Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 2, 2017 · 71 comments

  1. I found a sodden lump of washcloths on the ground when I was dropping my son off at school the other day. They were wet, but only from the ever present Oregon rain. I threw them in the back of the car and then laundered them with a load that included terry cloth rags that I’d used to clean up my cat pee mattress. (In other words, they were not the grossest thing in that load of laundry!) I just took them from the dryer and am pleased to see that one is a pretty washcloth, the second is a microfiber cloth and the third is a washcloth/scrubby hybrid with much potential. These items would have certainly been send to the landfill if I hadn’t picked them up. Even if I didn’t want to keep them, I could have given them to someone who could get use from these still functional items.
  2. I didn’t bring my lunch to work yesterday, but I did wait to go to the hospital cafeteria until after 2 P.M. when the salad bar is 25% off. I chose poached salmon and roasted asparagus with mushrooms for a grand total of $2.48. Better than a lot of restaurant meals I’ve had in my day, and certainly a lot cheaper!
  3. I had my son swipe me in for a dining hall meal while I was on campus. Not exactly frugal as the university’s meal plan is insanely expensive, but it’s money smart to make the most of it.
  4. I’m finishing up a library book that’s due today, I’m wearing 100% thrifted clothing, (okay, maybe not the underwear) my mother’s taking me to lunch as a thank you for borrowing my minivan and brute strength to pick up a mattress, my husband and I shared a $7 taco truck burrito and I’m still using the same menstrual cup that I bought nine years ago.
  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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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Roberta May 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

1. I’m using fabric scraps to make twine, from Pinterest. I’ve meant to do this for a long time, and it is both addictive and useful (for gifts and gift wrap).
2. Cooking dry pinto beans to add to a casserole for tonight’s dinner, instead of using canned. I will also be making barbecue sauce for dinner as well, instead of buying it.
3. Sold two items on ebay and am shipping them using recycled packaging.
4. Drying fruit while the weather is dry (oh, so dry!) and looking forward to possible rain this weekend. The dry fruit will sub for raisins later in the year.
5. Clearing out the storage shed/barn and discovering things I’ve been meaning to use up. I’m working on Christmas gifts now to get stuff out of the shed, because I’m 100% DONE with all the clutter.
Bonus: I’ve almost cleared out the big freezer. I’m looking forward to shutting it down and saving electricity.


Sophie May 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Great idea with the fruit!!! Could you please tell me how you dry it, and what other fruit you use?


Roberta May 3, 2017 at 5:32 am

I received a dehydrator as a birthday gift a couple years ago. I just cut the loquats in half, remove the seeds, and place them skin DOWN on the dehydrator trays until they’re leathery but not crisp. It takes a while, but I’m not wasting as much this way. I’ve never tried watermelon — I’ll definitely so that this summer!

I’ve done loquats, grapes (not worth it), tomatoes, persimmons (in slices), oranges (in cut up sections).


Lindsey May 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Ever tried drying watermelon? Addictive!!!


Vickey May 2, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I second that! Cantaloupe is very good, too.


Marleen May 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm

1. I hung out today’s laundry and despite a brief shower, it eventually dried.
2. I picked up a dresser scarf and purse at the thrift store to replace well-used ones that were looking a bit worse for the wear.
3. I bought a rosemary plant at the garden center to plant in a container on my deck since we use a lot of fresh rosemary in our cooking.
4. My daughter gave me a bunch of food to use up when she moved across country. I used her rye flour and molasses to make a rye bread in my bread maker.
5. We waited to register our camper until these few weeks before we use it this year. The fee is prorated so we paid less than if we’d registered it in January.


A. Marie May 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm

An FFT including things from the last two weeks (I haven’t had time to post to the last few FFTs):

(1) Bestest Neighbors decided to have a full garage cleanout and to put everything on the curb. (The male BN wasn’t sure about this, but the female BN reassured him that everything would be gone in 48 hours–which it was.) We personally accounted for about a third of it–miscellaneous gardening supplies, plus one really cool planter.

(2) Several major thrift shop/rummage sale scores (as folks do seasonal closet cleanouts, I’m sure). Won’t bore you with itemizing–but ’tis the season!

(3) Thank goodness, it’s spring at last here in Upstate NY. Watching the trees leaf out and hearing all the birds in the early morning = priceless.

(4) DH will be having cataract surgery in late May/early June. I’m hoping that having his vision improve will improve other things for him as well. Please keep your fingers crossed for him; I know that a few of you are spouses/caregivers to older guys as well.

(5) Finally, I’m putting together what I call an “Alpha and Omega Soup” today. The Alpha = herbs and greens from the early spring garden; the Omega = the last three of my 2016 leeks, the last of my frozen homemade chicken stock, one can of chicken broth that was a bit past its sell-by date (don’t worry, it’ll be fine after it’s cooked), two oddball chicken sausages from the larder, and potatoes/carrots/canned beans from the fridge and pantry. That which does not kill us makes us stronger!


