Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 18, 2015 · 26 comments

  1. I walked to Fred Meyer yesterday and only bought things on my list of dried navy beans, milk, kale and gum. (I’d loaded an e-coupon onto my loyalty card for free gum.) The kale became pesto and the navy beans became The Prudent Homemaker’s Rosemary White Bean Soup. The gum was a welcome treat for my younger son. The milk? Carrying it home was my upper body workout for the day.
  2. My husband used a dry cleaning solvent to remove his name from a soft-sided cooler, which he’d written in Sharpie. He got it as a freebie from work and we’ve never once even been tempted to use it. Now it’s ready for a new owner through our local Buy Nothing Group. Sometimes being frugal is is about providing free items for other people.
  3. My mother stopped by yesterday in the midst of running errands. Her next stop was the recycling center, and I gave her a couple of styrofoam meat trays as well as a rather large plastic bin lid which had no bottom. This saved me a trip and helped in my never ending quest to rid my home of excessive stuff.
  4. I stopped by the kids’ consignment shop yesterday as it’s directly across the street from the library where my son gets his Japanese tutoring. My son had culled a small stack of clothes from his dresser and surprisingly the store took every single piece. (A rarity!) Last week I brought in a pair of brand new shoes that our Japanese exchange college student left behind from last summer. They were pretty small, and would likely fit a large American ten-year-old boy. (Crap out of the house, money in!)
  5. I spent an hour or so on the couch yesterday reading a really good novel from the library. A honest to goodness paper book which required me to physically turn the pages. I’ll never fully convert to a digital world.

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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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Betty Winslow February 18, 2015 at 11:01 am

Lunch – leftover noodles from last night’s dinner, with grated cheese, and a bowl of leftover steamed brussel sprouts topped with my favorite dressing, Garlic Expressions. Dinner will be chicken fried rice made from the leftover chicken from last night (hubby’s appetite wasn’t as big as usual…). Just got home from Bible study and not going out again until I have to pick hubby up from work, so no spending money today (and that was a hard decision, since today is 5% discount day at the grocery store for seniors, but we don’t need anything, really…) Thanks for your encouragement, Katy; you’ve been helping me to refind the old frugal me!


Katy February 18, 2015 at 11:37 am

You’re welcome from middle-aged frugal me!


Diane C February 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm

As I write this, I am at home and still in my bathrobe. Thank you, Betty Winslow, for helping me recharacterize my sloth as a money-saving tactic.
That I can count staying at home as a Frugal Thing has made my day!


Michele February 18, 2015 at 11:12 am

Packing lunch every day and avoiding all the take-out invites from friends at work!
Trying to beat last month’s grocery/household spending. ($530)
Called husband and asked him to leave hamburger to thaw when he comes home at lunch…. to avoid temptation to drive through on way home.
Bought 3 new work shirts at Goodwill. Wearing one today, with two compliments!
Brought snacks from home to feed hungry boys after school.


Rebecca February 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

My suggestion for kitty is to take kitty and “show” her with her own claws/paws that it is ok for her to use the scratching post. That might help or lead her to it with cat treats. Leaving cat treats on the scratching post might work or you might need to change its location.


Pamela Oehrtman February 18, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Donated many pounds of magazines, milk cartons, and newspapers to the recycle dumpster my spiritual community has. The proceeds are used to buy basic toiletries for our Food Pantry.
Also did two other activities while at my spiritual community so I didn’t use the fuel to do just one thing…


K D February 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

1. I walked to the drug store to pick up a prescription and then the grocery store to pick up a few items on sale (and on my list). I was able to meet my 10,000 steps/day goal.

2. Dinner will be leftovers from last night. There are three of us and I made 6 servings.

3. I am waiting for the weather to improve so I can list more items on Freecycle. I leave them on our (uncovered) porch but we seem to have snow/freezing rain come through about every other day lately. I would rather give stuff away than take it to Goodwill (despite the fact we don’t get the tax deduction, I think their prices are high).

4. I am going to go clean, vacuum, and decluttter before dinner. There is nothing like getting things in order to make you appreciate your humble abode.

5. I believe there was an article in The Tightwad Gazette where Amy mentioned a camera crew following her around but there wasn’t much to see: she didn’t go down the potato chip aisle at the grocery store or pull into McDonalds on her way home. That is how I have felt about frugality lately (it is what I don’t do).


