Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 31, 2017 · 79 comments

  1. I drove my older son waaaay across town to hang out with a friend, partially motivated by this friend’s house being a block from one of my favorite Goodwills. (Don’t make me choose my actual favorite one, as they’re all precious to me.) I’ve been keeping an eye out for a pair of slip-on shoes that are somewhere in between my Uggs and my Birkenstocks. I scored a brand new pair of black Nike Air Wovens for only $25. They’re not as colorful as the $160 ones that were just announced a few days ago, but I’m not really craving so much attention to my size-10 feet. I’m still working on a Goodwill gift card from Christmas, (thanks mom!) so these shoes were free to me. The Nike world headquarters are right outside Portland, so there are always lots of great used sneakers to be found.
  2. My son is doing well after his wisdom teeth removal, and I’ve been plying him with multiple smoothly frugal treats. So far he’s enjoyed homemade mashed potatoes with gravy, oatmeal, homemade red lentil soup, homemade applesauce and a free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty courtesy of the $1 key fob that I purchased a few months ago. Okay, let’s be honest here. He’s getting sick of his limited food options. I would be too.
  3. I put together our April budget, which was thankfully not as uber-focused on the kids’ college fund as the last few months have been. The next college tuition bills won’t come due until October 1st, which gives us the breathing room to give some love and attention to other financial goals. We sent off $15,665.85 this week to Oregon’s university system, as we just did in January and last October. Having more than three months to come up with this amount is a luxury. Should we have been putting money into 529 plans since the kids were born? Hell, yes! But we simply didn’t have the financial wiggle room at the time. Although in retrospect, even a few hundred dollars here and there would have been smart.
  4. I was sent a free RedBox code, which I’ll use to rent a movie to watch with the kids tonight.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate March 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Those shoes are rad! Incidentally, what’s your favorite Goodwill in the city? (I prefer the one on Lombard, but only because it’s relatively close to me and I prefer public transit to driving.)


Katy March 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm

The secret of why that Lombard one is so great, is because it gets all the Lake Oswego donations, as they have a donation site, but no store.


Lesley March 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Smart, Katy! The place I worked in San Francisco, Thrift Town, got all the stuff from Marin County–duplicate wedding presents, stuff people were tired of, etc. It’s still going at 17th and Mission in case any SF readers didn’t know about it 🙂


Ingrid March 31, 2017 at 10:40 pm

Actually, the Mission Thrift Town closed this week


Cathy April 1, 2017 at 7:55 am

Super sad news…the SF Thrift Town closed yesterday! March 31 was its last day That store was the best.


MW April 3, 2017 at 10:47 am

Hmmm. . . I suddenly feel the need to drive north.


Dana March 31, 2017 at 12:45 pm

I am so impressed that you are able to come up with that kind of money for your kids tuition!
Our son is looking at state schools and I am shocked that they are $25k with room and board! There is no way we can afford it! It makes me sad that if he goes he will have to take out some loans. We always hoped he wouldn’t have to .
It’s hard to tell your kid you can’t afford college.


Gina March 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Don’t feel bad about not paying for your son’s college tuition. My dad had a terminal illness and my parents couldn’t pay for my college. Senior year, I worked at the mall, babysat and did misc. jobs to save for my first semester. Once at school I applied and got a job in the art department that paid more than my mall job. I scheduled my classes around the art job, got a mall job at night and on weekends, babysat and did other jobs that came up. I paid on my tuition bill monthly. I made the deans list. I never took out a loan, never received help from family and was never on financial aid. It taught me a tremendous amount about responsibility, fortitude and work ethic…and appreciation for all I worked so hard for. If you want something enough and are willing to work hard for it – you can make it happen. I had to drop out for one year due to finances. But I got a job as an office mgr making $35K/yr., was promoted to mgr. at the mall -so I held down 2 full-time jobs at once saving my money like a squirrel. I went back to school the following year. Both bosses wanted to keep me – I kept them both – FT & PT. My office job paid 90% reimbursement of my tuition if I made all As. Guess what my grades were – ALWAYS. Because I KNEW how hard it was to pay that tuition bill. Was it easy? NO!! – some nights when I got home I literally passed out from exhaustion. I remember walking across campus so tired I could cry – but I didn’t. I sucked back those tears, put on my big girl panties and went to class. And I was incredibly proud of myself for pulling the load all by myself.

And it wasn’t all work and no play. I made lifelong friends in college – had my share of fun & romance. But I wasn’t a partier (out drinking, etc.) because I was responsible for myself, for my future, I had no back up.

When I was in high school I thought it was my parents responsibility to pay my tuition…only because that’s what all of my friend’s parents were doing. I’m so fortunate that they didn’t. It made me the responsible, self-sufficient, independent person I am today. I know how to set goals and achieve them.

When I graduated I wanted to travel – so I got a job at a travel agency and traveled the world for a fraction of the cost. When it was time for me to get serious about my future I got a serious job. My success in business has not necessarily been because of college – I was always told what an impressive resume I had and I had outstanding references from my bosses who applauded my work ethic. I purchased a house on my own when I was 27 with a 30 year loan that will be paid off early – I’ll have no mortgage in just a few years.

Your son will be fine – maybe even better than if you handed him that tuition money.


Dana April 1, 2017 at 3:56 am

Thank you so much for telling me your story!


Monics April 1, 2017 at 4:50 am

My husband and I plan to pay cash for an affordable college for our daughter, just like Katy. I refuse to incur debt or have my daughter incur debt. We have 8 years to put money away. If my daughter refuses to go to a school we can pay cash for, then she won’t go to college. We hope she will grow up to be the type of person who realizes what a life gift we are giving her to graduate with no debt. Thanks for the inspiration I find on this blog!


