Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 4, 2016 · 58 comments

Financial aid award!

  1. I stopped on my way home from dropping my son at work to pick up a few things at the QFC grocery store, and was able to score a few “woo-hoo” clearance items. I’d been there the day before and had the same luck, so I think I may add this store into my rotation. Especially since I scored two huge bags of mushrooms yesterday for 99¢ apiece. I don’t normally go to this expensive store, because . . .  money. I’m thinking that perhaps their higher end customer isn’t as excited as I am about discounted food, which can only work in my favor.
  2. My husband is continuing to work on fixing our son’s iPhone. He successfully fixed the charging port . . . but now the forward facing camera doesn’t work. He’s figuring out getting an old phone for parts and will soon construct a Frankenphone to keep us (and our debit card) far from the Apple Store.
  3. I enjoyed a lovely chat with my neighbor on my front porch this afternoon. She complimented me on the arrangement, and especially enjoyed how everything was either dragged home from someone’s curb and gleaned from Goodwill. She brought me a pretty flower arrangement as a thank you gift for watching her cats, and a lovely time was had by all.
  4. I received an e-mail notifying me that my son’s college financial aid had been updated. I excitedly logged into the website and discovered that the “update” was that we’ve officially declined the massive student loans. (Note the $18,000+ “Parent Plus” loan suggested for us!) I had to laugh at that! I guess my husband and I need to keep our jobs, continue buying discount mushrooms and scouring our local Goodwills! (Worry not, both of our sons have jobs.)
  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.”

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie August 5, 2016 at 2:56 am

Hmm… let’s see
1) I used a sharpie to mark the “1” line in my laundry detergent measuring cup, made intentionally obscure by the manufacturer

2) I took my son to the urgent care because he had a bike accident (he’s ok, just scraped and bloody). Even though, thanks to ObamaCare, my insurance premiums have TRIPLED, health insurance is still a frugal must-have

3) I’m wearing a J. Crew skirt I nabbed at the thrift store for $2

4) My kids are at home sleeping while I work on my laptop at Starbucks. I’ll go home before hubby leaves for work, so split shifts means no paid child care

5) I haven’t bought personal care or makeup products in months because I’m committed to using everything up. I have enough lotion, face wash and face moisturizer to last until the new year.


K D August 5, 2016 at 3:51 am

1. Thanks to a last minute flight cancellation we saved ~$400 by getting a refund, switching airports/flights and renting a car (COSTCO does seem to have good car rental rates) last weekend, for a trip to visit family.

2. We found $1.50+ while walking the streets of my hometown. We brought it back and put it in the found change jar.

3. Aldi had coupons to save $5 on a $30 purchase in the Wednesday ad. I used the coupon yesterday, buying ahead on coconut oil to reach the $30 mark.

4. While we were away our area received a deluge and our electricity was out for 6-7 hours. We have good neighbors that kept us apprised of the situation and checked on the house. Of course, we do the same for them.

5. Entertainment continues to be DVDs and e-books borrowed from the library, free music concerts, and Netflix.


LisaC August 5, 2016 at 4:06 am

I wish I had read your blog a decade ago. We have massive student debt. My fault.


Deborah August 5, 2016 at 8:17 am

I agree. Although my children have been done with their college debt, I just went with the norm at that time and was actually happy to be offered the loans –it was a relatively new way to finance school 25 years ago. Expensive education! I recently read a great book about a student who lived in a van in the parking lot of Duke University to attend graduate school and not incur student loan debt. It is called Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas and it is a great, inspiring read.


Lori August 5, 2016 at 4:58 am

1. Kroger had an awesome buy 5 deal on several items this past week. Peanut butter being one of them, so I stocked up on 10 jars for .99¢ each. (Goes great with the grape jelly I made) 🙂
2. Kroger also had Dave’s Killer Bread in the buy 5 deal so I bought 10 loaves (for the freezer) at $3.19 a loaf. I know this is still expensive for a loaf of bread, but we love this bread and consider it worth the price for Organic.
3. A little while back I made some blackberry jam, but didn’t remove the seeds and while it had a great flavor, we just couldn’t tolerate the seeds. Since I was in jelly making mode this week I opened all the jars, strained the seeds, ran it through my food mill, cooked it down with another box of pectin and re-canned it. I certainly wasn’t going to waste it, so now we have some seedless blackberry jam we can enjoy.
4. I have a bit of a confession to make. I love cherry season and when they are plentiful in the grocery stores I can’t resist. I buy them every week, and it can get a little expensive. Monday I bought a big bag of cherries for the week and they looked good when I got them, but then by the next day they had gotten all soft and shriveled and did not taste good at all. I called the grocery store and she told me to bring my receipt in and they would either give me more cherries or refund my money.
5. Similar to number 4, this week when I purchased avocados, they looked perfect, not too soft and no bad spots, but when I sliced them open every one of them were at least 50% black inside. Again the nice woman at the grocery store told me to bring my receipt and they would replace them or refund my money.
6. Bonus – We had a rep visit us at work yesterday and brought in a huge box of Panera bagels that apparently no one wanted so I brought them home. I know some people may snicker at this, but seriously why waste food? Why? The Z Man and I will enjoy them. I can see some bacon, egg and tomato breakfast bagels in our future this weekend and probably toasted bagels with butter and grape jelly 😉


