Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 3, 2017 · 74 comments

  1. I called our cable company to find out the cost of our monthly bill for internet without the cable TV. (It’s bundled, so it’s confusing.) And . . . as long as I had them on the phone, I asked for and magically received free HBO. Yup, we’re doing our taxes! #GameofThrones
  2. I scrubbed up our old propane grill to ready it for an exciting new journey. My husband and I lugged home a freebie upgrade last week, so we’re giving this one to a co-worker. It’s a bit scrappy, but still functional. Better for it to stay in use.
  3. My son made two eBay sales totaling $220, I’m so proud of him! Especially since the majority of that was a pair of $20 thrifted sneakers that sold for $180! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with this one.
  4. I was feeling super blah today, which I know is a combination of missing the kids and having to go back to work tomorrow. However, I was still able to fight my way through a monster to-do list. It was boring, but future Katy will be happy that today Katy accepted her adult status. (Being an adult sure involves returning a lot of e-mails and making insurance related phone calls.)
  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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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa April 4, 2017 at 2:10 am

I really need to hear # 4, I am also super bleh, missing my twins at college, fed up with work & don’t want to do anything! Need to remember to be an adult & power through.


Mand01 April 4, 2017 at 2:11 am

1. We all got home late. It’s becoming a theme and I’m frankly sick of it, but that’s life I guess. Hubs had just put the pot on for mac and cheese but there’s no way we had time for that so we dug around and made BLTs with haloumi for the vegetarian.
2. Brought coffee and tea from home again to avoid buying even though I really wanted to go out of the office for a stretch and a coffee. Did have the stretch and walk but not the $5 beverage.
3. Working from home tomorrow. Saving petrol and sanity.
4. Fully thrifted outfit once more, except for shoes, which are beautiful handmade Spanish leather loafers I got half price (floor stock) from our little corner shoe shop. Being frugal means I can splurge occasionally on something really nice. Most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. Even at half price they were pricey but no regrets.
That’s it – best attend to this tired family. Night all!


Marybeth April 4, 2017 at 3:13 am

Today is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s. If you have one near you it’s from 12-8.
1. My boss texted me yesterday morning if I could come into work. The other secretary called out. Took a quick shower and didn’t have time to make lunch. Grabbed 2 mandarins, a banana, nuts, and a small container of leftover asparagus. I made it thru without buying food.
2. My sister has a free bagel everyday this month from Paneras. She wasn’t going to use it so I stopped and got one for my daughter’s breakfast on the way home. Said no thanks to the plastic knife.
3. After work I took the dog on a nice walk. It has been beautiful out the last 2 days and I need the exercise. Found 11 cents on the walk.
4. Cooked dinner: pork chops, sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts. Mixed the potato skins in with the dogs food to avoid waste.
5.Didn’t spend any money since I was to busy.


isabelle April 4, 2017 at 3:56 am

* Keep getting books from a free pile at work. I usually don’t buy books anyways, I rent them from the library or get them from free piles. I LOVE books!
* Still working out cheaply : going to use the city pool today (12$/year)
* My friend and I are supporting each other’s weighloss journey by emailing each other each night. Cheaper than a diet club! I’m not paying for diet clubs anymore, it’s not worth it for me (Weight watchers and others, I’m done with that)
* I’m working on call, so I get to decide when I’m off. I try to keep it at 4 days/week right now. I’m coordinating my days off with when daughter is off school, so I don’t have to pay for daycare on those days and I get to enjoy her while taking a day off from work anyways. Win-win! We do frugal activities on those days, like going to the city pool, going to the park, etc. I used to spend “lots” of money to keep her entertain (restaurant, movies, museum) on those days, but I’ve made the decision that I’m ok with her being a little bored sometimes. It’s ok for kids not to be entertained every second of every day. it’s even good for them! Next year I’ll have 2 kids in school, so it will be even better to take those days off (money wise).
* Have not been sleeping much these last couple of days because of a persistent cough (like 3-4 hours per night, if I’m lucky). I was feeling pretty out of it yesterday, contemplating not coming to work today, but I came anyways. When I don’t work I don’t get paid, and I don’t have sick days, so I prefer to keep my days off for something that is worth it (like staying with the kids, etc). So I’m pushing through.

Have a great frugal day!


Mariana April 4, 2017 at 4:01 am

Nice Ebay profit! Well done. 🙂
I got a free lunch at work today.
Found a quarter on a subway train.
Accepted a hand me down skirt.
I keep using a notebook that still has blank pages (although I was very VERY tempted to get a new one!)
Last night I got caught in the rain. I used my hood (which was only semi-successful) instead of buying a crappy $3 umbrella from a street vendor. (These are basically one use only and last for approximately 10minutes)


Susie's Daughter April 4, 2017 at 4:51 am

Katy on your #4 – Adult and slacker / present and future selves have been having lots of conversations here too. I am usually “deadline driven” (aka a procrastinator) and have been seeing the negative consequences of it more so lately. So adult and future selves are getting more air time! Thanks for sharing your reality.

