Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 20, 2015 · 29 comments

Rising dough

  1. I’m taking advantage of some fun free offers today. These include a free Redbox movie using the code 5654UUUU, a free Russell Stover chocolate egg using a Fred Meyer e-coupon and snagging another $5 Amazon gift card from using Swagbucks.
  2. I was craving bagels yesterday, but didn’t really feel like driving the distance to buy them or spending any money. I went ahead and mixed up a batch of The Prudent Homemaker’s recipe and had 16 bagels ready to eat within an hour-and-a-half of starting, which included down time. I didn’t have any poppy seeds or sesame seeds on hand, so I sprinkled cornmeal on top for a nice crunchy extra. The only ingredients for bagels are flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and an egg white. Very, very cheap to make! I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the white flour, used a damp tea towel instead of plastic wrap and I saved the extra egg yolk to mix into today’s scrambled eggs. I even had a box of cream cheese that I got for free last month from combining coupons and a sale!
  3. Dinner last night was red lentil soup and toasted bagels. I’d thought that I didn’t have any ginger root, but I unearthed a hunk from the freezer. Extremely cheap, filling and healthy! Tonight’s dinner will be homemade pizza with diced pancetta that I picked up at The Grocery Outlet.
  4. My son found a two-hour public transport pass on the sidewalk, and was able to take the bus home for free from his college classes. That’s my boy!
  5. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t bought anything in 2015 except for food and toiletries.

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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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy @ Purposely Frugal February 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I’ve never made homemade bagels, but I bet they’re yummy!
Today I made my hubby a burrito for the car, because I knew we’d be out running errands during lunch, and we’d be tempted to eat out.
We’ll be eating leftovers for supper.
And I dropped some stuff off at a consignment store today, and while I was there I got a check for almost $200 worth of stuff sold!


Katy February 20, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Wow, you must have brought in a ton of stuff!


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom February 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I’ve always been intimidated to try making bagels. We eat a lot of them, so it’s something I;d like to try. I’m going to check that recipe out!


WilliamB February 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

To do it properly, is a thing worth being intimidated by. In order to make them bagels, and not just round bread, requires several additional steps:
1. Dough be formed into bagel shapes.
2. Dough, in bagel shape, ferment overnight or longer. This takes up a lot of fridge space.
3. Dough be boiled in alkaline solution before being baked. This is time consuming.

That said, Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, which riffs off Peter Reinhardt’s, is the best.


Kate P. February 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

I switched a bunch of leftovers into smaller containers. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but leftovers are much more likely to be eaten at my house if they are in smaller containers. Something about not looking like they’ve been sitting there for a long time getting eaten over and over, maybe? Earlier I stopped at Goodwill and there was a cart out filled with stuff that I wanted. I kept it under control, however, but did snag a pair of Fiskars pinking shears that have been on my wish list for years for $1.99, not the $30 they cost new. Score!


A. Marie February 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

(1) I’m making a small batch of chicken stock off the bones and residue from cooking 14 drumsticks (themselves purchased Reduced for Quick Sale at my local Wegmans) plus assorted fridge cleanout items.

(2) Coincidentally, I was planning to make red lentil soup tomorrow night with the stock before I read today’s FFT post. My recipe is pretty similar to yours and Lindy’s.

(3) Bunched a lot of errands this afternoon with DH. We’re between blizzards at the moment and have to get out when we can.

(4) Continuing to practice Winter from Hell Frugality (i.e., if I can’t get out much, I can’t spend much!).

(5) Planning some deep-dive decluttering for tomorrow’s blizzard.


Betty Winslow February 20, 2015 at 1:26 pm

1. Lunch – leftovers from last night’s chicken fired rice & veggie dinner.
2. Snack – a dill pickle, one from several a friend gave me when she wanted a gallon jar for kombucha tea and bought a gallon of pickles to get it….. 🙂
3. Finished reading the review copies for this month’s book review column and now need to give away another stack of books.
4. Cooking a batch of brown rice in the steamer a friend gave me the week I burned two batches in a row and psoted about it on FB. LOL Will freeze the rice in 2 cup portions for future fast dinners.
5. No car today, so couldn’t go out and buy anything, even if I wanted to, although I will be ordering a couple of things online I have to have for my business.
Bonus: dinner tonight will be at the country club, where my husband’s company is throwing a retirement party for his boss.


tonya February 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Went grocery shopping before tomorrow’s forecast snowpocalyse. Got some nice markdown items.

Plan to bake pumpkin bread during tomorrow’s storm. Keeps the house warm and is cheap fun.

Currently reading a library book on attention. Gotta fight the middle age memory clutter!

