Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 19, 2016 · 84 comments

  1. My sons both wear prescription glasses, although my younger son hardly ever wears his. Today we finally gave up on trying to find the pair I thought were misplaced, but turned out to be lost. He and I just now sat down and chose a new pair through Zenni Optical, and he’ll be receiving a new pair in “14-21 days” for the low price of $11.21, which includes shipping. I used a promo code through for an extra 10%-off the glasses, even though it only took 69¢ from the price.
  2. I had my husband drive our Prius to work yesterday so I could take the minivan to Costco for cheap gasoline. I also picked up cat litter, coffee and dog food. (I buy this for my father’s dog.) The coffee had an instant $3.50 rebate, which meant the organic was cheaper than the regular beans. I only bought what was on my list and I was in and out in under ten minutes. Then I got home and realized that I needed to have bought one more thing. Because, of course . . . .
  3. We’ll be doing a fair amount of long distance driving this week as part of dropping our two sons at their different universities. We have an appointment tomorrow to have our mechanic work on some deferred maintenance on our minivan. Although this’ll likely cost us an arm and a leg, it’s actually a frugal practice, as maintaining an older car is much, much cheaper than buying a new car. We bought our Honda Odyssey in 2005, yet only have 87,000 on it. With proper care, it should last us at least another 100,000 miles. It hurts in the short term to fork over the money, but in the long term, it’s the smart choice.
  4. Local pseudo-healthy chain Burgerville had a promotion yesterday for National Cheeseburger Day, (yes, that’s a thing!) where they sold their original cheeseburgers for $1 apiece. Burgerville is normally a splurge, so I drove through and bought a bag of burgers for the family. I served them with cantaloupe to balance the meal and there were no complaints.
  5. I continue with an eye on frugality to ready my sons for their year away at university. They’ll be bringing bedding they already own, (or bought at the Goodwill Outlet for $1.69/lb) supplies from our house and generally inexpensive necessities. I talked to a friend the other day who said that she’d spent $1000 to outfit her daughter for school, which did not include electronics! I need every penny I can spare for the tuition/room/board, so yes, my sons will not be competing in any dorm room decor contests.

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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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

TrayceeBee September 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Katy, I love our Honda! We have a 2005 Honda Accord that we bought (used) nine years ago with 38K on it. We now have……drumroll please…….over 250K on it! It used to be my husband’s commuting car but, now that my car died, he passed it onto me to drive around town for errands. I absolutely LOVE this car! So, if my Honda is any indication on how Hondas perform in general, you will definitely get another 100K out of yours! =)


Katy September 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Wow, that’s quite the impressive mileage!


isabelle September 20, 2016 at 6:10 am

We have a 2004 Toyota Echo with 155 000 miles on it. It rocks! Honda are also really worth it, maybe our next car.


Allison Mary September 20, 2016 at 1:37 pm

I used to drive a 2000 Toyota Echo – it was the BEST car, ever! It was a manual transmission, and it had manual crank windows – when I got it in 2010, it only had 60,000 miles on it. I put another 30 or so on it, and then sold it to my younger sister in late 2014. It’s so reliable, and with good care, that little manual transmission would probably have gone for upwards of 200,000 miles!


Ruby September 21, 2016 at 6:39 am

I had a 1981 VW Rabbit with stick shift and manual crank windows. (We used to call it ‘4-55 air conditioning’: All four windows down, going 55 miles an hour.) Drove it until 1994 and I have no idea how many miles it had on it because the odometer quit working, but it had to be well over 150K. It rarely needed anything except routine maintenance.

Jenny September 20, 2016 at 6:54 am

I have a 1997 Civic that I still drive everyday. Her name is Betsy and I love her.


K D September 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

I have been driving my Honda Accord for almost 14 years. It has just under 91,000 miles on it. It has been and continues to be a great car. People are often surprised that it is that old.


Karen September 21, 2016 at 5:42 am

When my husband and I were dating he bought new a Honda Accord, manual transmission, manual windows.

After we were married and had kids and people starting asking him when he was getting a new car, he told them that we would be driving this car until both of our children learned to drive stick shift.

Sure enough both kids drove that car for years. It was like a member of the family. We had that car for 25 years,


Julie C September 23, 2016 at 8:03 am

My oldest son’s car is a 2000 Lincoln with 250,000+ miles. I bought it last year for $900, just had several repairs done totalling $1084.00. And the mechanic says he thinks it will make it to 300,000 miles. The previous owner took excellent care of it, and kept meticulous records, which can make all the difference in how long a car will last.