1) Reviewed and updated all of our “home entertainment” monthly spending. Keeping Netflix after one month free, reduced satellite TV package, satellite internet is now offering 4x more GB for same price and hooked up Roku stick which we have had for three years and never used. Cut the overall spending by $850./yr. I had put this off for a while…

2) In the “big city” yesterday to take Dear Wife to airport, so trips to Trader Joes, and Costco. Just recently realized that Costco refills printer ink and used an ink refill coupon from Costco booklet and the lovely woman applied it to all four cartridges (fine print said two only). The refill service plus coupon made it half the price of new.

3) Found a dime on an escalator at the airport. Found pennies always make me think of my Nana so a dime is 10 days worth of happy Nana thoughts.

4) Sold 12 items yesterday among the family of stores – Once Upon a Child, Plato’s Closet, and Style Encore for about $22.00 which will be cash for the week. Style Encore is just opened and carries more “women’s fashion” so I will look next time to see if work clothes are reasonably priced.

5) Recharged reusable batteries, washed out freezer bags, ate leftovers for breakfast, froze big bag of mozzarella from Costco in 4 cup packages, eating from freezer and pantry this week.


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy April 4, 2017 at 5:02 am

At first when I read the last point, I thought it said adult stare not adult status and I was thinking…I’m not the only one that stares in the mirror and gives myself pep talks to get my ass moving. Haha! Maybe I actually am 🙂


Marie April 5, 2017 at 8:31 am

No, you most certainly are not!


liz April 4, 2017 at 5:16 am

1. scrounged a free old bike from my uncle who had it sitting in his basement since 1077, to replace my old bike that got stolen last week
2. am about to conclude a swap for another free bike, made up of old spare parts, to use as a winter bike next year (cuz bike above, which I’ve named Goldie, is rather nice)
3. took my lunch to work, from leftovers, as I do daily
4. biked to work instead of paying for transit, as I do daily
5. am about to sock another couple hundred away into my rsp, off my paycheque, as I do every 2 weeks.
6. checked out 2 new audiobooks for free from the library
7. dried my laundry on the rack instead of paying $1 per dryer load
8. made a load of homemade baked beans from dry beans

For now that’s it! Need to take my car in tomorrow am to get a check up of the security system, since it beeps a lot when locked and drains my battery. I wonder what that will cost…. 🙁


Kathe W April 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm

re: #1 — 1077?


Debra April 4, 2017 at 7:47 pm

I’m thinking 1977….


Amy K. April 4, 2017 at 5:31 am

I’m in the middle of selling our house and moving, again. I live pretty minimally, got into the minimalist thing a while back. But there’s still a ton to do as far as getting the house in shape for pictures, listing and the open house. I hate that you have to make it look like no one lives here. That’s so hard with a family and pets. I haven’t been feeling very frugal because we’re spending a good chunk of change on repairs/fixups. My vacuum died and so I got a new one yesterday. I’m trying to minimize expenses by repurposing what I have as much as possible. I had saved window treatments, bedding and decor from a prior house and have been swapping things out and rearranging furniture. I’ve been consolidating things into different storage bins, putting clothes into unused suitcases so they’re out of the way, and using the bins to store books. I’m trying to avoid buying more storage bins. I did sell a large area rug over the weekend, and plan on listing my Craigslist items on other for-sale sites today to hopefully increase my chances of selling quickly. Every time we move, we’ve downsized. We’re going from a three-bedroom bungalow now, to a two-bedroom apartment. This will be our sixth move together. I’m trying to convince my husband we’re not going to fit several households-full of stuff into a two-bedroom apartment. Augh!


Lesley April 4, 2017 at 5:32 am

Feeling the same “bleh” of having the kids gone again. Thanks for the great, forward-marching post!


susanna d April 4, 2017 at 5:34 am

1. I noticed the squirrel baffle on the bird feeder was no longer baffling the squirrels. I did a quick fix with duct tape, and it’ll hold for a few more weeks – after which the feeder comes down, since the snow is melting and the bears will probably be out again soon. I’ll look into making a more sturdy baffle for next winter.
2. We have a propane outdoor heater that lets us enjoy having dinner (and entertaining) outside in colder temps – and living in a cold climate, any extra outside time is appreciated. The heater stopped working, but after my husband took it apart and cleaned certain parts, it’s working like new again.
3. I was craving something sweet, so I cooked up the last of the 49 cents per pound cranberries that were hanging out in the freezer and made relish. Took care of the sweet craving, and I like to believe it’s at least a little bit healthier than some of the other sweet options. Yes, an apple would have been healthier but it just wasn’t doing it for me.
4. I’ve been hanging blankets and sheets to dry on the tension rod I’ve put over the tub in the guest bathroom. Several of these things would have had me driving to the laundromat in the past, before I came up with the tension rod idea. I still plan on getting a dryer sometime this year, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying NOT having to drive to the laundromat once a week to dry the bigger stuff.
5. Picked up my free Larabar while in town – I am loving those free Friday downloads most weeks!


