Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 17, 2016 · 78 comments

Free stuff

  1. I sold a pair of girls’ figure skates on Craigslist for $30. These were a pair that I picked up for free from garage sale leftovers when my sister was in town. In all, I made $115 from the stuff I found that day. (Rocking chair, blanket/sham set, cloth diapering kit and the figure skates.) I kept a great spatula for myself from that day, and my sister kept a brand new pair of Danskos, a life vest, clothing for her daughter and an addictive wooden toy.
  2. I’m exhausted from working the last couple of days and plan on doing absolutely nothing today. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ll finish reading my library copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child today. And laundry. Always laundry.
  3. I re-listed all my Craigslist listings this morning. Although some items sell immediately, most things take awhile to find a new home. For example, I listed those figure skates when my sister was in town, which means that they took almost a full month to sell. But that’s no bother to me, as they took up almost no room and it costs nothing to use Craigslist.
  4. I helped myself to a huge box of nice fabric and brand new Chinese lanterns that were set beside a dumpster behind an antiques mall. I gave the fabric to my friend Lise, who’ll turn them into tote bags to sell, and I’ll see if my local consignment shop wants the lanterns. If they don’t, I’ll make them available for my Buy Nothing group. This is the fourth (fifth?) time that I’ve gleaned stuff from this spot to sell, which has made it a logical place to cruise past when I visit my mother’s neighborhood. From this spot I’ve found and then sold a vintage dining room chair, a cute vintage American Tourister train case, a vintage plant stand and something else that’s slipping my addled mind.
  5. My husband went to the Portland Timbers soccer game today, and was proud to show me how he’d packed a sandwich so he wouldn’t have to buy expensive stadium food. Aww . . . he does love me!

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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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey September 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm

1. Had 23 pounds of green tomatoes turn red over two days. Didn’t have the time to can them so I roasted them at high heat in two huge pans, along with some garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar. After the liquid burned off in the oven, I used an immersion blender on them. Ended up with three containers of oven-roasted spaghetti sauce, frozen for use this winter.
2. A guy at work brought in a pair of sneakers he’d worn once and left them in the staff room with a message that they were too small for him so anyone could take them. They fit me so I took them, even though one of the women in the staff room sniffed that she would not wear men’s sneakers (I am a woman). These sneaks retail for over $100, she is crazy!
3. A local feed store had a sale on human foods. We got there at the end of the day and there were two 50 pounds bags of oatmeal left. I asked the manager if he wanted to get rid of both bags before closing by offering me a better deal—I ended up getting one bag for the half price sale and the other for half of the half price sale—so 25% of the usual price. We won’t eat 100 pounds of oatmeal but we have a friend with four kids of her own and two foster kids, so we dropped a bag off at her place. She was thrilled. Two days later she showed up with a huge bag of granola she’d made from some of the oatmeal, as a thank you. Yum.
4. Unexpected guest came over about dinner time. Years ago I would have ordered a pizza but I instead I made a vat of mac and cheese from stuff I already had. I peeled and seeded some sort of sad cukes left over from my garden harvest and served those with a sour cream and vinegar sauce.
5. Made a meatloaf using up some elderly crackers that were heavily spiced and the resulting meat tasted really good!


A. Marie September 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Lindsey’s FFTs rock, especially 1 and 2. Re: 2, I wear a men’s 7M very comfortably and have never let gender stereotyping get in the way of acquiring a pair of good shoes. (NB: A lot of teenage boys go through size 7 shoes like a motorcyclist through a flaming hoop and don’t wear them more than once or twice.)


Marcia September 17, 2016 at 3:52 pm

My older DD wore a ladies 5 w, and for casual shoes had a much easier time looking in the boys dept than ladies. Didn’t work for dress shoes, though! I don’t think she ever in her life had a choice between 2 pair of shoes to buy–it was whatever fit her is what she wore. Very hard to find.


Ruby September 18, 2016 at 6:16 am

I wear a 6.5 wide and have a hard time finding shoes too, so have worn boy’s size 4.5 sneakers for years. A plus is that they’re usually way less expensive than ladies shoes.

My frugal five are not too impressive this week:
The usual 1-5: packed my lunch and drinks to work every day, wore cute thrifted outfits, spent no money, hung some of the laundry to dry on the indoor racks, made some delicious meals out of frozen leftovers.

Bonus 6: We live in Tennessee and got an early alert about the gasoline pipeline break because my husband signed up with a big gas station chain for alerts and discounts. He went out first thing yesterday morning and filled up all our cars using his discount. He did see one station that had already run out of gas.


Lucy September 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

I’m a woman, I farm, and I am terribly hard on both clothes and footwear. Men’s jeans are my choice as they are made of heavier, more durable denim. The relaxed fit type of men’s jeans are almost tailored to my shape. Men’s boots are made for working and also come in a better selection, and my, um, sturdy base supports wear a men’s 8.5D. Men’s T shirts are heavier also. And for long sleeves, ladies’ long sleeves stop a good 4 inches short of my wrists, so men’s sweatshirt and turtlenecks are my choice.

Trying to stay clothed shopping in the ladies department is frustrating and expensive. Gave up on it long ago, but I don’t get any comments about my clothes being men’s, because I essentially dress the same way. Who can tell? No one. Except my wrists are not exposed in cold weather!


Marion September 19, 2016 at 12:32 am

I’m with you. Not a farmer but I do live in the country and do a lot of outdoor activities. Women’s clothing just doesn’t cut it for hauling wood, cutting brush, doing yard and house maintenance. The material simply doesn’t hold up. And why should I pay double for less quality?


