Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 28, 2015 · 35 comments

Homemade pizza

  1. I whipped up a batch of cornmeal pancakes this morning, which sadly resulted in five pancakes. (Three of us at home + five pancakes = the world might end.) No problem though, as it was just the work of a minute to add in a few slices of french toast to even things out. However, there was some extra egg/milk mixture, which turned out to be the exact amount to make a single hot dog bun/french toast. No food waste here!
  2. I made $10 selling two unopened cans of infant formula left behind by my mother’s guest cottage tenants, which also included a bag of miscellaneous baby items. The retail value of the formula was $35, so it was a great deal for the buyer. Putting the Craigslist listing together took maybe five minutes, and since the buyer picked it up from my front porch, my end of the deal was almost zero effort.
  3. I recently broke my best pair of thrifted sunglasses, which meant I was using a not so fantastic pair of freebie fake Ray-Bans Wayfarers. I did have a decent backup pair, but both arms had fallen off. I was able to find one teeny-tiny screw, but that was it. So yesterday I walked down to my local glasses store and asked them if they had another screw that would fit. They wouldn’t take any money for the job, and I now have a perfectly functional and not so dorky looking pair of sunglasses without having to buy anything. Plus, I absolutely saved something from going into the garbage.
  4. I’d been toying with the idea of canceling my twice-a-week local newspaper subscription, and finally just took the plunge. What prompted this change? My neighbor posted on Facebook about how she’s starting to get The NY Times, and was wondering if anyone wanted to start getting her day-old papers. This seemed like the perfect solution for my family, as we pretty much get our local news from the internet these days anyway. My savings will be $12 per month, which will put $144/year back into our pockets. Plus, The NY Times is simply a more enjoyable newspaper!
  5. Dinner last night was homemade pizza, as it is every Friday night. Toppings were cheap stuff from The Grocery Outlet, (pepperoni and artichoke hearts), a big green salad balanced things out. This weekly tradition not only saves us money, but simplifies our week as I never have to give a thought as to what Friday’s evening meal will be.

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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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen February 28, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Why would someone leave unopened baby formula? Aaauuuggghh. Ps–Good job Katy


Katy February 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

They were from another country and left a lot behind. My thinking is that they got the formula, discovered it wasn’t right for their new baby and switched to another brand.


Kathleen February 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

1. We took the kids to the science museum today. My mom gave us a membership, and I packed lunch for me and the kids.

2. I turned leftover stew meat in tomato sauce into taco filling for dinner. I made homemade tortillas, and we topped them with crunchy fermented cabbage. Delish.

3. I knocked about $300 off my grocery bill for February. Yeah! Still not sure how I did it, except being extra careful about what I bought at the store.

4. My gas bill was less than expected. This was surprising as we’ve had lots of very cold weather here lately, but we’ve been very disciplined about turning the heat down at night.


patty February 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

can you share your pizza receipe?


Katy February 28, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I use the recipe from The Tightwad Gazette using my food processor:

Here it is written out from another blog:

I use olive oil and a bit more than the recipe calls for. Also I always double the recipe and use 3/4 cup of water, (this recipe says 1/2 – 3/4 cup.)

It’s really quote simple!


Isabelle February 28, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Think it would work with kamut or spelt flour???? We like pizza nights on Fridays too but I want to start making my own and hubby can’t eat wheat. I’m looking for a kind of “chewy” crust, not hard once cooked.


cathy March 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I used to make this same recipe with spelt (before kids w/ food allergies). It worked great.


Megg February 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm

As a former local reporter, I’m sad about the canceling of your local paper! Most local papers are not doing well, and some (like my former employer) are even operating in the red 🙁 They really value those who do read their papers!


Katy February 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I just couldn’t justify it anymore. I’m sad too.


Lynn D. February 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Our auto insurance renewal came up and I thought the quote was ridiculously high, plus we now have a third vehicle we need to insure temporarily. I visited an independent insurance agent and managed to get better coverage on all three cars for one quarter less than our current insurers quote. Next month I’ll see what she can come up with for our homeowner´s insurance

I made delicious turkey noodle soup from the leftover on sale turkey breast from my son’s going away party (I made a Thanksgiving dinner as he won’t be here next Thanksgiving). All the other ingredients were from the pantry and the bottom of the vegetable drawer. It will provide lunches all week