All 4 of our vehicles are 10+ years old. Two are 2006 models, one is a 2000, and one is a 1997. We’re trying to see how long we can make them all last 🙂


Joy September 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm

I have the amazing American made car (wink)…my daddy was always a buy AMerican guy so I am as well. Our Dodge Magnum has over 250K and the Chrysler Pacifica has well over 140K….we do take good care of them and since I DESPISE a car payment, drive ’em til the wheels fall off and put some new (used) ones back on! lol


Trish September 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Any chance your son has terrible eyesight? (like -7.00?) Or that he wouldn’t mind telling us about the quality of the lenses when he gets them?

I just bought a $400 pair through an optometrist and am seeing some major color distortion. I took them back and had the lenses remade, adjusting the optical center a bit, but I am still seeing blue and orange lines around everything. From what I have read, chromatic aberration can happen with hig prescriptions with some lens materials. I would love to but another pair or 2 online made if different materials to see if there is one material that works better than others with my strong prescription!


Patti September 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm

I have found that those online sites are only cheap for the “less bad” prescriptions. I’m -4.25 and I can’t find any for less than $200. I would imagine his eyes aren’t that bad if he never wears them, as I can’t walk from room to room without mine.


The Frugal Shrink September 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm

My eyes are -7.5 and -8.5 and my glasses from Zenni were $93 which is about $200 cheaper than the cheapest in-store option. I’ve ordered from various online companies for the past 10 years and have no complaints.


Patti September 20, 2016 at 5:33 am

Really?!? Please share tips because I must be missing something! I would *love* to get my glasses that cheap!


The Frugal Shrink September 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Hi Patti, I chose frames that were $12ish and then used a coupon that I found on the website Retail Me Not. Even with the special lenses that I have to have they were under $100. Go through Ebates for an additional 2% back. Good luck!!


Patti September 21, 2016 at 5:13 am

Thank you so much!!!! This is a HUGE help!

jennifer September 20, 2016 at 6:31 am

I have used Zenni optical and Goggles4you recently and had great luck with both. My brother breaks/loses his glasses often so I keep extra pairs on hand at all times.


That Other Jean September 20, 2016 at 6:49 am

I love Zenni Optical, but I didn’t realize that they had coupons. Good to know, even though my glasses don’t cost much–next to nothing, compared to local optometrists. I have the pair I wear for driving, prescription sunglasses, and spares of both. Excellent site!


Trish September 23, 2016 at 12:44 pm

This is good to hear! Maybe I will try them!


Sarah September 21, 2016 at 4:47 am

My vision is -6.50 in both eyes – I have bought several pairs of cheap eye glasses from when they have sales. I have LOVED every pair I have bought from them. I have liked them more than when I have purchased from my eye doctor’s office. I did have 1 issue with an extra pair I ordered once – the optical center seemed to be off. Coastal has a no questions asked return policy – if you don’t like them, send them back for free. They were happy to take them back.


Trish September 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

sweet! i’ll try them out!


SKM September 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Katy – your blog and the group inspire me daily. 🙂 (Especially since my boys are 14 months apart and I’ll be feeling those dual-tuition fees when they are older.) Thank you!


Katy September 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Aww, thanks!


JD September 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm

1. I decided to go to Trader Joe’s and check out their prices again. It’s a small store, and I haven’t seen much to impress me but I thought I’d give them a third chance. I hate that produce is priced per piece with no scales in sight. I found bananas at 19 cents each, but when I “weighed” bananas against a pound of butter, I discovered I would be paying more per pound than I would for bananas at the ritzy store. It’s not entirely accurate measurements, but I know I can’t be that far off in my weight calculations.
2. I needed boiled cider for a recipe but it was $12.95 for a pint or something like that. I bought apple juice instead and cooked it down in the crock pot all night, with the lid barely raised to let the steam escape.
3. I managed to remember to put the leftover roast in the freezer instead of losing it in the back of the frig.
4. I washed all my cleaning cloths and hung them on the drying rack, since it’s been rainy weather. I took down my paper towel holder and earmarked it for the yard sale since I don’t buy paper towels anymore.
5. A former co-worker cleaned out her office before she left and put an unused nice blank book, in leather-look covers, in our office supply cabinet. No one else wanted it, so I took it home. It’s about 200 pages, and since I write in a journal each day, it will get used.


BJS September 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm

1. My family visited my sister-in-law so that my husband could repair something at her house. She’s a hairdresser by trade, and while we were there she cut my son’s hair. What a blessing … I saved the cost of taking him to have it cut, and she seemed really happy to do it.

2. I started mixing the ingredients for a meatloaf before I realized I was out of one of them. I made meatballs instead, since the ingredients that I’d put in the bowl all worked for that recipe. That was a relief!

3. Used up 1 ½ boxes of angel hair pasta from the pantry that had been there a while. I won’t replace them until I menu plan for spaghetti again. I now have a big batch of spaghetti and meatballs to have for lunch this week, and an emptier pantry.

4. Received a bill in the mail that said I was past due and had a $27 late fee tacked on. Argh! I looked back and my records showed that I’d paid it and that the money had come out of my credit union on the right date. It took several phone calls but finally got cleared up – the money had been credited to the wrong account. No late fee and no past due notice. Whew!

