Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 17, 2014 · 41 comments

  1. Today and every day I choose my outfit from my small collection of thrift shop clothing.
  2. Today and everyday I sit on second hand furniture in my home.
  3. Today and every day I choose the cold water cycle for my laundry.
  4. Today and every day I make my phone calls on my husband’s hand-me-down iPhone 4. (He has the iPhone 5, without any plans to upgrade until it can no longer be avoided.)
  5. I drive my paid-off 1996 and 2005 cars. That was, until someone slammed into my husband yesterday and totaled our 1996 Subaru Outback, which had looked like it was going to last forever. Luckily, no one was hurt. Bad changes sure do happen in a split second.

Now your turn. What frugal things are you doing today?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie November 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm

First and foremost: Condolences on the demise of the Outback–and thank goodness it was only the car! Glad your DH is OK.

Re: the other things, I often do a running commentary in my head that sounds like your “Today and every day…” when I need to boost my morale. (“Here I am taking a shower with my recycled soap bits, drying off on the towels we salvaged from one of the rental properties, putting on my Salvation Army shirt and Rescue Mission jeans…”–that sort of thing. Silly, but it helps.)


Jennifer N. November 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Katy, I’m so sorry about your car! Someone pulled out in front of me and totalled my old car, which was just over a year from paid for. I only got a little bit more than what was owed on it. It was our only car, so we ended up with another car payment! And the woman had the nerve to ask me not to call cops.

And I feel you on old phones. My husband and I are on non-contract plans, so the sticker price of buying a new phone outright is absolutely shocking!


Vickie November 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm

We had a snow day off from work today.
1 – No driving saves gas!
2 – Eating leftovers and what we have on hand.
3- $2.99 win: I found a beautiful, old Royal Bavarian China tray/dish at the thrift store and after looking it up online, found out is worth $70-90. It pays to rummage through dishes at the Goodwill Store and check the stamp on the bottom!
4 – I wash dishes by hand all the time and just leave them in the drainer to dry – no extra electricity or water used.
5 – I color my own hair. I have an old dark green t-shirt (free from Vendor) and an old dark blue towel I keep on hand for for coloring my hair – stains don’t show. I’ve figured out, years ago, coloring my own lasts longer than having it done at the Salon and MUCH cheaper!


Maggie November 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Sorry to hear about your car!

Today I had a job interview. I wore an outfit I got at the thrift store (with the exception of the shapewear and pants- they were bought on clearance because I can’t bring myself to wear used underthings, and I couldn’t find long enough pants.) I also borrowed jewelry from my mum rather than buying something new.
Tonight for dinner we’ll be eating leftovers!
Today (and every day) we used cloth diapers on both of our children. Most of our diapers were pre-loved, and all but three have been used for both kids.
I washed all our clothes in cold water (except the diapers!) with clearance and double coupon purchased detergent, and hung them to dry
We used our woodstove instead of using our electric heater.


Robin November 17, 2014 at 3:09 pm

– I returned two pairs of jeans to the Gymboree store (bought on sale but they were shaped oddly and didn’t fit my son)
– took a pair of jeans I bought last year to Nordstrom to be hemmed. Free hemming! I did buy the jeans there.
– drop off a box of donations at Goodwill close to Nordstroms (no driving out of my way to drop them where I usually do)
– sold a box of DVDs to Rasputin music and made $71!
– hopefully a Craiglist person comes by tonight and buys some curtains I’ve had listed for months – I was losing hope

Bonus frugal – listed some of my sons toys on Craigslist – will be nice if they sell!


nesha November 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm

You’ll never save more than with cloth diapers! It’s been a heck of a long time since my kids were that age, and i still think that was the most frugal and non-consumer thing I ever did.


Katie November 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

So sorry to hear about your Outback!