Betty Winslow February 28, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Today’s frugal moves (besides the whole, you know, heat up the expensive specialty latte I splurged on yesterday thing):
1. registered at My Coke Rewards, NatureMade, and MoveFree and entered codes off all the bottle caps and bottles I had been tossing into a bag. Already earned two big cents-off coupons from NM, and am well on my way to earning stuff with the other two. Plus, a bag of recyclable bottles out of the house and the reusable bag they were in added to my stash for grocery-shopping.
2. pulled the remaining romaine leaves in good shape off a left-over head and put them in a bag in the making-lunch drawer, for sandwich use.
3. earned enough points, finally, on Swagbucks to get a card. I refuse to join or sign up for a lot of the high-stakes stuff and so it’s slow going. Most points are from searches.
4. am about to sit down and make out a list of possible meals that will use up some of our stockpiled food. Making progress!
5. Bought a set of metal wire shelves for our laundry room from a FB garage sale site for $7 – now, to get Mark to put them up!
Bonus: can’t decide if this is a NCA win or a declutter win, or both, but husband finally sold the pick-up truck that’s been sitting undriven in the drive for 6-7 months. He wanted to fix it – he loved that truck – but when a guy came to the door and offered him cash and that he’d haul it away, he gave in. So far, he’s commented twice that the driveway looks so empty. Yep, and now we won’t get a ticket for having it, flat tire and no tags, in the drive!!


kathleen February 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm

I’m coloring my own hair very soon.
This past week I did not stop at all to buy a drink or snack while out during the day.
Went to Goodwill to kill a few minutes, left with nothing. Then I ran late!
Didn’t put any $$ on my pre-paid credit card and couldn’t buy anything on e-bay.
Went to consignment shop, gave some clothes, checked my credit balance (85.00) and left empty handed instead of shopping in store and using up my credit.
And that’s all I can think of. Oh, and am LOVING my new $80.00 purse I got for $20.00.


Lesley February 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Katy, my parents recently cancelled the same paper–it really was not the paper it used to be at all. Really they just kept it for the Sudoku (Mom) and crossword (Dad) as well as the local news. They will probably switch to the NYT. (RIP Oregon Journal!)


Katy February 28, 2015 at 5:27 pm

I agree 100%


Isabelle February 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm

* we got a museum pass at the library, so tommorow morning i will drive husband and kids there, go to my yoga class close by and pick them up after. No parking fees, me time, exercice, kids having fun, it’s all good!

* sister in law is babysitting (free) tomorrow night so we can go out for our couple’s monthly restaurant date… with a Groupon of course!

* I made a big meat loaf (9 portions) using only 1 pound of (organic… expensive but worth every penny to us) ground beef. How? By mixing in sweet potatoes, onions, celery, ground oat and lots of lentils. It’s yummy!

* I finally have decided to divorce from sweets for good, because it’s such an appetite stimulant for me. By doing so, I know that I will eat less in general (= cheaper and healthier), and long term my health will get better, so it’s a win win situation

* I started journaling. Instead of going out to buy a fancy 10$-15$ journal and fancy pens, I am using a plain school book and pens I already had. Works the same and cost 5 cents only for the book. ( I have a tons of them, i buy them when all the back-to-school specials are on , in august).

Have a great frugal day!


Chrissy February 28, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Friday night is pizza night in our house too! It was for me growing up and I have fond childhood memories of it. Now that I have my own family I work 12-14 hour shifts every Friday so it’s super easy for my husband to look at the meal plan and see every Friday is PIZZA NIGHT! And he can toss together a salad of some kind.


cathy February 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm

1. Used up some desperately-needed-to-be-eaten carrots by making Balsamic Glazed Carrots.
2. Mixing up a batch of chimichurri with cilantro, parsley from the garden (harvested a week ago during a spell of unseasonably warm weather), basil I’m growing on the windowsill, garlic, olive oil. Super delicious, and a perfect substitute for pesto since members of the family have food allergies to dairy and nuts.
3. I called our mortgage company to check on a strange letter we received. When they checked it out, they told me there was an overage in our escrow account. We could have left it there, but they offered to send us a check for the $100+ which I accepted. The money’s more valuable in our checking account.
4. My kids have been writing papers in Open Office, but have had problems printing. High School Kid emailed a major IB paper to me to see if I could get it to print. Initially there were compatibility issues, but we got it worked out. I found out that the kids didn’t have Word on their computer, not that they deemed O.O. a better program which I’d thought. (See what happens when you deal with snarky teenagers?) One of my kids remembered seeing an offer on our school district’s website that students were eligible for a FREE Microsoft Office package. He checked it out and, yes! it was true. Immediately downloaded it. Did I say FREE?!
5. I enjoyed a tasty latte and breakfast wrap at Starbucks yesterday thanks to a gift card I received for my birthday.