5. Renewed my library books online, and remembered to write down the next due date on my calendar before I got distracted by something else!


Tonya September 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm

$1000 to outfit a dorm room! Remember when you just took the extra bedding from the linen closet at home and put it on your dorm bed? My parents did buy me a coffeemaker, a small trunk for storage, and some hangers. I can’t wrap my head around this industry of outfitting dorms with stuff that many times gets thrown away at the end of the year.


crunchycon September 22, 2016 at 9:12 am

I’ve been watching the back-to-college news for our state university with some bemusement. It’s remarkable how much “decoration” seems to be a necessity for a dorm room. As I was a townie, my folks insisted that I live at home rather than take up a dorm room, so I never fell under the spell of having to have all-new everything (not that I wouldn’t have been tempted at 18…). My mom and I play a game during these news features on how we would have decorated a dorm room just as nicely on far less money , but I think Katy would teach us a thing or three.


Joy September 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm

When I went away to college, Mama had me “shop” our house!


Mand01 September 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm

You are doing so well to cashflow your kids university. I remember when I went off to uni in (cough) 1993, I had to stay in dorms. No one gives a rats what your sheets look like or how your dorm room is decorated. I can’t even remember how mine looked.
1. I had the afternoon off as we had tradesmen coming. I made myself a good coffee, finished editing a piece of writing, and did some gardening. I gave some vegetables to our neighbours and we had a lovely chat. I spent no money.
2. We had dinner at my parents.
3. We had homemade bread for breakfast. There’s another loaf in the freezer.
4. Making vegetable stock out of scraps and peelings in my crockpot.
5. Working from home today and tomorrow. Will save money on petrol plus hours of travel time to work.


Amy September 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm

1. Started a 2 pound bag of black beans to soak last night.
2. Used a 30% off coupon for Michaels where I got some wool to do some Amigurumi for Christmas presents.
3. Hand washed & hung another load of laundry.
4. Announced our new dessert once a week policy to the kids and have stuck to no desserts for 3 days now.
5. Paid 5 times the payment for my student loans so that in the long run we’ll pay less interest.


Lindsey September 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm

A dessert once a week policy is a great idea! Both my husband and I struggle with eating too many sweets and expecting a meal to close with a sweet. We are going to institute tht policy in our house starting now. Thanks for the idea!


Gina September 20, 2016 at 3:43 am

I like to finish dinner with a sweet, but we have fruit-1/2 cup of mixed berries or a piece of citrus. Very satisfying and guilt free.


jennifer September 20, 2016 at 6:38 am

We do this too. Last night we had pork chops breaded with crushed croutons, hasselback potatoes, corn, and closed the meal with cantaloupe, yum! I won’t deny that I made a peach cobbler for dessert the night before though.


sarah m September 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

1. ate free hospital lunch, though i did buy coffee in the morning :/
2. went camping on the beach with my parents over the weekend, they had the site anyway so i pretty much paid for gas. lots of delightful free fun including swimming in the waves, and finding a beautiful turtle hiding under my tent, and watching the sun set over the marsh. I ate a sandwich and filled up a water bottle before driving back. also, my mom gifted me some garden arugula!
3. picked cherry tomatoes out back, eating them now in some noodles, also stirred in some arugula. the ones i planted did terribly. the ones that self seeded when my upstairs neighbor threw a tomato out the window (wtf??) are thriving. go figure.
4. got a prescription drug reimbursal check finally.
5. went to a social justice organizing meeting in the neighborhood, that is organizing for tenant protections and affordable housing in my city. first off, i figure any free activities potentially save money because boredom=impulse shopping, but also my city needs to expand affordable housing, and protections for renters, so i’m counting this as everyone’s frugality.

on the other side, i’ve been fighting a cold for a while, and dropped more money than i’d care to on cold medicine and instant noodles.


janine September 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

I need to check out the on-line glasses! I have bi-focals which will probably be more expensive – paid $155 for my last pair and felt as though I had gotten a pretty good deal at our local optometrist’s. Need an extra pair anyway – Local thrift shop located next to an eye doctor’s office sells glasses for $1.69 – just try them on and see how you see! They weren’t too bad but can’t compare to my new prescription.
Here are my five:
1. Using up scraps, leftovers and cleaning out frig – will be gone for a few days and would like a lovely almost empty refrigerator when I return.
2. Husband needed new dress pants -sale plus an additional $10 coupon at Macy’s =1/3 of original price. Need to add that we seldom buy much new and the Macy’s clerk reported that we hadn’t used our charge in two years!
3. Speaking of old cars – 1997 Mercury grand marquee broke down – fixed now and back in business – 123,000 miles strong and still going to celebrate its 20th birthday next year!
4. Tonight’s dinner is vegetarian chili incorporating zucchini , onions, left over tomato soup and chili beans. To brighten things up a bit I made apple crisp for dessert.
5. Stayed home today which equals no spending – trying to remember that I have multiple projects to accomplish which will save us $$.