1. Leaving the thermostat dressed modestly and dressing in sweatshirts.
2. Cooking from the fridge/pantry tonight: buttermilk chicken and mashed potatoes. So delicious, very inexpensive to make and used up several ingredients before they went to waste.
3. Made up a batch of laundry soap today. Let my daughter help while she had a snow day. Functional entertainment.
4. Bagged up some fairly current magazines and a few books to cash in at Half Price Books later this week.
5. Shared my SwagBucks referral link on social media today. Several friends joined and have already begun earning points which leads to easy points for me.


Jill November 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Sorry to hear about your car but glad to hear everyone is ok. And I’m with you on all of the above but #4 – I am still using my daughter’s old “dumb” phone that she handed up to me. We will be changing carriers so I will get a new-to-me phone but not til next summer. Thrift store clothes, my mom’s old couches, a paid off car and cold water wash – yep.


Tonya November 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

-Today I packed my lunch for work (and ate up some leftovers in the process).

-Tonight we have leftover chili, made with a big bunch of leftover crockpot beans from Saturday’s Mexican meal (so, for those who are following my logic, leftovers made out of leftovers….).

-This Saturday I bought turkey at .69/lb for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal. It was a frozen bird, so I’ll just pull it out the Monday before the meal. I have bought one per week at this price all month, so I have 4 turkeys in my extra freezer, ready for the winter months. Almost nothing nicer than making a turkey, “just because” when it’s cold outside.

-I used a gift certificate a business acquaintaince had given me to buy a $25 certificate for a gift for a relative.

-Sent my in-laws’ holiday gifts with my hubby when he visited them this past weekend. No postage=frugal win. My MIL is a child of the depression, and she loves this kind of thing! I’m surprised she didn’t send our gifts back with him. 🙂


Caitlin November 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm

1. I made a $500 car payment on my husband’s car- $375 more than owed for the month. It should be paid off in 7 months!
2. Bought three dinner plates at the thrift store for ¢72.
3. I plan on making a roasted chicken for dinner which will give me leftovers for the whole week.
4. I’ve been really focusing on swagbucks to get gift cards for Christmas. I had bought my contacts through shop and earn and got over 800 swagbucks back!
5. I’ve been keeping the heat at 63° at night and during the day. When my husband gets home we kick it up to a toasty 65°. Last year I had it at 68° all winter- hopefully this will save money!


Patricia November 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Sorry to hear of your car accident glad everyone is ok.

1/ Focusing on good health as the real wealth as 2 family members are not well.
2/ Walk to and from getting sun and saving petrol..building stamina.
3/ Preparing, Cooking , Washing up after all meals
4/ Connecting with like minded friends maintaining motivation for my frugal journey.
5/ Reviewing previous successes and appreciating them and using them to self-motivate and building strength and keep focussed!


Shawn November 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Sigh. I’m having a week filled with NCA failures. However, some of that is due to replacing items ruined due to flooding. Some of that will have to do with changing phone providers, as mine has irritated me enough to call it done.

All I can do is my best, where I can. A temporary issue isn’t a permanent failure.

Alternately, we decided against upgrading the TV over the weekend. I did not/ do not want to recreationally buy things while what we have is working.


Paige November 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Well my list is short and I’ve actually been keeping track since the last list cause sometimes I blow it all around….but I’m trying.
1) Brought lunch to work on the last day of my last work cycle. Had enough for the entire 12 hour shift and didn’t even spend $.75 on a canned drink from the machine.
2)Darned some more of my husband’s work socks. I cut up some lone socks to patch holes in socks that have pairs where the holes are too big to close. I told him socks are something we can get, but he figures if they’re still a pair, they’re keepers.

Today I blew it cause I slept and didn’t prep my lunch for this midnight shift, so I ate out. I’m off for the next 3 days so I’ll be cooking and culling out clothes and clearing my sewing and embroidery machines area so I can start making gifts and things to sell from supplies I already have. These five kids are getting even more expensive. My oldest bonus kid is in high school and in FFA. We just got her feeder pig so we have an extra mouth to feed in addition to the show rabbits. HOWEVER….we’ll have LOTS of pork chops and bacon in the end that will be processed by the senior food processing students. SCORE!!!