BJS May 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm

2. I’d love to read your itemized list!


A. Marie May 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Since you asked, BJS, here’s what I can remember from three thrift shops and one rummage sale over the past two weeks. (Note that not all of this was for myself and DH; I do Christmas and birthday shopping for friends whenever I come across suitable items. Also, I bunch up the thrift shops according to when I have other business in their areas. The rummage sale is a twice-a-year treat at a local synagogue.)

Women’s: Pair of Ryka slip-on shoes, nearly new; 2 pairs of Chico’s capris; Coldwater Creek dressy jacket (new with extra buttons); St. John’s Bay T-shirt; pair Lands’ End jeans; pair Talbots jeans; Orvis camel-hair jacket (with inconspicuous stain on one sleeve); Columbia hooded lightweight jacket.

Men’s: Pair of Levis khaki shorts; pair of Ex Officio travel pants; pair of Faded Glory jeans.


BJS May 3, 2017 at 2:28 am

Wow … that’s great! I’m really impressed!


Lindsey May 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm

A Marie: Due to a medication causing them, I had cataract surgery at 33. I have never been so thankful for a medication causing problems! I went from near blindness to perfect vision without glasses. I had one long and one short distance lens put in, so no need for reading or long distance glasses. In my 40s, as friends began having troubles, I was a happy camper who never had that bobbing motion of bi-focals or tri-focals. He will love them! I keep telling my blind-ish husband that I hope he gets cataracts soon!


Bee May 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Although I have not been especially frugal lately, I have managed a few frugal things. I think that is because some things have become true habits. Making my own coffee, eating our meals at home, drinking water and staying away from the mall go a long way to offset life’s more spendy moments — like now. I have been mailing care packages to my son who is on the AT and this stuff is expensive! He could have planned a bit better. But it is not the first time I have helped out one of my three kiddos. I can guarantee that it won’t be the last. So here are my five:

1) I spent the morning with a dear friend. We did NOT go shopping or to lunch. We rearranged her furniture, re-hung her art, and decorated with what she had.
After a long illness, she needed a bit of a boost. We had fun and laughed a lot. The cost to both of us was $0, and her house looked fabulous. However, my own home is currently one big mess!

2) I finished reading book from my giant stack books of the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and I listed it on Half. I need to select another one to read. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from. I also returned a book and a video to the library.

3) I listed 11 things on eBay yesterday and sold one immediately. I have some other things to list this week. Some are things from around the house, and some were bought at an estate for resale.

4) Our Amaryllis has finished blooming, so I have harvested the seeds.

5) I have started a new garden project this week. Recently at an estate sale, I bought a large topiary frame of a rabbit for $5. It now have a place in my garden. I have started the ivy and will train it around the frame. I hope that this will be inexpensive project and add a touch of whimsy to the hydrangea bed.


Bee May 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Please forgive my many typos. Hopefully ya’ll can figure out what I am attempting to say. :-/


Carolyn Arnett May 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Oh please post of picture when your rabbit gets filled out. What a fun project.


Nancy from mass May 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm

What state is he in?? 🙂


Bee May 3, 2017 at 4:31 am

He is currently hiking the part of the trail that runs parallel to the NC / Tennessee border. So one day he is in NC and one day he is in Tennessee. It is north of the Great Smoky Mountains and south of the Virginia border. I have a large map on the wall, and I am tracking him.


Jennifer May 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm

I love hearing about your son’s AT adventure. Also, that rabbit is gonna be so pretty. Wished I could run across a deal like that.


Beth L May 2, 2017 at 8:09 pm

That topiary rabbit sounds super cute. I love it!


Bee May 3, 2017 at 4:38 am

Thank you for all the encouragement. I hope my topiary rabbit will fill in. We have not had rain in North Florida in nearly a month. This is hard on the moisture-loving ivy. Jennifer, Florida does have wonderful estate sale. I am sure that it is a reflection of our population. So many come here to retire.


Beth L May 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm

This week has been spendy. Which I hate, but, I tried to counteract the unplanned car issues with the frugal five.
1. Called around on auto insurance (husband has had Progresssive for 10 years) USAA will save us $50 a month – also they are so nice to deal with.
2. Roasted a HUGE pan of vegetables in olive oil with salt and pepper. They are so easy to toss on pasta, sandwiches, quesadillas throughout the week. I eat way more veggies this way.
3. Used Caesar Milan’s basic dog biscuit recipe (flour, egg, broth and whatever add-in you like – I used powerdered peanut butter) for quick dog biscuits. I needed a gift for my parents who just adopted a grey hound. Big batch enabled me to give some to friends and keep some for myself. I think the batch costs about a dollar and netted 36 biscuits.
4. We have a recycling bin in our neighborhood for plastic shopping bags. I use them for can liners in our airbnb instead of buying trash bags.
5. Propogated rosemary cuttings. I will use terra cotta planters I have lying around for two gifts for friends. A pretty ribbon and it’ll look super fancy.