Gina in KY August 5, 2016 at 5:12 am

I think the bagels are a score! I agree why waste them and they are so good!


jennifer August 5, 2016 at 8:04 am

3. I have to commend you on re-canning the blackberry jam. It’s a lot of work to can things in the first place. I am sure you will get a little extra satisfaction eating it now.


Bee August 5, 2016 at 8:22 am

I agree. I think it was industrious and creative to re-make your jam — an amazing idea!


Monica August 5, 2016 at 8:27 am

My brother, a Culinary Institute of America trained chef, uses semi-stale bagels to serve his shrimp scampi over. The sweetness of the bagel dough, made spongy mixed with the buttery, garlicky broth is so delish! Just lay the cut up bagel chunks in the bottom of your bowl, ladle the scampi over and enjoy! Any kind but cinnamon raisin bagels works well!


Jennifer August 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Wow, yum!


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 5, 2016 at 5:10 am

Good for you for avoiding those student loans! I’m sure your kiddos will appreciate having a debt-free start in life, so way to go. 🙂

This week:

1. Yesterday was a rough day at work for both myself and Mr. Picky Pincher. We deviated from our dinner plan and bought Culver’s. While that isn’t necessarily frugal, we did manage to use a coupon to make our meal a little cheaper. It was just what I needed though, and we enjoyed the experience, so it was worth it.

2. This weekend I’m finally going to finish my fancy homemade cardigan!! I think I’ll have to make a few alterations to it, but I’m stoked. It ended up looking more “high fashion” than I’d like for my workplace.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher and I are planning on going for a walk and a picnic as our fun activity this weekend, which doesn’t cost anything. As a plus, we get out of the house!

4. We might swing by the library on Saturday to pick up more cookbooks. I found a lot of great vegetarian meal ideas this way, which saves a lot of money.

5. This weekend we’re cooking a big batch of beans, yogurt, bread, and soup to restock our reserves.


Gina in KY August 5, 2016 at 5:24 am

TGIF edition:

1. It’s “First Friday” here in my city and there are a lot of free events downtown. We will combine a few of these with a viewing of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” at our lovely historic theater ($5 for the ticket). Tomorrow night is “The Birds”. The theater has a theme each summer for about six weeks (Vincent Price movies, Film Noir, etc. have been past themes). This weekend raps up the event. I think it’s worth the price of the ticket!

2. Stopped by the grocery outlet store to pick up some peanut butter for a friend. I did not plan to buy anything for myself, but they had boxes of Vital Wheat Gluten for 39c a box! This stuff is really expensive and I use it to make “fake meats” called seiten (it’s kind of like the Quorn or Morning Star stuff and obviously not gluten free). I rarely use the fake meats for my meals, but my kids love it and it does make really yummy “chicken” kung Pao or General Tso’s. I think I bought 8 boxes.

3. Bought a bag of assorted, extra fresh, local vegetables at the CSA drop off location for $2.

4. Watching already owned DVDs, reading library books, and taking the dogs for walks for most of the entertainment.

5. Oh, just remembered I also bought a large box of pre-sliced green tomatoes at the outlet (I think they must get restaurant produce rejects or something) and am dredging them in corn meal and freezing them for winter fried green tomatoes. Yum!



jennifer August 5, 2016 at 8:05 am

I love Alfred Hitchcock movies which makes my family think I am weird. The older they are the better I like them.


Karen August 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Another Hitchcock fan here! A classic theater about half an hour from us runs themed film festivals and we are always happy to pay the 6.00 admission when it’s Hitchcock! Their popcorn is 1.25, so the whole deal is frugal.


Tricia August 5, 2016 at 5:27 am

1. I brought home the leftover celebration cake from the LPN pinning ceremony–no one else wanted it.
2. I was gifted several white roses as a thank you.
3. A student has a fig tree and brought a big box over –I will be making fig preserves today and a friend gave me 30lbs of shrimp .
4. Taking one son back to college Sunday and taking the other son and his friend to see the campus they will be attending in Spring. Frugal every step of the way!
5. Minimal student loan debt and we discussed it last night–some of their friends have over $30K already after 2 years. So far $2000 for one son.
Thank you for your blog!


jennifer August 5, 2016 at 5:45 am

Great job with not succumbing to student loans. When I started nursing school I took out a small loan each semester and had it paid off by completion of the semester. When I went back to school I did one of those deals where the hospital pays all your tuition and you have to work for them for 2 years afterward. It was win-win for me. It was a guaranteed job with guaranteed experience and 2 years practically flew by.