Bonnie April 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

Please don’t limit your daughter to your vision of acceptable futures. Your daughter should make her own decision about where to go to college. You can make your ow decision about how much to contribute.


Kim in MD March 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm

I have 2 sons in college and we had no money saved due to personal and health issues. It is what it is.
Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, very few students pay the stated rate of room and board. Grants, scholarships and financial aid all lower the stated cost. Second, the first year tends to be the most expensive. DS#2’s university required all on campus freshmen to have a full meal plan at $2000 a semester! Also, on campus housing isn’t cheap. I loved how, when we went to look at the school, the student tour guides emphasized that laundry services were free. LOL! Of course it is covered in the housing charges but certainly not free. Also be aware that some classes cost more per credit hour. Normally these are Engineering classes, which at DS#2’s university cost $60 extra per credit hour.
DS #1 has gone to the local community college, ranked as one of the top in the nation, worked full time, lived at home and will transfer to U of MD in the fall. He also took a semester off to work as a paid community organizer for the MD Dem Party. He wants to be a politician so invaluable experience and contacts. He has no student debt at this time.
DS#2 is going to an out of state university but receives in-state tuition through the Southern Regional Education Board Common Market. Fifteen states participate in this reciprocal program. My son is studying Nuclear Engineering which is not available through our state university system. So he goes to UT and gets in-state tuition. Also, because the state of Tenn. gives every student an in-state scholarship, he also receives it since he is considered an in state student. Here is the link to see if you live in a state that participates. It is cheaper for him to go out of state than it will cost my other son to go in-state, The stated cost for oos student for 1 year at UT is 446,750, our total out of pocket to UT this year after all grants and scholarships was $5900 even with all his Engineering credit costs. Here is the link to see if you live in a participating state.
Don’t be discouraged, it can be done!


Dana April 1, 2017 at 3:52 am

Thank you!!!


Kim in MD April 1, 2017 at 5:46 am

Whoops! Should be $46,750 not 446750!


Tel April 1, 2017 at 8:36 am

I don’t know what state you live in, but check ALL sourcesof financial aid and scholarship before taking out loans. Also, have you considered community college for the first year or two? No employer cares where you went freshman year. All but one of my parents 5 kids started at a CC. We all did well for ourselves. Check your library for resources.


Dana April 1, 2017 at 11:41 am

Thanks for the advise!
We are strongly encouraging community college especially since he will have college credits from high school.


Jeni April 2, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I agree that community college is a great option. My son is in his second semester of community college. He will earn his Associates Degree in only one more semester due to his dual enrollment college credits from high school. Also, our county offers an honors scholarship to students in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, as long as they start community college the following fall and attend full time. My son pays zero tuition thanks to this scholarship.


Dana April 3, 2017 at 2:33 am

Wow! That’s awesome!

Jennifer March 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm

We always like the pintos and cheese from Taco Bell after dental work.


K D March 31, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I’m glad you have so many good things to report.

1. Today was very rainy so I attended a Pilates class (paid for with an affordable monthly membership) and skipped running errands.

2. I broke down and got a haircut. But it looks great and the shampoo lady wasn’t there today so I didn’t have to tip her.

3. I stopped at Staples as I was going by and picked up a $.01 after rebate ream of paper. I’ll give it away as we don’t use much “new” paper. I “paid” with a gift card received for redeeming Discover points.

4. One of our credit cards is offering discounted Home Depot gift cards. I ordered a few, as there’s always something we need there.

5. I am listening to “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things” on CD (borrowed from the library) as I work around the house today.


Patti March 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm

You can make all kinds of foods in the blender that are liquid. I had a cookbook when my husband had to have his jaw wired shut. He had to have 3500 calories a day all in liquid form for 6 weeks!!!! The doctor gave us a cookbook. I bet now you can google liquid meals or something and find some recipes. I remember he liked pizza (which was just pizza type ingredients and spices blended) and mac and cheese.
I am impressed with your tuition progress!!! It is all those little things you do that add up to big $$.


Sarah March 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Congrats on your latest tuition payments! Wow, what a wonderful gift you are giving your children! Not only the gift of education, but showing them how to lead their lives frugally! So awesome!


Mand01 March 31, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Just read the comments about the shoes. If you are buying used, even if they are technically new, then you are buying outside of the fast fashion system. When you buy only or mostly used clothing you have limited options. Sometimes those options include new clothes in thrift stores. I don’t see that as incongruous with an NCA approach. I often find new with tags clothing at thrift shops and if they suit my needs I will buy. I won’t buy if they don’t – I don’t buy for the sake of it. That’s NCA.
Also, the ‘choice’ to buy only clothing made from companies that have approved labor practices is a privileged choice. When I was broke I didn’t have that choice. Now I do but I still choose to buy mostly used (with some exceptions). For those exceptions, I do my very best to choose ethically because I can now afford to pay the extra.
Anyway, that’s my two cents.
1. Have continued to avoid purchasing coffee out.
2. Got home late last night and was tempted to buy dinner but made pasta instead. Saved $50 on takeaway.
3. My entire outfit yesterday was secondhand, from coat to skirt to boots. I love having a thrifted and hand me down professional wardrobe, it makes me chuckle when colleagues compliment my outfits and ask where I get my clothes. Mostly I just smile and say thank you but I did have to brag the other day that my blouse cost 23 cents. Who can hold that in?
4. Meal planning for the week this morning with my husband.
That’s all. Four frugal things.


kathleen March 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Your #3 made me think of a former co-worker. Our office was just doors down from the Goodwill, and she loved to pop in there on her lunch hour. She occasionally bought things for me or our other female co-worker if she thought it suited us. If we liked it, we could pay her; she just asked that we tell her if it didn’t fit or we didn’t want it so she could return it. One day she picked up a cute outfit for the other co-worker. They job shared, so they were never there on the same days. Upon seeing the outfit the recipient says to me, “What is this doing here?” “Oh, that’s yours,” said I. “I know it is,” she says, “but what is it doing here?” After a few minutes of confusion we finally figured out that the outfit had been hers, she donated it to Goodwill, and now it was hers again after being bought for her by our ‘personal shopper.’ LOL Oh, we had a LOT of laughs over that.