Sweta February 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I was just wondering if you use Bing rewards? I know you use Swagbucks but never saw you mention Bing rewards. It’s kind of the same principle as SB (you get points for searching the net) then you can trade in the points for Amazon gift cards, 500 Swagbucks, etc. Check it out if you haven’t yet: I like to save up my Bing rewards to get enough SBs to redeem for $25 added to my paypal.


Jennifer February 20, 2015 at 5:28 am

We use ours to pay for hulu plus because we don’t have cable. We’ve had it for about 2 years and have only paid for 1 month.


Diane February 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Picked up my reduced fare senior bus pass today at the transit store. Clerk asked if I was 65 and when I said closing in on 71 she did a double take! Borrowed 5 thick novels from the library to carry me through some rainy days coming soon. Sat on the porch knitting in the sunshine….the best therapy for mind, body and soul.


Tammy February 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm

1) Went thrift store shopping with friends and found a hummingbird feeder that I needed, black Chico jeans for $4.00 and a black warm vest also $4.00.

2) Will start clearing out for our community garage sale in May.

3) Husband making pizza from scratch. $4.00 b-b q chicken pizza which will cover four meals. Yumm!

4) Fixed a torn gym bag of hubbies by trimming the frayed ends and then reattaching with a little fabric glue. He was impressed. (Note: He doesn’t impress easily!)

5) Am washing the stains and sweater shaving the treasures I found while thrift store shopping. Making things good as new!


Carolyn February 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Junk out of the house, right now that is a priority for me. I need to get rid of old stuff. I am hoping I get engaged this Spring and my BF’s house (paid off) won’t accomodate my junk and his. He is making good money, over $100K a year, but we need to take into consideration he will be retiring in 6-8 years. So taking on a big mortgage and spending like fools is not a good medium or long term strategy. We would like a slightly larger place with some land for the garden (vegetables, fruit trees, and berry patches, plus some livestock). So our goal is to be mortgage free when he stops working. So we are living like he is making less than half of his income to maximize our savings. There are always hidden costs when moving into a new place.


Lilypad February 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I love real books too, as does my kitty—she sits on my chest and rubs her face on the book, I always worry about the next library patron being allergic to kitties! It just wouldn’t be the same with a Kindle. There are two in the house, both hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law, who updates her technology constantly (and completely unnecessarily, in my opinion). But I just can’t get into them…


Carla February 18, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Wait, your mom took styrofoam meat trays to a recycling center? How does that work?


Kristen February 19, 2015 at 3:54 am

I noticed that too. No styrofoam recycling is available where I live. Boo!


Nathalie February 19, 2015 at 7:32 am

I take all my styrofoam to Publix, they have a recycling bin for “Foam egg cartons” so I stick all foam items in there (I wash them first if they’re gross). I also take all my plastic bags and paper bags there every 3-4 months since my town’s recycling program doesn’t include the plastic bags and foam items.


Katy February 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

They have a bin for styrofoam, which is great! Although only buying used has really cut own on the styrofoam that even enters our house.


Carla February 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Interesting. I wonder what they do with them. As far as I know, there is no way to actually “recycle” styrofoam. Maybe it is broken down into small pieces for other purposes?


Karen February 19, 2015 at 3:53 am

Lunch today is leftover spaghetti plus sauce, made from ground turkey. This is in lieu of my ususal post-golf round takeout DH brings home; I think it is penance for being at the golf course for 5 hours. Yes, golf, we live in Texas. No storms right now.


Karen February 19, 2015 at 3:54 am

Usual. I think I will be investigating a new grammar/spellchecker program.


Kim February 19, 2015 at 4:33 am

1. Packed my lunch for work while cleaning up from dinner- leftover pork loin, roasted sweet potatoes and peas. Got to lunch and discovered in my rush I had grabbed the wrong container and it was not going to make for a yummy lunch. Resisted the desire to go to the deli down the block and get lunch- they make the best chicken salad so it was quite a strong desire! Made do with the apple and granola bar I packed, some dried fruit, a small bag of microwave popcorn I keep in my desk for times such as this. I also drank several cups of tea. Saved $5.50 and ate fruit and whole grains.
2. Did several loads of laundry after 9PM and before 7AM when my electric rates are lowest. I’m on a time use plan and pay different rates at different times of the day. Since I got up at 6 AM with my highschooler, I threw the load in the dryer that I washed the night before. I also ran the dishwasher that didn’t get run the night before.
3. Stopped at Aldi’s for the new ad for my neighbor and I and picked up 2 containers of mushrooms, bananas, 3 lbs. of Cuties and organic granola for $5 and change. The granola was with the marked down Valentine merchandise-Organic/Non GMO Dark Chocolate & Red Berry Crunch for 99¢!
4. Popped into Goodwill that’s next door to Aldi’s and found 2 like new premium quality towels and 3 washcloths that we need . Just yesterday I noticed a hole in one of our good towels so glad to find these and husband has been asking for washcloths to replace the worn out few we have. I got 20% off since Wednesday is Senior Day so $2.80 plus tax.
5. Picked up several weeks of coupon inserts on my way home from work from a Freecycle friend.


