Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 25, 2017 · 71 comments

  1. My family just spent three days in Ashland, Oregon getting our son’s apartment set up, and although we dined out for every meal, we kept our budget in check. For example, our son was not up for waking early enough to breakfast at the magnificent Morning Glory Cafe. But instead of ordering an extra to-go entree, my husband and I picked muffins with our meals and brought them to the motel for Sir Sleepums-McGee. We could have packed in our own food or bought groceries to bring down expenditures, but enjoying local restaurants is part of how we enjoy traveling.

  2. I sold a vintage rotary phone through Facebook Marketplace, and the set of Garnet Hill curtains that I picked up at the Goodwill Outlet are enjoying a satisfying bidding war that currently have them up to $163.49! The auction doesn’t end until Wednesday, so that’s pretty exciting. Especially since I paid maybe three bucks for them.

  3. My husband and I stopped at a chiropractor’s going out of business sale while in Ashland and scored a free office chair for our son. It needed a good cleaning, but that was but the work of a few minutes.

  4. I set up a free 30-day trial subscription to so we could listen to the audiobook of Game of Thrones while driving the 12 hours to my son’s school and back. I could have put it on hold through my library, but it would have taken forever to come in. I’ve programmed a reminder into my calendar to remind me to cancel before I have to pay.

  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 }

nancy from mass September 25, 2017 at 7:59 am

not so frugal week, but, oh well.

1. made 5, 150+ round trips to NH for my mom who was in the hospital and then moved back to the nursing home. She had a seizure (odd) then a small stroke. She’s doing great and is frustrated that she can’t just get up. she’s alarmed until they are positive she’s no longer a fall risk. She’ll be 90 in january. Had some very inexpensive, tasty and filling meals from the hospital. The most i spent on a meal was $6 for lunch and it kept me filled until the next morning. (cod, mashed potatoes, green beans and a chocolate milk) it was so good.
2. spent the afternoon at my cousins house yesterday. her son got married this summer in a park with 6 people attending (the bride is from The Netherlands) and my cousin had a “come and meet the bride” gathering. So fun! She’s a beautiful person. Got to see another cousin and his kids, aunts and uncles and some other family members.
3. took advantage of coupons and freebies from a local grocery store. free hot sauce? Hell, yes!
4. not frugal: purchased new storm doors to replace our old, not nice looking or repairable units. will also have them installed. only good thing is that since our front door is an odd size, i received 15% discount for the special order (the price before the discount was only $20 more than the regular size…)
5. Hung a load of laundry on the line yesterday before heading to my cousins. a full load of clothes that are currently emitting comforting odors in our closets and drawers. towels will go on the line tomorrow while i work from home.


susanna d September 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

#1 – Sorry to hear about your mom’s health issues but I’m glad to hear she’s doing well now. You did great on keeping the meal expenses down while you were there – I remember blowing the food budget a number of times when I’d have to take trips out of town when my mom was ill.


kathy September 25, 2017 at 8:18 am

1. Stayed within budget during college roommate’s visit. We saw Hamilton (I bought tickets at face value when they were released).
2. Listed multiple items on FB, amazon and ebay
3. Purchased groupon for haircut/color saving at least $75
4. Packed bottles of water in smaller cooler to have while on the road.
5. Took advantage of snacks at Bible study so I didn’t stop on way home for take out.


Karen September 25, 2017 at 8:21 am

1. Redeemed my fuel points today to fill up my tank for $1.72 a gallon. I reminded my kids of how old I am by telling them I remember when I could fill half my gas tank for 5 bucks when I was a teenager. “But, Mom, not as many people were driving cars back then.” Yep, most of us rode dinosaurs.

2. We get pizza once a week, it’s a family tradition, and always use the online deals. We also earn “points” towards a free pizza, so this week we got extra pizza for lunches two days in a row.

3. Not very frugal, but we had a plumbing emergency this weekend–two toilets on the upper floor in our rental share a weird junction, and so when one gets clogged, apparently they both get clogged. The frugal part is, my husband first exhausted every avenue of home remedies–plunging, using a toilet snake, even taking one toilet off to really get down there–before we decided to call a plumber. We found a local guy who does a great job, doesn’t charge “emergency” rates on a weekend, because he’s open every weekend, and he came out promptly. I am always amused at how the professionals come in to our house for a repair, obviously expecting it to be an easy fix (because most people call when a rubber ducky gets stuck, or don’t have a toilet snake) but leave humbled. Pretty sure this guy first thought it was going to be an easy fix, but after an hour, and using his engine-driven snake, he said, “I’m gonna have to get the camera and a blade for the end of this thing.” There was mineral buildup, I guess, and he found a rag down there! Not from us! The previous tenants did that, also they put HAIR down the toilet. Gross. But it was a relatively painless fix, all told–no toilets needed replacing after all, and it was lovely to get the bathrooms back up and running. When you have six people and 2/3 of your toilets are out of commission, things get serious. And then you really appreciate indoor plumbing.

4. I started running again, in the mornings, and it’s really nice. I mean it hurts in several ways–getting out of bed early, and moving my body before it’s completely awake–but it starts my day off pretty well. Hoping to make it a habit. And since I run close to home, I’m saving on a gym, and it’s really good for my brain chemistry. Free therapy.