KAREN March 31, 2017 at 2:49 pm

OK, this isn’t a frugal but when I had my wisdom teeth out a long, long time ago, I was really into the frozen pina coladas! It was actually a pretty fun week!


Kathy March 31, 2017 at 7:59 pm

This made me laugh. I did this too, and locally the Orginial Taco House makes a delicious wine margarita. It took me longer to heal, but with the addition of enough ice cream, milk shakes and mashed potatoes with gravy I survived. I might or might not have did the same thing in high school when I had my braces. Those adjustments were murder. We all cope the best way we can.


BJS March 31, 2017 at 3:49 pm

1. My family enjoyed two free slices of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (a friend gave me coupons for them). There was some surgical-precision type cutting going on at my house the evening I brought them home, to make sure the slices were evenly divided among my family members.

2. Got a free sample from the machine at Sam’s.

3. Went on a trip to a cabin with my family for several days over my kids’ spring break. We ate in all except two meals. I cooked ahead of time (chili, cornbread muffins, pasta salad, taco meat for tacos in a bag, cut-up fruit, etc.). It was a lot of work on the front end but I kept telling myself it was saving us money.

4. I read most of one of my library books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, while I was away. I enjoyed reading all the sweet comments about that wonderful book the last time I mentioned it.

5. While we were gone, the only money we spent was for the cabin itself, gas for the car, and those two meals out. We got our entertainment by playing games, going on a couple of walks, and looking at the scenery.


Bee March 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Your vacation sounds lovely. When my children were younger, we could not afford Disney World or other theme parks even though we lived in Florida. So we would rent a cabin in the mountains from a family friend once a year. We never ate in restaurants. There really wasn’t a choice. We hiked and swam in the streams in the summer. They were simple, frugal vacations. Although they are now in their 20s, these are the times that all of us remember most. They all still love to hike, and none of them like Disney World.


Kim in MD March 31, 2017 at 3:55 pm

1. I needed my hair colored and so did my friend. So I did hers and she did mine. I used a box of color that I had on my shelf that had been bought on sale and with a coupon. She was going out of town the next day so she gave me a bag of sweet potatoes and a butternut squash that she wasn’t going to use before she left. Hair colored and free food!
2. Used $10 Moe’s Reward to pick up burritos for DS#1 and myself when DH was working and overnight. I also redeemed a $5.02 Staples Reward balance before it expired today. DS#1 needed pen refills but the pens were on sale for less than the refills so no OOP. Picked up my 2 digital freebies at Giant- 4 pack of Activia yogurt and tin of Mentos mints. Also 4 Oreo candy bars free with coupons.
3. Bought some pansies and poppy plants to up the curb appeal. They were marked down 66%. A hanging planter, 2 10″ pots and 3 perennial poppies for $12.
4. Sold 5 items on Amazon and did 15 merchandising and mystery shops. College fund!
5. Found 35¢, 10¢ and 1¢; 46¢ for the week.


Cindy in the South March 31, 2017 at 4:09 pm

1. My kid was released from the hospital and I am in such a brain fog, I am not sure how long he was there…9, 10, or 11 days? I will figure it out later. Now on to post care, and to get caught up on work…and to still be running the roads between my house, his apt., because he refuses to stay with me longer than a night, and my work….about one and a half hours one way, on a good day, depending on which county I am working in, it can be 2.5 hours one way. I am happy, exhausted, and slightly overwhelmed. Excuse the run on sentence…..heck, I am just happy he is alive. I do not know what the future holds, but then none of us do. One day at a time…Thanks for all your prayers, food thoughts, and warm support. This is frugal because, except for food, clean underwear, and gas, I am not spending money


BJS March 31, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Cindy, having a sick child (any age) is a ten out of ten on my stress meter, and when they get a clean bill of health it’s the best feeling in the world, so I can relate completely. I’m so relieved he’s out of the hospital. Praying for continued healing for him, and rest for you.


Cindy in the South March 31, 2017 at 4:18 pm

1. My kid was released from the hospital and I am in such a brain fog, I am not sure how long he was there…9, 10, or 11 days? I will figure it out later. Now on to post care, and to get caught up on work…and to still be running the roads between my house, his apt., because he refuses to stay with me longer than a night, and my work….about one and a half hours one way, on a good day, depending on which county I am working in, it can be 2.5 hours one way. I am happy, exhausted, and slightly overwhelmed. Excuse the run on sentence…..heck, I am just happy he is alive. I do not know what the future holds, but then none of us do. One day at a time…Thanks for all your prayers, food thoughts, and warm support. This is frugal because, except for food, clean underwear, and gas, I am not spending money


Katy March 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Your family is in my heart. Happy to hear your son has been discharged, which is hopefully a good sign.


Cindy in the South March 31, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Thank you.. For now, his medical condition appears stable. I will take that and rejoice.