Heather in L.A. September 19, 2016 at 6:36 am

I just giggled when I read Limdsey’s comment. I bet her co worker has a pair of boyfriend jeans in her closet!! My DD has battled bunions since 12, the specialist we saw for treatment made custom inserts for her and even with those she chose mens shoes. They have a wider toe box typically. And unless you are purchase their ballet flats, converse shoes are typically unisex. Feet are feet and I would rather have a shoe that supported properly than to bow to a label.


Vickie September 19, 2016 at 10:20 am

Wow! Good job on the tomatoes, I use spaghetti sauce for a multitude of meal ideas.

I’m with you on the shoes, I would not have passed them up either!
The pair I wear to the gym are men’s Nikes in a size 9 and I found them for $3 at the thrift store. I had buying a pair of women’s 8 1/2 at Ross, but I had to take them back. Apparently my right foot is longer and wider than my left foot – just weird. The men’s athletic shoes fit me better and I’m able to do my walking and working out without having my feet hurt afterwards. I could careless about what gender they are made for. Athletic shoes are expensive when they are new and I’d much rather have something that fits well and be frugal too! 🙂


K D September 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

I almost always buy men’s tennis shoes, they’re more comfortable for my feet and I have bought my daughter boys Sperrys because her foot is a bit wide and they are so much cheaper than womens. There is nothing wrong with thinking outside the box.


LisaC September 17, 2016 at 1:17 pm

This blog really makes me stop to think about how I can spend even less, thank you Katy!
1. Having a potluck dinner with another couple tonight. She got a good deal on steaks, I am bringing salad. We are both happy and we get to spend time together.
2. Made more salsa, the last of the green tomatoes from my neighbor’s garden turned red, some were kind of yellow. Used jalapenos and cilantro (frozen) from my garden.
3. Started reading The Prudent Homemaker and got some good ideas for shopping, like setting a limit on price per pound for produce, any produce. Makes sense to only buy the fruit that is less per pound overall.
4. Shopped only the sales at the grocery store, used some bogo coupons for avocados, planned meals around the sales.
5. Making casseroles and chili for the week. Hubs hates to cook but he will heat. I got behind on this and all last week he kept offering to “go out and pick up something”. NO.

I have two containers of steel cut oats that I bought on clearance last winter. We don’t have time to cook oatmeal before work in the morning, so they are sitting, unopened, in my cupboard, taunting me. No idea what to do with them.


Patti September 17, 2016 at 1:43 pm

You can fix the steel cut oats by using the overnight oats recipes (type in “overnight steel cut oats recipes” and you will find a lot of them online) or you can cook them overnight in your crockpot and wake up to a hot breakfast!


Heather in L.A. September 19, 2016 at 6:39 am

I cook a large batch for several breakfasts and either portion them or just pour in a large container and place in the fridge. My family can just scoop out how much they want, add butter and their own flavorings and microwave in the am.


NaiveOrBrave September 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm

@Lindsay How do you freeze cilantro? I tried it a couple of times but it came out tasting like old, muddy leaves. I would love to do that though as there are a couple of meals that just need cilantro and when I get it I always have some left over…

I use oatmeals in cookies, use it for granola bars.


Lisa Wright September 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm

look on you tube, there is recipe for over night steel cut oats. cook before bed and it will be ready by morning. Just search over night steel cut oats. good luck.


Shevaun September 18, 2016 at 1:41 am

For using up oatmeal: We have some glass-pyrex-tupperware-type containers: in the evening while I’m cooking dinner, I’ll prep next day’s breakfast. 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 banana cut up, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit or 1/4 cup dried fruit, then milk to cover. Pop on the lid and stick in fridge. Next morning, microwave for 4 minutes (or fiddle until you find the softness you like). Nom nom nom.


Shevaun September 18, 2016 at 1:42 am

Oh, remember to remove the lid before microwaving or else you’ll have a super hot oatmeal bomb explode in your face. Not fun.


Bee September 18, 2016 at 4:45 am

I often make baked oatmeal. There are many recipes online. I made one recently that used coconut milk and bananas. It was a tropical treat! Many recipes use apples and pumpkin. Bake it over the weekend. Then on week day mornings, spoon out a serving and heat in the microwave.


Isabelle September 19, 2016 at 11:31 am

I prep oatmeal the night before : cover oatmeal with enough milk. In the morning, 1 minute in the microwave, that’s it.


A. Marie September 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Re: Katy’s #4, I wish I lived near that dumpster. (On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be fighting with Katy for the good stuff, so it’s probably just as well.)

Now, my FFT, Road Trip/Literary Society edition:

(1) Drove to the next Upstate city over with DH for the first Literary Society meeting of the new season. (In paid-for 2013 Prius, gassed up at warehouse club. Was pleased to whoosh by several Thruway service areas with inflated gas prices.)

(2) First stop in next city over was the “Blue” Goodwill boutique store, where we spent part of a birthday gift card to me from Lit. Soc. Friend #1 (hereafter LS#1) on a like-new black leather jacket for DH for $16. I haven’t seen a smile that wide on his dear face in ages.

(3) Had lunch at our favorite hole in the wall restaurant with LS#1, where we thanked her profusely both for the gift card and for printing out five posters I need for a presentation at next month’s LS national conference, at her employee discount (she works for a print shop in town).

(4) At LS meeting, LS Friend #2 (a beloved 90-year-old member) brought back 2 jars of dill pickles I had given her earlier, which she really isn’t supposed to be eating. By prior arrangement, I redistributed the pickles to LS#1 and LS#3. (If you’re thinking that this is as much an affectionate exchange of goods and services as it is a Literary Society, you’re right.)