LisaC September 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm

1. Organized our secretary’s bday lunch by having everyone bring something instead of us all ordering delivery.
2. Wearing the same two sweaters to work when the AC is running. Tan and black go with every outfit I own.
3. Spreading the word that leftovers at a restaurant can be wrapped in foil from their kitchen instead of using styrofoam. Not sure how frugal that is, but friends say “oh good idea, I hate styrofoam!”. Feels good.
4. Writing another grant at work. Saving taxpayers dollars to get things for the school. Feels good too.
5. Natural beauty around me now: Deer in a neighbor’s yard, glow in the dark phosphorus in the ocean, beautiful sunrises. Feels really good!


chris September 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

Foil is frugal…you can wash it at home and reuse it!


LisaC September 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Chris, you’re right! I only thought about recycling. Thanks!


Pattilou September 19, 2016 at 2:52 pm

1. It’s been a trying time for us because some lunatic shot and wounded my sister’s 9 year old dog. We, along with the police are determined to catch this individual so we are offering a reward. People have been so supportive and generous and we have reached our goal for the reward through donations.
2. The woman at the copy center was so horrified by what happened to our pup that she gave me a discount on the printing cost of the reward posters.
3. A friend lent me a laminating machine so I was able to laminate the posters so they don’t get destroyed by the weather when we post them. Now we just need someone to come forward!
4. Other frugal stuff – I hosted our monthly potluck dinner and have lots of left overs for the week to come. I used real plates, utensils and cloth napkins for the occasion instead of disposables.
5. I shopped at Jo- Ann Fabric today and between sale prices and coupons I was able to get good deals on stuff I need to finish a few homemade Christmas gifts. I even found 3 Ghirardelli chocolate bars on clearance which will be used for baking for the holidays.


Gina in KY September 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm

I hope you find the culprit! Poor dog! 🙁


Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor September 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm

I loved Burgerville when we lived in Portland! Tasty, but pricey for fast food.

I’ve got my latest frugal five up on our blog –


Gina in KY September 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm

It’s been awhile as I have been traveling for work. Last week I was in Phoenix. I used to live in AZ and the trip made me so homesick for the desert!
1. For entertainment after work, I had old friends pick me up and we explored an old mining town called Globe. We also went thrifting (where I was very selective with my purchases due to bringing a small suitcase).
2. Took advantage of the hotel’s ‘happy hour” free food and wonderful local beer instead of eating out. Also drink the free hotel coffee.
3. Took an already owned book and dried fruit for the flight.
4. Back home in KY, I am watering some friends’ garden while they are in Australia for the month. I am to pick the abundance to keep it producing and not let it go to waste. Sunday I picked a brown bag full of green beans, banana peppers, jalapeños, and thai basil.
5. Made gazpacho from vegetables gifted and in the fridge.


Marilyn September 19, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Wow, that is the best deal ever on prescription glasses! I never understood why glasses frames are so expensive these days. After all, they are just a few pieces of molded plastic.


Sharon September 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Because of the monopoly of frame manufacturers: Luxotica owns something like 90% of the market.


Bee September 19, 2016 at 4:19 pm

My husband loves a Honda. He has never had less than 160k miles on one before buying a newer model.
1) I did some grocery shopping today. Although I did not need a lot, I used store coupons, digital coupons, and BOGO deals to stock the pantry. I think that I will only need fresh items for the next month or so.
2) Although I didn’t expect it, I worked today for 3 hours. I love a little extra cash.
3) I made a nice, inexpensive dinner at home: roasted chicken, rice, and a salad of fresh garden cucumbers and tomatoes. There is plenty for lunch tomorrow and I’ll save the carcass for soup latter.
4) It’s Antique Roadshow night on PBS — one of my favorites. Public Television always has high quality programming and free to all!
5) I mailed some items I sold on eBay today. I found several others to photograph and list tomorrow. I have been simplifying a bit. I try hard not to keep what I cannot use. Easier said than done.


Jill September 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

1.I am attending a class reunion this weekend. We have had low attendance in past years due to high cost dinners so this year we are attending the football game and having a pay-for-yourself get together on Saturday night. I will buy a game ticket and feed myself before the party.
2. It’s an 8 hour drive to the reunion so I am taking my mom to visit family and we will split an inexpensive hotel room – it’s too long of a drive for one day for her at 88.
3. I am mooching off family and friends for a week and am able to visit with some that I haven’t seen in ages.
4. Reading my library books and trading magazines with my sister.
5.Going to hit up some Goodwills with my friend in Ohio for some Christmas shopping!