Vickey April 4, 2017 at 8:13 am

Cindy, I’m so glad he’s out of the hospital. I hope there are friends and family who can step up and help, so you don’t wind up dangerously exhausted and getting sick. You’re in my thoughts. Wish there was something more I could do from here.


Lisa P. March 31, 2017 at 4:31 pm

My frugal 5:
Today, hubby and I meal planned for the following week, tryin’ to use up foods in the freezer and veggies that we have an abundance of now.
He picked up our free salsa, noodle, and breakfast bar from Kroger while purchasing some needed supplies.
Recently washed both of our vehicles myself. Pollen is horrible here in the South.
My sister and I are always bringing each other boxes of goodies. She gave me a brand new iced coffee maker.
Next Saturday we are having our annual church swap. I’ve mentioned this before, but we do this and help others in 4 different says. First of all, we help each other. We then ask if you see something that you know someone else needs, etc.. to take it for them. We donate the leftover clothes, shoes, etc… for a mission trip this summer to W. Virginia, I think it is. Then all the other leftovers are given to a local charity. We first started doing this as 4 friends in one of our homes. We had such a ball doing it that we expanded it to the church. Just invite some of your friends over to get rid of their unwanted items and share with each other. You’d be surprised what people have to share!
Thanks for posting this. I love to read it! I take notes too at times, smile. Lisa from SC


Bee March 31, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Katy, congratulations on making another huge tuition payment. I know you and your husband are busting your butts to make this happen.
It has not been an exciting week in my household. In fact, it has been quite boring. The pollen has driven me indoors and the antihistamines make me a bit dull-witted. Here are this week’s FFT:
1. Three out of five days this week were no-spend days.
2. I spent the $4.62 at my favorite local thrift store (proceeds support the food pantry and community garden) where I purchase two items for resale. I listed these things on EBay on Wednesday and have already sold one!
3. I have eaten all meals at home this week. I have finally ate all of the leftovers. Cha … Cha… Cha. I cooked a wee bit today as I used a frozen pizza crust to cobble together an easy Friday night dinner for myself. My husband’s plane is delayed this evening, so the dog and I shared the pizza.
4. I bought a basil plant to put in my herb garden. For the small price of $2.99, I will have me fresh basil all spring and summer.
5. Of course, I continue with all the usual things that save so much over time. I have been reading library books, drinking water, brewing my own coffee, and paying my bills on time.
Wishing everyone a happy and frugal weekend!


Chris March 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm

1. This is weird but… I ran into church last Friday to set up beverages/plates etc for a small family pre-funeral gathering. The family asked the staff person to share an extra gift to me – $30 arrived with a kind note this Thursday.
2. Was scheduled to go Thursday evening to a happy hour with my husbands former coworkers and the “shared” appetizer bill was $21 so we picked it up with the funeral $$. We were treated last time so wanted to pay it back.
3. Went to the first garage sale for the year and bought 10 pieces of 3T clothing for perfect grandson – $5.00 – texted son who is happy cause they can use them now!
4. Decided to read “Jane Eyre” for my first time ever – had a very old copy – searched my local library site and found one on the shelf at a library on the path of our errands – much easier to read.
5. Did our “health surveys” to save ourselves an increase in next year’s insurance premiums – yikes today was the cut off – done and done!


Mand01 March 31, 2017 at 6:30 pm

After you have finished Jane Eyre I also highly recommend ‘Villette’, which is another of Charlotte Bronte’s novels. It’s longer and more difficult than Jane Eyre but I think it’s really worth the effort.


Donna March 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Hi Katy,
I have a daughter in middle school and one a junior in high school. Would love any kind of input of how to pay for college without incurring loans. What has worked for you? Are your boys doing work study? I’m already looking into scholarship opportunities and grants. Figured I’d better start now.


Katy March 31, 2017 at 7:21 pm

We don’t qualify for need based financial aid, including work study. I just work, work and work more to make as much money as possible.


AFS March 31, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Read Debt Free U by Zac Bissonnette He has lots of great ideas.


Marybeth April 1, 2017 at 4:22 am

Apply for all scholarships that you qualify for. It became a part time job for me. There are websites that you can use but those are mostly for large organizations. Check with your local banks/credit unions, churches, GS/BS, VFW, etc. We applied with my daughter for over 70. She received 10. It put a nice dent in the bill. Some were one time checks, others were for all 4 years. Smallest was $250, largest was $10thousand.
Also make sure the kids are involved in something such as sports, clubs, volunteering. It really does make a difference.
We are waiting to see what my son will receive. He is a Senior. We will continue to apply.


Bee April 1, 2017 at 6:39 am

I have three children. Although they are now in their 20’s, I have had at least one child in college for the last 12 years. In 2010 and 2011, at the height of the Great Recession, I had all three in school at the same time — one in graduate school and two pursuing undergraduate studies. My youngest child is currently a graduate student at UNC. Only one year left! It is amazing what you can do when you must. Although I am not an expert by any means, I hope to help. Here are a few things to consider.

1) Call or have your child visit his or her guidance counselor in the JUNIOR year. Many states have special scholarship programs to help student stay in state. Florida has Florida Bright Scholars (FBS), Georgia offers a similar scholarship and Kim from MD mentioned a program above. Often they are not need-based, so find out what the requirements are for these scholarships. In Florida, there is a community service requirement that must be fulfilled.