(5) And I brought LS#2 a quart of cherry tomatoes, which she not only can eat but says she savors one by one, like chocolates. I tried to include tomatoes at various stages of ripeness so she can stretch the pleasure out.


cathy September 17, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Keeping track of your LS friends, and all the sharing, reminded me of one of my favorite reads of the summer: __The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society__. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it!


chris September 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm

I absolutely adored that book. Ate it up like LS #2 eats her cherry tomatoes. Savored every bit.


A. Marie September 19, 2016 at 1:27 am

Have read it and enjoyed it!


Diane C September 19, 2016 at 3:58 am

Not only did I love it, but as a Library Board member, I got to have dinner with Annie Barrows last year. What a treat! It was as if the book had come alive.


Vickie September 19, 2016 at 10:38 am

Thank you for that book suggestion. I just put it on hold at the Library! 🙂


Patti September 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

My frugal five:
1) Our town had a special collection day for yard debris, appliances, electronics, furniture and tires. We took our old Bose stereo that we had had for years that finally bit the dust. It might could have been repaired but no one seemed to know how to do it so this was our best option. I am hoping they are going to recycle the parts.
2) On the way to this event, we noticed that gas was very cheap at one of our full service gas stations ($1.89). We came home and went back to fill up the cars. South Carolina is in a state of emergency due to the pipeline break and some of our gas stations are already out of gasoline.
3) My husband travels to work (150 miles a day) so he HAD to have gas. I am thinking of ways to not use my gasoline this week: i.e.: walk to work, stay home and not go out, combine trips when I do have to go – which I do anyway. I am also going to take my bicycle in for repairs.
4)I am repairing a costume today to pass along to another child. I am using an old pillowcase to make the sleeve I need.
5).I want to use up some pre-packaged popcorn (microwave kind) for snacks for the week. I usually pop my own in the microwave in a glass bowl, so not sure how to keep this popcorn from becoming stale. I am thinking of vacuum sealing it into some containers that came with my Food Saver unless someone has another good idea.


Jennifer September 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm

5. You may not like sweets but I like to make homemade caramel corn this time of year to use up popcorn. It doesn’t last long around here with my small kids. It’s is so delicious while it is still warm.
Popcorn balls are delicious, also. Quick story- when I rode the bus as a child my bus driver used to hand out popcorn balls out of a huge black garbage bag( individually wrapped of course)to us all as we got off the bus around Halloween. That would probably be against some rule this day and time.


Gina September 17, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Your post reminded me of when I was a small child and trick-or-treating. We lived in a small country town and neighbors would hand out popcorn balls, caramel apples and homemade peanut butter cookies.


janine September 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Gina: Don’t we wish those days would return? Country town trick or treating and delish popcorn balls, caramel apples and cookies! Today we don’t seem to have the time, plus our fears of what might turn up in the kids Halloween bags. I did have one neighbor who gave out homemade treats and included her name and number in the packages she handed out.


Gina September 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Janine: Yes, I sure do! Those were definitely simpler times. People were more trusting and crime wasn’t what it is now.

Shevaun September 18, 2016 at 1:49 am

Did you know that the only documented cases of kids getting injured or poisoned by Halloween candy (not including allergies) is when a known person was attempting to commit murder (i.e. like a psycho-parent pretending that the culprit was the trick-or-treating-monster)? There are no documented cases of stranger-poisonings.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful. And kids with allergies absolutely MUST read labels. But razor blades and poison just don’t show up in Halloween bags.

Maybe we could return to homemade treats by neighborhood agreement?


janine September 19, 2016 at 10:37 am

Great Idea Shevaum – sometimes we overdo our fears of the unknown.


Vickie September 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

I only remember a few cases back in the 60s of a razor blade being found in an apple. That’s it, just one case. It’s sad to think of anyone, especially a parent hurting a child.

I loved popcorn balls, those my favorite Halloween treats as a kid. I’ve gotten homemade cookies and even one couple used to give out pennies, which I always thought was cool because I could add them to my bank! 🙂


BJS September 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

1. Cleared out a little section of my pantry. It had food in it that had been there for a while. I (sadly) had to throw away a couple of things that were questionable, but was able to eat most of it up. It’s nice to see a clear spot in there now.

2. At my daughter’s soccer game this morning, I spotted some plastic bins in the corner of the field. They turned out to be full of free books! I walked over there as soon as I realized what they were, and ended up taking two. I’ll put them in my “donate” bag after I read them. I thought parents only put out free shin guards and cleats and only on the first game of the season, but from now on I’ll keep my eyes peeled on that corner of the field!

3. My son found a penny on the ground. I often wonder if my kids are “catching” my frugal habits. At least in the area of picking up spare change they find on the ground, they seem to be!

4. My husband I felt like coffee last night after dinner, so I made a pot. We only drank some of it, so I had the leftover this morning. (Mrs. Picky Pincher, I think it was you who said you didn’t mind coffee that was a day old, either? I might be wrong that it was you … I’m sorry if I am!)

5. I bought a different brand of parsley flakes. With this one, when I screw the lid off, there’s not one of those plastic thingys with the holes. I found this out the hard way! I put a sticky note on top of the bottle telling myself to lift up the plastic tab part, and not unscrew the whole lid like I’m used to doing.