5. I didn’t get a pedicure, manicure or a salon blow-out.


Karen September 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

Forgot: we used the searing outside heat this weekend to dry all the towels and things we had to wash after the plumbing incident. Saved on electricity and didn’t add heat to our home by using the dryer.


ouvickie September 26, 2017 at 6:33 am

#1 – I remember those $5 fill-ups, too. I LOVE the dinosaur comment, that’s classic!! LOL!
#3 – SO appreciate my indoor plumbing and the luxury of having two bathrooms. The one thing I hope I never have to do without is indoor plumbing!


susanna d September 25, 2017 at 8:23 am

Five frugal things, out of town visitors edition. We had a different set up friends come up and stay with us for a few days last week. The fun alone would be worth an added cost, but several things keep it frugal/frugal-er:

1. Like the previous visiting friends, these friends gifted us with produce from their garden (tomatoes and cucumbers) and homemade jams from their fruit trees/bushes (peach, raspberry, and the yummiest cherry jelly ever!)
2. These friends also brought up a number of bags of snack foods, and didn’t want to take what wasn’t eaten back home with them – even the unopened bags. We did provide the homemade salsa for the tortilla chips (the salsa was made mostly from free veggies we received from a different set of friends who stayed with us) and we gave them a couple of jars of salsa to take home. The unopened snacks are already packed away for our annual water park trip with our son and his family next month.
3. The friends brought up steaks for dinner, since they’d heard brags about my husband’s grilling skills (he really IS great at grilling, and they totally agree now). I already had baby potatoes, onions, previously frozen loss leader mushrooms, and salad greens to complete the basically free steak dinner.
4. Had enough leftovers from the burgers/hot dog cookout we had for lunch on the day they left to feed me and my husband for the next three days. We love leftovers!
5. After a pretty much non-existent summer (wet and cold most of the time) summer finally put in an appearance this month. The 80+ degree sunny weather was perfect for hikes, sitting out on the pier, having all meals in the screen room (unfortunately mosquitoes were very existent this summer), floating around on the pontoon boat, wildlife watching, and star gazing. With the exception of a bit of gasoline for the boat, no money was spent on entertainment. And our friends raved about everything we did, took lots of pictures, etc. I think it’s pretty safe to say everyone had a very good couple of days.


Teresa September 25, 2017 at 9:11 am

Spent some money / saved some money to do good in the community. A neighbor and I co-hosted an “Around the Table” get-together on Saturday. We had about 15 guests (ready for 30!) and saved $ by using what was available and doing things ourselves.

1. Co-host/Friend owned and brought chairs, tables and table cloths — she even had a kids table, so nothing was spent on rentals. We set up in my front yard. She is younger, stronger and has more energy than me, and was a huge help!

2. Served a baked potato bar which was inexpensive and everyone loved it. Co-host pre-made toppings for the potatoes and brought it all to my place in crock pots. One neighbor brought a delicious macaroni salad. I baked the potatoes and provided butter, sour cream, cheese, green onions, etc. We served bottled water (it was easier). A guest brought wine. Desserts were home-made cakes, brownies and coffee. Yum!

3. Used jars and tea-lights that I already had for table lighting. The candle-lighted tables made the gathering seem quite intimate once it got dark. Used event postcards and hand-made placards for table decoration.

4. At risk of sounding crazy, I will share that for the last 5+ years (long story) I have been saving the plastic containers that food comes in… anything with a lid, from peanut butter jars to yogurt containers. We used most of those containers to pack up the leftovers for our guests to take food home in! Yay for NCA and creative re-use!

5. Big win: A local reporter surprised us by attending our get-together. He included details of the event in a feature article, giving “free press” to our beautiful city, its residents and to the event sponsors: WeLoveLB, The Long Beach Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation. <3 Thank you for the free publicity!

6. Oops… one more! Best of all, guests helped put the furniture away and clean up. I was floored by their kindness… what an amazing gift!


Sophie September 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

What is Around the table event? Have never heard of it before.


Teresa September 26, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Hi Sophie — Around the Table was a citywide event intended to bring people together to talk about our city. In the case of Long Beach, California, our conversation revolved around two questions: 1. What do you love about our Long Beach, and 2. How we can make our city even better. See the Knight Foundation’s FB link below. Google it for more info. In some cities it is called At the Table or On the Table. There were no rules for what kind of gathering we should have, so we chose a friendly get-together. On the same day in other parts of the city, people had breakfasts, wine and cheese, coffee and donuts, etc. Some were set up as a more serious meeting. Ours was set up to feel casual. I was happy when the reporter said that he came away with a completely new perspective, as he was skeptical of the organizers motives when he came to my door. He left full of food, happy and with the “new perspective” that people really like our city the way it is. Yay!


Jennifer September 26, 2017 at 10:17 am

Love the idea of a potato bar. I may use that for my next family get together.


Teresa September 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm

It worked out great! Not too much work, either!


Tricia September 25, 2017 at 9:15 am

I was sneaky. My hubby was in a local event exhibiting his awesome creations. It cost $8 to get in for non-makers. I didn’t pay each time because I went in with him (of course). So we didn’t have to wait in long lines and pay way too much money for alcohol, we snuck ours in. shhhh It saved me from drinking too much, and from spending too much (we did buy our first ones on the first day there).