Bee May 3, 2017 at 4:43 am

In reference to #1, if you do not currently bank with USAA, you might want to look into it, too. They truly have free checking and other fees are especially low. They are so easy to deal with that I don’t miss a local bank at all. I can do anything and everything from home.


kathleen May 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

1. I also have a pot of pinto beans cooking today…with ham drippings and scraps. Later I will make a pan of cornbread , and have happy partakers around the supper table.

2. While running an errand today, I stopped to vote early in a school bond election.

3. I didn’t stop for a soft drink while I was out (though I was sorely tempted).

4. Using up a sample size moisturizer I found in a drawer before replacing the full-sized jar finished awhile back.

5. Yesterday was our quilt group day at the library (we use one of their meeting rooms free of charge), so I popped into the main library and checked out a book needed for my reading challenge. Today I reserved three ebooks through their digital website. Love our library!


Jennifer May 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

This weekend I:
1) made a triple batch of meatballs using elk meat sent to me from my hunting dad – ate one meal, froze 2 for later.
2) filled up my gas tank at Costco to save $0.20 per gallon
3) worked a professional sports event to earn money to pay for my child’s sports tuition – and carpooled with someone else too
4) stocked up on sale items I know my college kid will like since he is coming home Thursday for the summer – man is it pricey to feed a growing teen boy!
5) went to Kohl’s for socks. Used my $5 Yes To Rewards certificate and only came home with socks.


BJS May 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm

1. Put the new registration sticker on my husband’s vehicle’s license plate on the evening of 4/30 (the last day before the old one was going to expire). Not so great in that I waited until the last possible minute to do it, but good in that we won’t get any tickets for having expired plates.

2. Bought a box of six big donuts for $1.22 at the grocery store. Love the bakery clearance rack!

3. Found a dime on the ground. It was shiny, which is unusual for coins I find!

4. When I dropped off my son at a birthday party, the birthday boy’s parents were begging the parents who were dropping off to have a slice of pizza. They kept saying that they’d bought way too much. I had a slice with spinach on it, and it was delicious.

5. My son has to read for 30 minutes several nights a week for school. One evening this past weekend it was beautiful out and he asked if I would sit outside with him while he read. That was one of the most pleasant half-hours of my week, and completely free! We sat next to each other, each read our own library book, and felt the lovely breeze.


Susie's Daughter May 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm

BJS – Hurray for #5! How lovely…


BJS May 3, 2017 at 2:34 am

Susie’s Daughter, that was nice of you to say! He’s in a really sweet phase right now. But the teenage years are right around the corner, so I’m trying to soak up this stage now as much as I can!


Roberta May 3, 2017 at 5:35 am

Don’t count out the teenage years! My son is 14, almost 15, and he’s still a sweetie. He definitely gets moody (especially when he needs exercise) but he still enjoys hanging out with the family for the most part.


BJS May 3, 2017 at 8:30 am

Aww, Roberta, you must be doing something right! Thanks for your encouraging words.

KJD509 May 3, 2017 at 9:02 am

I agree with Roberta! Loved my kids as littles, of course, but they’re so much fun as teens. As mine are exiting the teen years it’s fun to see what fabulous adults they’re becoming, of course, but that in-between time when they’re funny and independent but still count on you (for rides and $ of course, but also for a listening ear and advice and snuggles after a bad day) is one I’m a little surprised to miss. Don’t fear the teen years 🙂

Jen May 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

That makes me happy because my 13 year old son is still lovely, but everyone keeps warning me that will change!

Patti May 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

1. I have been using up all the bits and pieces in my refrigerator lately creating “new” foods which my husband is loving. He is a great help in taking the leftovers to work the next day. I used to like a full refrigerator, now I love an empty one.
2. To help find ways to recreate foods, I checked out the book, “Eat it Up” by Sherri Brooks from our library. After keeping it for 3 weeks I have decided to buy it as it is going to be very useful. I intend to sell another cookbook on eBay to make room. One in – one out theory.
3. When ordering from Amazon, I combined two other items from my wish list. I have reward points and a gift card balance so no cash was needed. I use a Wish List to think about things to make sure I really need and want them, plus it is not as much packaging and transportation when orders are combined.
4. I am sewing my new summer clothes and although it takes forever with my limited free time, it is so worth it because my clothing fits me and it is my style and fabric choice.
5. I am not buying any new fabric, new yarn, or other items for hobbies until I use up what I own. It is as hard as eating down the pantry and refrigerator but I am working on it!!


