Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2017 · 90 comments

  1. My husband and and I walked to the library yesterday to return a DVD and look for fresh reading material. I dragged him to a garage sale along the way, where I spent a dollar and bought:
    – A vintage wooden rolling pin.
    – A packet of nice chopsticks.
    – A 1/2-cup stainless steel measuring cup, which I needed as my normal one lives in the cat food bin.
    – Two birthday candles in the shape of a “1” and a “0.”
    – A stainless steel pastry cutter, which I also needed as my old one has two missing spines.
    – A silicone pastry brush.
  2. I picked out two library books, which were sadly a bust as one reeked from cigarette smoke and the other one turned out to be a sequel to a book I hadn’t read. That’s okay though, as no money was spent. I did put an explanatory post-it note on the smokey book so they could properly deal with it.
  3. We then walked through Fred Meyer (Kroger) where I picked up three Friday Freebie items. (A bag of tortilla chips, a bag of popcorn and a yogurt.)
  4. I browsed through my Roku box streaming options and added a few free channels. This included the PBS channel, where I discovered the show Victorian Slum House, which hadn’t been on my radar. I’ve watched Frontier House, The 1940’s House, Colonial House, Manor House and The 1900 House in the past and am very happy to see that that these shows are continuing to be produced. I watched the one episode available and highly recommend it. I absolutely loved my visit to NYC’s Tenement Museum, and had wondered if London had something similar. My docent didn’t think that they did, and I wonder if this show will spark enough interest to create one.
  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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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

MommaL May 7, 2017 at 11:49 am

1. Bought 3 red bell peppers, 3 yellow squash and 2 zucchini from the “rewrap” produce shelf for 2 dollars total. Made a yummy squash casserole for our company using that and ingredients I already had. The recipe called for stuffing mix, but I used breadcrumbs and threw in some herbs.
2. Using twine to wrap DS’s bday gift instead of ribbon. He and his wife have a rustic style decor so they will like it.
3. Went to GW, almost bought a few tops, realized they are very much like tops I already have, so I put them back.
4. Admired my in law’s tunic, she said she never liked it and gave it to me. Pretty baby blue color and it has pockets. I love pockets.
5. Sitting in the sun, thawing burgers I already had (marked down meat thrown in our freezer) to feed company tonight.

Listened to Darius Rucker’s “Half Full Dixie Cup”. Love that song. Favorite lyric is when his wife laughs and says “Ain’t it funny, some people we know are plain flat broke cause all they got is money!”.


Holly May 7, 2017 at 11:59 am

Ironically, I stumbled on the Victorian Slum series on YouTube last week and watched them all — so if you want to “cheat” you can find them there. Also, many of the Ruth Goodman historical reenactments series are there, too: Victorian pharmacy (excellent!), Victorian farm, Edwardian farm. My frugal “one” yesterday was helping with the annual local food bank yard sale and not buying one single thing! I considered a few things and may still get the $7.50 handmade quilt if it is still there when I go to help pack up stuff tomorrow, but I didn’t see anything else that I needed or wanted.


Karen May 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for the info! I just may cheat! That first episode blew me away!


Roberta May 8, 2017 at 7:10 am

Thanks for the tip! Also on YouTube is Tales from the Green Valley, about a year on an Elizabethan Welsh farm — wonderful!


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Man, thanks for the reminder about the Roku! We have one as well and I need to be better about using its apps other than Netflix. This week:

1. I used up lots of ingredients to bake molasses cookies, molasses oatmeal bread, and cinnamon raisin bread. I’ll freeze these for later.

2. Mr. Picky Pincher cooked a double batch of beans from scratch.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher built cages for our tomato plants instead of buying them.

4. I made a batch of laundry soap using free soap bars from my sister.

5. We had a great morning in the park with our nephew and didn’t spend a dime. 🙂


Amy Jo May 7, 2017 at 12:08 pm

1. Celebrated my son’s 11th bday at a nature center where we learned a lot about nature, animals and some history thrown in. $2 FOR adults, $1 each for my boys, and my 2 year old daughter got in free. Homeschool field trip was a success.
2. On the same trip we went to Aldi’s grocery shopping which doubled as some math and Home Ec classes.
3. Bought another Christmas gift. It is for my almost 3 year old daughter. For $5, she is getting a gently used baby bed/highchair/sink. I will pick up a baby doll for it later, and we will use one of her baby blankets in the bed, and her play dishes to feed the baby, etc.
4. So nice out today. Adults did some yard word, kids got some bike riding and playing in, and daddy made a small fire and cooked hot dogs over the fire pit. No dirtying up dishes, or making a mess in the kitchen. Score for mom. Lol
5. Tempted to buy several things this week as I see them, or get emails for 25 percent off, etc. Instead, I didn’t buy any of them, and saved 100 percent. Lol


auntiali May 7, 2017 at 12:17 pm

1. While not frugal, hubby dropped off 2 bags of food at the church this morning. It will go to help low income families in our town.
2. Watched baseball with dh last night. I’m almost liking it. Switched between the Mets and Yankees.
3. Got a movie out of the library and will watch tomorrow night.
4. Trying to figure out how to go cable free and possibly land line free. The cable company didn’t want to work with me and my bill is $173/month.
5. Hubby got a small crate filled with drinking glasses and nuts for Christmas. He just brought it up to show me and ask me what to do with it. It’s too good to throw away. Put it in my computer in my mind and see what I come up with .


Lisa P. May 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Hi, we use the Oomah. That might not be spelled right. But once you get it set up and it goes through the computer or wireless system, it is less than $4 a month, I think. We did change out phones too after we had some echoing on the ones we had. Now we have Panasonic phones. It works great. I don’t remember the initial cost of everything, but it certainly has paid for itself. You might want to look into that. Hope this helps! Lisa If the internet is down, you’ll have to use your cell phones to make calls though.


Susan May 8, 2017 at 5:28 am

Young House Love just did a post on how they cut costs by cutting cable and still get to watch their favorite shows.