Jill September 19, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Poor choice of words on number 3 – when I said mooching I just meant staying with – and I was invited. 🙂


jennifer September 20, 2016 at 6:46 am

No need to correct yourself. My grown daughter mooches off me all the time so I just thought mooching=love, lol.


Lindsey September 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

1. Listed two items on Craigslist. I detest doing the entire process of listing so have been procrastinating for months. (Hate and am not good at taking photos and I don’t like having strangers come to the house, even though I have two 160 pound Great Dane/Irish wolfhounds who guard me like I am priceless. One time a guy shook my hand hello and my dog peed on his leg before I realized he was even lifting his leg.)
2. Salvaged some mint from the garden and replanted it in a pot to have mint during the winter and also in the hopes that I can put it back outside in the spring instead of getting a new plant.
3. My chicken enchilada making friend struck again. She makes it weekly for herself and about once a month brings a pan over to us—always enough for two dinners. I always offer something in exchange, although after a friendship of 25 years that isn’t really necessary. As she came in she admired the 20 plus pumpkins on shelves in the cool area of our entry way (future soups and dog food), so I gave her three of the largest ones.
4. My husband went into the garage and gathered up all the extras he did not use on a recent house project he did and returned them to the hardware store. $70.04 returned to us! Years ago we would have just left them lingering and finally gotten rid of them when moving or having a garage sale.
5. Made two loaves of English muffin bread, two loaves of regular bread and four dozen soft pumpkin cookies (ironically, from canned pumpkin even thought I have the real deal sitting on a shelf). The pumpkin cookies were so good it will b a long time until I make them again because we ate them up way, way too fast.
6. Picked up a penny and an unopened package of Trident gum from the Fred Meyer parking lot. A miracle no one had ridden over the gum; I am not sure I would have salvaged road kill gum, although road kill moose salvaging is common around here.


Bee September 19, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Your first comment made me laugh. Your dog must have gotten strange vibes from that gentleman. I have a rather large dog who thinks he should sit between me and any stranger.


janine September 19, 2016 at 6:51 pm

I have a small elderly beagle who decided that she didn’t like the sound of a door-to-door canvasser and it all would have been very intimidating if he hadn’t seen her size. Behind closed doors she is formidable!


Denise September 20, 2016 at 1:35 pm


I read on another blog about an unpleasant experience the blogger had with an eBay buyer at her front door. It wasn’t something to which I had given any thought before, but other posters on the blog said that they always meet buyers at coffee shops etc for easily-carried items, or else get friend/relative/ neighbour (ideally male if one is a female seller) to be there for larger items which mean giving out your home address.

Given your discomfort, thought I’d share those tips.



marie September 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm
marie September 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm
Sandy September 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm

This week felt like nothing but frugal fails — but I am extremely grateful for my emergency fund.

1. I hurt my leg very badly Friday morning and couldn’t walk. I couldn’t get my doctor nor my chiropractor on the phone. I ended up in a wheelchair at Urgent Care ($$) and they transferred me to the Emergency Room ($$$$). I popped a tendon in my calf. (FYI: that hurts!) I had been telling them for hours that I had heard something pop but they were insisting it could have been a blood clot. (It wasn’t a blood clot.) I can’t imagine what all that is going to cost.

2. An acquaintance who is an amazing physical therapist got word of my injury and provided me PT off hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I’m very, very grateful to him and his expertise as the ER told me I would be on crutches minimum of two weeks and on one crutch for probably a week after that with a total of four to six weeks recovery time. After two sessions with the PT I am crutch free and have no swelling or bruising. It’s quite amazing. This PT has a hydrotherapy room and it’s freaking amazing with an underwater treadmill and hydrotherapy hose. I hurt, but nothing like I would have without his intervention. I’m happy to pay for whatever his office bills me as it was worth every penny. Again, thank God for an emergency fund.

3. In order to save money for the medical bills grocery shopping was bare bones this week. It will be pantry eating as much as possible.

4. Thank goodness I made good use of the library so I have books to read when I’m resting with my foot elevated. Gotta love free books! Again, money saved for medical bills.

5. I will make the forced down time useful by knitting socks and washcloths for Christmas gifts. My family and friends love hand knitted items that are useful and a lovely pair of hand knit socks can keep your feet toasty warm! I will use yarn from my (cough*large*cough) yarn stash and buy nothing new. This will entertain me for free and provide free Christmas presents. (Well, I did already buy the yarn…)

So one big giant frugal fail, but I guess that’s emergency funds are for and I’m glad I have the money saved. Now I need to replenish it as it’s spent.


tonya parham September 20, 2016 at 6:02 am

Well, I don’t see that as a fail, per se– it’s just life and what our emergency funds are for! Getting it tended to in a timely manner and not trying to “tough it out” likely are frugal– as waiting to see if issues with “resolve on their own” can be costly.