2) Your guidance counselor may also be aware of other scholarships that are available. Let friends, family and acquaintances know that you are looking for college money. They are a valuable resource. Businesses and organizations of all types offer scholarships. I belong to a women’s group who offers scholarships of all sorts to young women. I am constantly looking for candidates. You would be surprised how few will fill out an application or they finally ask me for help when it is too late. Look for opportunities and apply early.

3) As your child enters high school, encourage involvement in the community, volunteerism, sports, the arts and school activities. Academics are often not enough to be accepted to college or to receive funding. A time investment in these things often equals financial reward in the future.

4) Look for a college that is a good fit for your child. Large state universities do not suit all students. I have seen many young adults head off to school and return for good after their freshman year. Often they have nothing to show for it — credits won’t transfer and a large amount of money was spent. Be realistic and be flexible. Every child does it a bit differently. This is another place your guidance counselor may be able to help or attend a College Fair.

4) Although it is counterintuitive, allow your child to apply to the school of his or her choice even if it is out-of-state and/or private especially if it suits his needs and/or interests. Often after acceptance, he or she will receive offers of academic aid. Colleges and universities want diversity and academic excellence. They often encourage this through scholarships. There is no risk in this unless you are applying Early Decision, but have an affordable back up plan.

5) Once they commit, if not sooner, visit or call the financial aid office at your child’s school. There are government grants (need based) , loans available, and work-study programs. However, many schools also have programs — separate from government loan programs — that are designed to ease the burden of tuition payments. For example, they will allow you to pay for tuition in 12 equal installments throughout the year at 0% interest. There may be additional scholarships available in your child’s field of study.

6) Encourage your children to help with expenses by working. If possible, have them look for paying internships in their field. Not only will they gain valuable experience, but they will set themselves apart from other job candidates in the future.

Whatever route you or your child choose, start early and ask for help. People are kind and generous you may be pleasantly surprised. Where there is a will, there is a way.


Shevaun April 1, 2017 at 9:32 am

I am a college professor. Over my career, I have worked at elite and selective private schools, open-enrollment schools, selective state schools, and everything in between. I am the same ME regardless, and my classes are the same classes.

Send your kids to state school or community college to rack up transferable credits. Then, transfer into whatever school has the best faculty for your kids’ major. Do not be hoodwinked by “reputation.”


Marcia March 31, 2017 at 6:05 pm

I love your cash approach to tuition also. When DGD was ready for college there was very little saved–her parents were divorced, no chance to save. She worked as soon as she was 16, she saved, and she got a scholarship so SHE paid for the entire first year herself. Her mother and step father helped, we helped, but she still needed loans–however we kept them as low as possible. If she needed another $1000, we threw it in, rather than take another loan. She was a resident advisor one year and worked AS WELL, saving the cost of the room. She didn’t enjoy it so only did it one year. She graduated three years ago, has been working hard but not making a lot–I told her I would make the payments as long as I was able to do so. At Christmas time, she received a “Paid in Full” letter for her smallest loan. I am now paying on the other loans and have them down to about $9000 now. She has NO idea I have paid more than the minimum the whole time. I would love to pay them off entirely–but am still subsidising her living expenses, as her parents are now both disabled and unable to help much. She has worked hard to do internships as well as working in order to further her career. We will see what happens, but I know I have at least saved her a ton of interest!


momsav March 31, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Katy, Don’t you have to buy something to get the free frosty? I’m too lazy to check my fob thingy but I think that’s what it says right on it. Curious to know…


Katy March 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Nope. No purchase necessary.


MommaL April 1, 2017 at 3:31 am

I think different stores are selling different frosty fobs. Ours says “one free frosty with any purchase”


Mrs. Picky Pincher March 31, 2017 at 6:31 pm

I’m glad to hear your son’s surgery went well. 🙂 Here’s to a speedy recovery!

This week:
1. I scored $1 nail polish on sale at the store. It regularly retails for $5. 🙂

2. We harvested strawberries from our garden and I plan to cook homemade shortcake to eat them!

3. I got callbacks for a few jobs, which I’m hoping will make me happier, and in turn save me money. 🙂

4. I took up a bit of freelance work, which is bringing in a few extra hundred dollars each month.

5. We made several freezer meals out of on-hand ingredients.


Susie's Daughter March 31, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Experiencing ANOTHER weekend snow storm here so will be sticking close to home on Saturday. In the meantime,

1) Bought milk at the drug store while picking up a script for Dear Wife. Pleased to learn milk was on sale – best price in town and a local brand to boot.

2) My parents treated us to dinner tonight – fish fry put on by the Catholic elementary school as a fundraiser. Great company, yummy fish and no dishes. Hat Trick!

3) Mending pile final reached critical mass. Ironed patches on to three pairs of DS’s pants. Apparently he kneels more on his left knee? Also fixed a turtleneck, sweater, winter coat and Spiderman gloves.

4) Downgraded our satellite TV package with no noticeable drawbacks and considerable savings. Will apply savings to outstanding energy efficient furnace loan.

5) Watching NCAA basketball – women tonight and men tomorrow – for entertainment. Woohoo!


Beth L March 31, 2017 at 7:43 pm

1. Started seeds in the house under a grow light in cardboard egg crates. They are doing well. My friends and I each meet and bring a packet or two (or seeds from fruit and veg throughout the year). Everyone takes a few of what they want and we get a diverse crop that way!

2. Went to an estate sale on the last day last week. Bought a moth eaten (only on one sleeve) cashmere sweater for a quarter. Will make a new luxurious throw pillow cover with it.

3. Used up all my bits and ends of bread in the freezer to make my friend who is going through a hard time a sweet bread pudding.