Cindy in the South May 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm

1. I am taking a break from attempting to clear out the bamboo jungle in my back yard, and hoping I do not run upon a copperhead or water moccasin snake. 2. I cut my toothpaste tube in half to get out the last little bits. 3. I had leftover chicken, that I combined with tomato soup and cheese to make soup. It was delicious.4. I took a nap because I am tired from my bamboo trimming adventure. 5. I hope this ends up being frugal, I bought a total wireless prepaid flip phone for $19.95 because my $35 smart phone I have used for the past year is about toast. I am rough on phones and I hope this one is more durable. It appears it will cut my monthly bill by over half. I do not need a smart phone because I am not smart enough not to drop it in tub, drop it on floor, etc….lol


Bee May 8, 2017 at 9:23 am

I had a snake on my front porch when I returned from the beach yesterday. Snakes are not my favorite of God’s creatures, but I remind myself that this black racer is keeping rodents and such away. But I am not as charitable when it comes to venomous snakes. Be careful.


Cindy in the South I May 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Since you live in Florida, you probably share my fear of alligators, and venomous snakes. I swim in the lower part of the Alabama River, in Wilcox County, near Miller’s Ferry, the part where the largest alligator on record was recorded……lol


Bee May 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm

So right! I do not like sharks, alligators, snakes, palmetto bugs, muggy 90+ degree days or mosquitos. However, I do love oak trees covered in Spanish moss, sunny days, confederate jasmine and ocean breezes. There is a price to pay for everything. 🙂


Cindy in the South May 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm


marleen May 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

1. picked from our transplanted-from-the-family-farm patch, several stalks of rhubarb, for a pie my husband has been craving.
2. went to Target to buy cat food and remembered I had several coupons for their brand of things I normally buy. Bought orange juice, dried beans, tuna, vinegar, and trash bags at percentages off already good prices.
3. my husband has been wanting chicken wings, which we usually go out for. I bought the wings instead and he made his own special sauce and we enjoyed them at home for about half the restaurant price.
4. I took my eleven-year-old car in to have it checked since the check-engine light had come on. They told me that I would need to spend $1000 to get it taken care of. The car is barely worth that and badly rusted underneath so we have made the decision to return to one car since I have recently retired and we can get by without two now. We’ll donate my car to our local public radio station.
5. used a grocery store loyalty card to get 30-cents off a gallon of gas for yesterday’s fill-up. I rarely shop at this store anymore since there is an Aldi nearby, but Aldi’s was closed for remodeling so I accumulated gas points for a full month.


Tammy May 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Its a beautiful day in Portland today! Put the smoky book out in the sun. It will cleanse it naturally.


Katy May 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I put it on the porch so it wouldn’t stink up the house. Does that count?


Mand01 May 7, 2017 at 1:46 pm

1. Made a large vegetarian curry to take to a family potluck lunch yesterday. While I did that I also prepped veggies for the next day’s meal and veggie sticks for lunch boxes.
2. My dad gave me some leftover paint he had, which is great as we are about to paint our daughter’s room. That saves us buying the ceiling paint. We bought this house two years ago and so far have managed to do all the renovations ourselves with the exception of installing a new fireplace. We have saved thousands. My sister just got a quote for painting her house (half the size of ours) – $14,000!!! Obviously she’s going to do it herself, but wowsers! There’s no way we would pay someone that.
3. Drinking a homemade latte (made every morning by my husband). We got rid of our 1-cup Nespresso pod machine three years ago when we calculated we would make back the savings in six months by replacing it with a good espresso machine and grinding our own beans rather than buying those little pods. Not to mention the environmental waste. Now the waste just goes into the compost.
4. Got my sprouter out and grew alfalfa sprouts.
5. Line dried all our washing as usual. Part of our garden cleanup is getting our Hills Hoist (umbrella line) useable again. The previous owners planted trees and plants all around it so that it was unusable- but we still line dry using two large racks in our sunroom. Still can’t wait to have our outdoor line on the go again.


Chris May 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

1. I had a pair of director’s chairs that have to be at least 25 years old (came from my mom and dad) which I repainted with leftover spray paint, seats and backs from some thrifted canvas I’ve saved forever. Great start to outside living!
2. Covered some wicker cushions with more of the canvas – the chairs were dumpster-dived about 5 years ago.
3. I coordinated my library book sale and only brought home 3 books – unlike in many sales past where I would bring home SO much that I haven’t read it all yet.
4. My husband’s beloved UN of MN fleeced lined jacket died after over 20 years of wear and rather than buy something new, we found a golf related jacket in the basement closet that will work until October or so. He did go shopping today to try to find a replacement and came home empty handed – said not worth spending $$ when he has something that works – yeah!
5. Went to several garage sales this weekend and bought nothing!


Ruby May 7, 2017 at 3:14 pm

1. Bought paint today on sale and used a coupon, resulting in saving $35.
2. The Mister hung the new screen door today. Carpentry skills for the win!
3. Took one for the team and finished a box of cereal that wasn’t that good. Lots of sliced bananas made it eat-able.
4. Bathed our dogs today with doggie shampoo bought on sale and with a coupon. Groomed them afterward and put the brushed out fluff (all 3 dogs have long coats) in the ivy on the fence, where birds quickly claimed it.
5. Did some judicious clipping of straggly runners on the wild pink rose I have been nurturing back to health after our neighbor chopped it to the ground. It’s on the fence between our yards. I keep it tidy and she leaves it alone now. It rewards me with masses of free roses.


Kristen May 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Have to ask…what’s with the 1 and 0 birthday candles? 🙂


Jennifer May 8, 2017 at 8:58 am

I was curious about that, too!


Mary W May 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I’m​not Katy, but I’ll hazard a guess that they were probably from a kid’s 10th BD. If the power is out, any candle is better than none!