I hope you feel better soon!


Shannon September 20, 2016 at 6:06 am

Ouch!! That sounds so horrible! I’m glad that you are on the mend!!


Rachel September 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm

We’ve used Zenni Optical for our glasses for several years now. I got a pair of bifocals, a pair of single vision glasses and a pair of single vision sunglasses for about $150 total. I spent almost twice that amount the last time I ordered just bifocals from the optometrist.
My two sons have been out of college for several years now. I’ve found that guys usually don’t care about decorating a dorm room. Beyond the basic necessities, all they wanted was a couple of posters and they were happy.


Marcia September 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm

I was going to say something similar–it depends on whether your college student is a guy or a girl!! My daughter and grand-daughter went a little crazy when she was shopping for starting college. They are good bargain shoppers, but I don’t know what they actually did spend. I know she did NOT take a TV, which many kids did. I don’t know where they ever found time to watch it–when I was in school I was always studying or reading. Grand-daughter did too–she graduated cum laude in 4 years! Without a TV!! Some of the kids she was in school with are still working on their degrees. She’s been out for 2 years now.


Shannon September 20, 2016 at 6:09 am

I often think how frugal it was of me to only have boys! 🙂 Mine are 8 and 11 now and are much less costly in terms of clothes and accessories than many of my friends’ daughters. I know they make up for it in other ways…like teenage food consumption maybe 🙂


Bee September 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Food consumption is most definitely an issue. I had two physically active boys and a daughter who ran cross country. I went through a minimum of 5 gallons of milk a week. It was not unusual to make a dozen eggs at breakfast. Imagine making a roast with gravy, 5 pounds of mashed potatoes, veggies and a pan of brownies for dessert — and no leftovers! So glad those days are over. Costco came in handy then


dawn September 19, 2016 at 11:19 pm

1. Stayed home all weekend, no money spent. Got things done while watching Netflix.
2. Found a Duralex tumbler at the thrift for ten cents, one day after adding them to my thrift store BOLO (be on the lookout for) list. Replaces a plastic kid’s cup that cracked (so much for plastic being unbreakable)
3. Dropped off a ton of stuff to sell at a kids consignment sale.
4. Scored big at the Goodwill bins, mostly items for resale but a vintage towel and hankie and costume making material for me.
5. Looking into selling on PoshMark. Need another outlet for resale, been finding a lot of new designer stuff lately.


Judy September 20, 2016 at 5:13 am

Our 2002 Honda Accord had 207,000+ miles on it when we just
bought a new to us, 2015 Accord. We love, love, loved our 2002
and was kind of sad parting with it!
My husband religiously had it maintained at our local Honda dealer
which we also really like. No problems. The mechanic when he found
out we’d given it to my daughter said she got the best deal and that
car should last for 500,000 miles. I wonder?!
Good luck with the college experience for your sons and you. I empathize
with you my two daughters and I were all in college at the same time. Whew!


tonya parham September 20, 2016 at 5:56 am

1. We did our second “mystery box” this month and it was better than the first one! (Less than $25 for a box of goodies that me and the Missus trade rather than stress over Xmas, birthdays, and to assuage our desire for a subscription box.)

I got her:
A warm wooly blankie that was $10 at Aldi (she loves to cover up and read in the winter! With 7 cats, it’s also a perk for them!)

A pound of starbucks coffee $6.

A jar of espresso infused salsa from the clearance aisle. $1

A chocolate bar of “Smoke and Stout.” Fancy chocolate marked down to $3.50!

Two jars of jalapeno jelly $4.

She loved all of it and the theme was “Winter relaxation.”

The box she got me was themed “Frugality.”

There were two books– one on DIY Landscaping and one from Ms. Cheap a Nashville news columnist.

A local smart card of coupons (deeply discounted– almost half price! I think it will pay for itself pretty easily)

Three coupons, one for a home pedicure/facial, one for a chore I don’t want to do, one for….I can’t recall but it was something nice. I loved those– they were free and she printed them at work. They have expiration dates and everything!

A sweet note on a card that is probably from the 70’s she got off the “free table” at work.

I loved my box!

2. I’m enjoying the BA and it’s largely keeping us from eating out. When I have any leftover scraps of veggies (especially garlic and onion, but they did send an ear of corn) they go in my veggie stock freezer bag. For some reason, I particularly enjoy this and get a charge out of it every time I throw something in there. While I think the BA box isn’t necessarily frugal, it is cheaper than eating out and it’s a little exciting for me.

3. Was going to go to the local festival for “Indian Tacos” this weekend but decided to stay home and watch movies instead. So, instead of $20+ I spent $3 to watch Reversal of Fortune. (Yesterday was Jeremy Irons birthday–68 and still sexy!)

4. Didn’t eat out this weekend. Had made plans to go to the movies with a friend but he cancelled and we decided to just stay home.

