Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 30, 2016 · 37 comments

free hummus kit

  1. My husband is spending a few days up in Seattle visiting with friends, which means that I have the entire house to myself for three whole days! Others might be sad about this occurrence, but I am over the freaking moon! I moved in with my now husband when I was twenty years old, so other than a few dorm rooms, I’ve never had the chance to live by myself over the past 28 (!!!!) years. I truly cherish time spent alone, so this is like a Robin Leach level vacation. I worked yesterday and have a downtown appointment this afternoon, but otherwise I’m going to spend time doing some uninterrupted writing and then get takeout for dinner using a full punch-card from a local restaurant.
  2. I’ll use my free work-provided public transportation pass to get downtown and back.
  3. I’ll stop at my son’s former employer for a couple of free cardboard boxes, as I’ll soon be needing to mail off my eBay sales. (I’ll cut the cardboard to size in order to give extra structure to my second-hand padded envelopes.) Not only will I save money on packaging supplies, but my padded envelope stash was getting a bit unwieldy.
  4. I worked yesterday and brought the very last slab of some lasagna from last week. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something intensely satisfying about using something up to the very last drippity-drop. There might be some endorphin release involved.
  5. I loaded an e-coupon for free hummus from Fred Meyer (Kroger) to my customer card today. You have to load it today, but you’ll have until October 16th to redeem it!

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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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam E-P September 30, 2016 at 11:46 am

My husband has a boys night out every Monday and I NEVER complain about it! I love him dearly, and I also dearly love having a night to myself every week!

I think you still have to actually add a can of beans to that stuff, but it should still make some cheap hummus!


Shannon September 30, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I wonder what’s in the box then when hummus IS just the beans? and garlic and oil and the tahini which cost very little.


Kristen September 30, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Enjoy the empty house! It’s a rare treat. 🙂


K D September 30, 2016 at 12:57 pm

1. The sheets we have been sleeping on all summer are actually thread bare. In the past couple of days several holes/rips developed in the bottom sheet and a large rip appeared in the top sheet. I have no idea when/where I bought these sheets (I’m sure it was many years ago). I’m trying to figure out if they’re worth washing and finding another use for. The pillow cases are okay so I’ll keep those.

2. My husband was looking for a very small table to put a few items on in the dining room. I spotted a potential candidate on the curb at the end of the street. We ended up bringing it home. If we keep it we’ll paint it, otherwise we’ll pass it along.

3. Groupon currently has a one year subscription to the Saturday & Sunday copies of our major metropolitan newspaper. There is a 12 hour coupon code that I was able to use so I paid $7.50 for a one year subscription for a friend that loves the newspaper but can’t afford the regular price. I also went through the eBates portal so I should receive 9% back.

4. I bought a rotisserie chicken at SAM’S Club (still $4.98) and it provided several meals, enough chicken to freeze for use in tortilla soup and chicken and broth that made several servings of soup.

5. I needed carrots for crock pot beef stew. The store is only about one mile round trip, if you take the shortest route. I walked up there and was rewarded with finding a quarter and then two pennies outside the grocery store.


Rachel September 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

You might consider donating your ripped sheets to a local animal shelter, if you don’t have other uses for it.


Amy K. September 30, 2016 at 1:47 pm

My older daughter got to play hookey from school today. Most of the 8th graders took a non-educational field trip today that was pricey. We went to the mall instead. I cashed in some birthday freebies. We stopped at Amphora and played with samples. I got my free mini lipstick and eyeliner. We had lunch at Red Robin and I got my meal for free by signing up for their rewards program and having my info ready for them. We picked up a free Minibon from Cinnamon (brought that home for little sister.) We entertained ourselves for a few hours just walking around and browsing. Dessert was Menchie’s froyo. My teen had a reward coupon for Menchies that she got from school, and I had my birthday reward to redeem. Just did them in separate transactions/accounts. My daughter wanted to get some real lip gloss “With color mom!”, but I wasn’t going to spend $10.00 for the Sephora one she liked. We stopped at CVS and got Wet n Wild at buy two/get one free. Cute, sheer, age appropriate colors for about $6.00. She kept two and gave one to her sister. We had a lot of fun and felt really treated.


Amy K. September 30, 2016 at 1:49 pm



Isabelle September 30, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I love doing this on my birthday! Usually I take the day off and do fun free stuff. I get the Sephora gift, a free smoothie, a free buffet meal, a free movie and a free yoga class. That’s what I call a great day! And the best: my daughter shares the same birthday! So we get to have a lot of fun together on that day for free!


