Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 23, 2015 · 41 comments

I’ve been sick, sick, sickity sick all week, so my normally frugal practices have taken a backseat to simply getting though my days. However, I am going to do my darnedest to to come up with five frugal things, so here you go! (Prepare to be underwhelmed.)

  1. My mother took pity on me and brought by a meal one evening of beef stew and homemade corn muffins. Wonderful, delicious, welcome and yes, free. There were even leftovers and today my son’s very hodgepodge school lunch includes two corn muffins. Thank you, mom!
  2. I stopped by The Grocery Outlet on my way home from dropping my son at school as I knew it would be the only time I’d be leaving the house that day. In my woozy state I bought a number of extremely odd, (but very cheap) items. Included were 20¢ packets of M&M’s, 65¢ boxes of granola bars, pasta, sliced black forest ham, Baby Bell cheeses, brie, crackers and other items that don’t come to memory. I used a Chinook Book e-coupon to save $3 from my bill and brought my own bags. Odd choices, but there were no complaints.
  3. Although we have cable TV, it’s a very basic package. I noticed yesterday that the Starz network was having a promotion where you could sample their content for free. This only caught my notice because I’d been wanting to watch the series Outlander since I’d read the first book and then seen the first excellent episode. So my last 24 hours has leaned heavily toward me sitting up in bed binge watching this addictive Scottish series. I’m not sure how long the promotion lasts, but I’ll be done with what’s available by the end of today.
  4. I went to see the doctor yesterday as he was refusing to renew my inhaler prescription unless I came in to be seen. (This truly annoyed me as I felt the last thing I should have been doing was to taking my infected self out into public, but that’s a tirade I’ll not burden you with.) Anyway . . . the doctor was able to provide me with a new inhaler from his stash of free samples, which saved me a few dollars. Mind you, it saved me less than I had just shelled out as my co-payment, but I still appreciated it.
  5. I started listening to a library audiobook of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please yesterday. So far I’m loving it, and it motivated me to get through both making dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I had put the book on hold through my library Overdrive account and it came available within a couple of weeks. Probably sooner than if I’d put the hardcopy on hold. Man on man, do I love my library!

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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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie January 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

I’ve been using Overdrive a lot lately. I love that I’m able to “read” while I work! Get well soon!


Lisa January 23, 2015 at 11:35 am

I am so glad that people are using the library and Overdrive.
Lisa (the Young Adult Librarian)


Katy January 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

it’s the best!


Lisa January 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I was just going to comment on how much I love the library love on this blog.
Lisa (a different Young Adult Librarian than the first Lisa who posted)


Beth January 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Libraries are amazing places and so are the people who work at them 🙂

Thanks for the reminder… I haven’t checked out my library’s e-books in a while!


Van January 23, 2015 at 11:40 am

Get well soon. The icky worked it’s way through my family and roomies, too 😛

Hm, some frugal things:

-trading marketing skills for a free education worth 1,000s. Broke, but I’ll take it. hell yea!

-sold comic books, movies, books, and old clothing I didn’t need for by now over $300

-been sticking to my guns on a low, low food budget, spent less than $150 thus far for January!

-It took me having to stream (hate to do that, but damn, incompetence)but I got half off my rent this month due to my water heating being out the whole month (just got it back yesterday, still traumatized by cold showers in the winter) and my washer catching on fire! With my two roomies that’s $134 for the month! If I still had my office job I’d be putting back a couple hundred in savings 😀


Lisa January 23, 2015 at 11:48 am

I was going to get takeout for lunch yesterday while I was home, but I cooked the rest of the fish sticks and fries in the freezer instead.

We just switched from Comcast to Verizon because the price is better.

I read lots of books. I am almost finished my 4th book this month. Would have cost me about $46 if I had bought them instead of getting them at the library.

I have been re-wearing pants more and hanging bath towels to dry so I don’t have as much laundry to do.


Kristen January 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

So funny we both did this on the same day! (My five frugal things are over on my blog. 🙂 )

I hope you are 100% soon.