5. Agreed to take over a class at my workplace for a professor who got another job at the college. While it won’t be as much as a class normally is, it’s still money! And, since he’s taken the other job, his classes will be open. Hopefully, by taking those classes I can ensure I get three or four classes a semester.


Gina in KY September 20, 2016 at 8:36 am

Oh, wow! The boxes sound amazing. I so love this idea!


Mrs. Picky Pincher September 20, 2016 at 7:26 am

It’s been a busy week for the Picky Pinchers!

1. I noticed that we have a gallon of milk in the fridge that’s about to go bad. So last night I made some pudding (with pudding mix I bought on sale). I also made sure that we all had big bowls of cereal this morning to use up the milk. Waste not!

2. I used a coupon to buy puff pastry sheets to make homemade(ish) blackberry napoleons. They’re a favorite treat for the Picky Pinchers, and they’ll be extra delicious with all of the manual labor we’ve been doing on the house!

3. We received a huuuge rebate check from our mortgage lender for using their referral program. We plan to use the rebate for house expenses. We’ll probably buy blinds for the windows, which is something we weren’t sure we could previously afford. Cha-ching!

4. We’ve been staying on track with our homemade meals so far this week. Last night I made chicken wings at home when it would have been waaaay easier to just pick something up. Go us!

5. Today I’m using my lunch hour to do meal planning. Our nights are consumed by the house, which means I barely have a moment to breathe, let alone plan groceries. I’m aiming to use up our pantry stock so we can save money.


Vickie September 20, 2016 at 7:37 am

I’m with you on dorm room decor and electronics!!!
Working at a University I see the waste that goes on and I’ve heard the comments kids about getting their parents to buy them new electronics. Everyone needs to realize the amount of money Apple & Dell put into marketing the newest technology to students. These are kids that think they “need” the newest thing that comes down the pike. Apple is the champion of technology marketing!
Goodwill/Thrift store, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Pawn shops are your best friend if you are a frugal parent.
Students will pawn their electronics in a heartbeat, then go get a new whatever, and at the end of a semester, trolling curbside piles and dumpsters around student housing will net you some pretty keen stuff. They will throw out ANYTHING without blinking an eye. All I can say is, teach them early to be frugal or they’ll waste your money without a second thought.

My FFTs:
1) I forgot my water bottle last evening, but went to the Pilates class anyway. Good work out. Now I just need to remember my bottle of water this evening. I’m going to try and up my workout to 4 evenings a week now that I’ve been doing this for over a month.
2) I ate my $1 microwave meal yesterday, instead of eating out.
3) I’m returning an audiobook and picking up another one today.
4) I ate oatmeal & fruit for breakfast and drank the coffee provided here at work.
5) There’s a free memory screening off campus today. I think I’ll head over there. My Mom had Alzheimer’s as did my Grandad and my Uncle is now suffering from it too. It would hurt to get evaluated, especially if it’s free.


rebecca September 20, 2016 at 7:47 am

1. Eating leftovers that are making me sad

Frugal fails every where else though-
1. bought a coffee at work yesterday-8:30 am to 9:30 pm day
2. paying the landscaper for a lot of work in the yard and to seal coat drive way. What’s that big sucking sound from my bank account? It’s about spending money to save money, but yikes!
3. Can’t do a lot of work (weeding, planting ect) as I tore my meniscus and awaiting surgery in 2 weeks. Which means $500 out of pocket and missing 16 client hours=$$$ lost
4. Feeling kind of sorry for myself-pain and hobbling around sucks!!! I am not good at feeling compromised and am not great at asking for help as I pride myself on being independent and self sufficent
4. Would love to win the lottery right about now!


Vickie September 20, 2016 at 9:48 am

Injuries and illness can depress a person, but I think it’s even harder on someone who is used to being independent. Please take care of yourself and allow for those times like these, when you need the help. That’s when all those savings come INTO play, when they are needed the most.
Blessings for a healthier future, after surgery. Don’t be so hard on yourself and allow others to help you, it’s an investment you won’t regret. 🙂


rebecca September 21, 2016 at 6:01 am

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I very much appreciate it!


Denise September 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm


So sorry to hear about your injury and the pain you’re in. To challenge your mindset about not asking for help, may I suggest that you ask yourself what you’d say to your best friend if she was in your situation and confessed to not wanting to ask for help? I often ask myself this when I suspect I am not taking the best care of myself!

Good luck with the surgery.



rebecca September 21, 2016 at 6:02 am

Thank you for the challenge. It’s true… I would most anything for friends and family. Working on stretching my mindset!


kathleen September 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

1. Cooking at home most nights.
2. Brewing tea for iced tea to cut down on sodas.
3. Researching recipes for homemade dog treats (we’re in training).
4. An old cushion from window seat (that no longer fits after we added bookcases) fits a niche perfectly that makes a perfect spot for ‘Spot.’
5. Lots spent on chiropractic care lately, but feel so much better and haven’t spent nearly as much as MRIs, scopes, and/or surgery would have cost, so it was a good choice as a first option.