4. Slid in to an already paid parking meter while running errands. In DC this is a big deal!

5. I “inherited” from a work friend a very old chandelier. I took all the crystals off and repainted it a pretty copper and then restrung some of the crystals. I didn’t restring all of them. It was a bit over the top. The extra crystals will go on eBay for a crafts person. I’ll convert the chandelier to a candelabra for our sad looking guest bedroom.

Have a frugal weekend!


kathleen March 31, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Love! Those! Shoes! My favorite office chair of all time was a bungee chair (comfortable and never showed any signs of slack or wear), so I can imagine the shoes will be comfortable and long wearing.

1. I wasn’t feeling great this evening. The hubs ate one of the meals that we make from leftovers and keep in the freezer for him to take to work. I eventually made myself an egg and toast.

2. We have a drive-in theater in a nearby town, and I’ve really been wanting to go while the weather is comfortable, but there is nothing we want to see, so we will save the $.

3. I went to Hobby Lobby today for a Micron pen for a quilt label. I looked around a bit, but there was nothing else I couldn’t resist.

4. Pantry and freezer are pretty empty. Menu planning on agenda for this weekend before big shop on Tuesday.

5. No haircut, clothes, shoes, makeup, furniture, dog toys, etc.


Teri March 31, 2017 at 8:23 pm

1. Husband out of town so not going anywhere but work and not spending…in fact returning items that I decided I could live without.
2. Recovering lawn furniture love seat pad with a heavy table cloth, its labor intensive and I don’t want to do it but it will save me a lot of $$. Now to find some coordinating cushions for the back.
3. Bought 2 pictures at Goodwill for ongoing master bedroom update. IF I wait long enough something I want eventually appears. Going back tomorrow to buy (new-from Target) curtain in long length that I will make in to 2 shorter ones.
4. After buying gas, I ran into Costco, thinking I would buy a piece of pizza for dinner, there were so many samples, I left full and made no other purchase.
5. Did not buy that $5 fruit drink that many of my students come to class with even though it looked delicious on this 65 degree day!


SueB April 1, 2017 at 3:25 am

Spring is in the air which means…

1. Heating is off (my husband has this peculiar idea it’s about temperature, nope, it’s about Spring :p)

2. Line drying is now possible so the spin cycle on the washing machine goes down from 1000 to 200. It hurts to put it up in the autumn but if the clothes come out the machine too damp, they only smell fausty if they are dried inside and then they have to be washed again anyway. (We don’t have a dryer, no space).

3. The fan in the bathroom is turned off now we can have the window open most of the time. We had the fan put in after last winter because we had mold issues. It seems to have worked because this year, no mold.

4. Is it cheating to use a going to happen? I’m going to reorganise the freezer in the next few days, packing it more efficiently and taking an inventory. I’ve fallen behind on this which means that things in the freezer tend to stay in the freezer because a) we have no idea what’s in there and b) even if we did, we would have no idea where it was. And looking through (twice) for something it turns out isn’t even in there is very annoying. I usually do this monthly but have fallen behind.

5. Chickens are laying 3-4 eggs daily. This is not frugal in the least, each of those eggs has cost us a fortune with set up and on going costs, but to know I’m eating truly happy eggs….priceless.


Lindsay April 1, 2017 at 4:15 am

Today was a rough week for frugality, as I was stressed and exhausted with my students’ grades being due yesterday and state standardized testing starting next week. Here’s what I managed to do anyway:

1. I wanted to buy candy/snacks to help my students stay de-stressed and motivated during the test, so I stocked up at the dollar store.
2. I’ve been so tempted to buy a new (to me) dress for my friend’s wedding from Instead, I picked up a couple old dresses I had stored at my mom’s. They both still fit, so I will wear one of them.
3. I’m taking my car in for an emissions inspection and oil change today, and I have a coupon!
4. I’m listening to audiobooks from the library to stay entertained on my commute. I just finished “What Alice Forgot” and am about to start “1984.”

And… I think that’s it. Frugal fails included two breakfasts to-go from Dunkin Donuts on my way to work, as well as dinner from McDonald’s before a work conference. (sigh… such stupid, unrewarding ways to slip up)


Denise April 1, 2017 at 7:34 am

I admire how hard you’re working for your sons’ schooling.
My parents and my husband’s parents both helped us a bit, but not like this.
As we’ve been looking at college, (5 years till the first gets there) we are going to insist that if our children want our help, we will be happy to pay for community college the first two years.
We’ve agreed we cannot justify the tuition a four-year school when bacc core classes are the same no matter where they’re taken.
If they want to jump straight to university, they are welcome to, but we will only give them tuition assistance equivalent to what we’d pay at an Oregon community college.


Lindsey April 1, 2017 at 11:16 am

1. Cut husband’s hair again; he likes it short.
2. Did a mystery shop for another free movie. They pay for concessions so we had hot dogs—dinner, in other words. (So kill me, I like hot dogs…)
3. A friend brought over a vat of hummus that she was afraid would go bad while she was on vacation. I detest hummus and so does the husband. I could not stand the thought of throwing it away, though. So, I threw it into the pea soup I was making in the crock pot. It was wonderful! Made the soup really creamy tasting and since this was spicy hummus it jazzed up the soup.
4. Grocery store had a sack of bananas for 69 cents. I snapped it up thinking that I’d make banana bread. BUt only two of them were really ripe so I made banana/peanut butter granola with them and we ate the rest for dessert every day this week.
5. Picked up 10 cents in a grocery store parking lot.


