Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 20, 2014 · 36 comments

free trail mix

  1. I worked with my mother to clean both of her guest cottages yesterday. Not only did I make a little money, but I also brought home a full container of fancy organic trail mix which prompted me to mix up a batch of The Prudent Homemaker’s granola. And since Fred Meyer had another gallon of milk marked down to $1.69, we’ve got very cheap breakfasts and snacks set for the week! Not to mention that I added it sparingly, so there’s enough for one more batch!
  2. My next door neighbor brought over her soon to expire Chinook Book yesterday. And since she and I gravitate towards different coupons, the ones that I use, (like the buy-one-get-one-free Bob’s Red Mill coupon) are still in place. I think I’ll use the coupon to buy 25-pound bags of flour.
  3. I worked both Friday and Saturday and made sure to bring food to last throughout the entire 12-1/2 hour shift. The hospital provides free coffee and tea, and I always drink at least two cups of their nice Tazo brand mint tea. A free and completely guilt-free treat!
  4. I used up three of the 28-ounce cans of crushed organic tomatoes that I picked up at The Grocery Outlet to make a huge batch of marinara sauce. I did add a pound of nice New Seasons bulk sausage, but there’s now enough sauce for last night’s spaghetti, pizza tonight and two baked ziti casseroles to put into the freezer. Not bad for eight dollars and change of ingredients.
  5. I mended my very favorite pair of flannel pajamas, which are a little too long for me and had torn down by the heel. (They’re actually my husband’s pajamas bottoms, but he never wears them.) I love them because they have deep pockets, are thick but soft and don’t have that obnoxious low women’s-style waistline. I suppose I should hem them now, but I don’t want to rush things. 😉

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.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy October 20, 2014 at 10:28 am

I should have also added that I’ve been getting myself and my family members to be better about turning off lights when they leave a room. I’m actually looking forward to the next electric bill!


JD October 20, 2014 at 10:52 am

1. We have spent every day of October with no air conditioning, not a small feat on the days when the temperature climbed to 92 and the humidity was 75%. It’s cooler now, and the house is a bit cool in the morning, but I refuse to use the furnace until it is COLD.
2. I almost succumbed, on Friday when I got off at noon, to going our for lunch. But I’d read Katy’s posts and said, “No, we have enough at home to scratch up a lunch.” And so I ate at home and it was fine.
3. I cooked cabbage last night, seasoned with a rind cut off of some cured pork from several months ago which had been securely wrapped in my freezer. It was just the right amount of seasoning. (We are southerners after all)
4. I repaired a shirt for my granddaughter while her mother was out of town on business — her other grandmother would have thrown it away because she never repairs anything, saying she wouldn’t know how. It’s as good as new, and my granddaughter was impressed — I like teaching her the skills to make do with what you have.
5. I’m getting my carpet cleaner back from my other daughter to use at my house again. We share it amongst ourselves. One visit from a professional or four rentals would have cost as much as I paid for it 2 years ago, and it does a really good job. We’ve used it a lot.
6. Okay, this is six, but I just bought another LED bulb to replace a burned out incandescent. I have replaced almost all the bulbs in the house with LED bulbs as the old ones burn out, and my first LED is still working daily, four years later.


marieann October 20, 2014 at 11:10 am

My frugal day (sort of)
1) My breakfast was just toast today with our homemade bread

2) Lunch was soup made from the turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving
3) Supper will be pork with homegrown vegetables(potatoes,onion and broccoli)
4) I mended my son’s pants (they are really done for but maybe a few more months now)
5) I’m sewing sanitary pads for a charity using my leftover flannelette.
6) I’m bringing geranium cuttings to root for next year

Not Frugal
I ordered my Christmas present online. A new doll…yes it’s a total extravagance, but that’s why I’m thrifty


Katy October 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I was very surprised that you were doing something with your Thanksgiving turkey but then I realized that you must be Canadian!


WilliamB October 20, 2014 at 11:23 am

It was a very frugal weekend Chez WilliamB. And the best frugal trip I’m likely to have all year (purchase at Goodwill 1, look at Goodwill 2, Target, purchase at Goodwill 2).

1: Spent $7 at Goodwill on a knee-high tile-topped plant stand with a really ugly 1970s orange-yellow tile with a sunflower etched into it. I used sandpaper I already had to rough up the surface, and black enamel paint + used paintbrush I already had to paint it black. This took about 20 min. Then I had to throw out the paintbrush because I couldn’t figure how to clean the enamel off.

2. Spent $10 at Goodwill for a low stool – cushion on a brass framework – to turn into a plant stand. I unscrewed the cushion (it used a square “hex” rather than a standard screw, why??) and used a Dremel tool to remove the cushion rests and smooth their edges. Took 30-40 min, including looking for the metal-cutting attachment and learning how to use the Dremel. Put the metal bits into the metal recycling jar.