Patti April 4, 2017 at 5:38 am

1. I went to BiLo yesterday to get a rotisserie chicken – a treat, but one we planned. No hot chickens available but there were COLD chickens for $4.00. That’s a $2.00 savings for a 8-10 minute reheat in the microwave. Not sure if this is a regular thing but I’ll be checking it out from now on. We use every drop of it so it won’t linger long in the refrigerator if it is a “day old” chicken.
2. My sheets ripped from many years of use – rips are too long to be repaired so I plan to take them to the Humane Society today. Making stops at the recycling center next door and the Goodwill around the corner. Bundling errands to save gas plus spring cleaning.
3. A simple call to my insurance company to cancel a notice may result in a refund after I get the paperwork to them today. Love unexpected $$!!
4. Had a “windfall” of $$ come in last week (a gift from a relative) and was tempted to splurge on some wants (yahoo!) but we decided to stick to our plan so off to the savings account it went.
5. Launching my son into his first apartment (without roommates) this week means NOT supplying him with anything to set it up. I have found linens, towels, pots and pans, kitchen items, lamps, etc. at yard sales and thrift stores over the years but they have all mysteriously disappeared through four moves so this time we think he is capable of buying what he needs and taking on the expense. He went to Target and bought one towel, one hand towel, and one wash cloth. We have laughed about that ever since! Minimalist in the making!


BJS April 4, 2017 at 10:47 am

5. I love his quantities! Good job, Mama!


tracy April 4, 2017 at 5:40 am

1. Continuing to do well on my buy nothing new year (although still buying too much thrifted clothing! Did I mention I love clothes?)
2. Rearranged some plants/décor items in my home on Sunday to good effect with $0 spent.
3. Am picking my son up from airport today after his spring break trip to Japan and driving him back to college — it will be a 4 hour round trip if traffic isn’t horrible (Katy same one you did earlier this week I believe to OSU) — I will gas up at discount gas place — Fred Meyer gas using my points — and pack peanut butter sandwiches and apples to avoid buying crappy food.
4. Sitting and admiring the most amazing morning sky — free!
5. Wearing cute thrifted outfit to work today.


Vickey April 5, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Love your #4! I’m reveling in rare sunshine here today, being the Sun Puppet that I am.


Mary in Maryland April 4, 2017 at 6:29 am

1) Neighbors moved out and brought us all their left-over food. I freecycled a bag of cupcake makings and sprinkles and one of flours. Stowed the refrigerated items and a few bags of frozen veggies.
2) Refilled my olive and canola oil bottles with the last of theirs.
3) Concentrating on eating spuds this week, as their five pounds was added to mine.
4) listed a Kaffe Fassett sweater kit on Craigslist. No nibbles yet.
5) I suggested a year ago that my Timebank have a kitchen swap (we’ve had book, clothing, and tool swaps). I have two bags of kitchen appliances, tools, cookbooks, and orphan ingredients to take to the event on Sunday. I’ve also held off buying several small things we need–for months–while waiting for this.


Yve Strom April 4, 2017 at 8:38 am

Hi! What’s a Timebank?



Mary in Maryland April 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm

The timebank is a way to exchange services without having to do one to one trades. You get an hour’s credit for an hour’s work. I’ve done lots of hemming, alterations, and custom sewing. And strong, supple young women have done all my vacuuming for the past year. There is free software from HourWorld to help groups set themselves up. Most exchanges arranged via the internet, but we also have social events several times a year. It’s been a useful way to build community.


Vickie April 4, 2017 at 6:30 am

Good job to your son on those sneakers – that’s amazing!
1) Now that it’s warm weather I’m forgoing my morning oatmeal and eating and energy bar and a banana with my morning coffee (provided by work).
2) I’m taking food for an after-funeral potluck on Thursday, so I decided to make Banana pudding. All I’ll need to buy is bananas and they are on sale right now.
3) Gas is back down to $2.19 per gallon at my local station, so I filled up this morning.
4) My tax refund provided funds to get some needed things done, without having to take it from my monthly budget.
5) I didn’t buy a gold covered Yacht, NY apartment or a Lear jet – so, I think I’m saving bundles.


Vickey April 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

After-funeral potlucks were what people did where I grew up (SoCal), but here in the NE, the expectation is that the estate of the deceased pays for the meal after the sevrvice. I told DH we couldn’t afford to die here – or if we did, not to have a service.
What have others observed wrt post-funeral meal customs? From my perspective, it can be a real hardship to expect the survivors to have to foot the bill for a meal for potentially several dozen people.


Cindy in the South I April 6, 2017 at 11:31 am

Usually neighbors or church members bring food, a covered dish, in the deep south. That was also the custom in Utah, when I lived there.