Amy K. October 1, 2016 at 2:14 pm

I think it’s so cute you have the same birthday! Greatest present of them all, right! 😀


Kathy September 30, 2016 at 2:13 pm

I drove 55mph on Fwy, gas saving, only one horn blow at me
Took home brewed coffee to a coffee date in my ceramic refillable cup. I waited until home to eat, rather than drive through.


janine October 1, 2016 at 4:28 am

When we did a cross country trip we set the cruise control at 55 – saved gas and got us to our destination in good time. Gas prices have come down, but we did this when they were higher – twice – lst time everyone whizzed by us – second time I noticed others doing the same 55 mph we had decided was optimal for good gas mileage! We try to keep to this standard – hard when the traffic is going faster, but better environmentally and financially.
Glad you brought this $$ saving issue up!


Julie C October 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Our highway speed limit is 70 and almost everyone goes at least 80. I think going 55 would qualify as a road hazard. I do however, set my cruise to 70, and stay in the right lane, out of everyone’s way, lol.


rebecca September 30, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Girl, have to comment…my husband left last night and won’t be home until Monday. Woot woot! 22 years of marriage and LOVE my time alone because it is so rare and I do what ever I like. Cheers and enjoy!


Mand01 September 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm

I totally get you- I have been married for 20 years and have been a parent for almost 17. Not complaining, it’s wonderful, but that extremely rare alone time is so nice! Enjoy.

1. Our city and state was still storm affected. We had power but our friends still didn’t, so we had them over for dinner again. I made a big casserole and baked potatoes, with some leftover for my husband’s lunch the next day. The beef was on a good sale.
2. I’m on leave for the next week. We are painting our loungeroom. A big hardware chain is going out of business (that’s bad) but they are having a massive clearance (that’s good). Hoping to buy paint on sale.
3. Paying for the paint with cash I’ve been squirrelling away.
4. We will also be paving a path through our front yard with bricks recycled from our backyard. We are having a home improvement break from work.
5. It’s the end of September!! Yay!!


Marilyn September 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I love my family, but sometimes I just NEED to be alone. I never feel the least bit guilty about this.


Isabelle September 30, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Right there with you about enjoying an empty house just for myself! It’s really nice. And then the family comes back and I feel up to the task!

* My daughters collect cans on our daily walk. 35 cents worth for today. They keep a tab and I’ll pay them the amount once a month.
* Setting a big fat budget of ZERO for my personal restaurants in October. Same for clothes. The rest will be under strict “investigation”!
* Decided against a family trip, which puts back 7000$ in our pockets!! Keeping my share as savings.
* Got a ventilation cable fixed for 156$ in our old 2004 Echo. She’s holding strong. Worth putting a bit of money in it from time to time
* Picking up every shifts offered to me for next week, which amounts to 26 hours ( can’t work on Friday). Still aiming for full-time hours (37.5)…
* Getting invited to a free event tomorrow (tickets are worth 30$). Will give 5$ to cover my share of gas since I’m not the one driving us (not requested, just being polite). And I will pack a lunch for the road, as I have to leave my house at 4h pm.
* Started using my gym membership again. Did not go for a month… Will not renew when it ends, as I have everything I need to stay in shape without paying for this expensive gym (1000$/year!).

Have a great frugal day!


Amie B. September 30, 2016 at 5:10 pm

1) Had to buy a new fridge AND a new vacuum this month, but did the research, found economical but long lasting brands/models (hopefully!) and purchased online through Ebates.

2) Checked my utility’s website and found a total of $150 in rebates for the fridge! They paid ME $50 to haul off my old fridge for recycling!

3) Using my Diva Cup, which I love. When I bought it two years ago, I was blessed immediately thereafter with a surprise third pregnancy, so have only been using for a relatively short time. 🙂

4) Placed holds on two much-desired books at the library instead of running out and purchasing them. (books are a major vice for me, but am learning patience and enjoying less clutter through using my wonderful local library)

5) Wanting to start early holiday shopping, but am waiting until my Ebates check deposits into PayPal so I can use it for gifts then.