CarolineRSA May 2, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Oh, good luck with 5 Patti! It’s Autumn here, and I told myself the same thing about using up three drawers full of yarn for winter knitting. Then I went to the wool shop yesterday, for buttons. Only spent R5, but was SO tempted by all the beautiful new stock…


K D May 2, 2017 at 2:06 pm

1. We had burrito bowls for dinner. So easy, delicious, and inexpensive. Leftovers will be lunch.

2. Swagbucks allows you to redeem 2,200 points for a $25 gift card once a month. I requested an Amazon gift card this morning. I was pleased to see that I earned almost 4,000 points for our recent hotel stay.

3. I bought a slightly used small black leather cross body purse on eBay. I didn’t have anything for going to fancy events when my husband’s work requires it.

4. I ordered restaurant gift cards for Mother’s Day from a non-profit school, using their SCRIP program. I pay face value and they will earn over 10%. Not frugal for me but good for them.

5. I am finishing listening to Being Mortal, downloaded from the public library. A friend read it for her book club and it is a worthwhile read/listen.


Lauren May 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm

This has been a frugal fail week with moving and FIL’s birthday.

1. Reusing sandwich bags for lunches as they can be shaken clean from crumbs. I need to look into reusable bags this weekend.
2. Ordered a pack of unsponges and cloth face wipes from Etsy.
3. Found €2 on the ground
4. Am going grocery shopping solo tomorrow. This makes a massive difference in our total without my impulsive husband grabbing snacks.
5. We have a item we were going to sell that a friend wants so will do a trade for his electrical expertise in the new home. He would have helped us anyway but we will “pay” for his skills this way instead and everyone is happy!


Mrs.Stookey May 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I made flannel cloth napkins and with the scraps from that I made a bottle koozie for an aluminum bottle that my MIL roommate was going to trash just because she didn’t like it, and we got free produce from another friend so for supper tonight we had baked potatoes. I also found another use for my fabric scraps and that is cleaning cloths for the bathroom.


Cindy in the South May 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

1. I ate an egg and fried potatoes, at home, for breakfast, beans for lunch, from home, and I ate vegetables I already had for supper. 2. I have probably driven everyone crazy posting about how I was trying to refinance my house so I could beat in my work retirement. Well, tomorrow is closing day, if everything goes as planned. I appreciate the support of this community of nonconsumers. I will owe $36,000 on my house, and be fully vested, in my retirement, in case I have to retire. I feel some relief already, but I am still holding my breath. 3. My son used his COBRA insurance to see his doctor and get his medication. This is much more frugal than not being insured. I am grateful, again, for the support y’all and Katy have given me in what has been the most terrifying time of my life, during the illness of my son. His illness appears to be stable at the moment, and I am so grateful for that. 4. My car’s transmission is supposed to be repaired by tomorrow, and it is supposed to be still under warranty, and I am grateful for that. 5. Grateful, I have used that word numerous times in my post, and it sums up all the above, for y’all, for my kids, especially the ill one, and for well, everything.


Cindy in the South May 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Vest not beat…


Amanda May 2, 2017 at 4:49 pm

It doesn’t seem like the universe should make us deal with college tuition and periods at the same time. Double whammy.


KJD509 May 3, 2017 at 9:03 am

You are not kidding!


TJS May 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

1. I am reading the new Lisa Scottoline ” One Perfect Lie”, which I borrowed from my library.
2. I was paid $5 for altering a cap sleeved dress into a sleeveless dress for a co-worker. I have a sewing machine and a serger, so this was done quickly and efficiently. I don’t charge a lot, as I get repeat business (almost too much), and I really enjoy sewing and helping others.
3. I walked to work, walked home for lunch walked back to work, and walked home. I do 10K steps without trying every work day, and have maintained my size 6 for almost 6 years.
4. I ate lunch at home, as I do daily.
5. I am currently online using my $200 refurbished laptop, which converts to a tablet, while drinking tea from my free ceramic cup with silicone lid that someone threw out (left in a box in the trash with a bunch of other cups. I rescued all of them, donated the rest to my church thrift store.
Life is good.


Rosanne May 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm

I have never posted before on the 5 frugal things thread… I tend to be a lurker, and also I feel a bit of an outsider since in a different position than most here. (All in my head I know…) But the truth is, even though I don’t need to be as frugal as I am, and gratefully my family is in a place of financial independence, I just really enjoy frugality. I don’t do any extreme things, but applaud all of you who do. It’s easy to spend a lot of money, not spending a lot is a challenge, and I really LOVE a challenge.
1. Hubby made stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes for dinner- yup, he’s a keeper. Peppers and ground beef were on sale this week.
2. Gave myself an at home mani pedi
3. Stayed home and puttered around all day- no $ spent on gas
4. Listed a few things on ebay and etsy
5. Got together a few things to donate- I haven’t needed professional clothes in a good while, so why are they still sitting in my closet getting dated when someone could be enjoying them?