Julie September 17, 2016 at 3:29 pm

1- I found a loonie. That’s a 1.00 coin in Canada. I never find money so it must be hanging out here, because yesterday I found 10 cents.
2-paid for parking down town with parking tokens previously left on our windshield.
3-used 60.00 of my grocery store points and stocked up on meat.
4- fed the family homemade burgers for dinner, despite the pleas for pizza
5- just realized that I have 2 months of no gas bill. We are on equal billing and have really reduced our usage in the past few years, but they have not drop our monthly rate. Oh well, it will be eaten up by the frightening hydro bill we just received


Marcia September 17, 2016 at 4:12 pm

1. Got some canned diced tomatoes without salt for 50 cents a 15 oz can. Stocked up on those (store brand) and put the new ones in cellar on storage shelves, and brought up the cans that were left from last sale for the kitchen cupboard. Grew no tomatoes this year so will be needing these for winter.
2. My savings with coupons and store card came to 38% last week and 32% this week–included 3# bags of apples BOGO.
3. My store has a program where for a couple months, they have specific number of items at lower than normal prices. The 33 oz Listerine mouth wash has been $4.99 for two cycles now–and the bottles have a $1 off hang tag. I have bought a bottle a week for $3.99 for about three months so far—we use a lot of Listerine, and that’s a good price for it here.
4. Had a family birthday party today–had a great meal there, lots of cake and ice cream and a really good time. Love those free meals! We had so much fun talking to the kids too. It did pour buckets when we were having cake and ice cream but it stayed nice until then. The trip home was pretty hairy too (a hour’s drive in a blinding rainstorm that looked like the end of the world!) We are home now and all is calm! Will check rain gauge in the morning for total rainfall.
5. Thinking about making pillows for DGD for Christmas….going to see if I can find some old embroidered dresser scarves ( I have lots my mother and aunts did the embroidery on) that have holes, and use the good parts to make a crazy quilt type pillow top. I know I have some of the lace I used for her mother’s wedding gown, which I made, and I plan to trim it with some of that. I’ve been sewing for a long time and have plenty of scraps and such to play with. She has a tan leather couch and a lot of white furniture in a Victorian style apartment, so thought that using linens in beige and whites with some embroidery on them would work nicely. Need to start hunting up some odds and ends and get started on them. Hoping to make 2, not exactly matching, but similar. Yes, for THIS year!


janine September 17, 2016 at 4:34 pm

1. Spent the morning at a wild rice festival. Loved that it was local, small and kid oriented. Learned about how Native Americans processed this grain – (more complicated than I thought) and of course was reminded that true wild rice is brown and not black as are the commercial varieties. Free admission but we purchased crafts and food.
2. Friend and I went shopping at a clearance center for her “mother of the groom” dress – didn’t find it and most importantly – I didn’t spend any $$ though tempted.
3. Cooked dinner at home tonight using up leftovers – made layered roast beef and potatoes with gravy and mushrooms. Husband loved it which made me happy.
4. Trying to plan as frugal as possible next weekend – need to make time to visit friends as well as attending a family wedding in another state. Will bring snacks and a thermos of iced tea along.
5. No Lear Jet


Mand01 September 17, 2016 at 4:38 pm

September just keeps on giving. Australia Post has slowed down their postal service to save money, and as such we had two bills come in that were sent weeks ago and that are due next week, totalling $1000. Excuse me while I choke. So after I curse our postal service, I need to come up with some ways to cut back, stat!
1. We cancelled a planned date night for next weekend, which with the cost of babysitting would have cost us $200. We will have to save it for October, I guess. We rarely have a night out and we were looking forward to it, but oh well.
2. I had budgeted $100 for my daughter’s birthday party, planning to order in pizzas. Instead we used what we had at home plus bought some toppings and a few bits and pieces, and spent $15. We served homemade pizzas, cupcakes, cake, cookies, and pancakes the next morning. The kids had a blast. Plus, we have lots of leftovers.
3. I have another birthday, a baby shower and another baby gift to buy. I budgeted $80 but spent $65, including something from the gift registry for the shower. These should be the last gifts now until Christmas, thank goodness!
4. I’m working from home three days this week, so we should not have to fill our cars up for the rest of the week. Whatever is left from our petrol budget will go to our pile of bills.
5. We set our clothesline back up, which has been disused for a year due to the presence of overhanging trees. Now they have been removed we can hang washing outside again. We have been hanging washing inside for all this time, and finishing it in the dryer, but outside drying is much cheaper in Australian spring weather.


Susie's Daughter September 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Oh Mand –

As they say in New England, wicked bummer! But well done you to find so many savings in the process.


Stephanie September 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Hi Mand, Why don’t you ring the companies and explain about the postal delay. I’m sure they would give you an extension on the due date of the bills.
P.s. Love seeing another Aussie on here!


Mand01 September 18, 2016 at 11:45 pm

Hi there, Aussie!
I thought about doing that but in the end we tweaked our budget for the next two weeks, and pulled some from our emergency fund. It makes me very cranky to do that though as I had every (known) bill budgeted for – my budget for the next two weeks was the most finely calibrated thing you ever saw! Then Australia Post just stuffed up my perfect plans.
Just goes to show there are no perfect plans! And a thousand bucks is a thousand bucks- it hurts no matter what! But at least I have an emergency fund to draw from. Ten years ago, back in our BOYAB (bones of your arse broke) days, we would have been in deep strife.


A. Marie September 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Sympathies, Mand. The US Postal Service keeps threatening to cut out Saturday delivery–and, in the meantime, we’ve got this new postman on our street who can’t seem to read house numbers right, let alone last names. We haven’t missed any major bills yet that I’m aware of, but we’re spending a fair amount of time walking mail over to the neighbors and vice versa.


Mand01 September 18, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Poorer service is also happening here. Just this past week I have found two pieces of our mail on the street. Higher prices for postage, slower service and crappier service. And they wonder why they are losing money!