Mand01 April 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Here we don’t really have a meal; just cups of tea and biscuits or light snack. The estate does pay for it.
If the deceased is Irish or Catholic, as one side of my family, we also have a wake. That’s more substantial and boozy. The estate pays for some of the food (bar snacks, platters etc) and some alcohol but everyone usually starts to buy their own at a certain point because otherwise it is too expensive and people will get too drunk. I have an aunt who will only drink Moet, and she gets rotten every time.


jennifer April 4, 2017 at 6:31 am

1. I made a trip to the dollar tree for a list of items we we running out of. I get shower curtains from there so when they get super grimy or torn I throw them away. I make them last a long time by spraying them with a vinegar/water solution every few days. It is more wasteful than a fabric one but I try to maintain them as long as possible.
2. I picked up some cough syrup from Dollar Tree. It’s only $1 for the exact same active ingredient as Mucinex, which costs a lot more. I grabbed toothpaste, bar soap, LA’s awesome cleaner, mushrooms, and spaghetti sauce while I was there.
3. I finally got around to giving the LA’s awesome cleaner last night on my shower. It really cuts through the yuck and I love that I didn’t have to use bleach.
4.My husband and I went to a local auction this past weekend. I don’t usually buy much but we got a FLIR brand security camera new in the box for $7! They are $154 at Amazon. I got several items that are too numerous to mention for way under what I normally pay. It was a fun night out.
5. Last night , I made some spaghetti with a 1/2 a pack of ground beef that I had frozen from a previous meal. The meat was purchased from the markdown section so I figured I only spent around $2.50 for the whole meal. Wait, make that $3.50…I forgot I added a whole jar of Dollar Tree mushrooms to the spaghetti. Oh well, still a good deal and a little more healthy.

I guess this post should have been called Dollar Tree edition.


Nancy from Mass April 4, 2017 at 6:56 am

1. Wanted to buy some donation items to give to a local Men’s addiction rehab facility. they requested soap, shaving cream, etc. I purchased a few of each items and then, lo and behold, i saw a lotion that i use for my horrible, horrible skin! It costs 15 on amazon and 17 at the dermatologist. I bought 3 bottles. Ahhh, my skin is so happy!
2. went to my local shaws yesterday. Bought: daves killer bread (free), 2 bagels (free), pasta (free), salt (free), local organic yogurt ($1 each), tuna (.50), cottage cheese (free). grand total? 6.50 🙂
3. i’ve been losing weight since DH passed (i think i was stress eating). I went through my drawers and pulled out older pairs of real denim jeans and they now fit!
4. taking refresher french lessons online through duolingo (free). I grew up hearing french and know a lot of words, but need some help with memory retention.
5. due to my weight loss (and they fact they were old), I needed new bras. I went to Lady Grace, was measured and bought 2 new bras for roughly the same price i would have paid anywhere else. I went down 2″ and went UP three cups sizes….I was like, are you SURE this will fit? they do…like a glove!


Nancy from Mass April 4, 2017 at 6:59 am

#1 was at Dollar Tree.


Jennifer April 4, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Nancy, what kind of lotion do you use if you don’t mind telling?


Nancy from mass April 4, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Its called excipial. It works great on my extremely dry skin.


jennifer April 5, 2017 at 7:03 am

Wow, I’m gonna be on the lookout for it…thanks!

Cindy in the South I April 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

1. Started the process for COBRA insurance for my child, who is aging off my insurance. This is frugal because covered hospitalizations are cheaper than noncovered hospitalizations.
2. I am attempting to refinance my house for two reasons (1) Buy back my time so that I can vest and then retire IF I have to take care of my grown kid in the future, (2) afford to pay for three years of COBRA for this child. One does what one has to do regarding children, even if they are technically adults. So, I am gathering all sorts of documentations for this. How is this frugal? Well, no one will care for my kid, if needed, like I will. My house payment will go up but it will be still under $25% of my net income level, even taking into considerations of the COBRA payments, so I will be ok, I think. I will be able to keep working for the time being, but for how long I do not know. Hopefully, he will remain stable, and I will be able to work for another five to ten years. However, I always plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
3. I am going over my budget with a fine booth comb, to see if I can further reduce anything. I am trying to do all of this without his realizing it because I do not want him to feel guilty because he has this health situation.
4. I slept last night.
5. I try not to think about those in charge of this country, who tried to do away with preexisting conditions and do away with our health care, however fragmented it may be. I do not want a gold plated apartment in the sky. I want my kid to have access to health care that he needs to stay alive. Health care should not be for the privileged only. I work, and my kid was working, when he was able. We are the face of the hard working middle class who are desperately struggling to keep and pay for health care.


Pattilou April 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

Amen to your #5 Cindy.


janine April 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

Good Luck Cindy – it sounds as though you are thinking through your problems and coming up with contingency plans. So much easier to bury your head in the sand and hope for the best! Someday we will all support the late Sen. Wellstone’s motto “We all do better when we all do better!” Everyone deserves decent health care at a reasonable price.


Annette April 4, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. Those in Congress who work to eliminate the ACA should be forced to shop for insurance plans like the rest of us. Why should we pay for their gold standard benefits? This is a national disgrace, and I hope my fellow non-consumers who live in red states are making their views known to their senators and representatives.


Chris April 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I’ve been suggesting that for a long time!


Teri April 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Wondering what you would do when the ACA collapses? I need some options.


Beth L April 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Amen sister!

My brother has a catastrophic multi-system organ failure several years ago. Every day we are grateful he pulled through. He is now afraid to leave the job he hates due to the uncertainty of the health care situation.


Debra April 4, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Can you do COBRA for 3 years? here in Indiana and in Michigan it was 1 year.
I work as a psych RN at a hospital and I have crappy insurance and an HRA that is so complicated to get funds out of most people give up.
But I am grateful to have insurance. and I am grateful I was able to cover my daughter as long as I did, and grateful she has insurance through her husband’s employer now. She has preexisting conditions which include cancer if she has to get other insurance later. It’s scary.