Getting pizza from Costco. Not as cheap as homemade, but way cheaper than delivery.

Thankful for Hubby’s extra on call hours and my ebates check from Christmas shopping. Every bit counts!


Nathalie February 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

1) Husband worked from home, saving us a bundle in gas and tolls.
2) Ate leftovers for lunch.
3) Reorganized and inventoried my personal care products. I don’t need to buy any for probably a couple of years. Seriously. All were bought on sale with coupons.
4) Shopped my own house for storage solutions for those items: used 3 deli meat plastic containers and the bottom of 2 jugs of cat litter to store shampoo/conditioner/body wash samples and other items, instead of running to the Dollar Tree to buy containers.
5) Didn’t buy anything today


NMPatricia February 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Thanks for the heads up about storing ginger root in the freezer. That will make it so much more doable.


M. February 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm

I want you to know…you are such an inspiration to me!
Thank you!


Isabelle February 20, 2015 at 5:41 pm

1. Scored a free tub of cottage cheese and 5 garlic bulbs because of wrong pricing
2. Going to an hotel with hubby tommorow and trying to find a great last minute deal
3. My mom will babysit, so no cost and leaving with a quiet mind
4. Went “shopping” tonight but did not find anything


cathy February 20, 2015 at 7:06 pm

1. We were going to go out to dinner and use a Groupon my husband had. Instead staying in and hubby just went to pick up a Redbox rental (thanks for the free coupon code!).
2. Got our natural gas bill in the mail. We’re on the equal monthly payment plan and they lowered it $22/month. I’m sure some of it is because we’ve had an unusually warm winter, but we also replaced windows a year ago and have lowered the temp in the house.
3. Found money: 11 cents outside the grocery store.
4. I went to another store that was having a one-day sale on chicken. I bought four and saved probably $15. Just put them all in the freezer because…
5. I’m using the last of the meat from a chicken I roasted a few days ago and then the carcass will go right in the soup pot.
I’m loving your repeated Five Frugal Things posts this week. Please keep ’em coming. They’re very inspirational!


meg February 20, 2015 at 8:44 pm

1. Shopped loss leaders at nearby grocery store. Got several items I usually buy at Aldi for less!!
2. Eating down the freezer. It is so full! It is so cold out that I could freeze leftovers and store them on the stoop for a few days until there is more room in there. My in-laws did find it strange to see containers of chili out there, though!
3. Took dog to pet wellness center rather than vet for his vaccinations. He is very active and healthy, so the check up isn’t necessary. They even did a heartworm check. That saved me at least $150. Wish I knew about that place before!
4. Using free samples and gift bottles of lotion to help my poor dry hands through this winter. I probably won’t have to buy lotion until next winter. (And maybe by then, I will have stockpiled more)
5. Successfully used a free Rx discount program to significantly reduce the cost of my prescriptions. Much cheaper than insurance for me, actually, I was surprised!


Linda February 20, 2015 at 9:12 pm

I’m letting my front yard be used as an RV storage lot for a month. Getting 100 dollars in return. (Just one Airstream Bambi)


Jill A February 21, 2015 at 4:48 am

1. Finished off a batch of cheesy mashed potato soup yesterday for lunches and husbands dinner. Soup was made from leftover mashed potatoes from the freezer and frozen turkey broth made from Thanksgiving turkey.
2. Planning to eat leftover chicken fried rice for lunch today, and was dinner for me last night.
3. Snowday yesterday so stayed home all day and scrubbed grout. I used barkeepers friend on the white grout in kids bathroom. It looks like new grout. White grout is such a mistake.
4. Thermostat is set low. It has saved us so much on our heating bills.
5. Planning on making a homemade pizza for dinner this weekend. No eating out for us.


Katy February 21, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Cheesy mashed potato soup? That sounds delicious!


anna chan February 21, 2015 at 8:10 am

Thanks for the redbox code, I used it on my account and my husbands, two free movies. Yipee!


Katy February 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

You’re welcome! We watched “Lucy” last night which was forgettable and enjoyable.


K D February 21, 2015 at 8:12 am

1. I made a new soup: Persian-Spiced Winter Vegetable Soup. It calls for butternut squash and I recently discovered you can buy it in frozen cubes at the grocery store (20 ounces for $1.29). All other ingredients I had on hand. It may not be my favorite but I will eat it.

2. Went to Safeway for the loss leaders, of course I used coupons printed through Swagbucks (10 points for every redeemed coupon).

3. We are expecting more winter weather so we’ll mostly be home this weekend. As long as the electricity stays on I’ll be happy.

