Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 6, 2015 · 32 comments

Homemade sushi

  1. I was e-mailed a free Redbox DVD code yesterday, and I used it to rent the movie Boyhood. Yes, I’d seen it before, but I really wanted to watch it with my thoughtful older son. Of course, I started to cry within a minute of the movie starting, but I wiped my nose on my sleeve instead of using a tissue, which of course is the frugal way.
  2. My son missed out on renewing his lifeguarding license last year because of our trip to Washington D.C. over spring break. Because of this, he missed an entire summer of work, (although it worked out just fine as unlike previous years, he was able to join the family for summer activities, take a spontaneous university class and travel.) I’d spoken to the local parks and recreation aquatic director at the time, and he offered to let my son take the entire lifeguarding certification class for the price of a recertification class. Today I called him up, asked if he remembered the conversation and if the offer still stood. He absolutely remembered it and signed my son up right then and there for $40 instead of $175! It pays to ask, people. It pays to ask!
  3. Although I cancelled my twice-a-week newspaper subscription, I did confirm that I would still get the weekly freebie paper that includes the FoodDay section with the monthly $10-off-$50 Safeway coupon. Of course, I didn’t actually get one. (I asked my next door neighbor if they still had theirs, but it turns out that they too had cancelled their newspaper subscription.) However, I’d been putting off grocery shopping and didn’t really have a choice about picking up some food staples, so off I went. I’m never one to let shyness to hinder my savings, so I asked an employee if they had any extra of the coupons. She leaned in and whispered that all I needed to do was to say “I forgot my coupon at home” when checking out and they’d simply scan an old coupon for me. And you know what? It worked! Thank you, coupon whisperer.
  4. My husband and son have season tickets to The Portland Timbers, our major league soccer team. One perk with the package are public transportation passes for game days. However, since my younger son already rides for free as a high school student, his tickets go to waste. I’m going to give the tickets to my older son, as he does pay to take the bus, and surely some of the tickets are for days he’ll be needing to get across town to the university he attends.
  5. I made a batch of sushi for last night’s dinner, which was wolfed down in record time. Although I splurged on buying a packet of nori sheets at the grocery store instead of the Asian market, it was still a frugal treat. Bulk purchased rice, a $3.99 package of artificial crab and a 50¢ avocado was all I needed. (I still had leftover wasabi and pickled ginger that I’d bought from the local Japanese restaurant. ) And the above photo shows only half of how much I made!

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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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

erin @ dfmi designs March 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

Nice job! That sushi looks fancy!


Katy March 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

And yet so easy!


Christian March 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

I would like all the sushi please thank you in advance YUM


Katy March 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

Hmm . . . mailing sushi from Oregon to Vermont. Might not be so yummy by the time it got to you.


Michele March 6, 2015 at 11:54 am

Our sushi always comes out looking a mess! We call it “sushi salad” and it still tastes good!


Nathalie March 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I need to try making sushi. It looks so delicious and I’m pretty sure that I have the mat somewhere because my hubby made sushi for us many years ago.

Frugal things today so far…

1) Hubby is working from home today, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls.

2) Since he’s home, I borrowed his truck and drove to the landfill to pick up free mulch. I also dropped off a couple of old busted laptops, my old desktop, a broken digital camera, my broken Kindle, a non-functioning digital converter, a cadmium battery, 2 laptop batteries, 2 CFL bulbs and 2 empty camping-size propane tanks. There was no charge and it decluttered my house a little.

3) Back home the weather was perfect for gardening (62 and overcast) so I laid down flattened cardboard boxes in my backyard to start a new gardening area (I had been collecting the boxes from things I had ordered and from Save A Lot) and spread the free mulch on top. I then made 4 self-watering bins that I will place on top of the mulch (less weeding to do). I will transplant my tomato seedlings into them this weekend. I also transplanted the herbs that I grew from seed into pots outside (basil, cilantro, oregano, dill, sage, marjoram, parsley) and the 7 cucumber plants that I grew from seeds into one of my gardening beds. They were already flowering so I hope I’m getting cucumbers this year.

4) I needed to get some more gardening soil for my bins and some plastic pipes too so I drove to Ace Hardware and used a $5/$25 coupon from their 2015 calendar and a $5 reward that they had mailed me. On the way back I stopped by the library where I picked up a DVD and a book that were waiting for me.

5) Hubby and I had leftovers for lunch.


Jennifer Nash March 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

We have got to learn how to roll our own sushi! That looks every bit as yummy as the stuff you get at restaurants.