Cindy in the South I April 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

Three years here.


Yve Strom April 4, 2017 at 8:28 am

1. Made my own hand cream, storing it in a glass container.
2. Bought a bunch of bulk nuts and dried fruit reusing my plastic bags and canvas tote.
3. Sprouted vegetable seeds in old egg cartons, didn’t buy plants that come in plastic containers, and will soon have free, organic veggies.
4. While shopping yesterday I brought along drinking water in a stainless steel thermos so I didn’t have to buy bottled water. Saved money and the planet!


Vickey April 6, 2017 at 7:47 am

Yve, I love the simplicity implied in your approach. Low cost *and* low impact. Good on ya!


Pattilou April 4, 2017 at 8:51 am

1. My birthday was this past weekend so I stopped at Sephora for my free gift.
2. A friend bought me dinner one night and then I used my free dinner certificate at a local restaurant the next night. I had left overs from both meals which turned into lunch for two days. I did end up paying $20.00 because I picked up the tip because it was the birthday of another friend who was with me.
3. I used a gift certificate I have had for about a year to get various pastries at a local bakery for the above mentioned birthday friend. We all had had enough cake by then so I switched it up a bit. No money spent out of pocket and we all sampled each of the baked goods which was fun – and tasty.
4. I made a card and I made earrings for the birthday gift with supplies I had on hand and some tools we had at work.
5. Although our local grocery store doesn’t offer the good freebies that Kroger seems to (they started out that way but now all they are doing is offering a specific product at a steeply reduced rate each week), they did send out a $5.00 off coupon this week. I spent $5.39 so only .39 cents out of pocket. Also a friend gave me a $5.00 off of $30.00 at Aldi which I will use next week to do a stock up shop.


Deb April 4, 2017 at 9:12 am

Katie, your son’s Nike shoe sale reminded me that my daughter wanted to get rid of her perfectly good black Nikes because they “squeaked” when she walked. I rescued them and they are the most comfortable walking shoes I own. And they don’t seem to “squeak” on my feet!


Lindsey April 4, 2017 at 4:09 pm

You often can cure squeaky shoes by pouring baby powder (not the talc kind, the corn flour type) inside, under the insole that you will have to pry up, and any sewn parts on the outside. Fixed two pair of husband’s squeaky leather shoes this way. Also works if you have wood floors that develop a squeak—pour baby powder in and around the offending board.


Jenny April 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

What is the corn-flour powder? Is it the same as cornstarch?


Lindsey April 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Yes, cornstarch.


Jenny April 4, 2017 at 7:45 pm


Deb April 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Thank you for the tip! If they start to squeak I will try it.


Mary in Maryland April 4, 2017 at 10:15 am

1) I took a day pack full of stuff to the little thrift shop that supports the local food bank.
2) my husband has been asking for a wool plaid shirt for several months. The thrift had one in attractive colors and his size marked down to a dollar because it’s now spring.
3) Thanks to an earlier post, I got a small cup of VEGAN ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.
4) For supper I’m making Indian potatoes with gift spuds and some sauerkraut that went off the rails. (I had shredded the cabbage and the weight couldn’t keep it down–so mold was starting on top.) A friend gave me four cups of mint tea. I gave her nine potatoes.
5) I’m into wild allergy season–and wearing a 3M particle mask. Very geeky, but no ER visits and much reduced medication since I started this in 1998.


VanessaKC April 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm

1. Honey Nut Cheerios advertised a free pack of wildflower seeds. Planted them today at the old VW shop. Will also plant mint and lemon balm when my starts are ready. It’s my goal to plant aggressive indigenous plants there to help fight the nasty weeds and poison ivy.
2. Picked microgreens from the home garden for the base of tonight’s salad.
3. The young dude and I were craving chocolate. Have a wacky cake in the oven made from standard pantry stuff.
4. Taking lunches to work, eating dinner at home, usual deal there.
5. Have annoyingly reminded everyone I know to vote in our local elections today. Free to vote and promote.


A. Marie April 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm

(1) Sympathies re: the overpriced medication, Katy, and please keep us posted on the outcome. We’ve had a few similar issues with DH’s meds vs. his Medicare Part D in the past few years. The nurse at DH’s PCP’s office who has helped us resolve most of these is worth her weight in gold.

(2) On a much happier note, I’m delighted to report an NCA meet-up in area code 315: Barbara and I did indeed make contact at last Saturday’s FFL book sale! We had only a brief chat because the sale was keeping her busy, but both DH and I very much enjoyed meeting her.

(3) We also brought home the usual number of good finds from the sale.

(4) Spring is finally springing here in area code 315, so DH and I are able at long last to get out into the yard and start doing garden prep. I decided to live dangerously and sow several types of seeds for hardy greens. It’s insanely early for this by any “normal” local standards, but I think most of us can agree that these aren’t “normal” times.

(5) And I’m making yet another chicken stock from saved b0nes, to give the very last of the 2016 leeks a proper soupy send-off tomorrow.