Betsey February 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I made my famous beans. I had a bit of leftover taco meat, added it to a can of pork and beans, made dumpling dough to put on top, and put it in a covered sauce pan on low. Delicious!
I did not go shopping today.
I needed a picture for above the sofa in the living room. Yesterday at my local second hand store, I found one that was perfect–a drawing of blue and dark pink flowers. I needed something else, so I dug out a small set of tea china that my mother bought in Germany. I found plate hangers at Walmart, mounted them on each side, and it looks wonderful! I spent a total of $10.
Tomorrow I will put together a storage unit I got for free when one of my friends lost her temper at the instructions and broke a dowel. It was going into the garbage when I rescued it.


Mary February 28, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Last night, I invited a group of friends over for homemade pizza. I accidentally doubled my recipe for crust and figured I could refrigerate or freeze the remainder. At the last minute, one friend called and asked if she could bring her teenaged nephew who was in town. All the pizza crust was put into use, as was the batch of chocolate chip cookies I whipped up with the end of two different bags of chocolate chips, and I finally got rid of a couple of cans of soda a friend left in my refrigerator a few months ago. Her nephew made for a great guest: polite, nice to talk to, and a good game player.


kathleen February 28, 2015 at 10:51 pm

I saved my favorite sunglasses by replacing the lost screw with a straight pin. I used wire cutters to clip off the sharp point, leaving the head and about twice the length of the ‘hinge’ area. Then put the pin through the ‘hinge’ and use needle nose pliers to bend the excess length up towards the head. Not perfect, but will do in a pinch, and can easily be removed if the right sized screw is found.


Monica March 2, 2015 at 11:24 am

Like Katy, I have found my local eyeglass/eyecare office will adjust or make a quick fix to any pair of glasses I have, if I stop in. They never even ask if I bought the pair there. They are very friendly and they must do this as a gesture of goodwill, so we’ll think of them next time we need to purchase eyewear.


Bonnie March 1, 2015 at 5:03 am

Yesterday we debated on going out for a date afternoon/evening. We decided to stay in since it was rainy & cool outside. We just spent the afternoon & evening together, curled up under a blanket watching a movie with pork chops in the crock pot. I love those kind of days!

My husband recently started working at a friends restaurant for a part time job for some much needed extra $$ for our monthly bills. It’s close to his day job (only 15 minutes) AND he gets free food while working his shift. Oh, AND they send him home with food, too. Which provides us a meal to split for dinner the next day; all we have to do is add a side salad, etc.


Gina March 1, 2015 at 5:22 am

Ah, Friday night pizza night – such fond memories of my youth. We did take out – but after a week of working FT & cooking meals & making lunches my mom was happy to pay someone else to make dinner on Fridays.

Crazy snowy weather has caused transit system delays (over an hour some days) so I had to drive to work
several times this week – not frugal but I did find a garage that is $2 less than the others. It’s 4 blocks farther away but good exersize especially tromping through snow.

Packed my lunch each day and avoided the urge to eat dinner out each night this week.

Didn’t buy anything (except a few groceries) this week and returned the clothes I purchased last week (wasn’t totally loving the items, they were just the closest I could find to what I wanted so back they went).

Grocery this week was just eggs and lettuce – eating pantry/freezer/fridge stock and will have plenty to do the same next week. Making baked potato soup this afternoon for lunch/dinners and made lentil soup yesterday – will make some scratch brownies for the week’s sweet. I always think its funny when people point out they made something from scratch – as that’s how I make EVERYTHING. But apparently I’m the only one I know who does. A girl at work was so proud of herself last weekend for making choc chip cookies from scratch and I was thinking – how else do you make them. Said she had only made the frozen dough balls before!

As always, took my own drink and snacks for my Saturday of errands making returns and grocery shopping. It helps me to eat a piece of fruit or cheese before entering the grocery store so I don’t want every snack food in sight – or worse stop at the Starbucks kiosk. Although I always wish I had stopped at Starbucks as I see all of the other shoppers with cups in hand.

Non-frugal thing – sick of coloring my own hair and feeling ugly. Splurged and went back to my colorist and could not be happier! I did it on my own for over a year – loved saving the $$ but hated the hassle and the loss of sel-esteem. For me it’s SO worth the $$. It was a good experience though to see what you can do without and what you can’t. I didn’t buy any clothing for 1 1/2 years – it was doable, the hair not so much. Didn’t help that everyone I knew pointed out how much better I looked before – made me feel worse than I already did.

Good for you reviving the sunglasses!


K D March 1, 2015 at 6:58 am

1. I made Buffalo Chicken pizza for lunch yesterday. I always make two as leftovers are eaten by everyone.

2. I am trying a new recipe, Stuffed Green Pepper soup. It is in the slow cooker. I had all the ingredients and plan to enjoy eating it for lunch this week.