Trish November 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm

wow, Paige, you sound like a very interesting person! and very industrious!


Paige November 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

LOL! Thanks Trish…I think I’m really just an undiagnosed case of ADHD cause I want to try EVERYTHING and have just enough nerve to think I can.


Roberta November 18, 2014 at 7:05 am

If you’re not interested in the cost of purchasing a market project, you might want to talk to your local Heifer, Int, charity. Out local chapter likes to donate the cost of a market animal, with the understanding that the market price goes to Heifer (to provide animals to needy around the world). I know sometimes the project is more important than the payoff, so I wanted to mention it to you.

I’m sorry to hear about your car, but I’m so happy no one was injured!


Katy November 18, 2014 at 8:23 am

Thank you, the accident was a huge reminder of how every healthy day on this earth is a gift.


Paige November 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I’m gonna check and see if we have any groups like that in our area. I know that when we move up to showing steers the girls can do the calf scramble for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. If I understand it all right, if the kids catch a calf, they raise it and then show it for the auction the next year. That would make the project cost less but then we don’t get the meat after. But it will also be a good way to give back if we have a charity group like what you are speaking of in our area. THANKS SO MUCH!!!


Jamie November 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

1. Today I ate three different home-cooked meals. I have discovered that i need to give myself variety or I get bored with the first round of leftovers…so yesterday i cooked four different things. If anything starts to go bad, it’s all freezable!
2. Today my dad asked me what I want for my birthday/Christmas (December 11th baby) and I said either a new couch or mattress. Second year in a row I’ve asked for completely practical things.
3. My dog seems to have decided that he’s over his kibble, so I’ve started cooking a bunch of eggs and mixing bits in with every meal. It’s good for him, easy, and cheaper than getting wet dog food…and seems to be doing the trick! (I have taken him to the vet and he’s totally fine)
4. My friend asked for a ride from the airport, I haven’t moved my car since I dropped her off a week ago and both times I made sure to run my car-related errands before and after picking her up. Saving gas!
5. My upstairs neighbor knocked on my door this evening and offered me a bag of free bagels. I gladly took them and stuck a bunch in the freezer.


Ali November 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your car and happy to hear dh is ok.

1. bundled up in the house today so I didn’t have to turn the heat up too much. Since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism I can’t stand the cold.

2. paying bills online – saving postage

3. cancelled That stupid freebie got away from me.

4. checked the stock of toothpaste, deodorant and soap. Looks pretty good but I’ll buy an extra package of soap – long winter and don’t want to run out. All of these were purchased on sale and with a coupon.

5. cleaned off all the papers on the magnetic kitchen table. Feels better to be clutter free.
Cloth diapers rock! I was the weirdo in my age group back in the early 90’s for using them.


Patti November 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm

We had torrential rains today and I had to get out and deliver Mobile Meals in it. I was thankful for my warm car and layered clothing, especially when I thought about people working outside today and those who are homeless or do not have appropriate rain gear (as I saw a guy in a black trash bag with a grocery sack wrapped around his head). We just don’t appreciate our basics sometimes.


Sarah November 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm

1. Cut out cool die cut designs from $15 scrapbook paper that I got at a church sale for $1. Starting making my Christmas cards.
2. Had a friend over for dinner. Dined in on this extremely cold night.
3. Learned of sale at grocery store. If you spend $50, you get a $10 gift card. Stocked up on pantry items and food for lunches.
4. Wore my brand new pants today–purchased at goodwill with tags on them—all I had to do was hem them!
5. Subbing in an extra program at work—$ will come in handy, judging on this cold snap I will need it to pay hearing bill!