Jennifer May 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Welcome! Glad to have you. I think I can safely say that we all love new ideas here. Just thought I would chime in because the first time I posted here I was a little nervous, not sure why, I just was.


WilliamB May 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm

There are more people here than you may think, who are frugal from choice or past experience rather than current need. Welcome to the crowd!


Roberta May 3, 2017 at 5:42 am

I’m frugal not because I “need” to be, but because I choose certain things (staying home with my family) over other things. I’m sure you enjoy the benefits of your choices as well! So welcome!


Beth May 3, 2017 at 6:44 am


I’ll presumptuously speak for everyone. It doesn’t matter to us why you’re being frugal or whether you “need” to. Like Jennifer said, new ideas are always welcome, and I’d add that new people are welcome too!


Valerie May 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Made a ham bon brothq from saved scraps from the freezer

Have been shopping from the freezer for meals

Made some potted cheese from frozen cheese bits

Started reading cookbooks from my Dad’s huge stash

Suddenly realized that I didn’t need anything from the flyers……

So cool…fridge full…..freezer full…..just need some creativity!


Susie's Daughter May 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm

In addition to taxes, April had some big expenses (dental crown and fuel bill) which are getting paid off in May so it extra frugal around here at the moment.

1) Except for dairy and produce, cooking from pantry and freezer this week. Tried out .79 can of pumpkin from Aldi’s in a pumpkin pie tonight and it was a winner!

2) Still picking up returnable cans/bottles since the snow has finally melted. Found .90 worth today while the dog and I walked each other.

3) Mended pants for DS (again with the left knees wearing out) and myself after I ripped open a pocket. I am a big fan of the iron on patches which I got at 50% off with a coupon. Just trying to get DS’s pants collection through the end of the school year since none of them will fit by next September. One pair was beyond repair and has been made into cut off shorts.

4) Renewed library books online for two of the three libraries we use. We borrowed Moana over DS’s April vacation and loved it. Also enjoyed DS’s free pizza earned through last summer’s library reading program over vacation. Oh how I love the library…

5) Bought 4 big bags of “Easter” M+M’s (family favorite) after Easter with a coupon making each bag $1.05. Put three away for some later time, but I am telling you the price makes those little chocolate treats taste even better!


WilliamB May 2, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Not one but two examples of when store-bought food is cheaper than homemade:

1) Last meal before 1 day clear liquids diet is 2 eggs and 2 slices toast. Saved money by making the eggs at home and buying the toast at work. 2 slices at work < whole loaf from store, and I don't want a whole loaf of fiberless white bread.

2) Didn't ruin the clear liquids diet by drinking homemade chicken stock. The problem with homemade? It's not 100% defatted. Thank ghu I realized this *before* I had any, and so did not ruin the test. Had I done that, I would have had to have the test again, but this time pay for it out of pocket.

Other frugal:
– Made jello at home rather than buy it at work.
– Made jello in my preferred flavor (orange, a color not allowed in clear liquids diet) by using dirt-cheap gelatin + on-sale Propel. (Propel is flavored but not colored.)
– Might have uber-elegant aspic for dinner. What's another name for aspic, you might ask? Why, meat stock jello! (Notice a trend here?)

Why yes, I am feeling a little silly tonight; why do you ask?


Alexandra May 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Ha! I hope all went well…


Jennifer May 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm

1. Today Jimmy John’s, a sub sandwich shop, was having $1 subs from 4:00 to 8pm. I got there after I picked up the kids from school a little early so I was first in line. I was planning on this being our meal for the night but my husband wasn’t with me so they would t give me an extra sub for him. Luckily, the subs were big enough that my kids could split one so I fed us all for $3 plus some change.
2. I took the kids to the library after we got our sandwiches. Paid my enormous fine, ugh, then we got several books. The librarian helped me find audiobooks to match the actual children’s books for my 8 year old daughter who struggles with reading. Someone gave me this idea to try. She can read along in the book while it is being read to her to hopefully improve her reading skills.
3. I have some NintendoDS games leftover from my yard sale. My son-in-law told me they would buy them at the local game store for much more than I was going to sell them. I stuck them in my purse to remind me to take them by tomorrow.
4. My friend gifted me a huge bag of clothes hangers. It is an enormous amount but I am going to store the ones I don’t use under my bed because we seem to lose/break hangers often around here.
5. I really don’t have a number five but I just wanted to say that I have been cleaning and organizing my home this afternoon since I came in from work instead of sitting on my butt in front of the TV and I feel much more energized and better for it.


Mand01 May 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm

1. Working from home today, saving over 2 hours driving time and petrol.
2. Eating crackers that for some weird reason my kids won’t eat. They are crazy.
3. In my lunch break I will run some laundry through and tidy up a bit. I love working from home. My dream is to do it all the time.
4. It’s freezing cold (well, for an Australian), so I’m rugged up under a blanket as I do website upgrades.
5. I’m drinking home brewed coffee and tea.