K D January 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

Continuing to cook/eat at home. Tonight I’ll make pizza, I will attempt Buffalo Chicken pizza for the first time.

We received delicious spiced pecans as a Christmas gift. Pecans are pricey and I had quite a few raw almonds and all the coating ingredients on hand so I tried the recipe with them. They are excellent (and just half the coating they call for is more than enough).

I walk every day, snow or no-snow. I have some all weather shoes with good traction that I bought many years ago. Last year they did not seem to be water-proof any more so I sprayed them with spray we already had. They work great.

Despite lower gas prices (I saw gas under $2.00/gallon today) I do not drive more. I have been trying to walk my errands even more. When my 12 year old car needs to be replaced I expect to buy something smaller, with even better gas mileage.

I stopped at a couple of local grocery stores for their loss leaders today. Of course I used coupons as well, printed through the SwagBucks website. I did not buy milk, bread, or toilet paper (a Mid-Atlantic region thing) despite the weather forecast for the next several days.

I hope you feel better soon Katy! It seems to me that you are frugal even when you’re sick.


A. Marie January 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm

First, get well soon. (Your loyal fans need their Katy in fighting frugal shape!) Second, give my best to yo’ mama; she sounds like one of the best.

Third, we hosted a Neighborhood Watch meeting here last night (I chair our street’s NW group). I’d called the meeting primarily for social reasons (to get folks out and about in the middle of an Upstate NY January), but it turned out that there were a few issues in need of resolution. Community building is one of the best kinds of frugality.

Fourth and fifth, we are taking the usable linens from the Great Trashpick to our local animal shelters tomorrow–and looking for a new cat or cats. Wish us luck!


amanda b. January 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm

1. Leftover copycat Zuppa Toscana is simmering for dinner.
2. Found a box of berry Jello in the pantry and used it to make dessert with some raspberries that were getting overripe. Not the most inventive frugal thing but hello! JELLO!
3. Mixed some essential oils and vitamin E oil with my Boots face oil to extend the life a while longer.
4. Repurposed a conditioner bar that made my hair too greasy into a body wash. Smells great and makes my skin soft.
5. Found copycat recipes for the Great American Cookie Co. Cake and other treats my son wants for his birthday next weekend. And found scrapbook paper in my stash to go with the theme he picked out. I will use it to cover containers, etc for the serving table.


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Outlander has definitely surpassed my expectations. I’m really liking the adaptation. Hope that you’re feeling better soon. When I was sick last week I had the Gilmore Girls to keep me company, I know it helped me to have a show to watch.
1. Ate leftovers for lunch
2. Currently making one of our favourite restaurant meals at home: fish and chips.
3. Wearing fuzzy socks because our thermostat is set low
4. Haven’t spent any money today
5. Folded a load of laundry that had been hanging to dry.


Katy January 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm

I just read through the comments on The Frugal Girl and I. Am. On. To. You! 😉

I do like your fuzzy socks, reminds me to put some of my own on!


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 24, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Hey, I’m not going to come up with 10 frugal things! (Big fan of both of your sites)


Dawn January 23, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I was skeptical about Sam Heughan as Jamie, but after the wedding night, I’m completely sold. I stumbled on the blog at which has the funniest posts about Outlander. “Things my husband says during Outlander” has made me cry I was laughing so hard.

1. Went a week without a Starbucks fix.
2. Put Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker on my library list instead of buying it when I got the dropped price notice from eReaderIQ.
3. Finished watching season 8 of CSI on dvds from the library.