Debra September 25, 2017 at 9:17 am

1. My daughter and I bought rugs at Salvation Army. We are not using them yet, as we haven’t found a cheap carpet shampooer to buy, or a friend with one to borrow.
2. Sold a few things on Ebay, some from the thrift store, some I had.
3. Got bread, bagels and donuts free from my favorite thrift store.
4. Picked up two shifts, one for bonus and night differential, and one for bonus, night differential and weekend differential.
5. Worked even though I had a sprained wrist I got at work. We are the only area of the hospital that allows staff to work on light duty, which I’m grateful for. But we are also the area of the hospital that sustains the most injuries.


Jennifer September 26, 2017 at 10:22 am

1. Hey Debra, my friend that sells used rugs for extra money, says that the “best” way to wash one really well is to put it in the bed of a truck and take it to a car wash. The car wash where you have to get out and wash it yourself, of course. The high pressure spray gets rid of everything. I haven’t tried it because I have a carpet cleaner but her rugs always look brand new.


Liz B. September 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Jennifer, I think I’ve heard that (or read that) somewhere before, but have never tried it….good to know it’s tried and true. I recently saw a small rug at a thrift store that I’d like for my entryway….:-)


Debra September 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Awesome idea! Thanks!


Jenny October 1, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Jennifer, can you ask your friend about any hints for during the rugs after the car wash? Thx


Jenny October 1, 2017 at 8:59 pm

*drying, not during!

Betsy September 25, 2017 at 9:35 am

1. Sold two lots of vintage 1950’s baby clothes on instagram for $25 each. I still have two totes of vintage baby clothes to sell. I’ve already recouped my initial investment and made a small profit.
2. Bought two 5lb bags of flour that were on sale for $0.89 at my local grocery store because they are due to expire the end of September. I brought them home and stuck them in a freezer bag and put them in the fridge. I’m tempted to go back and buy the 4 other 5lb bags too! But I have a tiny fidge and freezer and don’t know if I want to use the room for flour bags for holiday baking and it’s to hot to bake bread right now!
3. Renewed my library card for another year and picked up a copy of “Food Freedom Forever” by Melissa Hartwig. Just left a stressful job last month and for September have been working on losing the stress weight from that dumb job. Slow but steady wins the race!
4. All my cats eat perscription diet cat food from the vets. This month they included a $15 mail in rebate. So I sent in the rebate and will be awaiting my $15.
5. Used my grocery gas points to fill up the tank. A full tank of gas lasts for a long time now that I don’t have to drive to that dumb job!


Jill A September 25, 2017 at 10:12 am

Had a lot of frugal wins which is good because our weekend wasn’t so frugal…

1. Our air conditioner hasn’t been working for the last few weeks. We hired a local company to diagnose the problem. After getting quotes for just the part needed, new condensing unit and A coil or new condensing unit and new furnace. My husband decided to order the part himself. He received a discount and he also installed it himself saving a couple hundred dollars. We’ll wait until the condenser dies and then we’ll replace it all. Hopefully that won’t be for a few years.
2. Called my insurance company and put my daughter’s car in storage since she is away at college and isn’t allowed a car. This will save us hundreds.
3. Went garage sale-ing and bought my daughter a new winter coat with the tags still on it. If she doesn’t like it I’ll sell it on FB site or consignment or ebay. I also bought a Keurig for $5. I picked up a refillable coffee filter instead of using the wasteful kcups. It works great and the coffee is really hot which is a problem with my old one. I’ll keep the old one for when everyones over and I need to make more than one cup. I picked up a couple other vintage items.
4. Friends called and invited us to a show at the local theater. Dixie’s Tupperware Party. They had gotten free tickets. It was hilarious. We didn’t buy any tupperware. Afterwards we had drinks and appetizers instead of a full meal.
5.Went to the discount theater with my husband to see the Kingsmen. We ordered the tickets online so there was an extra dollar charge but it was still only $9 for the both of us. We also got a soda and nacho’s to share for an additional 3.75. Cheap date and the movie was fun.


Melissa October 3, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Jill, I’m in Australia and I went to Dixie’s Tupperware party earlier this year at the suggestion of a friend in America. It was hilarious!!! Glad you enjoyed it!


April September 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

Very good money-saving ideas here. I usually join in, but nothing comes to mind today, as we’ve been spending a lot of money–all due to Irma. We had to pay for 4 nights at a motel because of power loss. (But we did tough out the first two nights at home with no power, but the South Georgia heat soon became too much to tolerate.) Now we’re in the process of replacing two freezers and a refrigerator full of lost food. Sigh…that’s not an inexpensive task either. But in the end, gratitude for a standing home and the health of myself and my family prevails. We considerate ourselves very fortunate.


April September 25, 2017 at 10:38 am



Tracy September 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Very sorry April, that really sucks, glad you and your family are okay, thinking about all of those affected lately by hurricanes, earthquakes and fires…


Elizabeth Bishop September 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

April, so glad you & your family are okay and your house is still standing. Stuff can be replaced….people cannot. My family down in Florida (sister, bro in law, nephew, his wife/my niece & their daughter) were also extremely lucky. Hoping the weather remains quiet for awhile.


ouvickie September 26, 2017 at 8:09 am

I’m glad you’re all okay and sorry for the things you lost. This has been a doozy of a hurricane season. My heart goes out to everyone affected.