Deb April 4, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Fellow 315er here. We still had snow on our ground till today when the rains finally melted it away. Sure looking forward to next week and the nice temps! Happy and Prosperous Gardening to you! 🙂


Mrs. Picky Pincher April 4, 2017 at 3:57 pm

This week:

1. I got some great nail polish on a clearance rack for $1.

2. My sister-in-law gave me some really nice makeup that just wasn’t her color.

3. I forgot to plan a dinner last night, so we ate leftovers instead of eating out.

4. I’m sewing a dress out of thrift store sheets and using a $2 sale pattern from Walmart to build it.

5. Over the weekend I cooked a few freezer meals, which will ensure we’ll eat at home and not spend money at restaurants. 🙂


Deb April 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Mrs. PP – I was excited to find OPI nail polish for $6 instead of the usual $9! I should have looked harder and longer for deals!


Susan April 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Five frugal things:

1. Went to Goodwill to pick up juicer I bought at auction. DH wanted to try it, so for 8.95, I have a NIB juicer with Macy’s tags. If he doesn’t stick to it, we are out very little compared to a full price juicer.
2. Made coffee and tea at home. DH did too.
3. Ate leftover oatmeal with frozen berries.
4. Made ramen noodle bowls for dinner at home with items on hand.
5. Cut my son’s hair. He is 4 and I cannot stomach paying big bucks to get it cut.
*My son found a penny in the GW lot. He loves to find money. He calls it “finding treasure”.


Bee April 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm

#5 is so sweet! I love to find treasure too.


Teri April 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm

1. Refilling my purse sized bottle of hand sanitizer from a larger bottle at home.
2. Signed up for store loyalty program from a store I do not shop at just to get their $10 off $10, $15 off $15 purchase cards. I usually find some jewelry that I then use for gifts–for free.
3. Found a few coins this week, mostly pennies.
4. Fixing meals from items in the freezer.
5. Pruned the rose bushes myself, a few scratches was worth the savings of hiring it done.


Lindsey April 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Future savings from behaviors today:
1. painstakingly planted those tiny leek seeds, 230 of them, so they will be ready to transplant into the garden after the snow melts (I live in interior Alaska so another seven or eight weeks until I can transplant outside). Leeks are very expensive and I use them for soups and to make leek pie.
2. Also painstakingly planted 500 onion seeds, to be eaten as scallions early in the season and the ones left standing will be onions by the middle of August. We use a lot of onions. Just like the leeks, they are expensive so growing my own is a huge savings.
3. Made seeds tapes with my carrot seeds. If I just broadcast them over the soil, I end up doing a lot of thinning. THis wastes my time and all the seedlings I pull up and throw into the compost heap so that the remaining seedlings have room to grow. Buying seed tapes is expensive so making my own saves money several different ways.
4. I was telling someone at work about how I managed to use up hummus someone gave me without having to eat it as a dip, since I dislike the taste. The next day, she brought me a huge Sam’s club vat of hummus that she bought and hated. I froze it and will make pea soup again in a few weeks to use it up in that. I appreciate the thought but I am hummus and pea souped out right now. But I can’t let it go to waste, so by freezing it today I will be saving money in the future.
5. A friend died and her husband offered me all of her card making supplies. I accepted them but will be sharing with several others who knew and liked her and will be thankful for the supplies that will mean saving money on future card making. I think she had at least $500 or $600 worth of supplies stocked up.


Florencia April 11, 2017 at 11:14 pm

What’s seed tape?


janine April 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm

1. Served mussels tonight – as Midwesterners we found out about this bargain priced seafood many years ago at a conference in Boston and have been enjoying them ever since.
2. Have been working on finding reasonably priced housing to recommend for a conference and have discovered that many homeless folks use their precious dollars to stay at lower priced accommodation during the first part of the month. Counting my blessings.
3. We are also having local elections this year and I am trying to persuade caucus organizers to recruit new party officers to run the program. (I will help them out, but we need to extend the opportunity for leadership to folks new to the political process.) This is a free activity – just frustrating.
4. Shopped at a local thrift overstock store. Bought eight books (some looked new) for 29 cents each. They ranged from a field guide to American Birds which I will gift to my bird-watching son, to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook.
5. Frugal fail: Did not buy new doggie insurance and found out dog has heart worm. Was given a clean bill of health when we bought him, but dogs from the south sometimes develop this disease undetected initially. Treatment starts tomorrow.


Bee April 4, 2017 at 6:33 pm

#3 — Sometimes the most important things that we do as a volunteer can be the most frustrating. The power of one …..


Bee April 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Thank you for a motivational FFT, Katy. I really haven’t felt like being an adult lately. However, I have now made a long list and made it through half of it today! Sometimes it’s best to just get it done. Here are my five —
1) Now that it is getting warmer, there is quite a bit to be done in the yard. I have some hydrangeas that were being crowded and not doing well. I built a new bed and move them. Hopefully,they will thrive in the new spot. I also dug up some ivy to use in some decorative planters, rearranged/thinned some perennials, and planting herbs. Thrifty gardening….
2) I have sold two items on eBay, but I have many more to list.
3) It’s been dry this winter in the Southeast, but it’s finally raining, so we have been able to turn off our irrigation system. Saving water is a good thing.
4) I have been eating at home, and I am keeping food costs down. I made chicken broth in the pressure cooker and pork carnitas in the crockpot. Food has been a little pricey this month, so I am using food on hand.
5). This week I have kept busy reading when When Breath Becomes Air and Barbarian Days. I have also been riding my bike, walking the dog and enjoying the beach. Free Vitamin D!
Have a great week!