I look in free boxes at garage sales for candles. I melt them down and use the wicks and wax to make new candles. I’m fond of the emergency candles in the glass cylinders from Dollar Tree. They burn well, keep the cats from catching their fur on fire, and are really easy to refill for future use when they are nearly used up. Just use a taper candle (broken ones are fine as long as the wick is intact), and pour melted wax in around it. Do make sure you melt the wax in a double boiler (I use a Folgers coffee can floating in water in an old pot – after the leftover wax cools put the lid in the can, and it stores dust-free until next time) as melting wax is highly flammable if in direct contact with your heat source. I also put a bit of poster putty on the bottom of the glass cylinders when I use them. Keeps them from being knocked over.


Susie's Daughter May 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm

1) In laws were visiting for the weekend and took us out to dinner at a local restaurant on Friday night. How nice! We are in the rewards program at the restaurant and contributed some free appetizer and other coupons to bring down the total by half.

2) Favorite frugal score of the week was bringing home a bag of clothes from the church rummage sale for $3. They had nice stuff! Best scores were a pair of good fitting jeans for me and an organic cotton Disney t shirt of a favorite character for DS. Also for DS two pairs of pj pants, a dress shirt, a pirate shirt and a pair of jeans. Bag also included a pair of womens high end jeans which I will take to consignment.

3) Dear wife’s bills from broken ankle are starting to come in. Got an EOB from Blue Cross that shows we are $3.61 from meeting the deductible. Are you kidding me!?! Will have a conversation with them tomorrow which will hopefully end frugally.

4) Reading shared magazines from my mom and passing them on to other family or the free pile at the library.

5) Annual “Green Up Day” (roadside trash pick up encouraged statewide on first Sat in May) netted me a bag full of returnable cans/bottles for the ‘family movie fund’ and a bag of roadside trash which will be picked up by the town at no cost additional cost to us.


AFS May 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm

What do you intend to use the candles for?
Do those silicone brushes really work?


Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Silicone is fab, much better than the old-style pastry brushes, in my experience. And they happily go in the dishwasher.


AFS May 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Good to know thank you I’ve been wondering about them for a while.


VanessaKC May 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

I must disagree, as I find silicone brushes to not distribute evenly. Particularly with melted butter. Good for mopping on bbq sauce, and you’re right about the dishwasher bonus.


Rosanne May 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm

1. Didn’t spend anything today. Fridge is stocked and it is a rainy day, so no need to go out.
2. Listened to audiobook- a mystery classic “The mystery of the Yellow Room”. A seed got planted in my head which may grow involving volunteering for librivox recordings. I love reading aloud and tend to speak expressively, so I think I would be a good fit.
3. My husband took my son and his friend to Lowe’s yesterday for their free kids projects. They were busy hammering and painting on the kitchen table “Don’t look!! It’s a surprise for Mother’s Day!” Judging from the garden soil I found all over, I am suspecting a flower pot 🙂
4. Sold a couple things on ebay
5. Did not buy a gold plated apartment. I am buying a mid century beach shack next month, though.


Cindy in the South May 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm

I would prefer the beach shack!!!


Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm


Have you ever read “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins? It was written in 1868 and is a fab mystery. I re-read it recently and still enjoyed it immensely. I also highly recommend Susan Hill’s “The Woman in Black”. Not the film, which ruined the book.

I’m looking for book recommendations: I’ve got my library ticket at last!


Rosanne May 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Thank you so much Denise. I had never heard of “The Moonstone”. I downloaded it with the intent of reading only the first few pages and got hooked. I am up to chapter 7 all ready. Oh, well, the house can stay dirty one more day…..


Debra May 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm

1. I went to a few Sunday garage sales. I didnt buy anything but my daughter bought a mountain bike for $10.
2. We then went to Kroger, where i got the same freebies as Katie, on plus 12 tins of Caesar dog food (also free, but will be going to the humane shelter), and $1 off a 1.25 bottle of tea. I forgot my free peanut butter coupon but it’s good for 3 weeks yet.
3. Picked up some beaded bracelets for my granddaughters from the often used free table at work. Em picked up a wet and wadded up set of scrubs in Kohls parking lot. She’ll wash them then take them to our favorite thrift store.
4. I found a few more of my dishes at the Salvation Army store, 2 new in the package recycled plastic toddler dishes, and a recycled plastic truck at Goodwill, on Wednesday using my 55 and older senior 30% discount. The toddler dishes are part of my daughter’s presents to her almost 3 year old twin nephews. We then went to Kohls and used a $10 off $10 on godiva chocolate bars to put with her MIL’s birthday present. I have another week to use my JCP $10 coupon.
5. We got strawberries, papayas, lemons, limes, apples free from our thrift shop. We immediately washed, cut up and froze the strawberries. The lemons and limes are for drinking water and papayas are for eating and smoothies.
6. Answered a ISO ad for a full size box springs and will be getting that out of my garage soon.


Vickey May 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

Fresh fruit at the thrift store! I just might be envious.


Karen May 7, 2017 at 5:07 pm

That’s a lot of good stuff for $1! My kind of garage sale.


Amanda May 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

1) I smelled the siren smell of grilled burgers when we came home tonight. But I still managed to avoid takeout and pulled together leftovers for supper.

2) Our weekend renters left a bunch of food in the fridge that we will eat: orange juice, eggs, rolls, strawberries.

3) I made the menu for the week and the grocery list. Everything can be found at Aldi, so I’ll go tomorrow after my bike ride. Hopefully it will be the only trip this week.

4) We toted up our spending from this past week. I was sure we were already over budget from a bunch of purchases last week. But happily we are about a quarter in, which is where we should be a quarter of the month down.

5) As entertainment this weekend we read library books and watched an old Dukes of Hazzard DVD that belongs to my brother on the TV and DVD player we scored at goodwill.


Shasta May 7, 2017 at 7:12 pm

1. Got the same freebies (Smith’s) plus mushrooms, organic cheddar, and organic cold brewed coffee from clearance.
2. Entertainment today was dog walks (3) which led to socializing and household chores
3. Planned, prepped and packed meals for the week so as to not cave to tempting treats at work and fast food because I’m “starving”
4. I read all the magazines that have been piling up from shared subscriptions. Now they can be redistributed and I can dust the coffee table
5. I popped open the handle part of the lip cube to scrape out the last of the produce to use. It feels good to use that last little bit they don’t intend you to use, but is perfectly usable


Beth L May 7, 2017 at 7:25 pm

1. We lost my wonderful mother-in-law almost three years ago to brain cancer. We did the 5k walk today in DC in her memory. Rather than sign up for the walk, we donated the full amount of the participant fee (don’t need another tee) to the cause. Afterwards we usually go to brunch. But, I had couponed bagels, bacon and a nice meal. Great time with family.