cathy September 30, 2016 at 6:24 pm

FFT “It’s the Little Things” version:
1. Natural Grocers opened a new location that’s closer to me. They sent a coupon card in the mail– $10 off any purchase + a free bottle of Vitamin D3 + a free reusable shopping bag. I gladly took all three items, picked up some groceries, and snagged a number of samples they had out, most of which I’ve stashed for special treats and stocking stuffers.
2. Happened on a yard sale today (Fridays are unusual in my city). Found an unused, beautiful purse, wool w/ brocade flowers, for $2. I’ve been on the hunt for a leather purse because fabric wears out faster. This will be good in the interim.
3. My husband was able to get several free golf shirts from the university where he works. They’re Nike dri-FIT. I just checked and the logo ones retail for $55 and up. Each.
4. At the store looking for clothes for my kids, I decided to swing through the women’s clothes. Found bras on BOGO sale. They had my size in a style I like, and I desperately needed new bras.
5. Not feeling great, and unmotivated to cook much, so dinner was pasta w/ olive oil, applesauce, and reheated chili (made previously and frozen).


cathy September 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Re #5: Hope that’s clear that the applesauce was on the side, not on the pasta! Though there was some chili served Cincinnati style.


Katy September 30, 2016 at 7:14 pm

Thank you for clarifying. Because . . . yuck!


Madeline Kasian September 30, 2016 at 7:19 pm

1. Bought “ready to be rotten” apples (they are still good!!) to bake a pie tomorrow. Only 99 cents for the apples, and I make homemade pie crust..

2. Brought a bunch of autumn clothing to consignment store. Since retiring,I have some work clothes I will not wear anymore..may as well pass them on..and I can get my casual fun clothes for free when I cash in! Also gave up the last of my business “high heels” I cannot wear them anymore.!! Trade in for tee shirts and yoga pants!!!!!

3. Bought a lot of green and red peppers in the “old” grocery bin, (same time as the apples!) and put them into oven with onions and carrots olive oil and herbs de provence.. for a roasted veggie pan which we then eat as side dishes,mixed with scrambled eggs, and I eat the veggies as a main dish lunch too till they are all gone!

4. Talked over car stuff with hubby: My 2002 Highlander is still in great shape. 135,000 miles but no problems. No car purchases in our future.Our trusted mechanic says this car should last to 250,00 miles!! I TAKE THIS AS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE!!

5. Eating at home saved us a ton of money.I like good food.I keep “treats” from Trader Joe” in the freezer..the Cioppinno, frozen veggie pizzas, their pizza dough,
Various ravioli and a jar of pesto. LOTS of bags of salad greens.. keeps us from going to pricey restaurants where the food is not nearly good as what I can cook at home!!


Krystal September 30, 2016 at 10:30 pm

Fingers crossed on the vehicle! We have one 2001 Santa Fe at 167k, and it’s not the best, but if we reach 200k I will be THRILLED. I need to start the car fund now though!


Krystal September 30, 2016 at 10:28 pm

1. The Sounders had a home shutout so last night’s dinner was free Papa Murphy’s. Katy, you really need to get this deal for Timbers games! Also, apologies for the current conference standings 😉
2. Made leftovers salad for lunch, cooked eggs for breakfast when my husband complained we had “nothing” to eat and he was going to buy something on his way to work. Turned that around quickly.
3. Batched errands twice this week, parked the car for 3 days to stretch the EOM gas budget.
4. Did my 2-3 time a year Amazon order. Spent a few extra minutes making sure everything I purchased was batched together and qualified for free shipping. Spoke with customer service when they automatically signed me up for a Prime trial to have it removed right away so I wouldn’t forget and get charged. Ugh.
5. Picked up a penny on the ground!


LisaC October 1, 2016 at 5:00 am

Good save on the breakfast, Krystal! My husband is always saying “want me to pick up something?” when our fridge is full of food.


Katy October 1, 2016 at 9:02 am

I somehow think your apology is less than sincere. Nah . . . I must have imagined it. 🙂


LisaC October 1, 2016 at 4:58 am

1. Got an offer for Sam’s and 1/2 price. Split it with my sister, so less than 12 dollars for a year’s membership
2. Finally ate up my freezer, whoop whoop! Stocked it with good deals from Sam’s. Used the guideline of price per pound food instead of the old comparing to what the regular stores charge.
3. Found a dime on the sidewalk., then found a $20 bill in a grassy area of a parking lot and no one was nearby! (I did look around I promise)
4. Got a free lunch at a conference. At the end, I overheard the organizers saying they would throw away the leftovers. Brought home a HUGE salad, french bread, a box of little real butter packets, and two sandwiches. Ladies at my table laughed and said they wished they were brave enough to do that, so I got up and brought them each a salad too.
5. Saved the big container the salad came in, complete with plastic tongs. Will use when I have to bring a contribution to a potluck dinner.


Katy October 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

Way to go with saving the leftover catered food!!!!