3. Another snow day at our house. We won’t go anywhere as it just doesn’t seem safe (I’m sure there is plenty of ice under the snow. I did manage to get a walk in, starting out before the snow arrived.

4. I will start work on our income tax returns today. We generally receive a refund. I do it the old fashioned way (filling out the forms on-line) and sending the returns in. I don’t pay for TurboTax or to file electronically.

5. The Franken-bagels I made on Friday will become sandwich rolls for lunch or dinner. While they don’t taste like bagels they do taste like a good yeast bread/roll.


Diane March 1, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Just curious about snacks for your teen boys. Don’t they consume a lot of food? What types of snacks do you have on hand for them?


Katy March 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm

The mostly snack on leftovers or fix themselves grilled cheese sandwiches or cereal. I make sure to have lots of leftovers on hand.


Teecee March 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm

1. Day one of a no spend challenge for myself- spend as little as possible for the month of March
2. Watching movies from the library
3. Supper is left over split pea soup that I made yesterday.
4. Made my first batch of homemade chocolate syrup (Tightwad Gazette recipe)


Sharon March 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm

1) went to Costco and now have a 4 month supply of dog meds and treats, TP, my meds, and other ingredients to make the foods I have at home into fabulous meals.
2) because of #1, I am doing my second month of ~No spend~ I still have plenty, but needed a few spices etc to make it all work.
3) took the dogs for a run in the snow… No need for a gym membership!
4) made empanadas with leftover chicken for dinner, homemade dough that uses bacon fat that had on hand.
5) I was given a 5# bag of chicken quarters too big for my freezer. So, after they thaw, I will put them in the crockpot for cooked chicken, broth and actual soup! Love it!!


Kim March 1, 2015 at 7:12 pm

1. Bought a small chest freezer off Craigslist so I can take advantage of batch freezer cooking on weekends since I’m working more hours. Bonus was seller lived only a mile from me.
2. Made bread pudding out of honey dipped donuts that my neighbors gave us. He picks up leftover donuts from a local donut shop and we take them on Sundays to church. Due to weather we didn’t go to church so bread pudding it was.
3. Made baked potato soup with some potatoes that were starting to sprout. Yummy for lunch on icy day.
4. Pressure canned 5 jars of homemade chicken stock.
5. Used a $5 Staples Reward that was due to expire. Spent 6¢ after reward deducted.


Sabrina | Frugal Italian Family March 2, 2015 at 3:11 am

Your homemade pizza looks so delicius!

Here is the list of my 5 frugal things:

– I froze some milk as I bought it at the beginning of the week on sale ( I’ll use it for my Frugal Béchamel Sauce next week )
– I managed to replace a zipper
– I created a free gift-box using a placemat we did not use anymore ( I’ll post a mini-tutorial within next week )
– I ate leftovers for lunch
– I took some clothes to the charity shop


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary March 2, 2015 at 9:11 am

Cornmeal pancakes? I don’t think I’ve ever tried those, but they sound good!


Jill March 2, 2015 at 10:23 am

Selling things on eBay.

Posting giveaways on Freecycle.

Visited Southern Thrift looking for various items. I had never been there before, and REALLY enjoyed the visit. Lots of great funky stuff. Scored a “new” comforter for my daughter (so she can retire her Hannah Montana one!), and some fleece pants for her as well, as well as some warmup pants for track. I also brought home a dalmatian and fire hydrant salt and pepper set. Did I need them? No. Do I WUV them? YES!


annette March 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

1-Looked carefully at my CVS receipt to verify if cashier had applied the 20% off coupon which she hadn’t. When questioned, she snootily brushed me off, saying the 20% applied only to non-sale items, but as four of them were not on sale, she was in the wrong. When she dismissed it as a computer glitch, I asked her to call the manager who re-did the transaction and refunded me $2.69. CVS promotional coupons are a pain in the neck.
2-took a few minutes to communicate the above incident to CVS corporate website because most customers aren’t going to take the time to make sure they correct the mistakes and therefore their promotions are a big rip-off
3-Brought a home-made lemon cake, using lemons from my tree, as a hostess gift to my cousin’s party.
4-managed to air dry two loads of laundry in between rain
5-Instead of going out, I invited a friend over for home-made lunch and a DVD.


Joan March 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Since someone mentioned filing taxes, I’ll post this:
If you are within income limits and/or meet other requirements, you can e-file Oregon and Federal absolutely free.


Joyce March 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

My husband and I share the newspaper also. He buys it and I read it the next day. It’s too expensive for both of us to buy it now.


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