2. This week I have a monthly girls’ dinner, will treat them to a bottle of wine and me to dinner with an old gift certificate. Metro instead of cab.

3. Ate up the stupid never ending and not great tasting cauliflower for dinner instead of take out. I really muscled through that one.

4. I literally have won about 6 containers of salt from Safeway’s Monopoly game. Gave a few canisters away and made a salt scrub for some old cast iron and enamelware. The old beauties look great again!

5. Have been cleaning one thing out a day for a couple of weeks now (junk drawer, linen closet, etc) Funneled a bunch of odds and ends of shampoo and conditioner into one big bottle each. Clothes that don’t fit went to donation, some nice clothes went to consignment. Old linens went to the animal shelter and things I didn’t need went to the stoop.. We live next to the zoo and we have a “magical stoop”. So much foot traffic means anything we put there gets taken home and used again.


Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:53 pm


Do you have a recommendation on cast iron skillets, please? I have 2 Le Creuset casserole pots (I think what you would call Dutch Ovens?), but their skillets are about £100! I wouldn’t pay that. Plus they weigh about six lbs!


Beth L May 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm

I think if you keep an eye out at estate sales you can buy a beautifully used one that is well seasoned. I cook everything in mine: cornbread, veggies, grilled cheeses. I use it daily. It’s nice to get one with a lid, too. If you want to buy one new, Lodge is a pretty inexpensive brand. With cast iron, it is all about seasoning the pan and not using soap. But, before you buy new, ask around. Almost everyone has an older relative that isn’t cooking as much or has multiples. It is easy to barter or trade for one of those beauties!!

A decent sized cast iron from Lodge is usually way less than fifty dollars.


Elizabeth May 8, 2017 at 12:06 am

If you enjoy the Victorian Slum series you should try the Victorian farm. They have a group of historians live on a farm for a year in the manner of the Victorian era doing things as they would have been done in the day. Very educational and I’ve gotten some great ideas from it. They’ve done a whole series including Tudor Farm and Wartime Farm. Wonderful frugal tips. Also BBC did many different seasons of River Cottage which is wonderfully informative. You can find them on YouTube.


Tracy May 8, 2017 at 5:13 am

1. Used up some tired peppers, frozen left over italian sausage and broccoli on its way out, as well as extra eggs, making a quiche yesterday. We have enough leftover for another dinner too.
2. DD had a volleyball tournament at the convention center this weekend. I took the bus one day (hubs took her early for warmups and reffing) and parked just far enough away that second day that I was outside the metered area and could park free. Lovely day and got a bit of a walk in the process.
3. After volley ball we were tempted to eat out but resisted, had a picnic type dinner the first night (salami, cheese, crackers, fruit) and said quiche was waiting for us the second night.
4. Cleaned my own house this weekend. As usual.
5. Score score score at Goodwill — a beautifully tailored super fine wool little black dress — I looked up the brand online (German) and their dresses go for the $500 range. I spent 1% of that or $5. Also got a pair of black and leopard sandals (again looked up brand — $250 range) for $3.50 and a cotton button down shirt for $3.50. All on purple tag half price sale! All classic styles too.


Bee May 8, 2017 at 9:17 am

What great clothing finds! Almost everyone can use a LBD.


Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:56 pm


So long as the “L” in my LBD stands for “large”, then yes, I too could use an LBD!


Vickey May 10, 2017 at 8:42 am

L= Lovely? Lovely Black Dress. 😀


Mary W May 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Awesome finds! Bet you did a LBD happy dance.


Chris May 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

My LBD came from Savers – found on the floor that someone else left behind in the dressing room – fits like a glove and I’ve had it for over 8 years.
It cost .99!!!


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy May 8, 2017 at 5:40 am

1. My husband performed maintenance on our cars.
2. I baked some cookies for lunches this week using what we had on hand.
3. A batch of potato soup was used for 2 dinners and 1 lunch meal.
4. We invested in a reusable k-cup to reduce our waste.
5. Scored a great deal on some half-off English muffins at the store.


WilliamB May 8, 2017 at 5:49 am

Real mixed bag this week.

1. Roommate Frugal Fail: after smoking a pork leg, I left the meaty bone for my roommate. He didn’t eat it and it went bad. Very unhappy about that.

2. Roommate Frugal Success (but because of laziness so maybe not net positive): He went to a yard sale, intended to buy a baby gate so we can leave the front door open without the dog escaping. He didn’t return to get the gate till the end of the sale (that’s the laziness) so he got it for free (the success).

3. Frugal Fail (deliberate): for foodie friends moving into new house, bought 4 bottles spice mix from Penzeys and a gift box (comes with card, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and a ton of bay leaves).

4. Frugal Success (deliberate): these friends invited me to dinner, my contribution was toppings and such to turn their ice cream into sundaes. All things I already had and bought on sale and the crushed cookies were freebies that I didn’t want.

5. Anticipated Success: My mother bought me some shoes from Nordstrom but the salesman put the wrong shoes in the bag. I will ask them to send me the right shoes and a shipping labels for the wrong ones, so I don’t have to run that errand. They did it once before so I think it’ll work.


Susie's Daughter May 8, 2017 at 10:05 am

#3 – Love Penzeys! Still using the bay leaves from our wedding gift box – 10 years ago… Whole lotta bay leaves!