Kathe W April 4, 2017 at 7:14 pm

#1 Sold some things on Craigslist for a very good price—better than I thought I could get.
#2 Sold surplus canning jars as I continue to reevaluate how much we (just the 2 of us) really need. Sold 11 dozen and made a very good profit, esp. considering I bought most of them at yard sales for about 25cents/jar. Made more than double that!
#3 Took another load of clothes to the local resale shop.
#4 worked on the perennial garden, grooming it after winter and preparing for it to grow and bloom this summer—the frugal part of that is using my own wood chips. We gather all our own sticks/branches after winter and all the cuttings from the annual tree trimming then chip them right here: using our own to improve our own……
#5 supported the fundraiser of a local community group by donating items I had here at the house to the auction at the annual benefit dinner, thus letting someone else donate the cash. They raised $135 from my donations alone—way more than I could justify spending


Beth L April 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I want to thank Katy for authoring this blog and all of you all (I see many of the same “regulars” from week to week) for continuing to share your support and tips. I don’t have a lot of frugal friends and it is easy to get discouraged. So thanks!

Anyhoo my 5!

1. Found a gorgeous thin 100% Indian cotton bedspread. Cut it in half and hemmed it for a friend who lives by a pool. She’ll get the sarong for her birthday gift. For the other half, I covered my dining room chairs. Heavy use made the old fabric look pretty terrible.

2. Went through my closet with a critical eye. I no longer go to an office. So, all the dress pants, work dresses and snazzy clothes are in the donate pile or going to consignment.

3. Someone had dumped kitchen cabinet face samples on the side of the road. Took two home. One will cover the electrical outlet in our basement apartment.

4. A lot of my vegetables for Hungry Harvest (thanks for the tip Frugal Girl – a company that sends you rejected produce from area farms) was about to turn. So I made a big batch of roasted vegetables with olive oil and salt. Ate it for dinner and froze the rest.

5. My husband and I go to Cleveland for the Indians opening day every year. We are driving instead of flying and found a very inexpensive airbnb that takes pets. Much cheaper than the downtown hotels and no pet boarding fees. We’ll make lunch and breakfast at the house. But, have to buy the famous pierogies at West Side Market.


Karen April 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

I agree Beth, this blog is excellent for helping to encourage those of us who get the crazy lady look because we are frugal! Even though my husband and I paid cash for our daughters’ university tuition, cash for used cars and vacations, some family and friends still think we are freaks! So blogs like NCA, Mrs. Picky Pincher (womp womp!), Frugal Girl and Frugalwoods provide me with a kinship that I fully appreciate! Thank you!


Kim in MD April 5, 2017 at 5:23 am

1. My church use to throw away toner cartridges. I volunteered to recycle them so they now save them for me. Picked up 6 which I will take to Staples today.
2. Picked up coupons from fellow freecycler.
3. I’ve tried 2 new recipes in the past week. A different lemon chicken recipe that was a winner and an easy 5 ingredient Southwestern soup that was a big hit with DS#1. Will add to rotation.
4. Made yummy lemon orzo chicken soup for dinner last night. Trying to use up some lemons!
5. Took a bunch of stuff to MOPS for our swap table. Passed on 5 like new men’s dress shirts, a tambourine and lots of Easter supplies! Came home with a Pyrex 13×9 insulated carrier.


Amanda April 5, 2017 at 5:29 am

1) I tried out your frugal silver polishing recommendation on my small group of inherited pieces. We actually use the tea things daily, and I hadn’t polished them in, ahem, years. I put the foil, baking soda, and water in an old pot I use for non food things. I’m glad I did because it smelled terrible. It did get every bit of tarnish off. It also left a yellow tinge, which I easily removed with about ten seconds of polishing with silver cream. So much better!

2) Now that I’m done with comprehensive exams, I am taking care of all the little things that have just been sitting (see 1 above). Last year my husband gave me a string of yard lights for my birthday. Yesterday I celebrated another birthday by actually putting them up! It took about fifteen minutes, but that is how crazy our 2016 was. The frugal person in me was just dying that something useful was not being used.

3) Yesterday afternoon I cut my older son’s hair outside. Then I noticed the yard needed a trim too. So Louie and I pulled out our second hand electric mower and went to work.

4) I tried to do a frugal thing yesterday in calling to return a gift that my mother in law had given my husband for Christmas. It’s great, just the wrong color. Walmart allowed us to do the return even though it was past the return window. But my mother in law had to initiate the return on her account. I called her and explained what she was supposed to do. She texted me later and said she couldn’t figure it out, so just trash it and we’ll buy a new one. My husband and I were both agast. We will find some other solution that will not include trashing perfectly good things.