A. Marie September 25, 2017 at 11:12 am

FFT, Carnivorous Edition. (Vegan/vegetarian folks should feel free to skip to the next comment. No hard feelings.)

(1) DH and I took delivery last week on this year’s beef and pork. As some of you will recall from my comments over the years, we buy 1/4 cow and 1/2 pig from a friend who raises the animals. This year’s cow was a lot bigger than last year’s, so we had five huge cartons of meat to shoehorn into our upright freezer in the basement!

(2) I’m definitely glad we got the malfunctioning control panel on the freezer replaced last month. I did call a repairman, but I watched him do the replacement, and I think I can order the part and do this myself if there is a next time.

(3) I promptly contacted the friends to whom we sell some of this meat at our cost. (Sorry, you’ll have to get rid of that mental image of DH and me gnawing bones and tossing them on the floor like King Henry VIII all the time. We serve as a distribution center for several folks who appreciate the good quality and incredibly low prices.) Two of them have collected over 60 pounds of meat already. The friend who sells us the meat hasn’t yet given us a bill, but I’ll bill the other friends as soon as I get my tab. Trust abounds here.

(4) And for those of you who may worry about imbalance in our diets, don’t worry: Vegetables also abound here. The heat wave in the Northeast U.S. is ripening our remaining tomatoes, cukes, and peppers at a great rate, and we’re eating these and giving them away to friends and neighbors as fast as I can pick them.

(5) Finally, a small frugal fail: My aging body is rebelling against the Our Lady of the Perpetual Watering Can routine that the heat wave calls for. I may either have to start watering with the hose (which I prefer not to do, since watering from above helps spread the plant diseases I already have too many of) or start coaching DH in the watering (not easy with his current cognitive challenges).


susanna d September 25, 2017 at 11:55 am

#1 – We also buy 1/4 cow from a local small grass farm. The quality and taste are incredible, the cost per pound buying this way is so much less than the cost per pound of buying individual packages of grass fed beef, and since it’s the same cost per pound whether it’s steak or hamburger – well, we really do enjoy those super-duper cheap steaks! Our quarter was larger this year than in previous years, too. Not sure why, but I won’t have to order more beef for a long time!


ouvickie September 25, 2017 at 11:37 am

1) I had to order a replacement bracelet for my Fitbit, since the extra one didn’t have the metal catch on it. I paid about $9 for a pk of three on my Amazon account.
2) I picked up another audiobook I had on hold at the Library. Happy Camper here!
3) I stayed home all weekend. I just had no energy to go anywhere. I got a few things accomplished at home and didn’t spend any money on gas.
4) We’re eating out of what we have in the cupboard and freezer. Not gourmet food, but it’s filling and keeps me from making a run to the grocers before payday on Friday.
5) I’m headed out to donate blood a the local blood bank. It’s bedlam time for College Football, so I’ll get my annual Team t-shirt as a gift for donating.


Katy Hope September 25, 2017 at 11:45 am

1. Date night with the hubs on Friday Night. My Mother-in-Law babysat. We were going to go out to dinner before a parent cocktail party for our school, but decided instead to grab a bottle of wine from the cabinet and go watch the sunset, then headed out to the party. Total cost of date night: $10 for the wine. For my favorite San Francisco Sunset spots, check out:

2. Met up with some friends for a Sunday playdate at the playground. Brought bagels for all of us to have for lunch. Total cost = $15 for lunch for 8 people

3. San Francisco Public Library had their big book sale this weekend. Scored some great kids books for $1 each to freshen up our rotation.

4. Went on a new hike with a friend. Great to discover some new views and have a free morning with good company. For my favorite SF hikes, check out:

5. Did movie night at home with DVDs from the library and pop-secret in the microwave. Great cheap family movie night.


Anne V. September 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

1) I’m continuing to look around the house for items we no longer use or need to sell on eBay. I recently sold a North Face down jacket that my husband had added to our donate pile. I packed it up in a recycled box scrounged from a family member. The North Face outwear seems to sell really well on Ebay, from my past experience. Of course, the most frugal course would have been for my husband never to have purchased this extra jacket in the first place. I have been repeatedly guilty of this myself in the past.

2) Brought my car in for a free wash offered by the dealer.

3) Looking for ways to bring our electricity costs down (on our bill we are informed monthly that our usage exceeds our neighbors’ usage). Being more careful with lights, running the A/C only when absolutely necessary, and unplugging certain larger items when not in use.

4) Made a Friday night dinner of cheese pizza and a green salad from Aldi. I had been experimenting with Aldi to try to lower my food bill. I’m not sure Aldi is for me. Both times I left with a fair amount of convenience and irresistible snack foods (huge German chocolate bars! Wine!) that I would not normally buy. Some of the items were not great, in my opinion (sliced American cheese, organic coffee beans) and I may to back and ask for a refund. I think I may be able to do better by shopping more prudently at my local large chain grocery store.

5) Inexpensive “entertainment”: Completely enthralled (horrified?) with the new Ken Burns series on PBS, but really disappointed that my teenagers have no interest in watching it with me.


Marcia September 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm

A lot of people are NOT watching it. My DD and SIL have taped it but not watched it yet. It is painful to watch much of the time, but I think it’s time for us at least to get some perspective on it. I kind of think I will have to watch more than once myself We lived thought it, husband was in the Air Force at the time, he served during the war but he went to Laos, not Viet Nam. He was very lucky. My SIL was in the military too but not at that time.