Denise September 20, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I have just returned from a five day Silent Retreat, focused on “Compassion in action”.

One of the oft-addressed issues was that of divorcing oneself from the consumerist mindset, and I thought of Katy and all you great subscribers as my trail-blazers!

Five days of wonderful vegetarian food has finally made me enact the decision to become a vegetarian. Aside from the ethical and environmental benefits, not buying meat yesterday when I went food shopping saw my weekly bill go down by £8 without me even trying!

A conundrum: should I use up the fish and prawns in my freezer first to avoid waste (don’t really have anyone I could give them to)?


Mand01 September 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I’d use up the fish and prawns.
My brother is an ‘ethical omnivore’ – he will eat meat if it’s about to be thrown away (to prevent the animal dying for no reason) and he will eat feral pests (in Australia that’s wild rabbit, wild camel, wild boar). He will not buy any meat except the feral meat which you can buy here or eat any factory farmed meat unless it’s about to be thrown out by someone. To me that makes a lot of sense except that I’ve tasted wild boar, and no thanks!!


LisaC September 20, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I think you should use up the fish and prawns. You already have them, you could make meals where they were a small part of the otherwise vegetarian meal.
Wish I lived near you, I’d be happy to take them off of your hands!


Jackie B. September 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years. When I decided to stop eating meat, I still had a few things in the freezer. I had the same conundrum. I decided to use it up. Eating the remaining meat actually confirmed in me the decision to stop eating it. I was relieved when it was all gone.


K D September 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

1. Discovered that season 5 of Call the Midwife is now on Netflix. We enjoyed the first episode last night. Tonight we may stream the episode of Big Bang Theory that ran last night.

2. A friend fed me lunch today, Chicken Cacciatore.

3. Yesterday I was given tomatoes, peppers, and an orange by three different people. Produce? yes, please!

4.My husband needs a blade refill for his electric razor. I ordered it on-line for in store pick up, so I’ll receive 5% cash back on my credit card. I’ll walk there to night to pick it up.

5. Supper tonight will be leftover soup and fresh fruit.


Kim September 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm

1. Redeemed a free tall coffee drink that was in my ForU offers at Safeway. $4 coffee for free- yes please!
2. Made baby gift with supplies I have on hand for a woman at church.
3. Used my $20 of Staples Rewards to stock up on toilet paper which we needed. Got 2 giant packs of Charmin and used 2 $1 coupons. Also got 2 packs of wet wipes to put with baby gift, roll of washi tape and 2 graph stamps. I will sell the graph stamps online.
4. Went to the grocery store. $80.61 of groceries, after coupons and savings= $16.20. I will also get back 70¢ in rebates. I used a $10 GC I got from the store when I received horrible service.
5. Found 17¢ in the Coinstar machine.


Chris September 20, 2016 at 4:52 pm

1. Had grabbed a couple of wood high chairs, a fisher price kids table and a crawl through tube via our neighborhood list serve pre-wedding here – wedding is over so they are all back on the list serve for someone else to use.
2. My bosses offered me prime beef tenderloin for 1/3 less per pound than our neighborhood fancy grocery store – bought 24 oz for dinner for 4 – bargain!
3. Bought 2 bee balm plants for $4 from a local church member who cleared out her garden with the $$ going to the church.
4. Had carrots and peas leftover from a lunch I served – used them along with corn cut off the cob – for a burger/barley soup for lunches/dinner over the next few days/in the freezer.
5. My husband, newly retired, is going to be an election judge for $13 plus per hour went to training today. It’s a 14 hour day but the head judge for our precinct will contact folks to figure out meals/potluck/snacks


Poko September 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Long time reader, first time caller (?)

I work at RetailMeNot, and I always love to hear when people use our site successfully 😀 Glad it worked out for you!


LisaC September 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm

I LOVE retailmenot!


Isabelle September 24, 2016 at 11:26 am

I’m late to the show but….
* Injured my shoulder last week. Unable to work on my booked unit this week (heavy unit in hospital), I found someone willing to exchange shifts with me on a easier floor instead of losing all my shifts.
* City water not suitable for consumption at the moment. Instead of buying bottled water we just boil the water for a couple of minutes and let it cool. Safe drinking.
* Needed clothes. Got a pair of pants, a vest and 6 shirts at the thrift store for about 30$.
* About to make apple-pear sauce with apple picked for free and organic pears bough on deep sale.

Have a great frugal day!


Katy September 26, 2016 at 10:59 am

Wow, that’s great that you have the flexibility to work in different areas. labor and delivery is so specialized that I can only work L&D, postpartum or our specialty OB area.


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