4. I’m currently reading two novels, both borrowed from the library – one is a hardback and the other is electronic (I am reading it on my Kindle).

5. Inspired by Katy, I am going to try making bagels. I tried years ago (pre-internet) days but I know more about making bread products now and if other people are successfully doing it I should be able to too. It is rather expensive to buy good bagels and I’m not interested in the cheaper bagels you can buy.


Betsey February 21, 2015 at 9:51 am

I did something this week that I have put on the back burner for 5 years. I took out all my checkbook registers, sat down with paper and a calculator, and found out exactly where my money is going. I was both ashamed and elated. My findings: I eat out too much and I spend too much on decorating my home (bad me). I also give to charity (good me). Too much self-gratification and not enough saving going on. If I stopped all that foolishness, I could save $500 more a month. When I think of the shape of my roof, I could save enough to pay in cash next summer for the part that needs it.
So I will put a big sign up in my car that likes to enter every fast food outlet that says “No!” I deleted the shopping sites on my computer and put the No sign there too.
This site has given me lots of ideas on decorating, cooking, and saving money.
Thank you very much, Katy and all the people here.


Katy February 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I like your signs, maybe put a picture of your roof there as well as motivation. 😉


Cindy February 21, 2015 at 10:52 am

1. we’ve been pretty housebound lately babymooning with our new little guy (he finally arrived! naturally, safe and healthy) so my mind isn’t at all on shopping or fancy cooking or new clothes – only money out for me is grocery staples to supplement our nesting stockpile!
2. Tonight dinner is frozen chicken parm from a friend (frozen meals are THE GREATEST thing you could give a family with a new family member!)
3. I’ve been slowly sorting through my maternity clothes to see which ones will be acceptable to sell as a lot on eBay. This is our last baby (sniff sniff) and I can’t wait to never wear those clothes again.
4. Planning a meal for my two year old’s birthday party in a few weeks… we keep it simple and just have the grandparents over- no over the top insane kid parties here. I try to keep the focus on the celebration and not the “stuff”.
5. Trying to figure out the tricks with this woodstove in our new house – every woodstove I’ve ever used behaves differently and there are always little tricks to get it to heat the house most efficiently. I have to get out propane bill lower- last month was pretty scary.


Katy February 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Congratulations on your baby!!!!


Sharon February 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

1. I made up powdered milk from in my pantry instead of buying fresh
2. Baked off the last of the potatoes before the grew past the usable stage
3. Meal planned all my leftovers before planning anything new so nothing goes to waste
4. Pulled some books to sell because I am tired of dusting them and won’t retread them
5. Made my own specialty coffee from leftover coffee from a business meeting, cocoa from Christmas, and half & half a friend gave me.


WilliamB February 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm

1. Made veg soup, including the kale that was the “ornamental” part of a fruit flower arrangement. The other veggies were what I had on hand (last couple of carrots, parsnips, onion because I didn’t want to buy leeks, etc.), made savory by drippings from Thanksgivings’ turducken.

2. Made a double batch of banana bread, using a generous amount of bananas from the 52 lb box of bruised bananas I bought for $2. (That’s $.04/lb, friends!)

3. Took advantage of “20% off whatever you can fit in one bag” sale at the hardware store.

4. Continued lazy cooking by using what’s in the freezer rather than food planning and shopping.

AND THEN blew all the savings on Chinese delivery and a weather-appropriate tip. Yummm – Spicy Salt Shrimp in Shell is something one just can’t make properly at home.


Philto February 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

1. Planned all of my meals for next week around what is in the freezer and loss leaders at the grocery store.
2.Ate a salad for lunch of the last of salad greens and 3/4 cup of leftover rice pilaf with a splash of low-cal dressing. Not bad.
3.Resisted the temptation to get a diet coke while grocery shopping.
4.Ordered my book club book for next month on Amazon. Bought a used book with free shipping as an Amazon Prime customer.
5. Cut the toothpaste tube open to get the last drop out. I can usually get a few days worth after the toothpaste won’t squeeze out the top anymore.
6. Cashed in on a couple of great deals at Dillons today; two packages of Tom’s English muffins for 1.20 – BOGO and two coupons. I will freeze one, three cans of Starkist tuna for $1.00 and a five pound bag of Fuji apples for $4.99 so 99 cents a pound


Jess February 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm

1. Made lip balm with my daughter using ingredients on hand.
2. Baked paleo pumpkin muffins for my dh diet using canned pumpkin from autumn clearance.
3. Baked oat bars for breakfast for the week.
4. Made a fire with wood that I gleaned for trade.
5. Read a book from the library.


Vik February 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Thx for much for sharing the Redbox code! It worked!


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