Sarah November 17, 2014 at 8:44 pm

oop– heating bill!!


cathy November 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

So glad no one was hurt, but sorry to hear about the Outback. I’ve also got a ’96 Outback I love, but for some reason it won’t start so I have to get it towed to the shop for repairs 🙁
Besides doing the same as your #s 1, 2, and 3, and using my dumbphone all day, today I picked up a replacement buckle for the waist straps of my husband’s backpack. It set me back 64 cents. I registered to participate in Small Business Saturday. Took a kid for a check up and the doctor offered us free samples of asthma meds. (Of course I accepted!) Called the library to clarify something on my account, and they waived a fee that was incorrectly charged to me. I’ve been reading A LOT of library books (already planning next year’s edible garden) and enjoying two current magazines (one is this month, one is December) that I purchased (secondhand) for 75 cents each at the thrift store. I offered the kids applesauce with dinner and they wanted to be sure it was the homemade I put up the other day. Nothing better than kids who prefer homemade over store bought!


Katy November 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hopefully your Outback only needs a minor repair.


cathy November 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

Crossing my fingers, but it isn’t exactly a spring chicken! Great cars, though, aren’t they?


CarrieP November 17, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Today I:

1. Wore a heavy coat inside to keep warm and avoid turning up the heat
2. Menu planned for the week based on food we already have–found some really fun, new recipes, too. Kids loved chipotle spiced turkey and peppers!
3. Grocery shopped with a list and stuck with it, save some crazy low-priced clearance items I found. Made the list based on recipes from menu plan items needed to supplement the food we already have
4. Made popcorn with my almost 20 year old air popper for my kids’ after school snack. They were excited and sat and told me about their day at school
5. Got started with a carpool for my daughter’s morning swim team practice. This will save gas as well as minimize the times I have to get up at 4:30 am for 5:00 am practice 5x a week!


Megg November 17, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Today and every weekday I choose to wear a free tshirt from work rather than dressing business casual like other supervisors. I work with kids so I get sweaty or gross sometimes, and prefer to save my small wardrobe for the weekends.
Today we cut our health insurance cost by 2/3 by choosing a different, but equally good plan for next year. I am thankful that we have great insurance for less than $20/month, but I’m even more grateful that we are healthy and don’t need to see doctors regularly.
Today and every day I am posting things to give away and looking for potential gifts for free in my local buy nothing project Facebook group. I have also recently acquired two new games and some craft supplies for work through this group which makes me happy, as budget cuts are coming up.


Jane F November 18, 2014 at 3:35 am

Just echoing everyone else. What an awful shock. I’m so glad no one was hurt.


Kelly in MA November 18, 2014 at 5:54 am

Oh No! Poor Outback, I have a Subaru too and I know what kind of hit they need to take to be totaled. Thank Goodness your DH is OK!

This past weekend I visited a friend that lives a fair distance from me (we are both frugal so we often think about the round trip gas and make our visits super productive.) I went with a bag of clothes my daughter has out grown, they will be perfect for Cheryl’s little girl. I also arrived with some basic craft supplies and a small project for all the kids (my one and her four) We both now have some cool snow flake decorations. They have a half dozen chickens and we left with a dozen eggs and a couple of jars of pickles and salsa canned from their garden! As a bonus she had a coupon and gift certificate that allowed us to grab dinner for free, we did have to go pick it up but on the way home we saw a woman put a great doll house out for free. It is in perfect condition and my daughter is hoping that Santa will bring her a doll house this year. Score!!!


Kelly in MA November 18, 2014 at 5:56 am

Oh, I nearly forgot. My friend and her husband had a late afternoon obligation and origanally they were going to have to hire a babysitter. Instead I watched all five kids until they got home. They were able to save nearly $50 and we got extra time with them too!


Katy November 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

What a wonderful friend you are!


Katy November 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hooray for free dollhouses!


Diane November 18, 2014 at 6:16 am

Thankful the accident was injury free, but sorry your Old Faithful Outback is gone. I have a 2000 Honda CRV still going strong and know the attachment to a good vehicle.

Yes, life can change in a split second, for the good or the bad.


Sharon H. November 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

What a great list of frugal wins. Love it.