Anne L. September 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm

It is incredibly painful to watch. And there is so much background historical information I never knew.


Mary Beth Danielson September 26, 2017 at 5:02 am

My husband and I (babyboomers) are also “enthralled and horrified”. So many memories coming back from the year my brother was there; I wrote a post for my website about how my frugal skills started that year – although it was only this past week I realized that.

… off to bake more bread, one of the things I learned that year.


ouvickie September 26, 2017 at 8:18 am

Same here, it’s really bringing back some sad memories – we’re babyboomers too. Too many young lives lost. The politics behind it still make me angry. I think it’s a good thing for everyone to watch though and be reminded and informed about the cost of war in people’s lives.


Elizabeth Bishop September 26, 2017 at 2:23 pm

I ‘m definitely interested in watching it – I was born near the end of the baby boom (I think?), so it was going on when I was a kid. I know a tiny bit about the Vietnam War, but not nearly enough.


Mand01 September 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

1. Still harvesting delicious spring vegetables from my garden.
2. It must be Spring in Australia, because fruit and vegetables are suddenly at ridiculously low prices. We are snacking on blueberries and strawberries like kings, and I got a giant pumpkin for under $4. I ate two kiwis yesterday the size of my hand.
3. I planted tomatoes, capsicums, eggplant and basil. I’m looking forward to tomato season around here and all the pesto we can eat.
4. I had a $20 coupon from the supermarket so my groceries came to a much lower price, plus I came in just as they were marking down all the sourdough. So I have a freezer full of sourdough bread for basically free. My husband was well chuffed.
5. I’m about to have five days of paid leave and I can’t wait. I’m one of those crazy people that will spend it gardening and doing home maintenance and loving it. My mum suggested I have a rest but how boring that would be. Yawn.


Elizabeth Bishop September 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Capsicums?? = peppers?

And I do the same thing…I take paid time off work to do projects around the house, garden, etc. I love being able to sleep in, work without rushing, and actually *finish* whatever project I’m working on. Not everyone’s idea of a good time, but I’m a homebody.


Mand01 September 27, 2017 at 2:19 am

Yes – capsicums = peppers.


Jennifer September 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Well my son signed up for a free trial of Audible with my dh’s credit card and no one told me. So we had to pay the 1st months fee before I saw it on the statement and cancelled it. Ugh!

1. Biked around town with the kids yesterday – which allowed us to run errands and have some fun at the park and library. 5 kids size ice creams at Cold Stone for $11 on a 90 degree wasn’t a bad way to break up all the biking either.
2. Found bananas for $0.28 a lb!
3. Made homemade french bread – ate 1 froze 1 and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this weekend. Kids just finished the muffins this morning.
4. Made a double batch of homemade laundry detergent.
5. Had a $50 Walmart gift card. I made a specific list and walked out with the groceries I needed to fill in for this week’s menu for only $2.47 out of pocket. Plus stocked up on OJ concentrate – I have a feeling prices will skyrocket after the hurricane in FL.


Marcia September 25, 2017 at 2:29 pm

I had a fairly frugal week:
1. Every meal was eaten at home.
2. I went to Sam’s Club on Friday and spent about $100 stocking up on the particular items I especially save on there. It’s a 30 mile trip each way so I only go once every two or three months. Bought 25# bread flour and 25# all purpose flour for my baking and bread making. I am on a low salt, low fat diet for heart disease so I try not to buy store baked goods or bread or pizza dough. Occasionally I succumb to a bargain offering but not too often.
3. I needed ground beef and 90% lean was $2.99 a lb–my regular store charges over $5 per lb for it right now. I bought about 7#, and I freeze it in 12 oz packages for the two of us, which usually leaves enough left over from whatever I made from it to serve at least one lunch serving. That’s two dinners and one lunch for $2.24 worth of ground beef. Sometimes the “lunch serving” becomes part of a smorgasbord dinner–a collection of leftovers!
4. Baby aspirin is also inexpensive there and we both take one a day for preventive purposes–a year’s worth for both of us costs about $4. Other over the counter medications are also cheap. The only thing we needed this time was denture cleaner.
5. I also stocked up on fish there–it is not cheap, but it is wild caught and not processed in foreign countries whose processing I do not trust. I got 3 meals worth of salmon in spicy sauce for $14 but I also got 2.5 pounds of haddock for about $10. I trust the quality of their fish much more than that of my grocery store–where equivalent quality would be much more expensive, if available at all.
We went no where else during the week, preferring to stay home and watch Ken Burns movie about Viet Nam and the war there. So no additional spending except for paying the normal bills as they came in for the month.


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life September 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Just out of curiosity, what price did you get for that rotary phone? I’m debating whether we should list the one we came across for sale or if it’s better as a toy for a little while.

We picked up some supplies for our emergency prep closet on sale at Costco, and I paid several bills in full so that we wouldn’t get dinged by a late fee in the chaos of moving.


Katy September 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

$20, which was fine with me since I got it at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet.


Carol September 25, 2017 at 3:28 pm

1. I mended a hole in the seam of the arm of my blazer, right when I discovered it, rather than sticking it in a mending basket for 18 months. Feel very smart. 🙂

2. I found out online that you can get scuff marks off shoes with nail polish remover. Did that and also ran through the wash my nude pair of ballet flats. They get a lot of wear, and now they look like new. Don’t have to replace them anytime soon.