Marybeth April 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm

1. My husbands has been coming home with leftover food from work a lot this week. Assorted slices of pizza, 4 sandwich rolls, 2 bagels, 2 bananas and an orange. That’s just what he brought home. He also ate several meals there this week.
2.Our cell phone bill was wrong. I called them and received a $60 credit. I check every bill every month. I can’t tell you how many times I find mistakes.
3. Worked 2 extra shifts again this week. Taking them while I can.
4. Even though I am very tired this week, all meals were still made at home.
5.Washed baggies, used up all food scraps, used drying racks, bunched errands together, brought lunch to school/work, used coupons on items I was buying. All the day in day out things that make us all frugal.
Have a wonderful weekend!


tonya April 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm

1) I aggressively shopped the markdowns today at the grocery store. Best deal was Greek yogurt at the never before seen price of .25 apiece. I bought 20!

2) We are invited to a birthday party and it’s pay for your own food. We are going to eat before we go.

3) We had an awesome spring break this past week, enjoyed the local free and cheap museums. It’s fun to be a tourist in your own town.

4) Putting the third March paycheck towards taxes.

5) Reading a new library book today, one that just came in. Really love and appreciate my library.


Ruby April 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm

1. Bought 4 spring/summer tops at the Salvation Army for $12 and happily wore them to work this week.
2. “Redecorated” today by moving the furniture and some lamps around. My son came home from work and said, ‘I love what you did with the living room.”
3. ‘Styled” the rest of the house by doing away with some small, cluttery stuff we don’t need.
4. It’s going to be a bad year for bugs. Already found a tick on the puppy, so I called the vet’s office and quizzed the tech about the best, most affordable flea and tick treatments. She knew several lesser known brands that work well in this area, thus saving us some money.
5. Only extra spending this week was $9 to take my boss out to lunch. She’s been having a tough time and it was nice to have a ladies lunch out.


Shevaun April 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm

1. First, I totally realize that all my FFT posts are about my potty-training toddler. Such is life. That said, we are consistently at only 2 diapers a day (nap and night). And only mopped once this past week. Well done, darling daughter.
2. Packing up DD’s neutral clothes and DS’s clothes for cousin who is having a baby boy. The circle of life… and of handmedowns.
3. DH and I are *not* buying a City Select double stroller with a toddler riding platform (around $1000). Even though I have wanted it for 16 months. And even though I’m hoping for another little bugger in a year or so. Marshmallow test. (If you know what the marshmallow test is, I hope you’re laughing. If you don’t, google it.)
4. The Easter Bunny in our neck of the woods leaves an empty basket at your bedroom door and ribbon trail through the house, punctuated with candy and small gifts to collect. I have had conversation with the Bunny, and each ribbon will contain no more than $10 of little gifts, plus chocolates.
5. I guess this isn’t really a frugal thing, but I just want to say to some of the regulars on this site, thank you. Everyone here is really kind, and it’s nice to hang out with some pretty nice folks. *aw, shucks*. But it’s true, ya know? I feel sort of like Luna Lovegood: “It’s like having friends.”


Shevaun April 1, 2017 at 4:06 pm

So, just as I hit “submit”, my DD pulled off her diaper and peed in the crib (it’s bedtime). So all you parents out there who think your kid is potty trained: PSYCH!


Vickey April 4, 2017 at 9:49 am

Shevaun, you made me laugh and now I have to go clean my screen! I second your “thank you for the kindness on here”.


Vickey April 4, 2017 at 9:51 am

Oh, and your #4 sounds charming! I’m going to make a note of it for when (if!) grandkids appear on the scene.


MommaL April 2, 2017 at 9:16 am

I agree, this community is so kind to each other.


Rachel April 1, 2017 at 5:33 pm

1. Shopped at my favorite Salvation Army (much cheaper than Goodwill in our area) and it happened to be half off day. I found a pair of Blundstone boots for $1 for a son and a new looking pair of Nikes for myself for $3, also picked up a couple pair of good brand kid shoes I knew I could resell.
2. Continuing to declutter our home, sell off what we don’t need and save the money for one child’s braces. That goal keeps me going. I’ve squirreled away about $1400 since August. Dollar by dollar we are getting there (selling lots of low-value items, the better stuff was sold before a move last year).
3. Made a menu plan and mostly followed it to avoid food waste. Tallied our grocery expenses for March and came in around $485 for our family of 7. I’m pleased with that.
4. Sent off my husband and some kids to a semi-pro soccer game tonight. He had some free tickets from his work and they parked and walked to the stadium instead of paying $5 for parking.
5. We used a Christmas gift to take our kids for a day of skiing, searching out and using every discount and coupon available. Still ended up spending plenty out of pocket, but this was the one bit of thrill for an otherwise low-key week of spring break. I packed a simple lunch and thermoses of hot chocolate and we drove to the mountains and back in the same day to avoid lodging cost and came home to enjoy our own fireplace and beds. It is a good thing to enjoy the comforts of one’s own home. I’m not really sure if it’s possible to ski on the cheap.
Fail: not having strong enough resolve to avoid our favorite non-chain pizza restaurant on the way home from the mountains and stopping for expensive but delicious pizza. We had water to drink and ordered one big pie, but it ended up not really being enough to satisfy our growing kids. I was thankful for some snacks in the car to tide them over for the rest of the drive home.


Connie April 1, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Favorite food following Wisdom teeth removal…warmed refried beans with melted cheese…comfort food!!