K D September 19, 2016 at 11:39 am

It is not uncommon for the mail carriers to be talking on their phones while doing their routes in our area, which I think lowers the efficiency and accuracy of their work. We luckily have a really good regular carrier at this time, but the subs are sometimes a different story.


rebecca September 17, 2016 at 4:45 pm

1. Picked up sofa from friends for new office. I will go to trader joe’s for some lovely and affordable flowers and bring them and a bottle of wine from my stash to say thank you.
2. Used up some chicken legs that were in freezer for dinner. They weren’t that good but that meal saved me from something fattening and spending money on take out.
3. A friend came by to pick up a print and a lamp that I didn’t need. So glad to be getting ride of things I don’t need/use. I love that my friends and I do this.
4. I watched the red sox beat the yanlees today for entertainment.
5. Used an old sofa pillow and recovered it with another decorative pillow case.


Susie's Daughter September 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm

#4 = Woohoo! 3 out of 4 so far…


rebecca September 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

woo hoo is right! so excited for tonight’s game AND the Pats won!!!


Marilyn September 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm

1. Worked three 40-hour weeks, rather than my usual 20-hours per week. I’m saving up for a new (new-to-me) car, so the extra money will be welcome.
2. Went to a yard sale and bought a Chrustmas music CD for 50-cents. I like to listen to music when driving so this will be a good one for December commuting and travel.
3. Did my grocery shopping today. Very organized (for me) about planning meals around coupons and specials. It really paid off. I spent $52 and I believe my husband and I are good for a week.
4. Working on cleaning out the garage. Found some Halloween decor I had forgotten we had. I think I’ll advertise it on Craigslist in a week or so.
5. It’s raining this weekend here in the NW. I’ve just about convinced myself this is a good thing since it means I don’t have to water the lawn or the plants now.


Susie's Daughter September 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

1) Shelves finally arrived for pantry so I reorganized the whole thing. Have an inventory now of what is available, especially helpful for spices. Last part of project will be to go through loose recipes and recipe books to recycle/resell what we don’t use.

2) Decided not to attend a festival an hour away with cost of $70 admission for our family and went for a hike a half hour away at a state park. $8.00 cost of admission to park already paid for with my punch card from the summer. Beautiful hike on a lovely day.

3) Guests this weekend and serving only what is already in the house. Cream cheese with hot pepper jelly as an appetizer, maple bars for breakfast, veggie chili (with zucchini 🙂 ) for dinner tomorrow. Did have to buy extra coffee, but it was on sale for $2.99.

4) Recovered the cushion from a lovely wooden rocker. Fabric given to us years ago from dear friends who were fabric hunters extraordinaire.

5) Stopped by the consignment store yesterday to drop off the latest box of items to sell and had two checks waiting for $80 total! Two of the items sold were things that came with our house that were not our style. This is ALWAYS a win since we don’t miss what is gone and the money is especially helpful this month.


Bee September 18, 2016 at 4:23 am

What a great list. Your first frugal thing is wonderful. Your organized pantry will make cooking so much easier. I really need to do.


Susie's Daughter September 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

Bee – Thank you for that affirmation! #1 is one of those things that has been on the “to do” list for SO long that I have despaired I would ever actually do it. It pleases me so much to walk in there and see it looking better. And I knew I had room now for sugar which was on sale 4lbs for .99 this week. Yay!


Teresa Lawrence September 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Hey Katy –

Just curious if you have a closet or area of your house where you store your things that are for sale, but haven’t sold yet. This is one thing I struggle with in our tiny house.


Katy September 17, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Not particularly. I stored the skates on the shoe rack that’s in our entryway. Our house is pretty big, so space is abundant.


Emily September 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm

1. Hit a 1 dollar clearance sale at a resale store. Got about 20 items, 5 of them NWT! I will keep 2 for now, and list the rest on Poshmark.

2. I have been accepting basically any babysitting/pet sitting job that comes my way until Oct 15 (when I get my first full paycheck). I have been really busy, overwhelmingly busy, but am trying not to pull money from savings so I can pay off a student loan or invest next month.

3. Have all of my coupons and list ready to go for Harris Teeter super doubles. Only 3 days, but can hopefully get some great deals. I plan to go right at 7 am tomorrow! I like stocking up on personal care products to donate or put in care packages for Christmas gifts. There are also students at my school whose parents never pack them a snack, so I try to pick a class every week to donate snacks to so its not all on the teachers backs. I don’t get crazy with couponing, but it can allow me some opportunities to help others that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

4. Trying to hang everything to dry outside using the continuing southern heat. I am originally from the North and man, mid September and 90 degrees is getting kinda wild. I am ready for a lower electric bill please. We have used the oven 2x today and it is crazy how much it increases the temperature in our apartment! Will remember that in the winter.

5. Stopped at Aldi today. Spent about 23.00 and got groceries almost covered for the week. Threw chicken into the crockpot for pulled bbq chickens sandwiches, some snacks for lunches, and organic bread. I have been pb&j-ing it for lunch lately and don’t really mind as long as I make the sandwich right before I eat it. Sounds crazy but if the sandwich gets at all soggy, I can’t handle the texture. I don’t know how I’ll get my future children to eat anything with me being so particular myself!

Sadly, my local Aldi is closing for almost 7 weeks to do a reno 🙁 boooo, but I bet it will be awesome when it re-opens again!


K D September 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

My husband used to teach science and one of the early things he taught was to put peanut butter on both slices of bread (it can be a thin layer) to prevent the jelly from making the bread soggy.


Shevaun September 18, 2016 at 2:09 am

1. Actually spent a LOT of money at Aldi so that I could do a huge batch of freezer-cooking… in preparation for NO cooking for at least a month when baby finally arrives!