3. Using pots and soil I already had, repotted two jade plants (grown from leaves from someone else’s plant, natch) into pots that went with the two new stands. Took 20-30 min, including multiple soakings of the soil so the new soil will get properly hydrated in future waterings.

4. Spent $4 at Goodwill for a dark-stained or poly’d wood display bookcase[1]. As I sanded it so it would take the planned painting, I realized that the more I sanded it, the nicer the natural color looked. It may even be maple (!). Now I want to sand it to its natural color and finish it properly, although I barely know what I’m doing. Spent almost an hour on this.

Not frugal per se: it was nice, dry weather so I could do all this messy work outside. No clean up!

5. Painted my kitchen instead of hiring someone to do this for me. No color change, this was to get rid of dings and marks. Actually, I painted half the kitchen, and I had to use a slightly different color because the old paint isn’t made anymore. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the paint close enough, because the other half would be a real hassle to paint.

And the frugal fail:
Now that I have two wood pieces to work on, I want to buy an orbital sander.

[1] Similar to the angled bookcase here, but one shelf only and with a single slat as each long piece, rather than solid sides that meet.


Kristen October 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I lurve my orbital sander dearly. Totally worth it if you plan to do much in the way of sanding at all.


Katy October 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Ours gets used multiple times per year!I get a tingle up my right arm just thinking about it!


WilliamB October 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I don’t ~plan~ to do much but my wood-working buddy says his recommended version is $35 at Walmart. I don’t do Walmart but even $50 at Home Despot would be worth it to me. Turning a wood under-bed drawer into a dresser will save me more than $50 right there.


Diane C October 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Craigslist. perhaps?


WilliamB October 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Good idea (assuming I can find someone to vet the electronics for me). Might as well try Freecycle as well. One can hope, right?

Robin October 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

It rained today so I don’t have to water my garden (thank you Ma Nature).

I didn’t buy spinach or salad greens because we will be eating the chard and beets greens from said garden this week.

I rejiggered the weekly menus to use more of what we already have versus making new items which would require purchases from the grocery stores.

We have been making Halloween decorations from the items I already have at home, very festive and my kiddo is thrilled.

been making granola, breads, hamburger buns and pasta from scratch.


Jill October 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

1. I like to batch my errands to one day but today thought I needed an extra run to the store. Decided to use what I have on hand and not go.
2. Taking a neighborhood walk before dinner on a beautiful day.
3. Mended a sheet – don’t know how long it will last but got a few more miles out of it.
4. Getting a new roof and insurance paid for half of it. Still expensive but no more leaks.
5.Untangled some impossibly tangled necklaces (from being in my travel jewelry container) that have been that way for awhile. It’s like having 4 new necklaces!


A. Marie October 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

(1) DH and I went to Montreal earlier this month for the Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meeting. Although this was not particularly frugal in and of itself (you wouldn’t believe the hotel bill), this was our only real vacation of the year. Also, we took enough snacks that we never had to buy breakfast; we coasted across the Thousand Islands Bridge on fumes in order to avoid buying expensive Canadian gas; and our only non-hotel, non-meal expenditures were five books and two T-shirts. (Books and T-shirts bought at a JASNA AGM don’t count.)

(2) Since our return, we have been very good puppies indeed. Our furnace has not yet been turned on for the year (which in Upstate NY is pretty good), and we only just lit the woodstove for the season yesterday.

(3) We have also been working on cleaning out the freezer. The beef and pork we buy from a friend who raises the animals are coming next week.

(4) Worked out a good barter with a neighbor today: She gets half of the big bag of Halloween candy I bought last week (a half bag for each of us will still probably be more than we need for the few trick-or-treaters we’re likely to get), and I get some of the six or seven types of mushrooms a vegetarian friend gave her for her birthday last week and she can’t use up. I think I’m getting the better end of the deal.

(5) Still haven’t used up the 1/2 bottle of Palmolive dish liquid I found 6 weeks ago on top of a trash pile (the residents were moving out).


Katy October 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm

That is a good barter!


A. Marie October 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Mushroom update: Just took possession. OMG: Oysters, shittakes, portobellos, etc., etc. Possibly the best barter of the last several years!


Tonya October 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Wow! You scored.


WilliamB October 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I think you got the better part of the bargain, too. Those sound delicious.


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom October 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

This might be the reminder I need to hem my husband’s pants, thanks!


Diane October 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Just wanted to post what frugal things a city bus driver has been up to!

I was behind an off duty city bus the other day and the bus stopped in the middle of a block. The driver got out and I watched as she picked up 2 hanging plants that someone had left on the curb. Then she got back in her bus and off she went!


Anne October 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I love this.


Cheryl October 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I’ve been slowing working on cleaning out the garage so that we can actually park in there. Took a load to Goodwill, a load to the Restore, a load to the recycler’s, and a load of baby items to the consignment store. I earned $50 for my kiddo’s college fund, and I can fit the car in the garage!! WIN!


Jane F October 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm



Tonya October 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I love 5 Frugal Things! It’s such a nice, inspiring reminder that our everyday choices add up.

-We had homemade chili last night, made with from scratch dry beans (so much cheaper than canned).

-I have another crockpot meal going for tonight (posole, yum), since today is my long day at work.

-I made a casserole this weekend and froze it, for later in the week or next week. Especially good for Thursday night, which is my last day of work and the day I’m so tempted to get takeout.

-I took a walk during my lunch break.

Can’t think of anything else, so I guess for me it’s just 4 things.


Katy October 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I miss good posole! I used to live in Albuquerque, and there are some dishes that simply do not properly exist outside of New Mexico!


Tonya October 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

I’m originally from Las Cruces, and I couldn’t agree more!


Tammy Brackett October 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

1. I had to repair my flat fitted sheet again, but this week I’m visiting my Mama and she has a few great thrift stores in her area. So I’ll hopefully find a nice thick queen fitted sheet for the bed. It’s already started to get cold here so thick sheets are a necessity. And I have none.
2. I went to the market Saturday and found a one pound pack of Laura’s Lean Organic ground beef in the markdown pile for $3.67. The butcher was standing beside me and I put on my best smile and said, “Hey! Would you do any better on this. It expires today.” And he said,”Of course!” and took it in the back and marked it 1.67! Half of the meat went into a casserole and the other half went in the freezer. I’ll use it to make hamburgers. I do not eat red meat so a half pound works great for two burgers for BF.
3. I found myself at Michaels using a half off coupon for Mod Podge (yes I know you can make your own with glue and water but that stuff is way too sticky for my mixed media projects) and I ran by Martins to peruse their discount rack. They had an entire cart of store brand cereal marked to 1.29. I dug around a bit and found two boxes of Cheerios for 1.29 each and I used two 50 cent coupons which DOUBLED for each box. So two boxes of slightly crushed Cheerios for .58 cents! NCA WIN WIN
4. I filled up the tank on the Jeep with 2.67 gas. The two stations on opposite sides of the street are apparently at war and keep lowering their prices!
5. I made a piece of art from my junk mail today. A ten minute art journal page that helped me recycle my junk mail and feel better all at the same time!


Katy October 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Great deals, very impressive!


Amanda October 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

1. Don’t laugh — I’m on a dare from my husband to avoid thrift stores for three weeks (ends at the end of the month). So automatic no spend there!

2. Earlier in the month (hence the thrifing avoidance), I had bought a piece of art for my otherwise empty dining room at the thrift store for 10.00 (a big piece of art — so excited). Then I was perusing a facebook site and found a solid pedestal dining table for 20.00! Its not real wood — but very solid and totally worth the 20.00. Now I plan on buying misc wood chairs and painting them black to finish off the room — after October end of course 😉

3. Used fabric that had been thrifted several months ago to finally make some new pillow covers. They needed a facelift and my living room needed some more color. They are lovely, cost less than a dollar a piece and I sewed them by hand while watching netflix 🙂

4. Cut fall foliage to decorate my table…I love fresh flowers, but I love my financial freedom more.

5. Bought clearance mums from a local place for 3.00 a plant. They are big and lovely still — way nicer than grocery store ones. I planted them and am working on keeping them moist so they root well and are ready for the cold weather. I am glad have periennial mums now in my entirely un-landscaped yard!


Mary October 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

1. Frugal and fun weekend with old friends doing trail maintenance on a trail in a national forest near home……camping, pot luck, fresh air, the forest, etc. All free except for the gas to drive there.
2. Beans on to soak for a vegetable bean soup tomorrow, using up dabs of veggies in the frig + scraps of ham.
3. Will brew beer tomorrow, a low hopped beer for my wimpy friends. Hops are expensive. Use recycled bottles, filtered tap water, compost the grains…..very green! Cost about 70 cents a bottle.
4. A 3 mile walk up and down hills in my neighborhood this morning, plus lifting free weights yesterday evening… workout!
5. Bought marked down round steaks this afternoon at Sam’s Club with a free month long Sam’s Club membership…..also bought a year’s supply of toothpaste, dishwasher tablets, etc…..only stuff I actually use. The meat will be repackaged in smaller portions and frozen.
6. Went to the public library this afternoon, brought home all the books I can carry (4). Free reading for several weeks.