BJS October 1, 2016 at 5:30 am

1. Got a free cookie at the grocery store.

2. Went with a friend to a Salvation Army store I’d never been to. It was half-off day. I got a shirt and a pair of shorts for $3.99. I’ve never been much of a shopper but I’m getting into this thrift store thing!

3. Got confirmation for an additional 1.5 hours of work each month this school year, and also found out I can sign up for 2 extra hours a month on top of that.

4. Had a free cup of coffee at Wawa on Thursday. (Before I walked in, I had to give myself a pep talk about not buying any food while I was there!)

5. My family has no plans to go anywhere today, so it’ll be a rainy, cozy (hopefully), no-spending day.


Jennifer October 1, 2016 at 5:42 am

I got the free hummus too and my mom doesn’t like hummus so I will actually get 2, yay!
FFT yardsale edition
1. I went on the ‘however many miles’ yardsale yesterday. I got soooo many great things I can’t list them all. I stole-used, a big pile of change from my husband’s change drawer and used that for many items all day long. I guess my best finds were a north face jacket for $5, a NIB bumbo seat for my grand baby for $10, and a NIB boppy pillow for $5, and a baby blanket still in the package for 50 cents!
2. I found 2 kids Halloween costumes for $1 each so that is one thing checked off my to-do list.
3. I had put Christmas decor on my list of things to look for. I found an awesome rustic looking Christmas tree tealight holder for my mantle for the awesome price of $1.
4. I got a bag of gorgeous hair bows, various ponytails, and ribbons for 50 cents for my young girls.
5.Lastly, at the very last stop on on trip, after yardsaling all day until almost dark, I found my husband a brand new Cabelas coat for $3. I found myself a pair of jeans, dress pants, 2 shirts, and 2 sweaters all for $5. This is great because, as I have mentioned before, I am down to one pair of pants! So glad I was patient because It makes me that much more happy with my purchase.


Ruby October 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

1. Have had a rotten head cold with sinus infection all week. Am so glad to have scored, some months back, a sale with coupon on boxes of tissues that let me do a little stockpiling. I don’t own enough cloth handkerchiefs to take care of what’s coming out of my head!
2-5. As always, packed lunch, snacks and drinks from home to work. Wore cute thrifted outfits every day. Line-dried some of our laundry. Trimmed my hair myself, which saves $15.


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones October 1, 2016 at 8:14 am

I got that free hummus kit too, but we are not big hummus fans, so I am gifting it to the food pantry.

My mom did gift us with bread, English muffins, fruit, and soup, so we are still ahead in the free food department.


Jennifer October 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm

You could spread a Lil’ hummus on your English muffins for a yummy snack!


Jennifer October 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Oh! I guess it would be important to actually like hummus tho.


Bee October 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

I must agree with you, Katy. There is something wonderfully satisfying about using every little bit of something. I wonder if that is a trait that only frugal people have. I truly experience a thrill when I find a use for something that may have otherwise gone to waste. Of course, maybe I just need to get out more. 🙂
Here are my frugal five:
1) My hubby called on the way home last night and suggested we go out to dinner. However, I have a ton of food that needs to be eaten. So I asked if he would like to picnic at the beach. He liked that idea better. It was a nice restful evening. We enjoyed ourselves and saved money!

2) I renewed my library book before it was due. I am almost finished. It rarely takes me 3 weeks to finish a book, but this month life has gotten in the way of reading.

3) I needed a handfull of packing peanuts, but I am out. I rescued a piece of styrofoam from the trash and made my own. I wondered if anyone has a biodegradable option to using peanuts when shipping fragile objects.

4 -5) I batched errands this week and did several things on the northside of town. I only head up that way once a month when I pick up my prescriptions at the compounding pharmacy. I always pay for those prescriptions with my HSA.


K D October 1, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Some packing peanuts are bio-degradable (try getting one wet to test) but I often reuse bubble wrap and/or air packs.


Susie's Daughter October 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Bee – Picnics are often requested by DS, almost 6. Given the VT fall weather, most will be indoor carpet picnics from about Columbus Day onward. 🙂

On #3 – I had a friend who used plain popcorn, air popped at home and poured into the box after the items for shipping were already in it. I guess if you can find popcorn at a good price it would be an option?


cathy October 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Re using real popcorn for packing: I wouldn’t recommend it. Yes, it would cushion things, but A LOT of people have corn allergies. I have a kid with one as well as one of his good friends. If you research it, corn is one of the more common ones, just hasn’t made it to the top of the list yet. I know I’d be horrified if we purchased something and it came packed in popcorn.
What about shredded or wadded up newspaper?


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