2. Potty-training toddler is going well: only used 3 diapers yesterday for morning nap, afternoon nap, and bedtime. Just in time for newborn diapers to start up.

3. My sister-in-law babysat *me* (because of my history of precipitous delivery: DD2 arrived in 17 minutes!) instead of DH calling off work last night. No baby yet, but we had a nice dinner and knitted all night after toddler went to bed.

4. DH and I made a large donation to Doctors Without Borders. They are efficient with their funds, so as far as charitable giving goes, you get the biggest bang for your buck.

5. Neighbor brought over babyfood that her son doesn’t like. I will pack into DD2’s diaper bag for emergency snacks (she mostly eats real people food, but those babyfood squeezies are nice for carrying around in the diaper bag).


Carol September 19, 2016 at 5:41 am

Congratulations on your upcoming baby!


Shevaun September 19, 2016 at 7:00 am

Thank you! We have two girls, and now a little boy on the way… is it frugal or lazy to keep all the lavender onesies? Lavender is sort of blue, right? haha.


Diane September 18, 2016 at 4:17 am

Can your sons do their own laundry to ease your load? The laundry chore is such a big one for working moms.


Katy September 18, 2016 at 9:54 am

My younger son does his own laundry, and my older son doesn’t actually create very much laundry.


Mia September 18, 2016 at 9:38 am

Hi Katy,
When you sell to someone on Craigslist, do you let them come to your home or do you meet them somewhere?


Katy September 18, 2016 at 9:52 am

I meet them at my house, but I always have the item on the porch, so the person never comes into my house. Also, I always have a couple of emails back and forth before I give out my address. Often, I’ll just leave the item on the porch and tell the buyer to just put the money in our locked mailbox, which works out well since they can come at their convenience and I’m not sitting around waiting for them. This has never once backfired for me.


Diane September 19, 2016 at 5:20 pm

I have met so many interesting and kind folks when selling on Craigslist. I always meet them outside my apartment building or leave the item by my door and have them leave the money under the doormat.

I also once took a rider with me from Austin to New Orleans that I contacted through Craigslist. We met beforehand at a coffee shop and my intuition told me it would be OK. We have a lovely conversation for the long drive and she helped with the driving.

I have never had a bad experience with selling on Craigslist in Austin.


Katie September 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

1. Made a Kroger run. Purchased 34 items for $31. This included lots of veggies and fancy cheeses. I also scored a $.25 loaf of Italian bread that will make delicious garlic toast with our meatless meal tonight.
2. Filled up both cars, hopefully this will see us through the gas crisis. Will pull out the trusty Schwinn for running errands around town.
3. Made a batch of chocolate oatmeal cookies for lunch boxes this week.
4. Put my plants out to be watered by the rain.
5. Hung out all the laundry. We don’t own a dryer and honestly do not miss it.


Bee September 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

I just returned yesterday from visiting family. I was not particularly frugal, but I began to retrench as soon as I walked in the door.
1) I relisted some items on eBay that didn’t sell and packed some things that did.
2) I went to the grocery store and only bought just the few things that I absolutely needed. Tomorrow, when I am settled, I will put together my shopping plan.
3) I scheduled a few hours of side work for Tuesday morning. Need to replenish my travel fund.
4) Since I had been gone a week, I went by the house my son is renovating to check on the progress. I gathered up some extra building supplies that will not be used to return for a refund. It is not particularly frugal for me, but it will save him a good bit. We also salvaged some mouldings to frame out a mirror.
5) I am digging around the freezer for something to cook for dinner. I have some roasted veggies. I think this will either become soup or pasta?


Amy Jo September 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

1. My outfit I wore today was $2.00. Dress used was $1 and the leggings under it $1. Super cute…….got the items from a local FB swap.
2. My son’s bday is this week, and we plan on going to a library kids cooking/reading class at the library for part of it. free
3. I bought my son 2 learning DVDs for his bday….less than $4
4. Bread was on sale…..saved over $1 a loaf.
5. Took the family out to eat today after church with money I earned this week from selling clutter around the house. ( Made $80)


Chris September 18, 2016 at 5:13 pm

1. Made bread pudding from leftover muffins and milk – never thought I would be a fan of bread pudding but not willing to waste food – and loved it!
2. Used rice from take out to make fried rice for dinner tonight.
3. Made beef barley soup using leftover veggies.
4. Was scheduled to work 2 days this upcoming week – they offered me a third day and earlier start times -so $$ in my pocket.
5. Again, made a schedule of lunches and dinners for this week saving us from more food waste.


JD September 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm

1. Someone once commented, I think on this blog, that a pet’s prescription could be taken to a regular store. Our rescue Cavalier KC Spaniel needs the same heart meds that people take, so I asked the vet for a 90-day prescription and took it to Walmart. I was paying him $30 for 30 days of her pills –with the prescription at Walmart, I got 180 days worth (we have to split the Walmart pills because they are twice as strong as she needs) for $36.80. Thanks to whoever it was who put that in a comment!
2. I took the gift card I won at church to the boutique that issued it and bought a very nice gift for Christmas, with only $2 and change out of pocket.
3. I succeeded in hemming jeans for myself. It took some tweaking on the tension on my machine, but I did it, with thread I already had.
4. My grown DD asked for chicken and dumplings for her birthday. I have chicken backs in the freezer that I will use to make the broth and will pick the meat off of the bones to add. She is much more interested in the dumplings than in the chicken so it won’t take much meat.
5. I bought my two dogs some more dog food at a privately owned pet food store. They charge the same for my brand as online sites like, and with this store, I get every 12th bag free, in whatever size I usually buy. Since we always seem to have a dog or two or three, I’ve gotten a number of bags free over the last few years.
Bonus 6. My other DD had ordered a butter keeper for the birthday girl, who had asked her for it, but it arrived broken, so she’s returning it. I remembered I’d seen two of them at a GW near our optician’s office. I dropped by there while running errands, and one was still there, in mint condition, for only $1.99, so I bought it.