Marilyn May 2, 2017 at 7:08 pm

1. We finally had a couple non-rainy days here in the NW and I spent one day doing much-needed yard work. I was sore for two days after I finished, but I’m pretty sure I saved a few hundred bucks by doing the work myself.
2. Bought a nice desk lamp for $5 at a yard sale. This is an item we can use.
3. I have an old rain jacket which I still love. It needed to be washed, a project which was almost a frugal fail. First, I forgot to remove car keys (remote-entry type car keys) from the pocket so they went through the wash and spin cycles. Second, a piece of the jacket’s zipper broke off in the dryer. I guess luck was with me because the car keys are still working and, after about 15 minutes of working on the zipper, I was able to fix it.
4. Worked several extra days last month and my next paycheck will be a nice one. I’m going to visit my sisters in CT next month, so the extra money will go toward my trip.
5. A neighbor gave me a grocery store coupon for $10 off a $50 order. I used it today. Bought mostly things which we normally buy anyway, but I did “splurge” on one item — dried cranberries which I like on cereal in the morning –really yummy.


rebecca May 2, 2017 at 7:51 pm

1. Fought the urge to get take out and ate food from fridge for dinner.
2. A client cancelled yesterday but our receptionist was able to fill the space with an intake.
3. Bought university mugs for my graduating interns and got a 10% discount on the purchase and got free university pens from the continuing ed office for the gift bags.
4. A friend wants to go out for dinner Sunday. I offered to cook so much cheaper and healthier.
5. It’s been chilly the past few weeks but the heat has stayed off.


CarolineRSA May 2, 2017 at 9:32 pm

1. Sticking to the meal plan = sticking to the budget. Tonight will be butternut soup from the freezer, and home made bread.
2. Baked the bread ^.
3. Bought a new electric kettle using reward points; we just worked out how much electricity the stove uses to boil the kettle. Shocking.
4. Returned the library book on time to avoid a fine, batched errands with trip to the wool shop and dairy (bought extra milk and froze).
5. Found a pair of smaller size slacks in the wardrobe, in need of minor repair. So glad they fit once more, and will save me a purchase to get through the season.


Nancy from Mass May 3, 2017 at 3:49 am

1. trying to use up stuff from the fridge since DS and I are leaving tomorrow morning for NJ for a funeral. My neighbors kids are going to come over daily to feed/play with my beautiful kitty.
2. can’t find any more of the lotion I bought at Dollar Tree… boo 🙁 and they dont have a record of it to order online. so, i found a 3pk at Amazon, used a $10GC and a $50GC from work and bought a package plus a really pretty ring that has my sons’ and my birthstone on it. cost me $10 in all with free shipping (prime member) and i will receive it tomorrow. (i’m currently not wearing any rings and wanted to find something to wear all the time with just those stones – i was surprised i found one!)
3. Gathering up more items to donate. Just trying to minimize all the ‘stuff’ i have in my home.
4. Received a crisp $1 bill in the mail yesterday from nielsen. i will do the survey they send later this month for $10. I’ve done them before and I am familiar with Nielsen since i run their reports almost daily at work
5. Won a complete 16pc set of Pfaltzgraf dishes in my pattern (only have 4 dinner plates currently and a utensil crock in that pattern and soup bowls in another Pf. pattern) for $10.99. When the set comes in, i will donate the other dishes i have and just have my Pfaltzgraf pieces. Of course, i will keep my other coffee cups….can never have too many coffee cups! (large family of coffee drinkers and when they come over, i like having real mugs to drink from).


Nancy from Mass May 3, 2017 at 3:51 am

re #5: won off of Curse you Katy for telling us about that site last year! 🙂 I have found so many nice things. Including the $5 Citizens Mother Of Pearl, Luminescent, Day/Date watch I’m wearing today.


Bettypants May 3, 2017 at 4:00 am

1. I bought a brand new carpet steamer at a church rummage sale for $10, and sold it for $45 on a FB sale group the next day. I also bought a few items to list on ebay. Everything was half price the next day, so I went back and bought a Libman microfiber mop for $1.50 and filled a bag of clothing/linens for $4.
2. Attended a tour of our local Nature Center to get $15 off one week of summer camp.
3. Checked our local Habitat for Humanity for house stuff. They didn’t have any faucets or good lighting fixtures, but I did buy four door stoppers there instead of buying new from the hardware store.
4. Walmart sells oilcloth by the yard, which I bought to line my kitchen cabinets. Cheaper than buying the shelf liner by the roll and nicer than contact paper.
5. We bought dog tags with our new address from one of the machines inside the grocery store. Our yard is fenced, but $7 per tag to have my phone number and address on the dogs, just in case.


Bee May 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

I love the idea of using oil cloth. i get the contact paper stuck to everything but the bottom of the cabinets. (Sigh)


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy May 3, 2017 at 5:03 am

I learn so much from reading your posts, Katy. However, it’s information overload reading everyone’s ideas in the comments, too! I always have a notepad and paper to jot notes down as I get frugal ideas from you all!


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 3, 2017 at 5:15 am

Great score on the salad bar!

This week I:

1. Visited the zoo and used my zoo pass, which meant I got in free.

2. I washed and detailed my car myself instead of paying someone else to do it.

3. However, I DID pay someone else to change my oil (Mr. Picky Pincher wasn’t available to help out). But! I did use a good coupon to lessen the blow a bit.

4. I baked a shichttorte and a Swiss roll, both of which I’ll freeze for later. There’s nothing wrong with having a few desserts on hand. 🙂

5. Today I’ll bake ciabatta bread and bake a batch of macarons to use up leftover egg whites.


Teri May 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Could you please post your recipe for Macaroons? I’d love to try making them…and be successful!


Beth May 3, 2017 at 6:57 am

1. Brought a second box of things to a consignment shop and was handed $30. I now have a good amount of cash in my toddler’s clothing fund, should he need anything in the upcoming months.
2. Found black dress shoes for the above-mentioned toddler at the consignment shop. Long story short, my in-laws bought him a black tux for his dedication, but he didn’t have any black dress shoes. I debated just putting socks on him and calling it good, but decided to browse the store’s selection. The shoes I found were in like-new condition, and I paid $2.25.
3. Used a coupon 40%-off coupon to buy the one item I needed at Michaels. Unfortunately, even with the coupon, the price was exactly the same as it would’ve been at Wal-Mart. Oh well, at least I didn’t spend MORE than if I’d gone somewhere else.
4. Still carpooling with a friend to work 2ish days per week, drinking free water out of reusable containers, and bringing coffee/lunch/breakfast from home each day.
5. Made my own glass cleaner and am loving it so far. Vinegar and water are dirt cheap and it’s working better than any store-bought cleaner I’ve tried. I don’t know what we were thinking when we bought glass-topped coffee tables. They are still functional, so we’re keeping them, but MAN I HATE CLEANING THEM.


Debra May 3, 2017 at 7:58 am

1. Just like Katie, I also found a bunched up wet micro fiber cleaning cloth in a parking lot. Before reading this blog I never would have touched it but I picked it up and ran it through the washing machine. Now I have an excellent micro fiber cleaning cloth that is lint-free for to use on windows and mirrors!
2. Working very hard at cooking from the freezer and pantry and only had one meal out in about 14 days.
3. Switched from bleach to vinegar for white laundry loads. It’s not only cheaper but environmentally friendly.
4. Inventoried my spring/summer clothes and figured out I have so many clothes that I don’t need to buy a thing.
5. Reading a book borrowed from a friend, The Senator’s Wife. Excellent read.


Bettypants May 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

Sometimes I hear this board in my head “That is not gross!” when debating to buy/take a used item. I like the encouragement.


Deb May 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm



Vickie May 3, 2017 at 8:36 am

I see clothes and stuff like that on the ground around campus quite often. The students accidentally drop stuff out of backpacks and bags, when they are walking around campus or loading their cars. It’s perfectly good stuff, but most never know it or won’t bother going back to find it.

1) I brought leftover chicken breast pieces and salad mix to make my lunch today.
2) I bought a package of large binder clips at the Dollar Tree yesterday and plan to use them for chip and package clips at home.
3) I’m headed over to the Library at lunch to pickup the audiobooks I put on hold. Shopping with my fave card!
4) I’m wearing pretty turquoise top I bought at GW last month. The khakis I have on are at least 5 yrs or more old. I absolutely wear my clothes out, but they are cotton and wear so well. The shoes I’m wearing need to be resoled, the uppers are leather and still in great shape, but the very bottom of the sole, on the heel is really worn. I’m hoping the shoe repair shop can put another one on the bottom of the cork sole in between. They are so comfortable. I can’t remember exactly how old they are, but likely a decade old. I just keep polishing them and keeping them clean.
5) I found those steakhouse spices at the DT you mentioned, Katy. I think I’ll buy some steaks for dinner this weekend and try them out. The Tribal grocers has all their meat on sale right now. YUM!


Jennifer May 3, 2017 at 9:49 am

5. I’m also a fan of the steakhouse seasonings at the Dollar Tree and several of the other spices they carry. I have noticed I can get some of them in larger bottles than my grocery stores carries for A LOT less…Ex. Garlic salt.


KJD509 May 3, 2017 at 9:29 am

We find ourselves suddenly in the middle of a huge and expensive transition – that “potential good job news” I talked about a couple of weeks ago for hubs came to fruition much faster than anticipated. We are very excited! But this is a transition we were planning to make in 4-5 years, and doing so earlier is going to be very costly. So I’m doubling down on frugality while he’s feeling celebratory and . . . less frugal. But we’re getting there. So far:

1) Bringing food from home to work, even when it means some odd scrap out of the freezer. So thankful for that full freezer right now!
2) Made a many pages long list of everything that needs to be done and started with the free stuff. Yes, we need to take out a leaning tree and replace the roof. . . but we also needed to weed the ENTIRE yard, and though that’s a lot less fun than watching a tree fall, it’s a lot cheaper. Indoor chores will follow the same approach.
3) Made a to-the-penny grocery shopping list that will keep us covered for the next 2 weeks. But – frugal fail – the hubs and a very hungry teenage daughter went to Costco with said list after soccer practice. Several items were much more expensive than I’d anticipated and they bought them anyway, plus they shopped while hungry with predictable results. But I’m determined to keep the grocery budget low – we will just spend less the second half of the month. (And I’ll do the shopping!)
4) As part of our planning for this transition, we mapped out expenses and potential income for the next 36 months. It is very, very clear that the most frugal choice is for us to live apart for 12-18 of those months, commuting on weekends. It’s pretty discouraging. But it’s also providing the incentive for hubs to actually focus on paying off debt. He’d been looking at student and parent loans as miserable but inevitable, but knocking those out will matter in order for us to move together (eventually) to a much more expensive part of the country.
5) With the decision made that I’ll be in this spot for awhile longer, went out in the cold and dark late Sunday night to plant lettuce, radishes and peas – when they come up they’ll be a hopeful spot amongst the chaos. Plus I’m keeping the summer veggie starts (which the Easter bunny brings every year at our house) alive until we can plant them out. The gorgeous blooming plum tree that’s still in a pot, though – leaving that in the pot and planting it in the new place, wherever that ends up.


Susie's Daughter May 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

KJD – Congratulations and Whew… As a dear friend likes to say, your situation is a “both/and”. Both good news and really challenging at the same time. Here’s to your determination and planning. And to grocery shopping on your own!


Jen May 4, 2017 at 5:00 am

1. Needed some new work clothes (dang baby weight that won’t go away!) so I popped into Goodwill rather than the pricey places at the mall. Got the same brands I would have from the department stores, but for about 90% of the price. A new-to-me pair of pants and three new-to-me shirts for less than $10 works for me!

2. Didn’t get a chance to menu plan or grocery shop this weekend, but instead of stopping for takeout we’ve been eating out of our freezer. Today me thanks past me for thinking ahead!

3. Got all of my mother’s day cards from the Dollar Tree for less than $5, which is what I’m sure I would have spent on just one card anywhere else. Yes, cards in general are a complete waste of money, but it’s also a simple way to remind those around me how much I love and appreciate them.

4. Got my mom’s mother’s day gift from Goodwill – a Harley Davidson shirt with the tags still on. Also got her a bracelet off of Amazon, but since I have been saving up survey company gift cards, I still count this as saving money out of my own pocket for it. Will also mail it off on a mystery shop, so not cost to me there!

5. Signed up for a kid’s workshop at Home Depot this Saturday. My daughter and I will get some quality alone time, she gets to build a free plant pot, and it won’t cost me anything but the Starbucks hot chocolate I promised her afterwards…which I will pay for from a gift card I have had forever…literally, years.


Amanda May 5, 2017 at 7:57 am

1) I feel like this hasn’t been a very frugal week. We bought clothes for the kids, which were budgeted for, needed, and thrifted. We also shipped frozen stew to my sister in law as a birthday surprise. The dry ice and the shipping were more than I anticipated, and evidently because it is going to a military base there is no guarantee that it will be delivered in the next week! So even though these things were as frugal as we could make them, I don’t like starting the month with some big-ish expenses.

2) But we did have some frugal wins. Dinners were cheap, homemade, and delicious this week. They involved, on different nights, homemade bread, pesto made from kale that was past its prime, and beef I bought on clearance at Aldi.

3) I got the oil changed in our car but selected synthetic blend instead of full synthetic. I think we have gotten full synthetic in the past, but the shop said our car didn’t need it. It was $37 and I scored a free drink from their “customers only” fridge. My husband changed the oil himself for years, but with three small children, grad school, and a business, we just don’t have the time.

4) I went to Lowes to get one of these plastic basket things that attaches to the bottom of a hanging plant so the water doesn’t just run out when your water it. One of mine from last year broke and just broke even more when I tried to fix it. I didn’t find the plastic thing, but I did pick up a hanging basket for the back porch. On the way to the car it hit me that I just spent $20 for a beautiful basket of flowers that will die at the end of the season. I could have gotten a couple of pansies or something for a few bucks and planted them in last year’s hanging basket. So I am taking the flower back today. What am I, boujee?

5) I have books out from four libraries. Those from one are not due yet. I am renewing two by phone. And the books from the other library will be exchanged for more today.


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