Nathalie February 19, 2015 at 7:36 am

You know that their new ad appears online every Wednesday morning, right? That might save you some trips? Some bloggers are able to give us advance heads-up on the weekly produce sales on Mondays. Personally, I check out Southern Savers has their heads-up very closely matches the prices I end up seeing at my Central Florida Aldi.
Yesterday I picked up next week’s preview flyer (yes, I could look at it online but sometimes I like circling things in it!) and they actually have the produce sale preview in it, which makes me happy. I like to plan ahead 🙂


Rhonda February 19, 2015 at 5:21 am

Five Frugal Things
1. I scored three bras at one of my local thrift stores, for $3.00 total. They all seem in excellent condition and they are my size, which is not that easy to find sometimes. My more generously-endowed friends often complain about finding bras, but as a 36A I find it hard, too. A lot of manufacturers seem to assume that smaller-chested women don’t need nice supportive bras or that only tweens and teens wear those sizes. Thanks to the first owner who found a good supply, not covered in Barbie or Frozen prints, and then donated them only slightly worn!
2. I stopped at the local co-op and bought an onion and a red pepper. I used part of each in a supper that used what I had on hand – fish cakes using up just a little bit of frozen fish, a can of beans and spices and condiments from my cupboards and fridge. We are going away next week to see our middle son’s new living space, so I’m trying to clean out the fridge. I’ll use the other half of the aforementioned onion and pepper tonight, with another fridge cleaning dish yet to be determined.
3. I carpooled into work this morning with a neighbor. I’m right on her route, so though I appreciate it and it is still a favor, it doesn’t cost her any additional gas, and we enjoy each other’s company a lot so it was a nice ride in for both of us. It saved my husband having to leave a half hour earlier on a day he was already leaving early for a special work commitment, not having to go in the opposite direction 10 miles round trip to drop me off, as well saving gas and polluting a little less.
4. I worked a bit on one of my Lenten projects, 40 Bags in 40 Days. Each day of Lent I pick an area of the house and go through and cull out anything extraneous, clean and organize, then donate the culled items. If I’m not using it, it doesn’t need to stay in my house. I’d like to get it out into the universe for someone else to utilize, just like the person who donated the bras in my item number 1! There is a facebook group here in which group members chronicle their progress with posts and pics. It makes it a lot more fun and motivates me to actually do at least a little each day. I did it last year for the first time, so I have less to donate this year, but it still amazes me how much my family and I accumulate, even when we are consciously trying not to. Part of that is because I work hard to make things last, repair, re-use, re-purpose, etc, but sometimes you just have to let it go!
5. My last for today is another Lenten project. I have decided that I am giving up regular TV for Lent. I’m excepting an occasional movie as well as exercise videos. I need the exercise and wasting my Netflix for a month doesn’t seem very frugal. Plus I’m still on the 2 DVD per month plan, so we’re only talking 2 movies over the 40 days. And unexpectedly, my husband decided that he is going to go without TV, too, for weekdays but not the weekends. We don’t have cable or satellite, so it won’t save us money in that regard. But I’m interested to see what the electricity savings might be, as in regular times our TV gets turned on almost the moment we walk into the house and stays on late into the night. I don’t know if it will be a noticeable savings, we’ll see! And maybe we will get more done around the house in the evenings.


Nathalie February 19, 2015 at 8:00 am

I’m with you about reading “real books” vs. e-books. I’ll take real books any day, even the thick heavy ones. I do have a Kindle e-reader for when I travel (I keep it in my purse, actually, you never know). I load it with library books but then turn off the wi-fi so I get to keep them on there for as long as I don’t turn the wi-fi back on (the copy is actually available for other customers as soon as my lending period ends but it doesn’t get deleted from my Kindle until the wi-fi is back on). I just don’t get the same satisfaction from reading e-books. My husband, on the other end, is 100% e-books. He has a Kindle Fire.

