I am going to attempt ciabatta again this week. It’s one of the few breads Mr. Picky Pincher will eat, and I’m shocked that it costs $4 at the store!
3. Instead of going out for drinks to cure our cabin fever, we picked up a six pack and hung out on our apartment patio. Classy.
4. We watched a movie we rented for free from the library.
5. I started reading a book (from the library, of course) on how to do personal finance math. Math has never been my strength, but to be more frugal I know I need to understand it more. Yay knowledge!


Florencia May 26, 2016 at 7:40 pm

I have a thing for reading personal finance books. Jaja. Mind sharing the title? 🙂


Madeline May 26, 2016 at 5:23 pm

My Frugal Things this week are DECISIONS I have made:

1. After a frugal fail where I threw a barbecue and there was tons of food left over, I have made a decision that all future get togethers will be pot luck.No more all-out entertaining.

2. I have decided to STOP GOING TO THE THRIFT AND CONSIGNMENT STORES! That’s right! I DON’T NEED ANYTHING!! So– no shopping, not even thrift stores for at least 6 months! Think of all the time I’ll have for making art and reading!!

3. I have decided to sell our vacation cabin in the mountains,which we’ve enjoyed for years, when we worked.Now, we’re retired and don’t feel the need to escape
much anymore.We love our home and have most of what we love to do right here. We’re not using it so much and the cash will help our retirement fund.We can go away a few weekends a year to mountain towns if the urge hits. Selling it myself to avoid some commissions, as I was a realtor and have the experience to do it myself.

4. I have decided to USE ALL THE FOOD IN MY FREEZER before I do any restocking. Cleared out frozen recalled veggies and organized it to see all the saved tidbits so I can plan menus around them.

5. I have decided NOT to renew any magazine subscriptions.My library lets you check out magazines, so I can fulfill my addiction without subscription fees.


Lide May 27, 2016 at 4:06 am

Hi all,

1. Added another 80 cents to my found change jar. Picked it up off the floor at work.
2. Shopped at Menards for a couple of items we needed to re-side our house – used a gift card – cost $0.
3. Found several items at Goodwill for our daughter’s annual Xmas surprise box. She loves baking so mostly kitchen items.
4. Went to a local auction ( I LOVE AUCTIONS!) Got a lot of useful stuff for very little money; even a couple items for the aforementioned gift box.
5.Husband & I both needed a haircut – stylist overcharges us on the gift card – brought it to her attention – ended up with gift certificate for 2 free haircuts in the future!
Have a great & safe Memorial Day weekend!


Ruby May 27, 2016 at 5:19 am

1. Did all the usual frugal stuff this week: had no-spend days, packed my work lunch and a Thermos of tea every day, wore a cute mostly-thrifted outfit every day, had a breakfast every day of clearance rack coffee, toast made from organic bread ($1.60 a loaf at the bread outlet) with a boiled egg (91 cents a dozen for extra-large with a store coupon).
2. Made homemade from-scratch brownies — with ingredients always in the pantry, so no extra cost — for my co-workers because a couple of them helped me out a lot with some things. Baked goods build camaraderie!
3. In the category of frugal-yet-kind-of-gross, I realized the litter boxes for our three cats were getting stinky despite using once-a-month litter and extremely diligent scooping. The problem turned out to be that the plastic boxes need to be washed between litter changes. Now that we’re doing that, things smell a lot better and the litter truly does last a month.
4. Had to purchase $60 worth of hardware for my work computer myself due to needing it right then. The reimbursement process is complicated and a miserable experience (deliberately, we suspect), but I slogged through it and got my money back.
5. Squeezed extra miles out of the monthly tank of gas for my wee car by driving with a very light foot all this week.


Martha May 27, 2016 at 7:59 am

I have never posted but read this awesome blog regularly.5 Frugal Things is my favorite! I’m a college teacher whose summer class got cancelled (wah) so I have an opportunity to read more blogs and be inspired by your contended frugality.

Here goes a first timer:
1. Figured out a way to tote water easily to my veggie garden (half an acre from house). It involves a 55 gallon drum and our free-to-us golf cart (came with the house)
2. Cooked most meals, and brought home leftovers from my lunch out that I just finished today.
3. Am in the process of eating through our feeder and pantry. Always amazed by what’s in my freezer!
4. Headed to thrift store to look for sheets to make into bedroom curtains. We have blinds but they rattle in the breeze when windows are open so curtains will allow us to use windows instead of AC longer
5. Didn’t schedule a facelift


Amanda May 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

1. I walked my son to and from school all week.
2. All of our meals this week were from the kitchen. I even made a batch of jarred salads to take to the beach this weekend.
3. Rode my bike down to the library to get free books for comps readings. I go to a public university in VA, so I can check out books from any public university library. My school is an hour away, so I just get them from the university in my neighborhood.
4. My toddler and baby leave me less time than I hoped to read for comps this summer. It’s not worth paying for daycare all summer. (We have a fabulous daycare that, in addition to providing excellent care, actually lets me pull the kids out for the summer without paying!) So I have the kids all day. Then my husband takes them for supper, bath, and bed while I read. I don’t know how parents do this sort of split schedule long term (but I know some who do), but we can hang it for a summer.
5. I bought our flights for vacation a month ago, but I still needed to book a car. Most companies I checked were about $100/week. Then I found Sixt and booked a car for $400!


Emily May 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm

1. Made chocolate chip banana muffins from frozen mashed bananas I have had for a while. Delicious and the healthy version!
2. Have done a ton of babysitting this week so lots of free food and AC.
3. Had a bunch of “free” Catalina’s from food lion. Got 3lb of bananas, dawn dish soap, pop tarts , and mr clean erasers for free.
4. Attended wine night at the apartment complex yesterday. Free wine, snacks and desserts!
5. I put a small patch in our flat sheet. My boyfriend accidentally ripped a hole in it pulling it up one night. Not perfect, but will prevent a rogue toe from going through and making it larger!
6. Almost went out and bought a new cooler (can’t find a used one and I don’t have one) then my boyfriend reminded my dad sent us home with one last time we were visiting. Pretty sure the thing is 30 years old, is not pretty, but totally works!! He also said I could keep it since he is getting a new one.

1. Made a pork roast, let it out to cool after dinner before putting it in the fridge and left it out all night. Ugh, I hate wasting food.
2. Tried to keep my driving to a minimum this week since I’m not working this summer (other than part time babysitting) . Doubled what I wanted to do


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: