Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 26, 2014 · 25 comments

Teenage apple boy

  1. I started processing the hundred pounds of apples I bought last week. I borrowed my father’s ancient Squeezo Strainer and made 18 quarts of applesauce. I made use of what I already owned, which meant consolidating a few jars, as well as moving storage for a few items from jars to Ziploc bags. I still have an enormous number of apples on hand, but I need to scrounge up more jars before I start back up again.
  2. I’d been keeping an eye out for a new thrift store blanket for the bed in the spare bedroom, but instead decided to mend it. Although I didn’t have the exact right color of thread for the repair, I used a similar shade, and it’s almost invisible.
  3. Tonight’s dinner was The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pie. I had a Ziploc bag of leftover pie dough in the freezer, which when rolled very thin was enough for the recipe. The dough was a bit tough as it had been handled too much, but since the dinner was for us and not the Queen of England, there were no complaints. The recipe also called for a quarter-cup of white wine, which I didn’t have on hand. However, I did have an open bottle of red which gave the pie a lovely flavor without requiring me to buy an extra bottle of wine. Also, the recipe called for celery, and I bought two ribs instead of an entire bunch. (Less waste and very cheap this way!)
  4. We had a very low key weekend, and didn’t drive anywhere except for a single soccer game. I did make sure to batch a few errands since we were out and about. (Library, gas station, my father’s house.) I walked to the grocery store, but I only bought the items that were on my list. (Bananas, milk, celery, whipping cream, oatmeal.) There’s nothing cheaper than sleeping in and puttering around the house!
  5. My husband packs his own lunch for work, but has no access to a microwave or refrigeration. He likes to have nice cold cuts for sandwiches. which cost $10 per pound when bought at the deli. I found a nice unsliced chunk of Columbus brand precooked pork loin at The Grocery Outlet for $3.50 per pound and bought one to try it out. I used our meat slicer, (my husband bought it at Costco around seven years ago, and it’s the first time I’ve used it!) and thinly sliced the whole thing. The resulting cold cuts taste just as good as the most expensive deli meats, so this is something we”ll be adding to our routine. Now, if I can only transition my husband away from his Luna Bars!

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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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat October 26, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I use our meat slicer every time we have a roast. The left over gets sliced thin once it is cold ( usually the next morning). I find we get almost a weeks sandwiches for 2 out of a small piece of left over roast. While I have it out I also slice an onion, tomato, and some dill pickles. Much thinner slices than I could cut and uniform size. Hope you get to really enjoy your slicer.
I know ours has paid for itself many times over.


Jacqueline Jauregui October 28, 2014 at 7:21 am

Pat, what type of slicer do you have? I may be in the market for one, but don’t know much about them. Thanks


Pat October 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

We have an electric slicer. I paid about $100.00 for it about 20 years ago. I was working then and we figured at that time it paid for itself in about
4 months. Sorry, I can’t tell you the name of the machine. But I got it at Kmart, and I don’t think they exist anywhere anymore. Ours is stainless steel and I can take it all apart for cleaning. I can also take the eclectic motor off and put it to one side while I clean. If you have a large family you can buy your deli meats in the whole chub, then when you get home cut them down to smaller sizes and freeze them. Just take out one chunk and slice it . That way you can also have deli meats for about a third of the store price. ( We had a Real Canadian Superstore about an hour away from us and I would stock up every few months). Now with just two of us at home I use the small roasts we cook for our sliced meat.
Hope this helps. Good luck with finding a good machine. I paid a bit more for mine than the next one down in price, but it was well made and is standing the test of time.


Bellen October 27, 2014 at 1:28 am

I have never seen ribs of celery for sale individually – only containers of precut celery. Wish I had that option here – same for individual raw carrots. You’d think living in a county with the second largest percent of those over 65 these options would be available.


Linda October 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I asked about individual ribs of celery once and was told that since celery is sold by the pound it was fine to just pull off what I need and leave the rest for someone else.


Katy October 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

That’s exactly what I do. I found a bunch that already had a couple of ribs removed though.


K D October 27, 2014 at 2:43 am

1. I will be out of town for a few days this week but I already made lunch items for my husband for the week (sandwiches in freezer, fruit in refrigerator) and will finishing making dinner items before I leave. I will pack food for travelling and beyond (making it cheaper, healthier, and more to my liking).

2. I went to Staples to pick up their $.01 ream of paper (with the coupon I printed). I had not cut out/printed their 15% off coupon but they had awesome clearance items. I asked if I could give them the coupon via my phone and that was a yes so clearance + 15% off + paying with a gift card received via Discover Card (a $25 gift card is just $20 worth of points) = a fun shopping trip.

3. We ordered Chinese take out for lunch yesterday. Two orders fed four people with enough leftover for a small meal. Normally I would have finished the leftovers but it is better for my waist line and our budget that I did not.

4. I needed a large cookie tun for a Christmas gift I plan to make. Saturday was the second and final day of a local church rummage sale. Items are half price or fill a trash bag for $5. I could have scored a lot of stuff for $5 but I spent $.50 for the cookie tin I sought. It is so much easier not having more stuff come into our house.

5. Most things I do are frugal, it is so ingrained that I can’t think of one more thing to write on this early Monday morning. I hope everybody has a great week.


Elizabeth October 27, 2014 at 3:02 am

You could freeze the remaining applesauce in Ziplock bags. I froze my applesauce last year with good results. Found your blog from Kristen and it is now tied with her for favourite blog.


Diane October 27, 2014 at 4:28 am
Lisa October 27, 2014 at 5:20 am

I think the Squeezo Strainer just went on my list. Seems like they’ve been made a long time, so I should be able to find one eventually at a yard sale or estate sale. I currently use an old food mill, which is OK but your setup looks much better! My kids love homemade apple sauce.


hmbalison October 27, 2014 at 6:39 am

I made my own makeup remover (olive oil, water, lavender) using a pretty recycled bottle. I talked my husband out of buying a mini fridge for his office. I hung our towels on the line yesterday to catch the afternoon breeze.


Jill October 27, 2014 at 6:49 am

1. Listed a few more items on Ebay – selling has been hit or miss but I have been making a little bit of money.
2. My husband travels for work and stays in hotels – alot. So he dug out his old soap dish from college to take with him which keeps him from opening a new bar in every hotel stay.
3. We have 2 birthdays to celebrate next week – my sister and my brother-in-law. So we had 2 at home celebrations over the weekend with a home cooked meal at one and a potluck at the other.
4.Started Christmas shopping , which is early for me, and hoping to curb a last minute buying spree. We’ll see.
5. Meeting my husband to buy new glasses for him – which doesn’t sound frugal – but he has made his last Years beyond what they should have. So the man finally gets new glasses (and we are shopping local in our small town)


Vickie October 27, 2014 at 8:19 am

I have a meat slicer I use too, it’s so much cheaper than deli meat and real cooked/smoked meat is healthier than packaged sandwich meat.
Sounds like you might be making your own luna bars soon. Fresh homemade food taste so much better than packaged anyway, because it’s fresher!


kris October 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

1. I made one of the Pioneer Woman recipes (Salisbury Steak) for dinner last night. I made it using ‘reduced for quick sale’ ground beef. Out of it I made the steaks and then fried up about a pound of it for chili later this week.
2. Brought said Salisbury steak & potato leftovers for lunch today and put up a good part of the gravy in the freezer to use at a later time.
3. Used a Redbox buy one get one free rental code and we stayed in Sat. night and watched a couple of movies.
4. We will be carving pumpkins this week – bought 2 of them at Save a Lot for $3.99 (medium size) each and will be using the carving kits I bought after Halloween last year for about a quarter. Last year we did the whole ‘pumpkin patch’ experience and because they were so expensive, still got a smallish sized pumpkin for $11.00!!
5. My son is still unsure of what he wants to be for Halloween and at this point it will have to be something homemade with what we’ve got on hand. He obviously isn’t too concerned about it or else he would have already made a decision, right?

Side note – I just wanna say how thrilled I am that several Food Network shows are out now Netflix (streaming)! When we decided to cut the cable cord, that and ESPN were my 2 channels I was dreading losing. Since getting an outdoor antennae, I get plenty of sporting events on local channels and now I’m getting some of my FN shows too.


annette October 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm

1-Used the last of my crock pot beans and leftover rice to throw together eight burritos to freeze for future lunches for spouse and two children
2-Found three overripe bananas in freezer, defrosted, and made delicious banana nut bread
3-took advantage of sales and a coupon (for something I actually use regularly) to buy over five pounds of chicken, a half a pound of mushrooms, 2 summer squashes, 1 1/2 pounds of beans, and three Serrano chiles for eleven dollars.
4-Hung out laundry (as always)
5-We really enjoy Chinese food but instead of going out for it, I tried a new recipe using organic broccoli and chicken (that I got on sale) and it was a big hit!
6-And, before running off to work this morning, I threw a few simple ingredients in the slow cooker to make my weekly crock pot of tasty pinto beans.


A. Marie October 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm

The multi-phase chicken process at my house:

(1) Picked up two reduced-for-quick-sale whole chickens with garlic and fennel at my favorite local grocery chain Saturday ($5 each). Roasted and enjoyed the birds Saturday night.

(2) Deboned remaining meat Sunday afternoon and made stock with the bones, plus an assortment of veg from my garden and the back of the fridge.

(3) Had chicken sandwiches with DH for lunch.

(4) Am making barley/leek/mushroom soup with garden leeks and the last of the mushrooms from last week’s incredible barter (see my “Five Frugal Things” comment from last week). The scent from my oven fan is already starting to attract the neighbors, who know that the local “Soup Nazi” is at it again!


Betsey October 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm

1. Got a ham bone (smoked) for free from a friend so of course I made bean soup.
2. I needed to use a few leftover potatoes, so my contribution to a pot luck was potato salad.
3. I needed a new side table next to a sofa. I went through the house and decided to repurpose a bedside dresser that was never used. I sanded it, painted it black, and it looks gorgeous.
4. I started to walk the dog every day. We are both losing weight and looking great with the added exercise.
5. When I was looking through the house, I picked up CIDN (crap I don’t need), stored it in boxes, and will have a rummage sale next spring. The house looks great, I will never miss the stuff, and I plan to make a bit of money.


Linda October 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Seattle area Goodwill stores sell any size mason jar for 20 cents each. I know different areas have different policies but it’s worth checking out. Just be sure you know the retail price. I’ve been making a lot of jam lately so I’ve been watching for 8oz jars. Most thrift(?) stores sell them for 99 cents. They go on special for $7.99 dozen in retail stores. When I pointed this out at Value Village they offered to lower the price to 69 cents. That’s still retail so I left the jars there.


Ali October 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

1. Dh worked on the renewing the deck. We’ve had to buy boards and a few gallons of deck paint but are saving big $ buy dh doing it himself.

2. Semi clean out of the house. Put one computer desk out on the curb with a free sign. Dh cleaned off the old computer and that will go to the recycle center as will non-working part of a shredder and some cable wires. Got one dresser moved from one room to the other and the old dresser will go out for trash or trash pick. Very freeing to get rid of “stuff”.

3. I cooked supper Friday night and dh did on Saturday. He makes the best cheeseburgers.

4. No heat was used and lights off as much as possible.

5. Put the old bananas in the freezer for banana bread later.


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom October 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm

You have a meat slicer? Awesome

What have I been doing frugal? Today I mended the hem of my husband’s pants that fell out, I got some books from the library, and had a whole house electricity monitor installed.


Cheri October 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Definitely try making Luna Bars. Super easy, and they taste great. There are lots of recipes online, but they usually consist of cashews, dates, and the main flavor (cherries, apricots, etc.). Just google for recipes–there are lots out there.


Kale October 28, 2014 at 8:16 am

1. Last night for dinner we ALMOST went to the butcher until I remembered we had some prawns in the freezer (I over bought a month ago and instead of having a prawn feast I tucked the extras away – glad I did!).
2. I made a hearty ‘salad in a jar’ for my lunch today with things from my pantry and fridge.
3. With winter coming I wanted an indoor physical activity so I’m going to try yoga videos to skip the yoga studio fees. So far so good.
4. On the weekend, instead of hitting some stores after my BF’s rugby game we took his teammate to get a few stitches. His teemage got treatment and we saved some money haha (he’s fine by the way).
5. I really like having frozen berries on hand but lately I’ve been missing the sales – I almost cracked yesterday and bought them at full price but decided apples and bananas would be enough.


Anne October 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

Hilarious, medical treatment as money saver.

Look for the silver lining. 😀


Seattle Nancy October 30, 2014 at 8:41 am

Katy, I made the Pioneer Woman’s chicken pot pie after checking out your link to it. Made it last night with the leftovers from a roast chicken. Wow, is that recipe ever a keeper. My guys demolished it.


Katy October 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

It’s so amazing, right?! Plus it freezes well if you can sneak an extra one into the freezer.


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