3. Used the same nail polish remover technique to get scuff marks out of a purse. I like to think it looks expensive, even though it cost me $20. Purses are so damn expensive, and when you buy a cheap one they just look cheap. Maybe not everyone is particular, but I live in an image-conscious city, and it feels good to have a nice bag.

4. My summer sandals have the “leather” (fake leather) peeling away in certain areas. They are brown, and white is peeping through in those spots. I used wet tea bags to dye the white areas. It’s not quite dark enough, but it’s better.

5. I subbed a P.E. class today, and hung out with the assistant at Starbucks during our break. I didn’t buy anything, but I was thankful that he did so we could stay there for an hour. I surreptitiously ate my cheese and granola bar, and read a bit of Under the Tuscan Sun.


Julie September 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

1- took advantage of my free daily bagel from Panera, one of the teens will enjoy it for breakfast.
2- used up some of the incredible amount of kale from our garden and made a bean and kale soup. I assumed it would only be eaten by myself. To my surprise DH and one teen like it so it will go into regular rotation.
3- future me will thank current me for the 16 cups of chopped kale in the freezer. Of course all the people I had been gifting the kale to will be sad as I am learning to love it.
4-used my grocery store points for 50.00 off my groceries, amazing how quickly they add.
5- used my gas card points to buy a card that will save me 10 cents of a litre of fuel. It’s good for 259 L so a savings of 25.00.

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.


auntiali September 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm

My 5 frugal things:
1. got my customer loyalty card from Honda today. It’s loaded with $422 on it. It’s the result from letting Honda know I spent $800 on an AC repair that was 1 week out of warrenty.
2. It’s so dang hot out that I’ve been staying home in my AC. Hopefully it will cool off by the weekend.
3. Ds was in town for business and his team leader wouldn’t pay for a hotel. So he stayed here at home. We (son, daughter and me) went to the diner for supper one night and ds paid.
4. Cleaned out the towel/bread drawer and now have a new supply of rags.
5. Will return some of the food that son requested because we won’t eat it.


MommaL September 26, 2017 at 4:22 am

1. Relocated a tree and staked it using old wooden flagpoles.
2. Using chopsticks to keep the Rubbermaid shed closed. Easier than a padlock and no rust.
3. Organized all of our gift bags and tissue paper, put into two bags where its easy to find.
4. Found a new with tags brand name skirt in the free pile at work. Left two new shirts gifted from my SIL that don’t fit.
5. Reusing old stationary from my old job as shopping lists at home.


Bee September 26, 2017 at 4:35 am

My FFT are rather boring this week …..
1) After reading the ingredients in commercial beef stock, I decided to make my own this weekend. I was shocked to find that sugar or corn syrup was an ingredient in nearly every brand. I discovered that fresh stock is easy to make and absolutely delicious. I saved the carrots leftover from cooking for my dog — no waste, happy pup!

2) I sold two additional items on eBay. One of these had been sitting unused in my kitchen cabinet for years.

3) I worked my little side hustle yesterday. I carpooled and brought my own water. Lunch was supplied. Pure profit!

4) DH and I spent a total of $13 this weekend on entertainment. We went to a local auction where I bought two items for resale. We visited an oceanfront state park with the dog who loves to swim. Unfortunately, Maria was offshore and the ocean was too rough. DH watched football and I read library books.

5) I did some grocery shopping this weekend. I saved $40 using digital coupons and BOGO deals. I also bought $100 of gas gift cards for $80 using a store coupon. I love saving 20% on gas.


Jen September 26, 2017 at 5:12 am

1) Have been eating out of the freezer and pantry to try and make some room for the inevitable overabundance of holiday food, which has also helped lower the grocery bill this month.

2) Have lost 23 lbs since May, which is great because now many of my old clothes fit again! It’s like a whole new wardrobe for free!

3) Upped my 401K contributions to 25% of my income, and maxed out our HSA contributions. We currently have a 46% savings rate overall each month. Sometimes the most frugal thing you can do is plan smart for your future!

4) Had signed up for some free Harley Davidson t-shirts months ago, and they just arrived in the mail. Free stocking stuffers for the hubby!

5) Cleaned up the office a few weeks ago and found several books we didn’t want/need anymore. Took a chance on ebay, and have already sold over $50 worth. Money went straight to savings.


Jennifer September 26, 2017 at 10:32 am

2. Jen, if you don’t mind, how did you lose those extra pounds? I’m looking for ideas and motivation.


Jen September 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

I wish it was something fancy, but it was literally all done by tracking my calories. We eat at home 99% of the time, so we cook healthy food, I was just eating the same sized portions as my husband. Once I actually tracked my calorie intake, the pounds started to drop off. I used an app called LoseIt, which is free, of course, and it was really helpful. (I was eating 2,000+ a day (yikes!) but dropped it down to around 1,600, which is more than adequate for my height/size).

That being said, I’d like to get down to my pre-kid weight, which means I have another 20 lbs to go. I’m going to have to start working in exercise to meet that goal, because watching my calories alone isn’t enough anymore.