Debra April 2, 2017 at 12:28 am

1. I picked up an extra shift, on the weekend, so base pay + weekend bonus + bonus for picking up the shift.
2. Got some items ready to list on Ebay tomorrow.
3. Got bread, donuts, green grapes, red, yellow and green peppers, and Boboli pizza crusts for free at my favorite thrift store. Bought some mozzarella on sale at Kroger and had veggie pizza and grapes for dinner 4 nights this week.
4. Increased my pretax payroll contribution to my 401k so I can “hit the wall” (stop contributing to it after reaching the IRS yearly limit) in October and have money for the holidays.
5. Got library books, CDs, DVDs; brought food to work; started on a baby quilt for a gal at work but shopped my stash of fabrics so no cost; found 6 cents(although my daughter found $3 plus some change, lucky her); bought a $2 full length mirror for $2 at a rummage sale so my daughter can take back the $14.87 one she bought at WM; and resisted getting a soft serve swirl waffle cone at Rally’s.


Alexandra April 2, 2017 at 3:54 am

1. Had grand-kids all weekend. Spent no money entertaining them. Instead:
took 2 bike rides. One ended at two different yard sales. They brought the money they earn from chores and bought: DGS 1: skateboard $5, DGS2: roller skaktes $5, DGD: Nothing and she has $130 in the bank and she is only 10! She gets saving in a big way.
2. made all meals with kids. They helped make spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, garlic bread, peanut butter cookies, chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and braised carrots. Having them help cook increases interest in eating new things.
3. kids wanted to do “chores” to earn some money. DH and I not have enough energy to oversee such so talked about doing it next time. Oldest grandson age 8, grabbed the rake and spent almost an hour raking up all those gumballs and hauled them to fire pit. He earned $5 for his self starting and ingenuity. Those suckers hurt to step on with bare feet! Very proud of his work ethic.
4. Sat with boys on swing while DGD and DH went to Lowes to buy paint for updating their used bikes. When they got home we were STiLL on the swing! Just rocking and talking and enjoying a spring day. We watched birds and squirrels, joked and laughed. Lovely time together.
5. All kids painted their bikes with spray paint. None of the bikes cost more than $30 and they really enjoyed sprucing up their bikes.
6. One more! Grandpa put up the tent outside and slept with the boys out there after a campfire. Girls stayed inside…They loved it.
Their parents are splitting up and lots of unknowns at home. They seemed relaxed and easy going all weekend. We worked to make “Grandpas” house a refuge from the world. Keeping electronics off or at a minimum really helps and focusing on being outside. It sure makes me feel better so I think it does them too.


MommaL April 2, 2017 at 8:47 am

You are awesome grandparents. 🙂


Alexandra April 5, 2017 at 5:21 am

how nice of you to say so! We love being grandparents.


MommaL April 2, 2017 at 8:46 am

1. Made a pot of dried beans, two weeks in a row. This is the first time I’ve tried it, and last week’s beans made chili, enchiladas, and a tex mex salad. 🙂
2. Cleaning out the closet again, getting rid of anything that is uncomfortable. Texture, fit, whatever, out it goes. Determined to try lots of poses (sitting, bending, etc.) when I shop again, to make sure I’ll really be comfortable wearing the items!
3. Ironing my shirts that need it. I hate ironing, and buy cute button up shirts that end up in my closet wrinkled and less worn.
4. Bartered with a friend to hem my GW pants.
5. Watching the final four with a friend, potluck style.

Not frugal: had to put down my dear kitten, who had FIP. Spent quite a bit hoping he could get better first. Saved $ on not cremating him, but spent $ on a little stepping stone with his name on it. At least the stone was 1/3 of what the cremation would have cost. The vet was very compassionate, and reassured us we did the right thing. Poor kitty lost the use of his back legs completely.


Bee April 2, 2017 at 9:21 am

I am so sorry over the loss of your kitty. I know that is not easy.


Nalani April 2, 2017 at 10:38 am

Sorry to hear about your kitty


MommaL April 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Thank you both. Never had to put a kitten down before. Its quite a different feeling.


Tracy April 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

1. At beach for weekend, enjoying many no-cost pleasures — long walks on beach, watching library dvds with mom and daughter, reading library books.
2. Also enjoying browsing through several fashion magazines (vogue, Elle) from Feb-March-April purchased used to benefit local library, 6 magazines for $3
3. Have made some good food at home and Mom treated us to pizza once and also me to dinner at the only trendy place in town – we hated things to get more tastes and came home for dessert making it reasonable – I paid the tip. So for doing the cooking for other meals I was treated to two no-cook dinners!
4. Went to an estate sale and found several boxes of the vintage glass Christmas ornaments my mom collects for $6 – score! (This is a vicarious FT)
5. I love clothes and have been wanting some of the new wide legged cropped raw hem vintage looking jeans I keep seeing online for $200 plus. Found a pair of men’s vintage Levi’s in my waist size that Are wide legged but cropped – took out the hems and voila I’ve got the look for $12!


Tracy April 3, 2017 at 3:43 am

Oops “shared” things not “hated” things…


MW April 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

1- Picked up bark dust and compost for my yard and my neighbor’s yard using my dad’s trailer. Saved $40 per square yard delivery fee and made a solid investment in our vegetable garden.
2- Cooked up a turkey that was chilling in my freezer for my step-mom’s birthday dinner. Avoided buying much of anything for the dinner.
3- Planned a week’s menu around leftover turkey.
4- With my husband currently out of a job, I researched free or low-cost activities for him to do with the 3 year old, instead of sitting at home feeling blue.
5- Still taking the bus, bringing a lunch, and making my own coffee for work.

On the “ugh” side, my husband managed to ruin two of my work sweaters in the laundry. Back to the thrift stores to start the search. And I’m back to doing my own laundry.


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