Carol September 19, 2016 at 5:29 am

1. Reusing tea bags in my morning coffee. I drink a mix of coffee and Teecino, because Teecinco is healthier than decaf.
2. Having less adrenal problems due to reduced caffeine intake, which means less sick days and more energy.
3. Worked extra hours last week, which will help me pay off debt and/or save for vacation.
4. Used the last of the Burger King coupons–2 breakfast sandwiches, hash browns and a coffee for $4. A nice weekend treat for me and the husband.
5. Continued to get the 60 cent lunch last week at work instead of the $2.75. For 60 cents, I can get salad, beans, and tater tots–all I need. $2.75 would include a veggie burger. School lunches are a real deal.

Frugal fail, and don’t judge, I got fast food breakfast two times this week. I don’t buy a lot of lunch on the go, so I was sort of treating myself. I got two egg mcmuffins at mcdonald’s, with no meat, no sides, nothing, and it came to over $8! I will think again before I order that a second time.


Florencia September 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm

I used to work at McDonald’s. Order that as a sausage McMuffin no egg, substitute round egg for the sausage. They might not let you order that way, so you can also try ordering as a sausage muffin no egg, no sausage, with a side of round egg. Should end up being about half of what you paid initially. 🙂


Beth September 19, 2016 at 6:30 am

1. Eating oatmeal at my desk this morning and drinking coffee from home.
2. Pumping more this week to up my milk supply. I’ll be sad when my kiddo is old enough not to need breastmilk/formula anymore, but I’ll definitely be glad to put my pump away!
3. Mended a white onsie and my black purse this weekend.
4. Made cold brew coffee this weekend. I had tried it at Starbucks a few weeks ago and loved it. I’ve since been craving it, so I tried a DIY version, and it was delicious! And much cheaper than Starbucks 😉
5. Found a dirty, kids-sized, Lands End rain coat at the Goodwill Outlet. Other than being covered in something sticky (apple juice maybe?) it was in perfect condition. The tag said to wipe it with a damp cloth, but I just threw the whole thing in my washer. It’s drying on a hanger now and looks great! It will be a little while before it fits my 7-month old, but it’s plain navy blue, so it won’t look dated when it finally fits him.


Vickie September 19, 2016 at 7:36 am

1) We took a trip a few hours south, yesterday, to hubby’s Aunt’s house. His parents are leaving for home today in south Texas and we wanted to see them one more time before they left for the year. His aunt fixed yummy grilled food for dinner, so we ate and drank wine, visited then headed back home. We only used less than a 1/2 tank of gas in my new-to-me car and didn’t stop for anything extra. I had taken coffee with me from home in my thermal cup that morning. It was a fun, frugal trip.
2) I ate breakfast from the food I have here at work and drank the coffee provided.
3) I made hotel reservations in Bricktown for my 40th Class reunion. I joined the rewards club, so I saved $50 off the cost of the room and it’s right across the street from the venue where the reunion will take place in November.
4) I’m headed to the Library at lunch to pick-up another audiobook I have on hold.
5) I plan to fill my Bubba bottle with water from what’s provided here at work and head to the gym this afternoon for the Pilates class that’s included in my staff gym membership.


Betty Winslow September 19, 2016 at 8:13 am

1. Continuing to take my insulated cup/straw filled with homemade unsweetened iced tea, to keep myself hydrated and reduce temptation to go through the drive-thru for a drink while running errands.
2. Packing leftovers for my lunches last few wks – my grown sons (temporarily living with us) tend to eat whatever they find, so I’ve started putting my portion into a container and then into my lunchbag and in the frig. They don’t bother it then!
3. Was given a $14.99 box of SAT flash cards, spent some of yesterday putting them in order to make sure they were all there (they were) so will be listing them for sale today.
4. Spent most of Saturday at a wedding, which included an open bar, a catered meal, and a wristband to get into the afterwedding party at a local bar. So much fun!! I did end up ordering a hard cider for me and a beer for one of my kids, but it was overall a cheap and fun day!
5. Tomorrow night is my cooking club meeting; the theme for this month is Asian recipes, for which I would have had to buy a lot of expensive ingredients and cooked before the meeting. Instead, I found a great recipe for Vietnamese fruit salad, which will only require 6 limes and a couple of kiwi (I have the rest) and can be made today (which is good, because I work tomorrow!)


Sheila September 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

Katy, I’ve been keeping busy as we dropped off our younger son for his sophomore year away at school and I’m feeling a bit emotional. I figured that the more I am busy, the less it might get to me. So my 5 – or 6 – almost all involve being busy!