Mand01 September 27, 2017 at 1:44 pm

I second this. I lost about thirty kilograms (60? pounds) by counting calories. I have maintained it for six years. If I start to put weight back on I reduce my calories. I think it’s the most effective way to lose weight and maintain weight.


WilliamB September 26, 2017 at 5:35 am

1. Brooks send me a free pair of running shoes, to replace a pair that developed holes in the toes.

2. Gritting out the last few meals from cleaning out the freezer, even though going out to eat seems like a lovely alternative.

3. Got $16 skin ointment, recommended by my dermatologist for a condition, for $4 by combining CVS Extra Care Bucks (from purchasing things I needed, also on sale + coupon) and a 50% off coupon from a register receipt.

4. Cut philodendron & spider plant babies for a couple of co-workers; put the cuttings in handsome glass bottles from the recycling bin. (Frugal for them, pleasant for me.)

5. My plants at home — potho, philodendron, spider plants jade plants – were all free, from gifted clippings and planted in scrounged or Goodwill planters, sitting on Goodwill plants stands (except for one stand). These are good plants for those, such as myself, who have black thumbs.

Attempted Frugal:
– Did a bunch of researching to determine why my washing machine isn’t working (it starts, then stops quickly). Didn’t find anything, will have to call a repairman.
– Mitigation: my neighbor is letting me use her machine in the interim.


Bee September 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm

My Brooks shoes also did this. It didn’t occur to me to contact them. Don’t you love a company that stands behind its product?


Roberta September 26, 2017 at 6:07 am

1. Thanks to Katy, I saved several items of clothing by soaking them in the dollar store brand oxygen bleach. I even got bloodstains out of one item! More clothes from the bins will be soaked today, hopefully I can sell them as a result.
2. I made enchiladas, with homemade enchilada sauce, for dinner last night. I made them before I went down to the bins, then had my kids put them in the oven on my way home, so I wasn’t tempted to go out.
3. My husband picked up the new gasket for our refrigerator freezer door. I will put it out in the sun today, and we will have a project tonight, instead of calling someone to fix the gasket. This should reduce out electrical usage as well.
4. Mailed off an ebay sale in a Frankenstein box I constructed.
5. In order to bring home my purchases from the bins without their (cheap and tearing) plastic bag, I picked up a duvet cover to use as a bag. I just checked ebay, and there is a market for duvet covers like that, so I will be posting the duvet cover to ebay.


KJD509 September 26, 2017 at 6:25 am

FFT, rough back-to-school weekend edition:

1) Middle daughter packed and organized her off-to-college wardrobe and supplies incredibly frugally, using primarily items saved from older sibs or trash-picked at their colleges in years past. But when we arrived at her gigantic dorm, there was no parking, Instead, long lines of students with “Helper” tshirts unloaded the cars, marked the items, and sent them up the elevators to the right floor while parents and family members were shunted first to far-away parking lots and then to the stairs. Only about half of her stuff ever arrived at her room. We carried anything valuable, but she is mad and frustrated to be missing so many things. It’s likely they’ll show up eventually, but what a rough start to a new school!
2) Her roommates both fall into the category of needing additional help for one reason or another, so they were allowed to move in more than a week ago. They left her only a closet – no floor space, no counter space, “her” desk shoved inaccessibly into a corner. We were able to make a few adjustments but also needed to provide stacking and hanging storage, which we hadn’t expected. $200 at Target, ugh, in spite of her careful packing and my months-long planning. The rude roommates have precisely matching color-coordinated items, and she chose neon-bright, non-matching (but on sale) storage stuff for the items that would show. I suspect this was intentional, and I can’t blame her one bit.
3) Yeah, that’s it. Everything was 3x as expensive as we’d hoped, best laid plans went astray right and left, and to add insult to injury, I received a “low balance” alert on my primary bank account this morning. Thank goodness the freezer, pantry, and garden are in good shape because we’re going to hunker down spend nothing for a week or so. Maybe even longer.

Oh, except that if her bag of shoes doesn’t show up, I’ll order a pair of sneakers to send to her. She’s a great thrift shopper, but she needs something other than slippers and rain boots to get her through long enough to shop. Sigh.


ouvickie September 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

I would be irritated too, if I were you and your daughter. I hope she filed a complaint with her Housing Dorm Manager. That stinks and the college should have to reimburse her for lost items, since they were responsible for getting her stuff to her. She should, also, be able to request another dorm room. I work for a University and there are ways to deal with the issues she’s going through. I’m sorry she’s had such a bad experience.


Karen September 27, 2017 at 6:05 am

That is some horrible management at that college. I can remember moving in to college during orientation, and there were helpers, but we were allowed to park near the dorms! As another poster said, a complaint should be filed and compensation should be offered as well. And yes, if she has roommate issues (and it sounds like she will), speaking to the Housing Office is a good idea.


KJD509 September 27, 2017 at 9:27 am

Thanks, Karen and OUVickie – your reaction helps me normalize how mad I am. It really is a terrible way to start! But we’re getting such . . . blase reactions from the university that I was starting to feel a little crazy.

I called the housing office yesterday, and the person I reached (after several transfers from student workers who didn’t help or care) already knew my daughter’s name and story. She had stayed up late, cataloguing everything that was missing (some with pictures!) and sent it in. I was assured they were on it and that daughter would hear from them momentarily.