Yesterday’s Five Frugal Things:

1) During my weekly errand run, I used a Dunkin’ Donuts Rewards coupon to “buy” a large coffee for free (I brought my own travel mug and asked for black coffee so I could use my own watered down milk and stevia sweetener at home, it helps with my dieting efforts). This qualified me to be able to use a Survey Reward coupon for a free donut (which I gave to my daughter as a treat when she unexpectedly stopped by my house in the afternoon). I also got a chocolate croissant and paid for it with the balance of the $5 gift card I had gotten for free when I had signed up for DD Perks. So everything was free to me. Since I had enrolled in the auto-reload program (reloading $1 at a time so as not to tie too much $ into that app), I got double Perks points and I’m also supposed to get 50 Bonus Perks points for having bought the croissant (it didn’t show up in my Perks total so I emailed them and waiting for an answer).

2) one of the managers at my local Save A Lot and I are on friendly terms for years and he was at the checkout counter yesterday. I was buying bananas that were riper (but more expensive) than Aldi’s for my son who is sick and on the BRAT diet. He told me he was marking down the bananas for me since they had a few brown spots (from $0.59/lb to $0.29/lb) so I saved $0.33!

3) I used my Health FSA credit card to pay for my son’s doctor visit and prescription co-pays. This is the 1st year that we’ve had one because my husband’s employer decided to let us roll over up to $500 if we don’t use it. We are generally pretty healthy so we just funded it with $400, but it means those expenses that we submit will be tax free. Every little bit helps. Another saving was HAVING health insurance (through hubby’s employer, we’re very lucky that they have awesome medical/dental/vision coverage) saved us over $400 yesterday. I had to ask for a detailed receipt from the dr’s office for IRS purposes and the whole visit cost was $415 but we got charged $20. The Rx was over $95 but we paid $10.

4) I’m not a minimalist and don’t aspire to be. Yesterday it once again paid off when I was able to use old and ripped up sheets that I had kept to cover some of my veggies in preparation for last night and tonight’s freezing temperatures (in Central Florida!). I also used a pair and a half of pantyhose (the half pair had been cut off a few months ago for another use) to secure the sheets around the tomatoes.

5) My biggest frugal accomplishment yesterday was taking my coffeemaker back to Publix where I had bought it back in July. It stopped working last week. I couldn’t find the box but I did find my receipt. I didn’t think they would do anything but I figured it didn’t cost me anything to ask. The manager said that as long as they still carried the same model, he would let me have the new one and send back the defective one in the new one’s box so he could get a credit for his store. So I got a free coffeemaker when I expected to get laughed out of the store. I just emailed their corporate offices to sing his praises.

One thing that annoyed me… I bought Carlini olive oil at Aldi a couple of weeks ago instead of their Carlini EVOO that I usually buy, in order to save $0.30. But the olive oil gunked up (and ruined) my ceramic pan (and probably also my Misto, I just realized that I forgot to check it!) and also turned my homemade vinaigrette into a mucus-like substance. Yuck. I took the bottle back yesterday and bought a bottle of Carlini EVOO instead. They did refund me for the olive oil but refused to give me an additional $2.99 credit since I turned down getting a new bottle of olive oil too (it ruined my pan so I didn’t want to ruin another one). I thought that was a little unfair, honestly, according to their double guarantee terms and I emailed Corporate who stood by it, saying that the point of double guarantee is to get customers to try the product again. They did follow up with the sales rep for that brand who emailed me to apologize and say that she will follow up with the manufacturer about possible quality-control issues and I appreciated this. However, I still think their policy should allow for customers who don’t want to try that product again to substitute another product or get a credit, especially if they’re buying another product from the same brand. Getting off my soapbox now 🙂


Jill February 19, 2015 at 8:42 am

Working from home, as the streets are still impassable with ice, and more is on the way.

Having quesadillas for lunch, made with mushed up leftover pinto beans from last night’s soup.

Setting the thermostat on 57 degrees as the heat can’t keep up with the current 5 degree outdoor temp.

Going to list some more stuff on eBay. Today it’s sports shoes and trinket boxes (user id = catnapping, for any one interested).


Mary February 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm

I’m chicken sitting for some friends who told me to help myself to the eggs and the vegetables in their fridge and garden while they were out of town. Tonight I had a different friend over for dinner, so I fed her stir fry made with fresh eggs, garden broccoli, and some carrots and half a bell pepper from their fridge. My friend brought homemade cookies and we swapped some of her fabulous homemade bread for grapefruit from my backyard.


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