Kim January 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

1. Transferred a prescription refill to RiteAid and got $25 Store Reward. My cost for Rx was $3.61. I will part of it to pay for mustache/ beard trimmer for son’s birthday gift.
2. Found bags of Christmas Reese’s bells mixed in with Valentine candy when I was picking up my prescription. They marked them to $1 and I used a $1/2 coupon to get them for 50 cents each. Happy guys at my house!
3. I ordered 4 pairs of shoes on Saturday. All sale shoes were an additional $10 off through Sunday. On Monday, before they shipped, I get an email that sale shoes are now $12 off. Since my order hadn’t even shipped I called and they credited me the $8. It pays to ask!
4. Turned some apples going soft into apple crisp and made banana bread from overripe bananas. Baked them at the same time to save electricity.
5. Got rid of a unopened bag of aquarium gravel, bean bag beans and some books on freecycle. Picked up 12 printer cartridges for my printer and an iron for my son to take to college in the fall from another freecycler.


Lilypad January 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm

“Outlander” was the best show I’ve seen in a long time—I can’t wait for the new episodes, which come out in April I think. I don’t normally get all goofy over TV show heroes but that Sam Heughan makes me want to hop on a plane, fly to Scotland, and have him read the phone book to me.


Katy January 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm

My husband watched a couple episodes with me and I had to turn the TV down so the kids wouldn’t think we were watching porn. And yes, Jamie is an . . . enjoyable character.


Jane F January 24, 2015 at 10:35 am

Laughing SO hard at this image.
My family has been watching it together – me sitting between my parents – quite a picture.

Excited to finally have found some people somewhere (outside my mother and I) excitedly talking about Outlander!


Lee January 23, 2015 at 9:15 pm

After I ran (outside) today, I showered at my gym, which has towels and body wash, so I saved on water AND soap.

I got a free lunch at work. Also free coffee.

Frugal for two families: our neighbors (two parents + 3 kids) are spending a couple of nights in a hotel because their house is being fumigated, so we had them over to dinner. They brought chips and dip and didn’t have to go out to eat and we cooked food we already had in the house — and got to keep the leftover dip. I think that goes into both our frugal columns.


CW January 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm

– took my lunch to work, as I do almost every day
– working harder at eating from the fridge, freezer, and pantry, instead of making too many trips to the grocery store
– made a batch of banana raisin muffins, tonight


Diane January 24, 2015 at 4:21 am

Still being a homebody and staying out of stores…no money spent except for groceries. January is a loooooong month for those of us on limited budgets. Eating from the cupboard and fridge this week. Tonight quinoa stuffed peppers, roasted carrots with rosemary and a little pasta with butter on the side.

Rest and feel better!


K D January 24, 2015 at 6:50 am

Your dinner sounds delicious (and healthy). I would love to see that on the table.


Lisa January 24, 2015 at 6:42 am

We mad


Cindy January 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

thanks for this- you are awesome

1- I am due ANY. DAY. NOW. with my fourth baby (absolutely not frugal) so I am kind of a cranky bum. Don’t feel like running any errands, don’t feel like going out, appetite is crashing so we’ve been eating some pretty boring simple meals- all great frugal things by default though I wouldn’t recommend having four kids to achieve them. unless that’s your thing- kids are awesome.
2. we love the library. we don’t have cable- my kids have no idea that a world of cable television exists- so we snag dvd’s from the library and watch movies on nextflix (my husband and I are in the middle of “parks and recreation” right now, gotta love amy poehler)
3. I’m nesting like a maniac and have been freezer bulk cooking everything.
4. I’ve recently switched to grocery shopping twice a month- Once at costco and once at my regular grocery store. Not totally ideal because we run out of fresh produce fast but with my fourth baby under five due any day I’m doing what I can to simplify our life. My husband can usually stop on my off week for bananas or greens or milk or whatever we need in the meantime. It really has saved us money though- forced me to plan meals a little better and be less impulsive about what I pick up. It also makes me “do without” because um- have you ever been grocery shopping with 3 small children while you are 9 months pregnant? so not fun.
5. This is my fourth boy so we don’t need anything- in fact I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the so called “necessities” via donations or ebay over the last few years because I’ve learned that it’s a lot of unecessary junk.

pardon my attitude today- I want this baby out NOW!


Katy January 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Ooh . . . I remember those days of feeling that I might actually be pregnant forever. I wish you a wonderfully efficient and complication free delivery!