1. We ate cereal with milk that was past expiration but still smelled fine last night.
2. More swimming in our pool and quality family time last night. Practically free exercise except for the maintenance cost of the pool which we would pay anyway. The pool is not really frugal but we use it a lot for swimming and exercise. It is a really big Intex above ground pool with one of those blow up rings around the top. We have put it up for years so it has paid for itself. My husband pressure washes the filter with the water hose daily which significantly reduces how many filters we have to buy.
3. Oatmeal for breakfast. Cheap. Quick.Healthy.
4. I picked up 4 free download items from Kroger yesterday. I looked at the digital coupons in my account and there was a coupon for free m&m’s and a free sabra hummus! I ate hummus for breakfast and lunch, I love that stuff! I also picked up my free Fridays downloads for the last 2 weeks. They were drinks that I don’t drink that I will pass on to my jobless brother.
5. No Lear Jet for me either.


JD August 5, 2016 at 5:46 am

We managed to keep our kids debt free in college, too, by using Florida Pre-paid, scholarships and cash. They are so very, very grateful; so many of their friends will have debt for years.

1. Well, it took me a while, but Katy’s post about a budget a while back has niggled at me for weeks until I caved. Yesterday I bit the bullet and picked a free spreadsheet randomly online and started filling it out and modifying it to fit our life better. I’m going to give this a try, and exorcise that horrible ghost of awful budget memories coming from the bad old days.
2. I tried cooking radish greens for the first time. Meh. Not terrible, but not something I’d look forward to, either. Still, it’s better than just throwing them in the compost bin or the trash, I suppose. My husband loves radishes, and farmers usually leave the greens on them. He liked the greens better than I did.
3. Went to the Goodwill after work. Saw nothing I needed, walked out empty handed.
4. So far the worms in my worm bin are alive and eating. Free fertilizer and less scraps to deal with. It’s truly doesn’t smell, just like I was told.
5. Had a couple of small food losses, but overall, I’ve been keeping up with the leftovers very well.


Jenn August 5, 2016 at 10:11 am

Try using them as the greens in pesto next time either alone or mixed with other greens or herbs. This is my fave way to use up greens I don’t love to eat on their own. Pesto, not just for basil anymore!


Krystal August 5, 2016 at 6:36 am

1. Sold a Lululemon running skirt I had sitting around after only 2 days on eBay.
2. FINALLY found a free dog crate to my dog who is recovering from surgery. He is 9 and was crated once after we adopted him at 3-4 months, and he was terrified of it. Turns out he still is and refuses to go in, but at least I didn’t waste any money on it!
3. Eating leftovers for lunch all week and continuing to do so.
4. My friend brought 2 bottles of wine to dinner, so it was only 2 corkage fees split between 4 of us, rather than 2 bottles of restaurant markup wine.
5. Listened to free podcasts all week and watched shared cable on my computer for very frugal entertainment.


Susie's Daughter August 5, 2016 at 9:07 am

Krystal – On #2, after dog ACL surgery (thank goodness for pet insurance) she wouldn’t go in her crate either – though she slept in it for 5 years until we moved. We resorted to baby gates to keep her limited. Glad you didn’t have to buy the crate!


Krystal August 5, 2016 at 10:24 am

Pets are so funny. It wouldn’t surprise me if he treated it like a second bed at some point, or perhaps the cats will take it over.
He’s really good about staying in bed when we close him in our small bedroom if we leave, until that last part where he hears us come home. His recovery is going pretty well though!


michelle August 5, 2016 at 8:18 am

Just a quick question. I have a great thrift store that I frequent where I find high end clothes for pennies on the dollar. I too am trying to make some extra cash and was wondering what your best advice is on flipping finds like these for profit?


Bee August 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm

If they are really high end and nearly new, you might want to try Tradesy.


Emily August 7, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Poshmark! That’s my side hustle. I have had much more luck on there than eBay or tradesy.


Bee August 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

1) I have been going through my monthly budget line-by-line. I have managed to save a little money on car insurance, TV/internet, and cell phone service. I also asked the mortgage company recalculate my escrow thus reducing my monthly payment. I am going to work on reducing my water bill this month.

2) My husband took another tube of toothpaste from the supply closet. The old tube did look empty, but I been able to use it for another 5 days. I have rolled it tight and pinched with a binder clip. I always try to use it all.

3) I received a shutterfly coupon for a free photobook. I am using it to make a birthday gift for a family member.

4 ) I am doing the usual thrifty “leftover” thing. Today I am drinking iced coffee made from a bit that was leftover this morning. There are leftovers from last night’s dinner for today’s lunch. I ate the last piece of leftover cobbler for breakfast and put the leftover whipping cream in my coffee. Lastly, I took lentils that I made 2 weeks ago out of the freezer for dinner tonight.