1. A friend cleaned out her garage and brought over a bunch of terracotta pots she no longer wanted. I repotted tons of succulents (that I had bought weeks ago at a super sale for $1.50 each!) using a bag of soil I had and some decorative rocks I fished out of my garden area. No money used but my pots are looking so much fresher.
2. Went through my closet and got rid of a box of stuff – I’m trying to do the Kon Mari method but keep resisting doing it all at once. Anyone have luck with it? Was still pleased I got rid of what I did. And – the bonus? I put everything back in my closet!
3. Not much frugal in terms of eating this week: we dropped off our son at school and ate out a bit. We did stay over one night but I made sure to find the best priced hotel with a continental breakfast, so perhaps that evens things out.
4. We lost quite a few plants on a hillside that wasn’t being watered and I’ve been getting out just about every day to pull, dig, weed, and clean these areas. Was thrilled to remember some succulent vine-type plants that I could snip from one area and try to root in the bare patches. So far, it’s working. Love not buying plants which more often than not don’t do half as well as the cuttings I use.
5. We needed a shelf for paper goods and I checked IKEA. They had one for $14.99 which was far less than I thought we’d spend. We even put it together fairly easily and now there’s order for the mound of Costco paper towels, toilet paper, and tissue!
6. Took our car in for some brake work and it ended up costing far less than we expected – which almost never happens! Plus, our mechanic said that our car usually lasts until 200-300K miles – and since we’re only at 100K – our plans to get a new to us car have been shelved. It’s a paid for 2003, so we’re delighted!

Thanks for the inspiration Katy!


Heather in L.A. September 19, 2016 at 8:50 am

Hey yesterday jet blue posted a round trip fare from Portland to New York for $116. And works vice versa. Check it out on It’s a discount fare blog I follow. Hope it helps you see your family more often.


Mrs. Picky Pincher September 19, 2016 at 10:13 am

Oooh, I need to reserve my copy of the new Harry Potter play as well! Hopefully some of the hype has died down and I can rent it from the library. 🙂

1. This past weekend I visited my dad. Since he has very bizarre meal times, I always pack my own food. And thank goodness I did! We didn’t eat dinner until 9 pm for two nights! I packed a few apples and a bag of chips from home. It kept me full while on a budget.

2. Instead of hiring a plumber for a minor issue at the new house last night, I figured out a way to solve our issue for free.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher worked at the house this weekend while I was gone. He managed to prime a few rooms and doors, which is a lot of work but is still cheaper than using contractors. He also ate simple homemade meals while doing the work, instead of eating out. Go hubby!

4. We’re miraculously on-budget with the house renovations. I signed up for mail forwarding solely to score the coupons the USPS sends you after a change of address. We’ll get several coupons for Lowe’s, which we’ll use on our more expensive purchases to save big bucks.

5. My sister gave me a lot of free, homemade stuff this weekend. She gave me some pumpkin spice Castile soap, which smells awesome! She also gave me a golden plum jam and a peach vanilla jam. I’m hoarding them for a rainy day! She also gave me a cookbook that she had two copies of, which means I have yet another awesome and free cookbook!


nancy from mass September 19, 2016 at 10:49 am

1. took an old towel and cut it into a piece needed to put on my Ikea teak storage bin in the bathroom. (It had a velcroed terrycloth cover that had seen better days.) didn’t take long and looks great! I’ll use the rest of the towel for rags.
2. was taken to lunch yesterday by a friend. Good lunch, better conversation.
3. hung laundry on the line all weekend. everything smells so good.
4. hubby is away for the week on a business trip so it is just my son and I for meals. He goes to school at night so he typically has a late lunch and then a large snack when he gets home, but, i have a fantastic chicken caesar salad left over from a food order today (paid by work) that i will bring home to him. he will inhale it. I will make a micro’d baked potato for my supper.
5. little sleepy today so i just helped myself to a free at work tea to tide me over until i get home and can take a little nap.
6. found pillowcases to embroider at my mom’s apartment that belonged to my grandmother (she died in 1976). you can tell how wonderful the pillowcase fabric was then! i copied the design and printed out a few copies. I spent last night testing different color-ways in colored pencil and have decided what colors i want to use (the pattern itself is missing). Once i make these up, i’ll wash them and then use them happily! 🙂


K D September 19, 2016 at 12:05 pm

1. I needed to send a bunch of paperwork to the insurance company. The envelope weighted exactly one ounce on my kitchen scale. I wanted to make sure the envelope would arrive in a timely fashion but not waste money on extra postage so I walked over to the post office from where I was this morning and had them check the weight. One stamp was all I needed.

2. I soaked a couple pounds of small red beans then cooked them in the corck pot. Certain family members do not enjoy the aroma of beans cooking so I cooked them on the deck. I used some to make soup and froze several bags for future use. Not only cheaper but no salt nor other chemicals in the beans.

3. My husband’s work had a big celebration on Saturday. He was required to be there most of the day and into the evening. Free lunch for him and free dinner for both of us. Also free entertainment. We spent no money dining out this weekend.

4. I just made a big (Mason) jar of tea, reusing the same tea bag I used this morning. I almost always use a tea bag twice.

5. I have a load of towels and fabric shower curtains in the laundry. It is doubly green to use cloth items, saving both money and the environment. We almost never use paper towels.


Bailey on a Budget October 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

1. Trying to sell Beats headphones that I used maybe 5 times that annoy my ears. I wont them at a conference and had been telling myself to keep them because they are so pricey but I never use them.

2. Finished re-vamping an old Ross home decor item into a chalkboard for the nursery. I wanted some diy-looking decor and didn’t want to throw out the item that we had hanging in our home for so long but it just didn’t go with anything.

3. Created a challenge for our family (Fun and Frugalfest) for the month of October. Our baby is due at the beginning of November so we are trying to do 3 fun things with friends/family for no money and have a date night for no money. We had the date night and it went really well.

4. Instead of stopping daily at the local meat market to buy .50 sweet tea we bought a large thing of powdered tea (with a coupon) so I can drink tea without leaving the house or paying the amount.

5. Picked-up a Suze Orman book from the library. We’ve only ever read Dave Ramsey so it’s been interesting getting a different perspective.


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