5) I convinced my husband to add the checking account to his venmo account to avoid the three percent credit card fee. I ate leftover lunch for supper. My husband made a big pot of spaghetti for the kids last night that they will eat on again tonight. I soaked some stained clothes and sheets in hot water in Aldi brand oxy clean and got them bright and clean. I used some credit card points to “erase” a few charges on the credit card we are about to close once the bill is paid this month. I called the state of Virginia to have a couple of charges removed from our sales tax account that were there because of administrative error. I checked a new EOB that came through our health insurance for errors. (There were none, and it was submitted and reviewed within two weeks. If only all doctors offices could get it so together!) It has been over a week since I purchased a soda.


Beth April 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

1. Went grocery shopping on Monday, and the food will hopefully last us all week (though I’ll need to stop in for more milk and veggies at some point.
2. Did not spend any money yesterday
3. Am currently drying out my phone in a bag of rice…dropped the bottom end into my cup of coffee yesterday and now it won’t charge (though it works fine otherwise). Hopefully, this’ll work, but if not, hubby has an old phone I can use until we figure something out.
4. Made dinners for Monday night through tonight, which will hopefully keep us from eating out.
5. Updating things in our house using supplies we have on hand (paint, joint compound, etc…).
6. Brought food for lunch today and am drinking free coffee and water
7. Found a dime the other day and picked it up without shame.


Katy Hope April 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm

1. Went for a haircut at the local Aveda Institute. Not the best haircut ever, not the worst, but got a nice aromatherapy head massage and it only cost $22.

2. Got awesome Paw Patrol favors for an upcoming 3 year old birthday party on Etsy for $2 each.

3. Borrowing my mom’s coffee make for said birthday party to be able to make a big pot for our guest for $5 versus paying over $20 for a Starbucks traveler.

4. Checked out some e-books from the library onto our ipad for free, love the library!

5. Made mochas at home this week instead of going out for coffee like I really wanted to.
For more minimalist ideas, check out at


Ruby April 6, 2017 at 6:36 am

1. I was able to trade in an unopened box of 90 days of contact lenses for a new prescription, so no money spent there. ($82 value — whoo!)
2. Combined a sale, manufacturer’s coupon, and store $3.50 rewards voucher to buy stuff for my work lunches at less than half price.
3.Doing all the usual: Packing my lunch and drinks from home, wearing cute mostly thrifted/secondhand outfits every day, driving with a light foot, hanging lots of clothes to dry on the rack and hangers in the laundry room.
4. Am reading ” Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever” by James Wallman to bolster non-shopping resolve. It was discounted for a day to $1.99 for the e-book, and I used a gift card to purchase it.
5. Frugal win/fail: Changed my phone plan over to pay as you go, thus saving about $40 a month, but my husband accidentally ran his phone through the washing machine and destroyed it. So he’s having to buy a new phone. *sigh*


Vickey April 6, 2017 at 8:15 am

1. Cooked a big pot of beans on the woodstove, had beans and (mustard) greens soft tacos for dinner. Will make a soup with some of the beans on the wooodstove for dinner tonight.
2. DH started two more trays of seeds for the garden. The trays are under lights on the hand-me-down conservatory table.
3. Attended distribution for my food buying club. This saves about 40% over retail, and gets me out of my work-from-home office.
4. Gave away two boxes of various food storage jars to other members of that group. With the jars coming here from my MIL’s basement, I’m awash in them, and needed to clear out some space in our modestly-sized home.
5. Contacted Savers to ask for clarification on their Donor Appreciation Card policy, since I had dropped off several large bags and the attendant gave me less 5% off punches than I thought the load warranted. They’re sending me a full (30% off) punch card by way of apology. And will make sure employees understand the policy correctly going forward.
6. Continued with re-organizing the sewing room, moving things from other parts of the house so buttons, yarns, trims, etc. are all together and displayed in a way that invites me in to play. I’m finding an hour or two in the evening spent in the sewing room cuts down on snacking, relaxes me, and I even wake up in a better mood the next day. Wish I’d discovered this 20 years (also nd many pounds!) ago. Now to reduce those “buy fabric” urges, so I can spend less energy resisting them.
7. Attended the nearest secular humanist discussion group. It cost just the gas and tolls to get there, and it was lovely to connect with a new bunch of kind, thoughtful, funny people. I’m looking forward to these monthly gatherings.


Vickey April 6, 2017 at 8:23 am

#6 should be “(and many pounds ago)”. :sigh:


Lauren April 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

This is my new favorite blog! Here are my first frugal 5:
1. We’ve bought a mobile home at a good price. The money we’ve been paying on rent for a shared apartment will pay off the mobile home within a year! I think it’s a great way to start our marriage.
2. We have been trawling the Irish version of Craigslist, car boot sales, and thrift shops for items for the new home. So far nothing I have bought has been over 10 euro!
3. I have decided to drastically cut down my meat intake. This is for my health/ waistline but it also has a huge impact on our grocery bill! Still haven’t managed to get the other half on board :/
4. We had to go to the mall and I resisted buying new clothing- I know it will turn up eventually in the thrift store if I am patient!
5. I am drinking the rest of a tea that I wasn’t wild about- waste not want not!


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