5) Since I have been a bit under the weather, I haven’t gone out of my neighborhood much this week . I have enjoyed reading and listening to podcasts. I started a new book on Librevox and caught on small chores. All frugal things.

Have a great weekend!


Susie's Daughter August 5, 2016 at 9:15 am

1) Took one for the team on leftover patrol this week. Healthier for me, less to compost.

2) Picked a bucket of green beans today from our garden along with 8 zucchini and 6 cucumbers. A friend without a garden got a big bag of produce. I will “french style” cut the green beans and freeze what we don’t eat tonight.

3) Stopped by Salvation Army yesterday on the hunt for a new to me purse since I am wearing out my “good” one with everyday use. No purse, but two brand new King Arthur Flour tins made for their 225 anniversary in 2015. $8.95 each on their website, $2. each at SA. I had been about to buy the plastic variety and now no need!

4) Made a pie for church supper from pantry stock.

5) Headed to the state park beach this afternoon with DS and nephews and will save on admission with our pay ahead punch card.

Happy Weekend!


Ruby August 5, 2016 at 10:09 am

Paying your sons’ way through school is such an awesome thing, Katy. I put myself through college 33 years ago and it was HARD but so worth it. We’re doing the same for our son and just paid the bill for his tuition and books this week: $2,500, but he’s going to a community college and living at home to save money.

The frugal five at my house:
1. Did not spend any money at all from last Saturday until today. Today I used a gift card to order some wine and had to pay shipping myself, but consider that an okay deal, as I bought enough to set aside for Christmas.
2. Packed my lunch and drinks to work all week. Wore cute thrifted outfits. Cut some more heel pads for my shoes from a pair of replacement insoles bought with a coupon.
3. Scooped up two free e-books from BookBub this morning. Free is good!
4. Still waiting for a couple of movies I want to see to become free on Amazon Prime. Patience is good!
5. Made the grocery list and attached all the coupons to it. Organization is also good. 🙂


Kimberly August 5, 2016 at 10:59 am

A decidedly un-frugal week here, but laughing when I think about it because what else can you do? So, I will be contributing my un-frugal five:
1. Hubby had to have costly dental work. Not covered by insurance, but least he still has his teeth – a must have for the hunter/gatherer types.
2. Lots of rain here after initial summer drought. Grass is growing like crazy and the lawnmower literally fell apart. We’ll just tell the neighbors we’re going for the natural habitat look.
3. Washing machine now makes bizarre screeching & moaning noises which seriously freaks the cat out.
4. Refrigerator was making little buzzing noises last night. An hour before work this morning, I realized it wasn’t chilling… but then who is around here lately?
5. Quickly located a couple coolers and a bag of ice we fortunately had in the deep freeze. Just as I finished packing all the refrigerator items into the coolers…. the electricity went out. Stood there in my old robe, hair sticking up on end and thought to myself, “Thank God I made the coffee before we lost power!!” 🙂


Bee August 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm

You still have your sense of humor! Hope you get the chance to chill this weekend.


Katy August 11, 2016 at 12:23 am

Very funny, sorry that you went through all this, but I enjoyed reading it!


LisaC August 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm

1. Celebrated our anniversary with a staycation at a local resort restaurant, back to school haircut, massage and a walk on the beach. Splurging but cheaper than going on an actual vacation.
2. Listened to free music at the park with friends, we each brought a contribution to a picnic dinner to share.
3. Combining errands, a nd found a site to pre-order wine at a discount store near where our car is serviced. Used options for free pick up, online coupon for a discount. Cheaper than wine at a restaurant…I know, not cheaper than not drinking it at all, but still. This avoids hubs wandering around the wine shop trying to find things.
4. Found some antique trinkets in a cupboard that we never use, listing them on ebay. One is a cute scotty flask.
5. Resisting the urge to buy cute new office supplies at the back to school sales. Using up what I’ve got.


Susanne g August 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm

1. Got an extra day of work last week and another one this coming week. I’m retired and work one day per week in retail shop.
2. Walked to and from grocery for small load of necessities and returned five bottles I picked up from the street for the 5 cent return.
3. Am making zipper bracelets from bag of identical zippers bought at thrift store. Plan to sell them. The zippers are long and a pretty color of light blue, so they go around a wrist three times. Using magnetic closures. Minor expertise in upcycling! No expertise in jewelry making, hence the magnetic closures!
4. More clothes donated.
5. Made more rice packs for friend by request.
6. Seriously considering xeriscaping the front “lawn” this fall, even though I rent, by borrowing clippings of massive hostas and grasses from neighbors. The area is extremely small and nothing but weeds grow now and even those are sparse. Am very interested in the whole area of DIY helping the environment. Will check with landlord first and not use the word “xeriscaping” with him!


kathleen August 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm

1. Nothing purchased this week except food.
2. Making use of the library; finished hard cover and starting ebook.
3. Scheduled two days of work for next week.
4. Cooked from the pantry last night, and will again tonight.
5. Had grandson puppy sit while I had to be away for 4 days. I paid him a fair wage, and was happy to do it, because it was so much less confusing for puppy to be able to stay in our home, and no loss of progress in training.


Lindsey August 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm

The new year is such a busy time here that we wait until July to look at our budget for the last year and see what could be done better (i.e., cheaper). So, these are my five frugal wins for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
1. Too the advice from Mr. Money Mustache and switched carriers and plan. This might not work for everyone, but we now pay $30 a month total for our two cell phones, saving over $1200 over the last year due to the switch.
2. I had lost a lot of weight, but I told myself I would not buy any new clothes (besides bras and underpants) until I had kept the weight off for a year. Well, I am still 140 pounds thinner and have a new wardrobe without spending any money, courtesy of a friend who died. Her husband finally decided he could part with her clothing and he called me to help. It turns out I am now about the same size she was. Her husband told me to keep anything I wanted, and although I initially felt a bit weird about it, I finally realized she would be laughing to see me in her old clothes, when she was always the one urging me to believe that I could get thin. She was a clothes horse and they had enough money for her to indulge her love of fashion…after repeatedly making sure her husband was okay with it, I ended up with a new wardrobe, all free. No shoes or underwear (that would have been too weird, even for me) but it would have taken me over $1,000 to buy all these dress clothes. This was a few months ago and have to say that some days it really makes me smile to wear something that belonged to my good friend.
3. I keep track of freebies I earn, meaning the money I save with coupons or waiting for two for one sales or finding money on the ground. It totaled $213 for the year.
4. Went through our cabinets and pulled out those jars of food or spices that have been languishing for a year and spent June using them up. Made for odd meals but now have space and spent almost nothing for food in June.
5. Didn’t buy a yacht, which I would rather have than a jet.

This year I want to increase freebies and reduce food spending even more. Alos want to sell a bunch of furniture that has been sitting in our attic since my MIL died.


LisaC August 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I once inherited a lot of beautiful clothes from a friend who passed away. Her name was Kay, so when people asked “where did you get that beautiful …?”, I replied “Kay’s Closet”.


Mand01 August 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

My brother is a very idiosyncratic but kind person. He makes friends with all kinds of people, including his elderly neighbors. One of his neighbors died. About a month after the funeral, his wife came to see my brother and offered him all her husband’s suits. These were classic 3-piece tailored suits from the 40s and 50s. My brother is not a suit guy but he was so honoured to be offered the suits that had been carefully preserved all this time. He took some and he does wear them occasionally.
They do clash a bit with his ginger dreadlocks though…


Dawnelle August 5, 2016 at 8:06 pm

This is really the sweetest thing. Thanks for sharing.


Lazyretirementgirl August 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Your brother is a sweetheart!


Mand01 August 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

1. My husband and I have started a daily evening exercise routine that involves us using all our existing equipment while watching ‘Bones’ on DVD. Free exercise, free entertainment (we already own the DVDs), good company.
2. Got my official advice that I have graduated from my law degree. All that investment and time distilled into a little letter. No more unfinished degree and wasted money hanging over my head.
3. We ate all our meals from the freezer this week, cooked last weekend. No stress, healthy dinners. Don’t know where my brain was last week- usually I’m on top of this stuff.
4. I’ve been approved to work from home six days over the next three weeks, plus I’m doing four days of company-funded training. The training is really useful for my future career prospects so I’m very happy that they are paying for the training and my time.
5. We have almost finished setting up my daughter’s flat downstairs. She has a disability and will likely live with us for many more years into adulthood. We have been setting up her own independent space (kitchenette, lounge room etc) and we have almost finished. It was not too expensive. We budgeted $5K and spent about $4000 AUD. We sought out bargains, but it was new furniture and white goods because we wanted her to choose what she felt happy spending her time in/with. She chose bright colours but not expensive items. It’s a contrast to upstairs where everything is 1960s vintage, haha. Spending $4K might not sound frugal but she will be living there for at least another ten years and then will take it with her when she is hopefully independent enough to move.


LisaC August 6, 2016 at 4:40 am

Congrats on the law degree!


tonya parham August 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

That financial aid page is lovely! Neither of my parents saved a dime for my college and I returned to college at 28. I have huge debt from it but I don’t necessarily begrudge that. I knew going in that the education I was borrowing money for would be a lifetime in paying off and was itself the reward. Still, I think that’s a beautiful thing, that financial aid package! Bless you for being such good parents. (And, in retrospect, I wish I had borrowed less and worked more, but as it is, I can be frugal now and pay it back faster and pay less interest. Progress, not perfection!)

1. The missus and I were going to drive to Memphis today for dinner and a movie (her birthday is Monday and this was going to be her gift) but it’s too hot! So, we stayed home and will watch the Olympic ceremony tonight instead. (We took long naps on our free sectional under our Goodwill sheets and I felt very cool and content!)

2. I had to go to work for a couple hours for computer training for an upcoming class I am teaching and while I was gone, she mowed the yard. It’s so hot and I hate to mow (she does too) but neither of us can stand the thought of paying someone $$$ (I’d guess $60-$85) to mow and weed-eat the yard. Tomorrow morning I will help her weed-eat and pick up limbs in our front yard which is full of little twigs and branches from the huge oaks and doesn’t need mowing (too shady) but does need maintenance.

3. After my training, I stopped by the library to pick up a movie that was on reserve and a book. (Elvis and Nixon and Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad.) I also followed the trend and put the new Harry Potter on reserve!

4. Our Shark Tank binge watching continues and last night there was someone on there who was doing a subscription box service. I have, for at least a year and a half, wanted to join one but $50 for a box of stuff I don’t know if I will like? I just can’t! Even if it’s book themed. So we played around online looking at them and I had an idea– since she’s always wanted to get one and I have too, and we really don’t get birthday or Xmas presents for one another anymore, why don’t we just make boxes for each other? Why not take $20 each and create a box for the other that has things that are thoughtfully bought at thrift stores, craft stores, yard sales, dollar trees, and freebies. I’ve already got a coupon for a free ice cream, a free swiffer dusting set, and a free gallon of paint for her box and haven’t spent a dime. She loves the new house and I think this first box will be themed with an eye to things she can use in taking care of it. (Something she’s expressed an interest in–I’m not just a jerk!) We decided to give them on the 15th of each month and I think I will have some scrambling to do to do this month’s frugally but I feel good about it! (and I am so excited wondering what will be in mine!)

5. I didn’t go to Boston to see Pearl Jam. THAT saves a lot of cash right there, my friends. Amazing how home ownership has changed my priorities. In a good way.


Gina in Ky August 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm

I love your idea for #4! Do keep us posted on the themes and surprises!


kathleen August 6, 2016 at 11:01 am

Love the subscription box idea! The hubs and I don’t *need* anything, so not much of gift givers to each other. But one Christmas I wanted to see some packages under the tree just for the aesthetics, so we decided to buy each other 5 gifts each for $5 or less. It was really fun. I don’t remember everything, but they included books, a bath pillow, peanuts in the shell, a Goodwill jigsaw puzzle. Trying to think outside the box and still keep things usable was half the fun!


Kim August 5, 2016 at 3:01 pm

1. Used a Catalina coupon for free carton of Blue Bunny ice cream. DH got the coupon at Safeway over a month ago. It expires today so I put it on my ColorNote To Do list so I was sure to use it. Since it’s a manufacturer coupon and I was doing a mystery shop at Giant, I used it there instead of separate trip to Safeway. $4.99 a carton for free. Salted caramel yumminess!
2. Yesterday I did 5 mystery shops all at grocery stores, Found 2¢ and a bunch of foreign coins in the Coinstar and then found 2¢ in the parking lot of the same store.
3. DS#2 and I went to the super Savers and found no shorts. We found 1 full flat, 1 full fitted and 1 pillowcase for his college apartment bed. They are all slightly different shades of green but we are both fine with that. Still need 1 more fitted sheet. I did find a piece of new Fiesta and an unused set of Decoware canisters that I love but I may sell due to the old 2 in college thing.
4. I mentioned to my neighbor that we struck out on finding a duvet cover for his down comforter and she said she had one stored away that we could have. Solid blue and DS#2 said it’s fine.
5. Sold a book on Amazon, hung laundry to dry on the clothes line, used appliances at low rate times, watered plants with water left in glasses. Freecycled some weights that DS#1 no longer wanted. In other words all the usual!


Chris August 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm

1. Got 4 free strands of white Christmas lights to use for daughter’s upcoming wedding via our neighborhood list serve – and the person told me as they continue to pack for a move, she may have more.
2. We are working on outdoor projects for above wedding – my husband cut open a tube of caulking to scoop out the usable that was encased in dried out funk!
3. Husband cancelled going to a golf event on Sunday with a friend who is too busy – free but he would have to drive to and from.
4.Other golf related frugals – he passed on playing today with a neighbor because we made the commitment to stay home and work outside and
5. He decided not to participate any longer in a league because it was too much golf with his other league plus not much fun. He had paid in advance for this one so may get some $$ back – but even if he doesn’t, it’s not hanging over his head.


rjr August 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm

1. Called verizon yesterday and lowered my bill. Thinking about cancelling everything and just getting basic cable. It’s a big jump, I would lose the Red Sox channel and I am taking baby steps.
2. The Olympics start tonight so lots of entertainment without going out for the next 2 weeks. I love the Olympics!
3. I bought a lot of groceries on sale today. They had Italian sausages on sale for $2.50 for a pack of five. Perfect for the freezer and bbq I am having in a couple of weeks.
4. Slider and windows open for a lovely evening breeze.
5. Worked until 7:30 tonight and really felt the urge for some Chinese takeout. I resisted the urge and cooked a salmon burger, potatoes from the csa I was gifted and melon for dessert.


Susie's Daughter August 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

1) I hear you on the Red Sox! MLB Audio was my alternative when we lived out of radio broadcast area. $20 per season and I get way more done while listening rather than watching.


Is it a need or a want August 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm

(1) Used croquet mallets and goal posts as stakes for tomatoes.
(2)Watering can from church sale 25 cents.
(3) I belong to a group that uses name tags around your neck for members to wear at meetings. Found a bunch to donate.
(4) cut up flannel pj’s into squares for face wipes
(5)bought salsa mix for canning last year for 11 cents a container that makes 4+ batches per container


Lilypad August 5, 2016 at 5:56 pm

We have QFC here in the Seattle area too and I always check the discounted baked goods with their “woo-hoo” stickers. I’ve gotten some really good deals that way, fancy things I’d never buy like store-bought muffins—my teenage son loved them for a treat.


Lilypad August 5, 2016 at 5:57 pm

I would never buy them at full-price, I meant! But $1.99 made a good treat.


Teri August 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm

1. OLYMPICS–tons of free entertainment.
2. Husband bought replacement parts for pool cleaning system and installed himself.
3. Bought 12 potted plants in nice ceramic pots from the “trash bound” basket at Walmart for 50cents each. Will use these at daughters wedding shower, possibly adding more flowers, but still way cheaper than floral arrangements from Costco or florist.
4. Bought 2 pendant lights on clearance from Target for the “flip” house we are working on. Much cheaper than anything we found at $24.99 ea. These will go over the island in the kitchen.
5. Had house and yard sprayed for spiders, when we asked about bug spray for our roses they said they’d spray a little on for free as they didn’t want to kill the bees. Saved me buying spray and the time to apply it.


Elizabeth August 6, 2016 at 7:20 am

1. Spent yesterday morning cleaning the house. Decided to spend the afternoon at my gym’s outdoor pool. The pool comes with my gym membership and I haven’t gone to the pool all summer. I brought a book, some iced tea and grapes, put on my swimsuit and found a chaise lounge in the shade. I happily read for 4 uninterrupted hours while I listened to other people’s kids whine and cry! Mine were at home (didn’t want to come with me) so it felt like a found vacation day at a resort. Totally rejuvenated last night because of it!
2. Still plugging along with “Project Use it Up”. Finished a bath and body works juniper breeze shower gel that I’ve had possibly for decades! Finished a Yankee candle Lilac Blossom candle. And finished ALL of my toothpaste by cutting it and scooping what was left inside on my toothbrush.
3. Had a fun girls night out Wednesday night. Did pay for my dinner and glass of wine (although the wine was half off!). But had the most fun because my aunt and her boyfriend live on the lake that the restaurant was on and so my aunt’s boyfriend gave us a boat ride for about an hour or so after dinner!
4. Contemplated ordering one of the really good salads at the pool yesterday but decided not to spend the money and eat leftovers from the previous night’s dinner instead before I left. And brought my own drink and snacks.
5. Ordered a pair of 14K gold earrings from groupon but when they arrived I noticed they had a weird post…kind of jagged somehow and it was hard to get them out of my ears. I listed them on eBay and so far they are selling for more than what I bought them for.


LisaC August 6, 2016 at 8:11 am

Your candle use reminds me of a Thanksgiving years ago when I decided to use up all of the candles, even the dust gathering decorative ones. The teenagers said “goodbye Pilgrims!” as my little Pilgrim candles burned down and out.


Sandra August 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

1. a foreclosed house down the street has an apple tree that just drops the apples every year and attracts wildlife/vermin. This year I got some friends together and we went and picked lots of free, unsprayed, organic apples! We picked 1/3 of the tree and four families have benefited so far! I plan to get more to give to more friends. All the neighbors are happy to see the apples go to good use and cut down on the wildlife drawn in.

2. Got complimented on my $5 bargain consignment dress yesterday from a complete stranger who asked where I got my beautiful outfit.

3. Went to Safeway and got their tomato soup and sale Tillamook cheese to have soup and grilled cheese last night for a treat instead of going out to dinner/drinks. I’m sure that saved me quite a bit and I still got my “treat”.

4. Went to the library again fulfilling my goal to not buy any new books this year. I am a voracious reader and with all the used book stores/great local library there is no need to buy a new book at cost.

5. Spent several hours working on my budget this week combing over where I can cut back. A moment of clarity came when I was carrying out the recycling glass this week and it was heaping with G.T. Kombachu bottles. I did the math and realized that yes, they are good and healthy and yummy, but five a week at 2.69 a bottle is not sustainable. I’m calling it a win because at least I had a moment of clarity and didn’t continue on with a bad habit.


6. My niece lives in Illinois and hopes to go to an Oregon university in a few years. She wants UofO swag…and instead of buying her birthday present retail I went to TJ Maxx and scored UofO tee shirts on deep clearance sale. She will be thrilled and I was delighted.


Monica. August 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

1. My youngest started a new job at a camp, working in the kitchen and has been bringing home a lot of leftovers. We’ve added meatballs to spaghetti and she made banana bread out of ripe bananas for a potluck.

2. I sell clothing online and I’m working through a pile of items with flaws instead of buying new inventory this month. I’m also inventory heavy at the moment.

3. After being in the same house for 9 years, it’s time to declutter. Whether it’s Marie Kondo’s, Flylady or whoever-inspired, a lot needs to go. I’ve got almost 2 bags ready for the consignment store.

4. I scored some marked down organic lunch meat and it’s in the freezer.

5. I earned earned Amazon gift cards and money from doing surveys. The gcs help lower the cost of my health supplements and the money is going into our debt snowball.


Gina August 6, 2016 at 6:17 pm

1) This weekend is the Worlds Longest Yard Sale – 690 miles of “stuff”. Everything from actual yard sale items, to vintage, antiques, new overstock, arts and crafts. Every August it runs four days down Route 127 from Addison, MI to Gadsden, AL. It’s massively overwhelming. It cuts through OH & KY where I live and work. I passed by it Thursday, Fri, and today but resisted the urge to stop despite the hords of people walking back to their cars with arms full of treasures. I really don’t need anything and I’m working on clearing OUT the clutter not bringing it in.
2) Skipped the grocery two weeks in a row and ate out of pantry, fridge, freezer. I need some fruit and veg this week. Although I do have frozen. Think I will just pop over to the farmers market so I buy fresh, support the local farmers and I’m not tempted to buy things I’m avoiding – yes, potato chips I’m taking about you!
3) Rode the bus to work this week – saved gas and expensive parking rates.
4) Packed lunch, tea and snacks all week except Friday. Celebrated a friend’s birthday with restaurant lunch.
5) Staying home this weekend, cleaning house, de-cluttering, laundry, cooking, gardening, Olympics, library movies & reading in a chaise on the deck under the shade tree. Perfect weekend and zero money spent.


Bethski August 7, 2016 at 1:03 pm

1. Finished dog/house sit yesterday. We also turned it into a bit of of a stay-cation as we did some school shopping for my daughter at the big mall nearby which I won’t drive to as its so far away. She was very happy and we treated ourselves to lunch out.
2. Gulp, even with a buy one get one free offer AND an additional 15% off spent $97 on four bras for daughter. End result is she is happy and will be more comfortable, teen years are so hard with all the body adjustments.
3. Bought daughter some tops – again got a buy one get one for 50% off as well as the additional 15% off offer. Happy though because the dog sitting covers school clothes expenses.
4. Was supposed to go away for vacation this week but decided to not go and do a staycation at home for the rest of the week. Daughter was a bit disappointed but I let her have a friend stay over last night, treated them to a cheap pizza dinner and let them walk to the store to pick out some treats which they were excited about. They came back and informed me they used the other girls parents Rite Aid discount and saved three dollars more which they then used to get more treats, I guess they are learning to save, lol. 😉
5. Have a big things to do list for this staycation – one is to have a garage sale this coming Thursday through Sunday – lots to do. Need to get ads on Craigs list, facebook, etc., as well as get it all organized. Can’t wait to get rid of more clutter from the garage and basement and excited to earn the money for some home improvements. I also want to price out my car insurance which is up for renewal in Sept. and look into a loan and/or non-loan home improvement program being offered through the city. Need to get my front steps re-done as they are getting to be a hazard. Want to at least here what they have to say. Also just received notification of an online program by my employer regarding a free online program to help plan retirement funding, going to give that a go as well this week.
6. Doing Swagbucks on phone and daughters computer while I type this and go about my days- would love to have another $25 Paypal gift card by the end of my staycation.
7. After 6 months no child support payment received a significant one last week. Debated transferring it over to savings to use for home improvements but instead used it to pay my mortgage payment almost a month early thus cutting the interest payment in half putting much more towards the principal. Also paid an additional $25 towards the principal which in the big scheme seems small but every little bit helps.


Anna August 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Hi Katy!

Love the blog and the Facebook group. Thank you for linking me up with so many wonderful people and ideas!

I have a question, and it’s none of my business. So feel free to bypass it! But I’m curious about your strategy re: paying for your sons’ college costs and saving for retirement (assuming you are). Recently, my husband and I had our first baby and now I’m thinking a lot about how people take on college costs and retirement. I enjoy hearing how people make a plan that fits their situation, and I’d love to hear your perspective. Thanks!


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