Cindy January 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm

thank you! I’ve been fortunate with relatively easy beautiful births (we are hypnobirthers- i.e. crazy hippies) and I’ve always had great labor & delivery nurses for support 😉 makes a big difference for sure.


Isabelle January 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Parks and recreation rocks!!!!


Isabelle January 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm

… and good luck on the delivery of baby 4, oops! I got a little too excited there for a moment😄


Lisa January 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm

OK, we’re not really mad, I just had trouble with my iPad. What I was trying to say:

We made the (frugal) decision to make a college visit by car rather than by plane since I really waited too long to get a decent airfare. So, a long car trip it is. We’ll be further reducing costs by:
– paying for gas with gasoline gift cards from Swagbucks
– packing food for the way down
– using a friends & family discount for the hotel.
– paying for the discounted hotel partially with gift cards earned through MyPoints.
– packing enough drinks for the trip down and the trip back. To make it more of a treat, I stopped by a local grocery outlet and picked up some drinks that are outside of our standard fare. That is, not tap water – so it will be a treat even though it will come from the back seat.

I hope to find some food locally to pack for the trip home.

I do feel like we lucked out to be traveling while gas prices are low, and I’ll be using the Gas Buddy app to try and find the most reasonable gasoline as we go along.

Now if I can just find a cheap way to pay for college itself!!


Christine January 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

1) Yes! I finally got my turn with a library copy of Yes Please and binge-read it to completion. I get sucked in to those quick reads!
2) After spending a few frustrating weeks trying to thrift a pair jeans for my current post-baby size, I found some pre-baby pants I had put away after the first trimester – a couple of pairs fit. (In my defense, I probably forgot about them because we have moved since I packed them away… just hadn’t unpacked that bin).
3)I have made a few really meals this week – both slow cooker and last minute “what can I find/make up” recipes. Reflecting on how much less we get take out, in part because our cooking has improved. My home cooking is approaching restaurant quality… at least the kind of restaurants we eat at haha.
4) Cashed in a coffee punch card that was filled buying ground coffee as favours for our wedding… IN 2007!!!!….. that card kept following me around and popping up in weird places, but I finally turned it in for a pound of beans.
5) On the coffee theme, when I registered a Starbucks gift card I saw that I had already created an account at some point and had $5 on a long gone card. Transferred that balance to the new card 🙂


Isabelle January 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

1. I had to buy a Ninja Turtles gift for a birthday party. Checked Toys R Us first (online) and found every NT to be expensive for nothing. So I thought of checking on Kijjiji and, would you know, there was a brand new NT shaving set for 7$ (usually 20$ plus taxes in stores). Bought it. Went to the birthday today, and the boy liked it. And since it was a wave pool party, the mom paid for all adults and kids (+pizza lunch), so I got to enjoy a nice time with my daughter free of charge except for the gift.
2. Going to a free yoga class tomorrow (open door). And it’s just a 10 minutes walk from home.
3. I am no good at paying attention to the library return dates and end up paying late fees there all the time (why just there, so wird….). But so far this year i’ve been really good at keeping track. I have books due on monday, will renew them right now.
4. Went to work every day last week. I did not feel like it (fatigue, low motivation) but if I don’t go I dont’t get paid (duh!!), so I kept thinking about this (the money)…
5. On thursdays nights the museums are free, so we packed a lunch and took the kids to the kids museum. And we went to the pool yesterday, with our city pass (47$ annually for the 4 of us).
And, last, I started calories counting, so i eat (way) less, so it’s less grocery!

Have a great frugal day!


cathy January 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Katy, thanks for posting even though you feel so rotten. Hope you’re feeling better today.