Today I
– hanging clothes up to dry on the dry rack to add moisture to winter heated air
– planning errands to maximize efficiency, making lists and corralling coupons
– yesterday I mended a tiny hole in a brand new Pendleton sweater I got from the thrift store, and began laboriously cutting off the ridiculous sequins from an otherwise lovely Nordic style sweater. Today I’m washing my terrific finds.
– wearing warm leggings under my jeans so I can keep the thermostat set low
– wrapping up a fun gag gift for my DH also from the thrift store: a J. Peterman red flannel sleep shirt. DH is impossible to buy for, but he truly loves funny gag gifts. This is perfect.


Shelley November 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

1. Making patchwork cushion covers for living room. The pillows inside are three old small ones I found in the attic, each wrapped twice with some wadding scraps given to me by sewing friends. I take the stuff they would normally trash and find a way to use it in my crafting – gives me a free hobby!
2. We are having leftover lentil loaf for dinner tonight along with home grown kale. Also carrots bought at green market and fruit for dessert.
3. I’m wearing thrift shop clothing and old running shoes.
4. The thermostat is set at 65.
5. The only light on in the house is the one my husband is reading by across the room.


Jessica November 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

1. Took public transportation to work (like I always do…this is NYC)
2. Wearing mostly thrifted outfit.
3. DH and I fixed lunches for the kids and us.
4. Drank coffee prepared at work, no expensive latte for me (ever, pretty much).
5. Attending birthday party for a cousin today and my gift to him will be a potted plant that is part of one I divided from his parents’ apartment. So it is thoughtful and free.


Kristen November 18, 2014 at 9:51 am

Oh no! I’m so sorry about your car, but glad your husband is ok.

It is SO frustrating when an older paid-for car is wrecked, because the car is always worth so much more to you than the insurance will pay for it.


JD November 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

Today I am:
1. eating leftovers for my lunch at work, as usual. Tonight we’ll have ham given to us by our daughter, who had too much leftover from her dinner party the previous night.
2. not being quite so frugal as I wished to be, but I found some items on sale on Amazon for the grandkids, and buying them through Amazon Smile means I automatically donate to a charity I favor. It isn’t much that gets donated, but it all adds up.
3. hanging out clothes in the 45 degrees at noon weather — it’s sunny again, and the air is dryer, so they will dry quickly enough.
4. tonight will be the first night this fall to turn on our furnace — the temp is predicted to be 21. It was 33 last night, but because they day was warmer with the crazy storm front coming through, our house stayed warm enough to last through the night.
5. wearing a second-hand sweater, second hand jeans, and second hand shirt. I love them.


stacy November 18, 2014 at 11:48 am a paid off 2001 xterra that we replaced the engine in last year…praying it makes it one more year
2.wearing my clothes till they are holy… when they get holy I don’t wear them to church any more(lol) just wear them for farm work
3. have had my computer 9 years and I will inherit my daughters 3 year old laptop once I get it fixed(screen broke)
4.Use mostly recycled wood for all our farm projects(goat housing, chicken housing, arbor,etc.)
5.when we do buy something new we use it for a long time… till it no longer functions, then we try to turn it into something else till it is all worn out.
6. at the moment our Sharn(not really a barn but too big to be a shed) was built by the previous owner/lived through the Great Depression… one of the walls is part garage door and another wall is old shutters- trying to make it stay up and last for a few more years


Lisa November 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

1. Cleaned out the basement. Brought a car load of stuff to Salvation Army. They won’t take toys so Big Brother Big Sister is coming to pick those up tomorrow.
2. I’m a librarian, I always get my books, cd’s and dvd’s at the library instead of buying them.
3. Sewed clothes over the weekend. Fixed a hem, took in the legs on a pair of work pants, and fixed a hole in two shirts.
4.Bring my lunch/dinner to work everyday. Make my daughter’s lunch everyday and carry them in reusable bags with reusable water bottles.
5. Got a free coffee at Starbucks yesterday for my birthday. Got a free pastry at Panera for using a rewards card.


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