A. Marie May 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Susie’s D, I second you on the Penzey’s bay leaves. Here’s my story about these: For about 10 years, Ms. Bestest Neighbor and I had an arrangement in which she would give me the annual clippings off her 30-year-old potted bay tree, and I would process the leaves (clip them off their branches, press them in an old dictionary in the attic till they dried, and package them) and give her back half. Three years ago, Ms. BN decided that the bay tree was due for retirement, but we were going to do one more bay leaf exchange first. Unfortunately for him, Mr. BN decided on his own to donate the tree to someone in his Master Gardener group before we could do the bay leaf thing. After Ms. BN finished pinning back Mr. BN’s ears, she bought me THREE bags of Penzey’s bay leaves. These are lasting so long that I may have to include a mention of the final bag in my will.


Susie's Daughter May 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm

A Marie – What a great story! And I love the phrase “pinning back Mr. BN’s ears”…


WilliamB May 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

6. Frugal Fail: a pound of strawberries rotted in the fridge.

Not the best week, Chez WilliamB.


Roberta May 8, 2017 at 7:32 am

1. My parents joined us at my son’s robotics tournament, and they bought us lunch at a yummy Vietnamese restaurant. Sadly, my leftovers were dropped from the bleachers, but my husband has yummy leftovers for lunch today.
2. My sister-in-law had extra tickets to a community theatre production of _Heathers: The Musical_. I was not expecting much, but it was hysterically funny. Go if you have a chance, but don’t bring people with whom you’d be uncomfortable talking about sex. My niece wanted to die sitting between her mother and uncle. 😉
3. We went out for dinner before the show, and one of the men took the check at the end. Unexpected and lovely!
4. We enjoyed our unseasonable rain completely and thoroughly! We sat around, reading library books and drinking tea until it was time to go to my nephew’s birthday party. We gave him a (hand-me-down) bottle of chocolate port and a bottle of homemade blueberry vodka, and he was very appreciative of both!
5. After robotics but before the play we had about an hour of free time. We stopped into a thrift shop to get a new mug for my husband. (His old one broke, and there is much sadness.) Found a suitable mug, a new bicycle helmet for my son (his old one is peeling and nasty looking), a pair of pajama shorts for my son, and a shorty wetsuit for my daughter. The last is especially nice because she won’t get out of the ocean even if she gets cold, but she’s so skinny she gets chilled through easily. And it prevents rashes from being tossed against the sand. Most of the items were even marked down!


J. May 8, 2017 at 8:24 am

Re: the slum house–there is a quirky private house museum in London called Dennis Severs’ House, restored by an American Anglophile. As you move up the stairs of the house, you travel back in time, until you reach the top floor which reflects what it was like in Queen Victoria’s time (smoky fire and crumbling walls). The Spitalfields neighborhood had been prosperous earlier when it was full of French refugee silk weavers, but by Victoria’s era it was a slum. This fact also dovetailed nicely with the state of Severs’ funds, which ran out before he could restore the top floor to any former glory. I highly recommend the candlelight tours of the house, which are a unique experience–conducted in total silence, with the rooms staged to appear that the inhabitants have just stepped out. Check out the website for more info


Lindsey May 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

Thanks for the info on the Dennis Severs House!!


Mary W May 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Oh, that sounds like something I would love to see. ☺

I have one family branch that emigrated from that general part of London in the early 1800s. They were goldsmiths and founders, and one family name there was Mayor, which might be a corrupted Jewish name, especially in that occupation. Since all my family history searches have turned up consistently boring UK and northern European roots, I’m hoping to find something a little more interesting, lol. Someday when they have a much better sale on DNA testing than 20% off, I plan to have my pie chart done.


Denise May 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm


Thanks for that tip. At work, the law firm we use the most is always asking for suggestions for new things to take us to for “relationship building”. Two weeks ago, they arranged a private evening tour of the National Gallery – amazing!

The lead partner asked for suggestions for other events. I’m going to suggest this place. Hopefully, I’ll get to see it for free! If not- will go on my own.


Beth May 8, 2017 at 8:57 am

1. Spent time with hubby and toddler at a park this weekend which was free. We ate breakfast out, though, which was delicious and worth it, but not free. We fed the toddler off of our plates and I took a cup of coffee to go.
2. Found a few things for resale at the GW Outlet-I’ll bring a bag of things to the consignment store tomorrow…I’m hoping to slowly make more than I spend. A little goes a long way sometimes!
3. Found 3 handkerchiefs at the GW Outlet as well-they make excellent cleaning rags as they don’t accumulate hair and fuzz when washed.
4. Ate a burger from the freezer this weekend and steak from the freezer as well. Buying meat on clearance isn’t good if I never get around to defrosting and eating it!
5. Adding to a 10-dollar gift card I was given for my mom’s Mother’s Day gift. She loves Barnes & Nobles, so I’ll save a little money and pass on something that she’ll love and use. And I won’t be tempted to buy something there that I don’t really need just because I have a gift card.


janine May 8, 2017 at 8:58 am

1.Spent most of the weekend at home except for a trip to Target for dog food, cat litter and a couple of other needed items. Husband used 5% off card but forgot to use 10% coupon. Good, but not great. Resisted the yard sailing impulse.
2. Later this month we are hosting a dinner party at our club for husband’s secretary who recently got married. Therefore I am budgeting a bit more stringently for the rest of the month. This includes: cooking from scratch, finding projects (not hard) to occupy me at home, and keeping track of expenditures.
3. When cleaning out the car (took note of Katy’s earlier efforts) found two packets of wild flower seeds from a memorial service we attended a couple of months ago – will plant them in our raised bed in the back yard.
4. Reminded myself that being frugal is an environmentally sound way of living. You know the old saying – “Live simply so others may simply live.”
5. Donated 20 books to our neighborhood library’s sale scheduled for early next month. Keeping the library solvent is a good frugal move for anyone who appreciates their services.


susanna d May 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

1. I’m taking inventory of all the food available, since our son is coming up to do the Journeys Marathon this weekend. And I’ve seen first-hand his ability to “consume mass quantities” (to quote the Coneheads) after long runs. I’ve been stockpiling foods he eats since learning of his intention to do this marathon several months back. I should only need to pick up fresh produce and some dairy – otherwise I’m good to go (or will be, after I do a ton of baking).
2. Took advantage of Cinco de Mayo sales last week to buy a bunch of really cheap limes, jalapenos, and cilantro. Stored in the fridge in a jar of water (with a plastic bag over it) cilantro can last several weeks. And it’ll be several weeks (and then some) before I’m able to harvest home grown cilantro.
3. Found 30 cents at Menards. We were using a merchandise credit to make our purchase, so this truly IS found money since nothing was spent out of pocket.
4. Made sure to submit the $40 rebate from my contact lens purchase.
5. Husband and I installed our boat lift ourselves, saving us $100+ over hiring someone to do it for us. We have chest waders, so the ice cold water didn’t affect us (much) and I’ll call it our exercise program for today (and probably tomorrow). Yikes I feel it, though – and feel every year of my age right now!


Mary W May 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm

You are such good “parental units”.


susanna d May 9, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Thank you! Parental units! I’d totally forgotten that particular Conehead-ism.


Carolyn S May 8, 2017 at 10:26 am

1. Used a 56% off (for an anniversary sale) coupon at my local hardware store yesterday to buy a scuffle hoe, which has been on my garden “want” list for a few years now. I tried it out when I got home and am thrilled with how well it works on the weeds! And the fact that I got it for just over half off makes me even happier.
2. Used part of a Target gift card we’ve had sitting around to get a gift for a kid’s birthday party this weekend. No money out of pocket.
3. Used up some store credit and an almost expired gift certificate to get some necessary undergarments at Kohl’s. Bonus, I also had a coupon and the stuff was on sale. No money out of pocket.
4. Made yogurt for the first time last week to use up some milk that was past it’s date, but still okay. Plus it was free to me to begin with, so I wasn’t out anything but time if the yogurt didn’t turn out okay. As it turns out, it was edible, just really runny.
5. Spent a few hours reviewing financial accounts with the husband. He’s got some old miscellaneous stock and retirement accounts sitting around and we decided it would be easier if we tried to consolidate our accounts as much as possible. I was horrified when I dug into the account info and realized how much he’s been paying in fees for all these years. Moving his accounts to less expensive funds will definitely save some money.


Roberta May 9, 2017 at 6:01 am

Next time let your yogurt sit longer to keep it from being runny. At this point you can add a gum if you have it (many people have xanthan gum or guar gum for gluten free baking, but it’s pricey so don’t go out and buy it). Or increase the fruit/yogurt ratio and it will still be yummy.

Good for you, making your own yogurt! The first time was scary for me, but I’ve been doing it for years and loving it.


Kathe W. May 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

1. getting yet more clothes ready to take to the consignment store.
2. sold some outright on a FB garage sale site and made about 2x what I could have got at the consignment store—the stuff I’m taking hasn’t sold after advertising it.
3. went to a charitable group’s rummage sale and spent $5—some brand-new-in-the-box items from coupon-ers for about 80% retail costs, some garden decorations for 25 cents that will cheer my garden—and me, and a few canning jars for 25 cents each (asparagus is ready and I’ll make pickles soon-Yum!!)
4. opened the pool after enlisting (volun-told) the (grown) kids who were here for a visit rather than hiring it out. We can do it ourselves if we have enough hands.
5. cooking in all week because this freezer just doesn’t seem to be getting any less full. The last thing I need is to a) have that many unmanaged calories, b) let even one more meal pass without using some of this pork, 3) spend even more $$$ on prepared/served food!


KJD509 May 8, 2017 at 11:35 am

1) Inspired by a comment a few weeks ago, I mended a gaping hole in youngest daughter’s favorite shirt and covered the ragged seam with an embroidered heart. It looked terrible. She was thrilled.
2) Same youngest turned up quite sick this morning after a wild weekend of birthday parties. But she’s old enough to stay home a few hours by herself, so her dad and I are able to each work slightly shortened days, saving us from burning vacation.
3) Frugal home-cooked birthday dinner for hubs last night. All the grown-and-gone kids called or messaged him, and the at-home kids took him out for a (free to us) movie. There was a time when he’d have been disappointed without a big celebration, but hearing from all the grown kids (some of whom might have received scolding texts from their mama as the day rolled on, ahem) really made his day.
4) Yummy leftovers from the birthday dinner for everybody’s lunch today, plus leftover cake when we get home.
5) Caught up on an expense that was hanging over our heads. Not frugal, but the relief of having it done is worth a lot.


Lindsey May 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

I’ve made a few of those, ahem, gentle reminder calls on husband’s birthday. I think appropriate guilt is highly under-rated with adult children. (Not a lot of it, but forgetting Dad’s birthday is right up there.)


Vickie May 8, 2017 at 11:47 am

1) I refilled my breakfast supplies this morning and decided to buy real cream for my coffee. It’s so much better than 1/2 & 1/2 or that bottled or powdered creamer.
2) I banked the refund check from HSA and headed over to recycle the items I’ve been loading in a brown paper bag. I’m so glad everything was recyclable.
3) I put in for some work training, as the submission was requested by my boss. Thankfully, we no longer have to pay for lodging and wait to be reimbursed – which can take awhile. They finally allow us to have a travel card and the charges go straight to Financial Services. I don’t know if my submission will be approved – either way I don’t care. At least they know I’m making an effort, but the training is in D.C. and, wow, it’s expensive.
4) I used my $7 thrift store carpet shampooer yesterday and cleaned my LR, DR & hallway carpet with vinegar and water. It looks, feels and smells so much better.
5) A co-worker sent me a pic & article this morning, showing me ten years ago when I first joined my current Team. I had to laugh, the blouse I ave on in the picture is one I still have. A little more worn now, but still wearable for casual occasions or on the weekend. I tend to forget how long I hold onto clothing that I like. I still have a pretty Hawaiian flower print blouse that I love and have repaired the seams and buttons on it a few times. I was wearing that blouse in a vacation pic from Hawaii in 2004 and I’d already owned it for a year or two – I bought it at one of the Thrift stores and it’s still one of my faves!


Lisa W. May 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

I LOVE the “House” series, and am thrilled that there are more! My fantasy series would be “1920s House Party” where a bunch of people hole up in a Long Island Gatsby-type mansion for a weekend and try not to die of alcohol poisoning. I need to figure out where to pitch this. 🙂


Katy May 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm



Mary W May 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Lol! Good one.


Kim May 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm

The most frugal thing I did this weekend was purchase some slice and bake cookies on clearance for 50 cents. They were Batman cookies and were for my 4 year old grandson.
My adult son had purchased something that came in a large Amazon cardboard box so he left the box at our house thinking our grandson might enjoy playing with it.
Friday evening we had our grandson over and he played all evening making the cardboard box into his Batmobile. We baked the cookies and he would only
allow my husband one cookie as he was saving his precious treasure. He even
got much delight from all the Batman pictures on the box the cookies came in.
A very enjoyable evening with the grandson for a mere 50 cents.


Bee May 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Great garage sale finds, Katy!
1) I did not spend any money today. This makes me extremely happy after having the most unfrugal week ever.
2) DH has a new assignment far from home, so I have simple meals planned this week using what we have on hand for my daughter and me. I defrosted some French onion soup for an easy and inexpensive meal this evening.
3) There is a major sporting event in town, so I expect traffic to be unbearable by Friday. I have my errands planned for tomorrow. I will batch them together and hopefully I will not have to leave the house at all during the weekend. I am not sure if this is a money saver, but it is definitely a time saver.
4) Like many of you, I have been doing a lot of work in my yard and garden. DH and I started a project 4 weeks ago that we finally finished yesterday. We have been trying to make frugal choices by reusing landscaping materials. We have also exchanged, repotted and transplanted plants. However, it still looked incomplete. On Saturday, I ran across a great deal on healthy, 3-gallon size gardenia bushes — $7.89 each which was 1/2 price. I purchased and planted 4 of these beautiful plants. I am not sure if this is a frugal win or a fail. Since it makes me happy, I call it a win!
5) I am a member of a women’s group. On Saturday, this group had a dinner that I needed to attend. Although husbands were also invited, DH decided to stay home. Like most men at this event, he would have been utterly miserable. I did miss him, but it saved us $65 or more. ( I am sure he would have had an $8 beer from the cash bar). Best of all, he was absolutely content walking his dog, puttering around the yard, and watching the Kentucky Derby.


Tracy May 9, 2017 at 4:06 am

LOVE gardenias, can’t even imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to grow them outside!


Teresa May 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Over the weekend I made almost a weeks worth of food from ingredients on hand, most of them free… 1. Oven-baked organic chicken drumsticks that were 50% off plus coupon for 2.00 made them free (marinated in old buttermilk for two days before cooking and coating with panko). 2. Had 50% off a pack of 1lb grass fed ground beef… bought with an extra coupon and it was only about $1. Used it to make 2 hamburgers and a pot of chili (used leftover blackbeans in the chili and garbanzos from the pantry). Cornbread came from mix that was .50c! 3. Made an apple pie on Friday from 99 cent dented apples and a cracked frozen pie crust that cost 35c. 4.Roasted brussel sprouts and carrots with garlic, olive oil and balsamic before they went bad. Now I have veggies on hand for a quick bite instead of that pie (which is almost gone!) lol. 5. My toilet seat bidet came today!!! Yay!


Mary W May 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

I loved the first episode of Victorian Slum House. I wonder how they are able to get away with feeding the children what they would have been eating in 1860, though. Seems like it could be considered child abuse. Breaks my heart to see how hard they all had to work just to pay the rent and buy a bit of bread. We have a pretty soft life compared to 150 plus years ago. Very humbling.

Let’s see… FFTs.
1. I stopped by Goodwill late week, looking for a replacement for my skinny diameter curling brush, and FOUND one, finally. It did cost me 5.99, but even a cheap one is 3x that in the stores, and this one has a smaller diameter and adjustable heat setting dial. Looks like it’s never been used. Pays to wait for a good deal – I’ve been looking a while now. My old one still heats fine, but all the teeth have become brittle and broken.

2. Also at the same Goodwill, I found a pair of like new Saucony brand athletic shoes for 5.99, and 10 paperbacks for 6.99, the body shaper I needed to wear under the my dress for a “tea luncheon” Friday at the TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) SRD (State Recognition Days) convention, and a few more goodies.
3. I had a very frugal beach weekend thanks to: I was treated to my registration for SRD by my TOPS club (since I was just elected Leader and no one else from our club could go that weekend), and my area captain invited me to sit at their table, picking up the price of the ticket, for the tea. I shared a room with 2 great friends, sleeping on an airbed on the floor, which was probably the best bed in the room, according to my friends with sore backs! Splitting the hotel bill 3 ways helped my friends – saved them $50 each, and I wouldn’t have been able to find a room at that late date. One friend picked up the dinner check for all of us the first evening. I sent home a package of home-raised pork chops with her as a thank you and also gave her my carry-on sized suitcase after I found 2 I liked better at a thrift shop near the convention center.

We were told the room had a fun kitchen, so I brought pork chops and 93% lean ground beef. We had meals planned for all 3 nights and brought hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese and multi-grain crackers, yogurt and lots of fruits and vegetables. There was only a fridge and microwave, no stove, so the eggs, etc came in really handy. At least the fridge had an actual separate freezer compartment, so we could keep the stuff we couldn’t cook, frozen, as well as ice bottles.

My TOPS pal gifted me $10, my TOPS “mom” slipped me a $20 bill, and both of them told them to spend it at SRD. I bought a t-shirt for $12, Chinese food for $12 including tip, and spent $7 on a couple TOPS pins, so their gifts covered nearly all of that. I also received about $70 at my LOM (Loser of the Month) Party, so I used that for part of the room. Out of pocket costs for the weekend came to $31. The inspiration and fun with friends was priceless!

4. I walked on the beach, bent over again and again as I picked up lots of pretty, polished rocks and walked to and from the convention center from our hotel. Free exercise I found a shiny dime on the floor of the convention center, brought home the free bars of soap from the motel.