Lisa October 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

While having a garage sale with a friend, we traded items. I scored a wine aerator that I have wanted and will use regularly — but that I couldn’t justify buying. Considering we traded stuff at the end while loading up leftovers to go to charity, neither of us sacrificed potential revenue, and we both felt like we got the better part of the deal.

A neighbor has several downed trees that will eventually get cleared when they have time — but they’re in no hurry as they’re working on a gut renovation and not worried about the lawn just yet. In the meantime he’s happy to have me take wood because whatever I remove will be less for him to clean up. We’ve been working on it, but it is a pain to move it in my car, and it is too far to carry. A friend brought a pickup truck to transport her stuff to my house for our garage sale — so my kids used that during the sale to transport a couple more truckloads of wood to our house. My boys actually LIKE splitting wood, so I have no doubt we’ll get it split before the snow falls. My goal is to not pay for firewood at all this winter.

Remembered to go to the charity shop during their monthly bag sale & scored more tweed, which I’m accumulating to sew a large pouf ottoman for the “man cave.” Thanks to all that wood, that will be the warmest place in the house for much of the winter.


Lucy October 21, 2014 at 4:31 am

“My boys actually LIKE splitting wood”

LOL, ENJOY that phase!


Chris October 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm

To avoid tangling necklaces next trip – run them through a 6″ or so drinking straw and fasten. You can put 3-4 in one of those round, longish travel toothbrush holders!


Gina October 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm

1. Went to a free event at the library this weekend. Very entertaining and interesting. It was downtown so I rode the bus using my commuter pass I typically only use for weekday work commute. Saved gas and frustration hunting for a parking space plus got some exercise walking.
2. Was given tickets to a symphony performance – luckily we scored a very close parking spot on the street and avoided parking fees…yay! Ate at home beforehand and avoided the urge for a cocktail at the concert. Free night enjoying beautiful music.
3. Packed my lunch and snack today.
4. Walked to the library during my lunch break and picked up a book and a movie.
5. Didn’t go to the grocery this weekend. We’re eating from the pantry this week. Hoping to skip it next weekend too.
Zero money spent this weekend on anything!


Marie October 21, 2014 at 5:44 am

New to the blog but already loving it!
1) I enlisted my inlaws to help with projects around the house over the weekend.
2) We went to the thrift store and I found a $2 cloche hat and $3 pair of jeans (all set for fall now).
3) My 457 is set to fully fund this month (hello tax savings and retirement money!).
4) We washed our comforter at the laundramat for $7 instead of $40 at the dry cleaners (plus there’s no gross chemicals).
5) Downloaded a new audiobook for free from the library. My library uses OverDrive to bring its patrons free audio and e-books they can download onto their smart phones. Thousands of other libraries use it too, so check it out!


Seattle Nancy October 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

Not new to to reading the blog, but new to commenting.

1. Spent a day sorting, prepping and tagging items and dropping them off at our local twice a year Just Between Friends kids consignment sale. I ended up making $90 and had them donate what didn’t sell, so no need to bring back home. Money for the Christmas fund and stuff outta here!

2. We have a leak in our roof (cedar shake) and instead of calling a roofer or handyman, my husband bought shingles and whatever else you need at Home Depot and made the repairs himself, with many phone calls to my father in law, who is an architect-engineer and can build and fix anything.

3. Free Redbox movies with a code on Friday night.

4. Made fab pizza from scratch instead of getting takeout. This includes pizza sauce with the last of the tomatoes from our garden. They didn’t look very pretty, but after being slow roasted in the oven, they tasted amazing.

5. Made lunch sandwiches for my two boys with yummy foccacia from the reduced price bakery rack at Fred Meyer – $1.67. I cut it into squares and split open. The sandwiches feel special to them and a nice change in their school lunch.


K D October 21, 2014 at 9:41 am

1. I put flannel sheets on our bed, which will allow us to keep the house cooler at night. I heard elastic dry-rot as I unfolded each corner of the fitted sheet but that did not stop me from using them. The sheet seems like it will work just fine.

2. I pulled in the tomatoes that had any sign of ripening before a 36 degree night. They are ripening on the kitchen window sill, I was able to use one of them in a salad last night.

3. I have Amazon Prime and lately they have been offering a $1 book/ebook credit if you wait a few more days for item delivery. I have been agreeing most of the time.

4. We did not eat out this weekend. Having cooler weather seems to inspire me in the kitchen.

5. My spouse flew to see my MIL on Saturday. Used Southwest points to get the ticket (the points were a bonus for spending on the card) and a great rental car price. It was a one day trip so no hotel stay to pay for.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: