Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 17, 2015 · 44 comments

Cheap Luna Bars

  1. My breakfast today was a reheated ham and cheese omelette that my son only ate a small part of from yesterday. It was perhaps a bit tougher than usual, but then again so am I.
  2. I’ve been decluttering the house lately, but instead of just donating to charity, I’ve been taking my unwanted stuff to area consignment shops. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s still worth it as the main shop I use is just a couple of blocks from the house. Just yesterday I dropped off a few items and was rewarded with $10.80 in cash. This supports my “crap out of the house money in” philosophy!
  3. My younger son hasn’t been able to find his wallet for a week or so. This includes his school I.D. which doubles as his public transportation pass. He cleaned his room yesterday and came up empty handed, and I almost forked over the $10 it costs to replace it this morning. However, I am a genius-level savant at finding lost items, so he and I have a date to search for it after school today. And if it continues to remain hidden, I think I’ll have him cover the $10 himself. After all, it’s kind of a buzzkill if the majority of my hard earned $10.80 pays his stupid tax!
  4. I’ve held off on buying a new blanket for our spare bedroom, (the old one keeps ripping despite almost weekly mending on my part) as well as a new purse for myself. (It has multiple holes and I keep losing small objects.) My mother has an extra blanket to give us and my friend has the exact brand purse that I like but she never uses, and has offered to simply give it to me. Of course, I’ll figure out something nice I can do in return.
  5. I’ve been putting more of an effort into bulk buying the grocery items that we regularly eat. Not only does this save money in terms of price-per-pound, but it also keeps us from running out to the grocery store for last minute items and inevitably throwing impulse items into the cart. My husband is very much a creature of habit when it comes to his work lunches, and he wants lemon Luna bars, which normally run 89¢ apiece. I recently found them at The Grocery Outlet priced at $3.99 for a box of seven and bought four boxes. This brings the price down to 57¢ apiece and saves us $15.96 for the 28 bars. (Not to mention the untold added expense of all the ice cream and craft beer!) Staying clear of late night grocery store trips is key to my family’s frugality!

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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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom February 17, 2015 at 11:18 am

It’s awesome that you can come up with 5 frugal things so often!

Our weekly shopping is tonight, maybe I’ll find an interesting deal, more free carrots (thanks again for the weighing trick)


Katy February 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

And I didn’t even have to include not buying a Lear Jet!


Betsey February 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

I save receipts. I had just bought lots of baby wipes for my mom; the doctor told her yesterday not to use them any more, so I will return them and get the $8+ back.
I switched pretty much to water which was difficult because I am a diet Coke drinker. I noticed that there is lots of money in my purse now, and the car has been retrained not to stop at every fast food place.
We were talking this morning in my Tuesday group about TV and why we just don’t get rid of it. There’s nothing on that we really like. I’m thinking….
Instead of buying new furniture or accessories, I switched placement of my existing stuff and used some throws I already had. My house looks great for zero money.
Katy, I agree with your thinking on the bus pass.
Stay warm everyone!


Anne February 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

I also agree on having son pay for the new I.D. I have noticed that in my own life and in the lives of my children, few lessons stuck in our minds quite as much as the “painful” ones.


Gina February 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Good for you giving up the Diet Coke & Fast Food. I did that 2 years ago to eat healthier & save $ – it was SO difficult at first – after you get over the first few months it gets easier. I cheated at McD once and it was the most disgusting meal I ever ate (always hit or miss if you’re going to get hot fries…they were cold) And my palate had changed. I could taste the excessive salt and sugar in the food. Bonus – I lost 20 lbs. Regarding TV – I agree nothing worth watching – but think before you get rid of your TV. I kept my TV but ditched cable 3 years ago and have Roku for $8/mo. Satisfies my TV entertainment cravings & I borrow DVDs from the library…have never been happier – wish I did it years before and had the $ back that I spent so wastefully on cable.


Sharon H. February 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

If I were a bus pass, I’d hide in between sofa cushions. Because I can escape there during naps.


dusty February 18, 2015 at 3:48 am

Hey Sharon,

Thanks for making me chuckle this a.m.


A. Marie February 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

(1) Took some unwanted clothes to the local not-quite-consignment secondhand clothing shop (lower prices, but cash on the barrelhead). Made $21.30. Crap out of the closet, money in.

(2) Wish I’d known you needed a blanket. I just donated one from our Great Trashpick to charity (I thought DH and I would use it, but it wasn’t a good fit for our bed).

(3) I heartily endorse the child-rearing philosophy in your #3. To this day, I think my parents’ reaction when I ran up a mildly astronomical long-distance phone bill (in the mid-1970s) chattering to my then-boyfriend was a stroke of genius: They put the bill in an old picture frame and presented it to me for my birthday.

(4-5) I also endorse several comments on yesterday’s FFT re: the frugality of being snowbound: It’s harder to spend money when it’s so hard to get out. Today was the first day I’ve been able to get off my street for quite a while.


Claudia February 18, 2015 at 9:31 am

Love your #3 story…wish I’d thought of it myself for a bad decision of my son’s several years back.


Katy February 18, 2015 at 10:47 am

We didn’t end up finding it yesterday. 🙁


Annie February 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Places I have found my son’s missing wallet: pants pockets, seldom worn jacket pockets, bottom of laundry hamper, backpack, overnight duffle bag, car console, couch cushions, church pew?!, laying in plain sight on his night stand. I should seriously start charging a finder’s fee.


Katy February 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Ooh . . . seldom used jacket may be the way to go. Definitely going to look there. Thanks for all the ideas!


cathy February 18, 2015 at 6:05 pm

I have a knack for finding misplaced items, too. Mostly I try to think like the family member who has misplaced whatever it is. For teenage son, what about: pocket of soccer shorts/sweats; friend’s car; kitchen. I’ve also had a lot of luck taking everything out of wherever it’s usually stored (like a purse or backpack. Things have a habit of slipping down/behind other items. While I’m searching the entire house, they’re where they should be–just slightly out of sight. The other thing that seems to work is to have the person really, really think about the last time they remember seeing or using the item. Good luck!


WilliamB February 17, 2015 at 12:19 pm

1. Eating down the freezer. Mostly because life is otherwise very full and I don’t have the time for Lots Of Cooking like I usually do. But it also has the advantage that I’m buying less.

2. Shoveled my own snow, as usual. I feel a bit badly that I’m squashing the local teenagers’ entrepreneurial spirit … but not badly enough that I change my ways. I also shoveled the walks of several elderly and/or vacationing neighbors’ walks.

3. Keep picking through the $8 flower bouquet I bought a couple weeks ago, taking out the wilted flowers and taking care of the ones that still look good. The bright yellow mums are still going strong.

4. Making choc chip cookies for some people who did me favors. Not only homemade but I used the last bits of several bags of chips (mini, semi-sweet, cinnamon) I bought on sale + coupon over Xmas.

5. Trying to fix a Chinese scroll. I don’t know where to get it fixed and I don’t have the time now to research that. So I’m trying a hopefully innocuous home repair. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll have to do the research.


Lisa February 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

– we’ve been getting by with one car, and it is getting more difficult as lacrosse season approaches. My sons will often need the car at the same time. So far we’ve managed and I consider every week a $$ victory.
– my part time job at a local market gives leftover food to the local pig farmer, including breakfast sandwiches that do not sell. I’ve taken to bringing home these sandwiches that would otherwise go into the slop bucket. They reheat just fine the next day, although i have felt funny about feeding my sons “pig food”. Free food is good, right?
– I picked up a computer at auction for $45 for my younger son. It has a ridiculous amount of storage and is working fine.
– my son figured out how to improve the internet upstairs, by consulting a family friend and borrowing tools. Not only a NC win, but he felt great about it.


Maureen February 18, 2015 at 12:09 am

Not pig food till it gets to the farm! <=


LisaC February 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Got a 12.52 check from ebates.

Negotiated my tv bill down by 25.00 a month, I was already on the cheapest plan but I called telling them to cancel and they dropped the price for 7 months plus a free technician visit.

Compared my new natural gas bill to my former propane bill. It is less than half!

Went to dinner at a friend’s house, and brought brownies made from mixes I’d bought at a BOGO sale with a coupon on top of the sale.

Cleaned out my books, selling over 1/2 of them on ebay, have sold some already.

Thank you for the daily inspiration!


Sharon February 17, 2015 at 1:24 pm

1) Making my own breakfast “Mc” sandwiches. They use gifted Canadian bacon and discount rack English muffins.
2) Combined partial loads of laundry into one (which I need to go fold)
3) Sold a set of 5 books on a fb yard sale page! I am really excited about this!!
4) Used the last of the flatbreads, tomatoes, bits of cheese and tomato sauce to make pizzas for lunches.
5) Sat outside in the sun to warm up instead of kicking up the heat a notch

Not stellar, but daily… And a satisfying day, at that!


Amanda February 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

1) Have been stretching meat by making meals using half the prescribed meat. This works especially well when its a pasta or casserole dish 🙂

2) Babysitting today because of a snow day. Its not much, since its for a friend, but she generally pays me 15.00-20.00 for her son to hang out at my house, play with legos and watch movies 🙂

3) Working on selling some dvds and misc decor on facebook selling sites. I sold a small decorative hatbox today for 3.00. I meet at a parking lot along my route to work, so no extra gas, even to sell small items.

4) Valentines day was a grill out with another couple, some wine and a special morning coffee brought home to me by hubby 🙂 Inexpensive and fun!

5) Both husband and I worked from home yesterday due to heavy snows and ice. No gas — and pjs all day 🙂


K D February 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm

1. I baked two dozen muffins to freeze for lunches. I used pears that needed to be used, as well as dried out Craisins. They are delicious.

2. I am working my way through “the life changing magic of tidying up”. I borrow it from the library. I have to say that it is interesting. I have not decided how much of the method to attempt.

3. We had a snow day in our area. It was a good day to chat with neighbors as everyone had shoveling to do. Also the sun came out and the wind died down, so it felt nice (the temperature was in the 20s). I was able to get my 10,000 steps in.

4. It’s very cold in our basement, even when we turn the heat on. We have temporarily abandoned it (except for getting items out of storage and doing laundry) until the weather is warmer. This should save on our oil usage/bill.

5. I am loving the longer (more daylight) days. We are able to put lighting on much later in the evening and turn it off earlier in the morning. Not the mention the boost to the psyche.

I love your LUNA bars stock-up score.


Betty Winslow February 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm

1. Best frugal move today (at work) – spent the money Home Depot donated to our library through the Adopt-a-Classroom program to buy some stuff we needed (ink cartridges, cash box. etc.)
2. Lunch was leftovers from last night – yum.
3. Enjoyed a 99 cent coffee from my favorite coffee shop while running errands for my friend in the hospital.
4. Collected up a bunch of the plastic grocery bags we save for our son and his GF’s doggy poop clean-up (4 bags a day!!) and gave them to a friend who’s moving across town and is using them to pack breakables., instead of bubblewrap. In exchange, when she unpacks, she’s giving mine back, plus others, to go to son. Win-win for all of us!
5. Continuing to use ancient cell phone with pay as you go service, while we discuss upgrading to smart phones. I’m dubious, but husband has several responsibilities which would be easier with one, so….


Hayley February 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm

I live in Missouri, but work in Kansas. I filled up my tank on the Missouri side where gas is usually 10 cents cheaper per gallon.

Finally just got away from a 2-year contract with Sprint. Switched to Republic Wireless month-to-month and pay 1/3 of the price AND have better service. $25/month for unlimited talk, text, and data! (not a paid endorsement, I swear!)

Used my homemade facial moisturizer. Cheap and chemical-free.

Gave my dogs some homemade Cinnamon Pumpkin treats. Cheap & healthy. Funny how they love me even if their treats aren’t endorsed by Cesar or Martha Stewart.

Enjoying researching things to do on our upcoming Staycation. Found a book at the Goodwill, “Daytrips from Kansas City”, for 99 cents! I’ve lived here all my life and have never heard of some of these places to visit. Fun!


Sue February 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

Curious, Did you have to buy a new phone for 399.00 to switch to Republic? I have been shopping around, and I see in my area according to them, is 4G, so 40 a month for me plus you have to buy their proprietorial phone? I have Sprint, and a Samsung Galaxy phone I insisted they sell me for 50 dollars, 18 months ago, since been with them for ever. Ting, I can keep that phone, and Sprint is there back up provider also? I always hear of these “deals” but if you amortize the cost of a 400 dollar phone, that takes awhile to recoup your money? So just curious if you could bring a phone to Republic, their cheapest is 99 dollars.


marie February 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Sorry people still in the snow, but I hung sheets on the line today. Making use of the unseasonably warm February.
Thawed out some frozen berries, to use in Nancy’s plain yogurt. It’s so much better than pre-packaged, and no extra sugar.
Received a thermo-pedic pillow from a man I clean for. He hates it, and I thought I’d try it for my snoring. At free, instead of $89 (gulp), it’s certainly worth a try
Also, Katy, if your husband is anything like mine, I’d hide all the extra Luna bars.
Like maybe in the back of the freezer. For some reason, when we get extra of things, he thinks it means he should eat more


Katy February 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

He’s good about not snacking on them.


Jill February 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I washed the laundry and hung in on the line today, even though is was only 25 degrees. Also, since we just had a HUGE ICE STORM (pics on blog for those interested), I had to chip ice off the clothesline to hang the clothes. The clothes all froze of course, but did dry some, so I brought them in to finish drying.

I have turned the thermostat down to 60 degrees, since the heat cannot keep up anyway and I refuse to have it running constantly. Luckily, I knit my own wool socks and have plenty of quilts and blankets about, since tomorrow the low is supposed to be -4!


Linda February 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

1. 60 degrees here in Seattle, I hung my laundry to dry.
2. made tortillas from scratch, my first time, I found them quite time consuming but I think as I perfect my technique they will go faster.
3. walked dogs for extra cash.
4. listed 4 items on Craig’s List, no response yet, but it will never sell if I don’t list it.
5. Made my own chocolate syrup to use in my pseudo-mochas.


Lisa February 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm

1. We shopped for lower car insurance rates and ended up staying with our current company but at a $600 savings every six months!
2. Made sweet and sour sauce from scratch instead of automatically buying pre-made.
3. We are continuing to use up foods in our pantry, freezer and fridge.
4. My husband’s one remaining pair of PJ bottoms ripped again and were beyond mending this time. Instead of going to Target, we stopped at Goodwill and found two almost new pair of plaid flannel PJ bottoms for $4 each. Yay!
5. Sold two personalized burp cloths.


Chris February 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm

I made naan for the first time – a bit misshapen but with a bit of trial and error, I think it will look more “real” – but the taste was good. Ready to try pita and tortillas.

Thrifted for the first time in quite awhile. Went to the new 2 story Goodwill in town and it took me awhile to realize that yellow tags were $1.99 – found a never worn Talbots tee shirt and a great base layer grey long sleeve tee. Also found a super sweet black lace/nylon 60’s half slip that I will put in my etsy shop later this week – why have I avoided this place?!


Maureen February 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Went to the store on the way home from class tonight to pick up a few items for the week. The grapes looked really good, but were $3.29/lb. I need something to snack on during the day as I’m trying to lose weight, but when I got to the register and the price rang up at $14.00, I told the cashier that is way too much to pay for grapes and they will have to go back. Even with the discount on the card, they were over $10. I will eat apples instead.

We moved to FL and closed on our house in NY in December. NY State found us and sent us a rebate check because our county stayed below the 2% tax increase cap. I am very happy to say that I do like Florida living in the winter and will definitely like my tax bill when I finally close on a house here in FL.

I’m not as good as you Katy finding 5 frugal things everyday. I work too many hours to even come close! But keep them coming because I do love what you do. And everyone else’s too!


dusty February 18, 2015 at 3:52 am

Welcome to FLA!! Wishing you many happy years in our beautiful state!!


Heather February 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm

1. I volunteered at a school event and was in the office afterwards. I noticed a coke bottle in the trash. I grabbed the lid for the MCR

2. Stopped in to Costco for organic eggs. They were out but DD8 and I did a pass through the store and found some decent deals. Frozen organic green beans were on sale for less then $1/lb!

3. DH left today on a one week business/ pleasure trip with his dad. I packed a big bag of snacks plus drinks to help them cut down on food expenses.

4. I picked up a Vera Wang silk dress at dollar day at the local thrift. I’ll resell online.

5. I received an ebates check for $40+. A big chunk of it was from personalized gifts we send to clients at the holidays.


Isabelle February 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Don’t have much to report this week….
I gained 10 pounds since Christmas…. pants are uncomfortable…. but I refuse to spend money on new ones! Instead I’m starting on a food plan tommorow, working on this 10 pounds (and the following 50-70!!). So, no new clothes +eating less food+less restaurants= more $$ in my pockets.


Katy February 18, 2015 at 6:29 am

Good luck on your weight loss. I seem to have added a few extra this winter as well.


Isabelle February 19, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Well, i gave in and bought 3 new pairs of black yoga pants… but they were marked down from 12$ to 3$ a piece! Won’t stop me from trying to lose the weight, but I’ll be more comfortable during the process…


Katy February 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Send a pair to me! My ones just suddenly became clear as glass in the crotch area. Not a good look!


Margaret February 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm

I love reading your posts if not for the laughs!
This lastest post should be a billboarded as an example of frugality!
If you are prepared to do these type of things and work on the small things are the backbone of big things. What doesn’t break us makes us stronger. I didn’t think I had five things to post so this is a collective effort from me and my mum and a caution.
Mum was having much needed carpet cleaning done and was using a shop a docket so many room for $129 but when the guy came you need this and that smells of dog etc…so $600…to which we nicely declined..i said to mum my travel and I generally…take mats outside, handscrub them hose them…drag them to the fence and hose again…so this is on the agenda. Then I looking into some steam vacuums I have heard about…so this will definitely not be in the $600. I said to mum that would be a trip overseas…carefully pre-planned one way at least….and long term memories….would linger!
Also she was haven’t a beauty treatment done and said is there a pension discount? Extra off for cash $50.
Just don’t hand money over easily that you have worked so hard for.
I walk one end of the shopping centre to save 50c on toilets rolls every dollar counts for me.
Keep Up the Great Work K!


dusty February 18, 2015 at 3:55 am

My sister-in-law has been visiting her home here in FL for the last week, she is leaving today and yesterday told me to take all the food in the fridge (she had company while she was here and cooked a lot). So I was able to bring home quite a bit of food, veggies, pasta salad, bread, pie, yogurt, etc. She also gave me a pizza stone that she bought because she forgot she already had one. I’ve been wanting one so that is a great score. That’s all for my frugal activity this week but I’m happy for all the food.


Katy February 18, 2015 at 6:28 am

Hooray for free food!


Isabelle February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm



Kim February 18, 2015 at 6:25 am

1. Sold 2 items on Amazon which I shipped in envelopes that I got on freecycle from a defunct business. I put a sticker over the logo and enjoy my free packing supplies.
2. Stopped at thrift and found a Ralph Lauren t shirt for 50 cents and a yard of vintage flannel for a quarter. Orange tags were 75% off.
3. Continuing to supplement heat with wood stove. It’s going to be -2° tomorrow and heat pumps are not very efficient at below freezing temps for days at a time. We are trying to keep the often elusive balance of keeping stove going and not overfeeding eat therefore wasting firewood.
4. My church hosted winter relief for the homeless last week and I was on the organizing team. My husband and I volunteered each day for several hours and ate our dinners with our guests. We made a bunch of new friends and saved on our food budget! The person who purchased the food for winter relief way overbought so when it was over I was sent home with a big bag of food that was left over- opened bottle of apple juice and milk, oj, string cheese, package of deli ham, 2 packages of hot dog rolls, cheese slices, opened jar of peanut butter, assorted prepackaged snacks, Hawaiian rolls and more. My guys thought we hit the food lottery!
5. Picked up 20 white ceramic cabinet knobs from a freecycle friend. I’ve wanted to change mine, circa 1990, for quite awhile but I need 14 and they’re not cheap. Patience pays!


BethATL February 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

I love reading these — and typing out my frugal things always makes me feel good too!
1. Just discovered that our local library allows you to read magazines online for FREE — I love magazines but stopped buying them years ago and this will be a cheap thrill.
2. Found a ham bone in the freezer and made some yummy split pea soup for lunch in the crockpot on Sat. Still have leftovers which I will eat today.
3. Made two casseroles to put in the freezer with ingredients we already had
4. Taking a mini-vacation for a few days to a cabin that was 30% off and splitting that cabin with another family which brings out cost down even more. We’ll hike and sit by the fire and since there is no internet my kids will be forced to unplug for a few days. Apparently Feb is not a popular time to hike b/c of the weather but we’ll take the cheaper price and bundle up a little more.
5. Found a new-to-me pair of jeans in my size in our local consignment store. More expensive than Goodwill but they fit which outweighs any savings I might have gained checking all the thrift stores.


Katy February 18, 2015 at 8:12 am

Your winter cabin vacation sounds lovely! Have fun!


JD February 18, 2015 at 12:06 pm

1. Fasting today for Ash Wednesday, so that’s cheap, for sure.
2. I’ll be using up some potatoes that are starting to grow “eyes” when I cook again tonight, by making potato soup, one of my favorites, and so cheap.
3. I found a mechanical pencil that someone dropped, full of lead. We have to provide our own pencils at work (long story and not worth telling), so I carried it to work and that saves me from buying more lead or another pencil for a while.
4. The nice cashmere sweater I’m wearing today has been with me for almost fifteen years, and I bought it at Goodwill to start with.
5. I registered today with a radio station for a drawing for some free tickets to a movie coming in a couple of weeks. Here’s hoping I win some of them! We always eat well before we go to a movie so we don’t spend a fortune on those overpriced snacks.
And yes, to #3 — he should pay for it. One of my kids loaned a DVD belonging to her sister to someone who never returned it. We made her buy a new one for her sister. She never loaned her sister’s stuff again.


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