5. I got to watch the Loyalty Days parade at Long Beach, WA yesterday. Both friends were in the parade, along with a bunch more friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, I picked up a virus and became pretty ill over the weekend, so I couldn’t join them. Still feeling awful today, so I’m saving money by staying in bed and not spending. I did pick up some OTC meds from Costco ( year’s supply of generic Claritin for about 3¢ a pill, 2 bottles of Triple Flex on sale, and some Kirkland brand DayQuil and NyQuil) and treated to dinner at the food court… can’t beat $1.50 for a hotdog and drink with refill. I remembered to bring an empty water bottle so I could pour my lemonade into it and get my free refill before we left. I resisted looking​ in all the shops along the main drag. Didn’t need overpriced clothing or tacky souvenirs. My beach rocks are free and pretty!


susanna d May 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

I’m stunned by how much cheaper Costco OTC meds are than what I’d been paying at other stores. I’ve more than saved the cost of my membership on OTC meds alone. I love their $1.50 hot dog and drink deals too, but I didn’t know you could get a drink refill. Thanks.


Mary W May 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Glad to help! And that should be full kitchen, not fun kitchen in my original post…although a fun kitchen would have been, well, FUN, lol!


Lazyretirementgirl May 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Amazon also has Costco otc items, at a fine price for prime members.


Teri May 8, 2017 at 5:14 pm

1. Friends gave us a bunch of veggies as they were leaving town and they wouldn’t last. We’ve been enjoying them for lunches and dinners.
2. Picked up the same free download items from Fred Meyer that Katy did.
3. Bought a nwt baby outfit at Goodwill to use for a gift.
4. Remembered to freeze our milk when we went out of town for a week and when we came back I didn’t have to buy any for our morning cereal.
5. Instant winner on a Safeway monopoly piece for some chips, will pick up tomorrow along with more pieces. Daughter is one piece away from winning several things!


Marybeth May 9, 2017 at 2:55 am

Just wanted to let everyone know that today if free cone day at Haagen Dazs from 4-8.


rebecca May 9, 2017 at 6:53 am

1. Bought everything at the grocery store on sale.
2. Used a groupon to go out for dinner with a friend on Saturday night. She paid the tip.
3. Using up mixes and doctoring them up to bring in for colleagues during finals week.
4. A couple more referrals at my private practice and finally have been reimbursed by insurance company.
5. I love pinterest and have been saving a bunch of recipes from it to use instead of getting take out.

Frugal fails-a lilac bush I planted is dead. So sad. The 2 other ones are growing. I had signed up for a CEU workshop. I went and left at the lunch break. It was so boring and I couldn’t bear it. It was expensive and a waste of $.
I burnt a pot of rice too…..ugh, I am hoping the bottom of the pot will recover.

I really liked the first episode of Victorian Slum house too. Looking forward to the rest of the series.


Susanne g May 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Remember Bartenders Friend for the pot!


rebecca May 10, 2017 at 4:38 am

Thank you for the idea. I actually boiled water in it a few times, scraped it with a wooden spatula and the burnt parts came away.


Aunty Penny May 10, 2017 at 12:00 am

hadn’t heard about Victorian Slum House! Can’t wait to see if I can find it (in Australia).


Mary in Maryland May 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

1 Spent $170 on Groceries in April for the two of us. Ate out twice for twenty bucks each time.
2 Bought a cast iron frying pan for $5 at the thrift store.
3 Learned how to list things on eBay yesterday from someone at the Time Bank.
4 Have eaten our fresh produce down to a half head of celery and three limes. I’ll restock this morning near the dentist where DH is having his teeth cleaned.
5 Spent a couple hours talking with Medicare, the radiology office, and my internist–getting the coding changed on my bone density scan so that Medicare will (here’s hoping) cover the $133 charge. Could be a big hourly payoff, and I got my desk cleared while I was on hold.


gina May 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

I’ve been reading this blog for awhile now & i can honestly say it’s my favorite (thanks, Katy!) and love the Five Frugal Things posts the best. Learning new things from everyone 🙂

1. Hubby is very handy with car maintenance. Yesterday he took a look at my suv to see where the spark plugs were so he can change them soon & he found a nest made by some mice under the hood in the back. Glad he found it now & not when maybe some wires were chewed.
2. Our dorm sized fridge died last fall & we’ve been wanting another for the garage to keep our summer drinks & beer cold. I went garage sale-ing with my daughter this past weekend in the rain, but scored on a few items we were looking for, one of them being a dorm size fridge for $5!!!
3. Husband paid his truck off early! Glad that bill is gone. Now we’re hoping it lasts us quite a few years more!
4. I froze 2 bowls of chili & 2 bowls of chicken tortilla soup instead of them sitting in the fridge waiting to get eaten. I’m the only one who eats the most leftovers & that would be too much for me to eat before they go bad. Trying to cut down on food waste. Future me will be happy when it’s damp & chilly out & i can have a warm lunch or dinner.
5. Received a settlement check in the mail……wasn’t big but every little bit helps! Took a few seconds to fill out online. Also submitted a mail-in-rebate online for spark plugs for hubby’s truck online. Mail-in form said 6-8 weeks for processing, filling it out online said only 3 weeks to process.
6. Had a craving for cookies & i rarely buy them in the store, so last night i baked up batches for two different kinds to satisfy my sweets craving. Made from all ingredients on hand.
7. Turning in co-pays & bills for medical to my work-sponsored supplemental reimbursement plan. Thank goodness for that!
8. Our township has a yearly community clean-up. You can take junk or unwanted items to get rid of at our township garage. I work for our township so I asked the guys if any bar stools are turned in to please set them aside for me. Our youngest daughter wants them for the deer hunting shack my husband is going to build them for this fall.


Jennifer May 10, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I am so loving Victorian Slum House. Thanks for telling us about it because I wouldn’t have known about it, otherwise. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!!!


Suzanne May 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Thanks so much for the Victorian Slum House recommendation! I loved Regency House Party and this new show makes me feel like a millionaire living in the lap of luxury. Love it!


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