As of this morning, she still has no response. I’m moving rapidly from irritated to furious, but I’m proud of her that she clearly is taking on the fight. Her first class is right now (I’m assuming she’s attending in slippers), and I’ve encouraged her to march into the Dean’s office afterwards. . . still in slippers. We don’t think stuff is actually stolen, because aside from the textbooks, not much of it was valuable. It was likely just carried to the wrong room and the kids in that room are all assuming it’s their roommates’. But ugh, what a rough way to start her first year.


L September 26, 2017 at 6:51 am

1. Spent yesterday redeeming a bunch of birthday coupons…I got a new top, a tube of mascara, 7 pairs of children’s socks, 2 tubes of body lotion and a giant frozen drink from Starbucks for a grand total of $3.38.

2. I also picked up some free after rebate Greek yogurt from Walmart while I was out and about.

3. I found 2 pennies and a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich/wrap on the ground while I was running errands.

4. I’ll do round 2 of birthday coupons plus redeem some other expiring offers this week to include: a free small pizza, a free crunch taco, a free candy bar, free lip gloss and “spending” $12 worth of register rewards at walgreens, hopefully on items that earn me rebates or more register rewards.

That’s all I’ve got for now!


Jen September 27, 2017 at 10:07 am

I love birthday freebies! I look forward to them all year 🙂


Ava September 26, 2017 at 7:17 am

1. I helped set up for the church yard sale, which gave me the privilege of being an early shopper.
2. We took a car load of items and came away with only 2 bags of stuff. Most of the purchases are ingredients for craft projects that will be resold. I have already used some of them.
3. Not sure if this is a frugal item or a fail: On the second day of the sale, my husband spotted a beautiful old piece of furniture that he wanted. I had looked at it the day before, coveted it and couldn’t imagine where we would put it. He talked me into it. This was not a need BUT: it is beautiful where we placed it. The money went to charity. It was much less than it would have been in an antique store. My daughter is very happy to take the small cabinet that it replaced. It is just what she was looking for.
4. I learned to make french bread from The Frugal Girl’s recipe and it turned out great.
5. Saved .50 a galleon on gas and filled the tank.


Ruby September 26, 2017 at 7:21 am

1. Continuing to do the Frugal Four: brown-bagging lunch and drinks from home, driving with a light foot, hanging laundry to dry, wearing thrifted/secondhand items every day.
The I Got a New Job! expenses, done as frugally as possible:
2. Resisted replacing my old phone for six years, but it reached almost unusable status and I had to get a new one, which was bit spendy but I can actually see stuff on the bigger screen. (Accommodations for elderly eyes!) Hopefully this one will also last six years.
3. Bought a lined rain coat that should be good for all but the most bitterly cold part of winter. There’s no nearby parking at my new job and winters are very rainy, so it was a necessity. Saved 30 percent on the already pretty reasonable price by Googling for a promo code.
4. Will not be able to use up my vacation days from my old job before leaving, so I’ll get a check for the value of those days when I leave. It’s enough to replace my aging laptop with a Chromebook and fully fund our Christmas account.
5. Parking at the new job, while not near the new building, is either free or very low cost, which will save me approximately $500 a year.


Bee September 26, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Congratulations, Ruby. I hope you enjoy your new job.


WilliamB September 27, 2017 at 4:00 am

Congrats, Ruby.

Question for you: does the health insurance at your new job (if it has it) kick in on Day 1? If not, consider “working” for your old company for a bit longer, by using that vacation rather than cashing it out. That is, if your old company allows. If you’re still working for your old company, then your old health insurance (assuming you had it) will continue to cover you.


Ruby September 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Old company doesn’t allow that. I will go back on my husband’s insurance for the two months it will take to qualify for insurance at the new job.


Florencia October 6, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I did taxes last season, through a pro bono tax clinic with the best teacher ever. 🙂 So I know that as long as you don’t go more than three consecutive months without health insurance, regardless of income, you should not get a fine. Might not be your case, but if you can’t afford health insurance in between, at least you don’t get dinged right away when in between jobs.


Cindy in the South I September 26, 2017 at 7:57 am

1. I continue to eat my beans and rice burrito at night. I ran out of tomatoes. I decided that tomato paste, with plenty of spices, would work. It has actually been fine but I almost made it too hot…lol. I top it with salsa, onions, and sour cream, and a bit of homemade ranch dressing.
2. I have been making my “lazy” hash browns breakfast every morning. I chop up a potato, season it well, cook it in a little oil in my cast iron skillet in the over, and when the potatoes are cooked, I turn the oven off and add my egg, and top it with the skillet lid. In a couple of minutes it is done, and not much mess.
3. I continue to bring my carrots and eat them them with peanut butter, for a snack at work. I continue to eat a bologna sandwich at work for lunch. I just leave my break, mayo, bologna and bread in the work fridge. We do not have a problem with folks eating other people’s lunches where I work..thank goodness! I did not go grocery shopping this week. I have plenty of food.
4. I continue to generally keep my air conditioner off even though it is still hitting 90 here during the day.
5. I trimmed my hair and did my nails. I tend to barely snip my hair every week, to keep its shape.


Cindy in the South I September 26, 2017 at 7:58 am

Mercy….the typos…lol


Frugal Fingers September 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm

My life is one big minimalistic, frugal entity. It’s so much fun and opportunity to be creative and play the game. Love this blog and love our frugality mindset here.


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