My five are:
1) FINALLY set up an appointment at the consignment shop to drop off a few items. I only had 6 items and they accepted 4. Hoping to pick up a few dollars.
2) I’m giving Marie Kondo’s “tidying” order a shot. First clothes, then books. Now I’ve got a box full of books to take to a couple of second-hand bookstores–ideally for cash, though credit would be OK too.
3) I always comparison shop when it comes to groceries. (Remember Amy Daczyzn’s Tightwad price book?) I go through a lot of olive oil, and found that it’s $1 cheaper a bottle at Trader Joe’s than anywhere else I shop.
4) Made roast chicken for dinner which provides 3-4 meals: chicken dinner; chicken to add in to other meals (pasta, quesadillas) especially for one of my kids; then I make chicken broth with the carcass–take some out for chicken noodle soup and the rest for chicken & black bean chili. I’ll also freeze some of the chili and some of the soup for later meals.
5) Signed up for auto-renewal on library books which has saved me from overdue books several times. I finally had 3 that couldn’t be renewed any more. When I returned them, I checked out a HUGE bagful I had requested that were waiting on the hold shelf. LOVE the library!


NMPatricia January 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

Hoping you are feeling better. There is just something so twisted in me that I want to put a grammatical error in this post. But my wishes for you are sincere.


Jill January 25, 2015 at 6:59 pm

James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser – mmmm, in the book and in the show! My all time favorite book series!


Amanda January 26, 2015 at 5:50 am

My library also has Overdrive and I love it for my commute. Unfortunately they only have a fraction of audible’s selections, and I have issues every time I load a book on my iPhone. But it is better than books on cd.


Carla January 26, 2015 at 6:13 am

One thing for me: I finally figured out how to use Overdrive! and now have been reading books on my tablet, my husband on the laptop and we are giddy with excitement. Our library also has free music on freegal and free magazines on zinio, which we will explore next and so excited too. Our current arrangement means we can’t get to the library physically but the ebooks has changed things for us, and we can now reduce our book budget again. yey!


Katy January 26, 2015 at 9:46 am



JD January 26, 2015 at 6:18 am

1. bringing my usual lunch to work — leftovers. It’s a cool day, and that bowl of stew will be just right!
2. Wearing to work today only clothes I’ve had for five years or longer, or came from consignment. The exception is the shoes — five bucks on the clearance rack for good leather shoes, which were bought three years ago rather than at least five.
3. Hearing someone mention a new store in the mall and realizing I’ve been in a mall once in three years.
4. Used my $10.00 coupon received for accumulating points with each purchase at the wild bird food store. Their seed is not bug infested, and has no filler seed that the birds refuse to eat, all which makes the “cheap” seed actually more expensive. Watching and feeding birds is fairly cheap entertainment if you don’t fall for buying the muy expensive special feeding system that the stores push. We grow our own hot peppers to deter the squirrels and save cash there, too.
5. Hanging my whites in the sun today to help keep them white.
Cindy’s comment that she was tired of waiting on the birth: I hope it’s happened by now! Cindy, when I had my first, we didn’t get sonograms unless something was wrong (this was 32 years ago), so I was told she was due in mid-July. Her birthday is August 27th! That was one long, hot summer.


Jill January 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

I did some laundry yesterday and hung it on the line to dry since the weather was so nice. I also made a giant crockpot full of pinto bean with kielbasa, which we had for dinner last night, and which I will take for lunch all week. There are enough beans that we will be able to mush some up tonight for use in the quesadillas that I am planning to make.

Yesterday, I noticed that my husband had put a practically new cat bed in the garbage. It had belonged to one of our kitties that passed away a few years ago. He had found it in the attic, where I suspect we had hidden it, after little Alli left us. I pulled it out of the trash, washed it on the sanitary cycle in our washer, and hung it on the line to dry in the fresh air and sunshine. I noticed when I hung it up that it had a place where the seams had come apart. I thought I would mend it and we could at least donate to the animal shelter, but before I had even finished mending it, our kitty Bridget and hopped into it and fell asleep. I had to be careful to not stick her as a stitched around her! She and Alli were close – I wonder if she remembers that this was his little bed? Anyway, now it’s hers, and I love seeing her use it – Alli would have liked that – so OF COURSE we are keeping it! And told my husband with a smile, pointing to sleeping content kitty, “And you were going to just throw it away!”
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