We haven’t been terribly frugal with the nasty weather and stomach flu, but we need to get back on that this weekend! Keep up the inspiration.


A. Marie March 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

No frugal activities today, other than deciding (1) not to run two unnecessary errands and (2) to heat up a previously purchased seafood quiche for dinner. (But we bought the quiche to support our struggling local fishmonger, so give us points for community concern.)

And you won big today not only for the sushi, but for all the other stuff. Keep on rockin’, Katy.


Katy March 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Thanks, and I think your frugal things are big. It’s the daily stuff that sustains a long tern frugal life!


Megg March 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

I got a free newborn-sized football knit hat that I’ll send to my new nephew, who will be born in June. His brother was bald bald bald, and babies always wear hats so I think it’ll get used for the 30 minutes that it’ll fit, haha. Plus my brother-in-law is a huge football fan so it’s a good gift!

I will mail it in May, along with my BIL and SIL’s birthday gifts to save money on postage. Their birthdays are less than a month apart, and my nephew is due on my SIL’s birthday so she’ll get her gift early and I’ll save money!

I was just accepted into a book launch team for an author I really like, so I got her book for free, plus access to a closed Facebook group where I can talk about the book with others who are reading it. Who doesn’t like new friends?


Megg March 6, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Oh and the gifts for my in-laws were also received from my local buy nothing group, so the whole thing will cost me only the cost of postage!


Katy March 6, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I love your frugal things! You are on a roll!


Betsey March 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm

1. I too canceled my newspaper subscriptions since I only scan the headlines and go to the puzzles. A puzzle book would not cost much, and I can get the obits over the internet.
2. I came up with a super cheaper way to decorate my back 3 season porch. A friend will nail the errant ceiling back into place and then will have him paint the inside a blue shade. One screen will have to be redone. I can furnish it with a dinette set I already own, 4 outdoor chairs, and some plants. If you use outdoor good paint, this will last for quite awhile. I am also going to use some lace curtains I already own. Pretty spiffy!
3. With my income tax refund, I am going to install a new stool and vanity in my downstairs bath and have my friend paint that too.
4. I love to decorate. What I did this spring (yes, it is coming!) was to move furniture around in my home. For instance, the electric fireplace went to the den, the desk into the spare bedroom, the white chest into the guest room, and the rattan chair into my bedroom. I found white and sage curtains on sale for $6.99 and replaced the heavy winter curtains. I plan to dig out the Christmas lights and use them in any room I choose. A good cleaning as I did these things worked miracles. I also cleaned all light fixtures and was amazed at how much more light I have.
5. I made a terrific veggie soup with the ingredients that I had on hand. Hint: if your soup is a bit bland, add a can of chili beans. Works every time.


Jill March 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Working from home for the past two days, which saves on gas. However, I am tired of ice storms and ready for spring!

Had crockpot pinto beans for dinner last night, and mixed some of the leftovers into today’s quesadillas.

It’s sunny and ABOVE freezing (barely) which means hanging laundry on the line.

Going running in a bit to warm my feet up rather than turning up the heat (hehe).

My daughter’s soccer kickoff meeting tomorrow is right next to Southern Thrift, so we will swing in to look for track pants for her, and a soap dish for me.


Betty Winslow March 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

1. No car today, so no going anywhere to spend money.
2. Dinner was beef and broccoli, using cubes of frozen roast beef from a roast we had a month or two ago.
3. Looking for recipe for overcooked rice – any ideas?
4. didn’t buy a Lear jet.
5. didn’t buy a new car.


kris March 7, 2015 at 7:48 am

Could you make a fried rice?


tracy March 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm

You could make a crust with the rice for a quiche. You can google a proper recipe but basically egg, oil, cheese is all you need for the crust part.


Chris March 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

My sister and her 3 children are coming for an overnight visit next week and her desire is to thrift shop, drink coffee and laugh. Done and done. Tuesday is 40% off at our thrift store, I have coffee and have good news to laugh/cry over.
She was going to take public transport here but for them it would be $48 round trip vs driving and she said she would put up the hassle of a drive to have $$ to spend. Saves me a ton of time not meeting them at the downtown train stations, busing here and back.

Walked the dog 3 times today as well as a tennis ball marathon in the back yard – I don’t know who is more tired!

Tied a baby-sized quilt to donate to our Crisis Nursery, pinned a second, watched the Tina Fey produced new to Netflix show throughout – a great day!


Lauren March 6, 2015 at 11:28 pm

Yum sushi! I’m a little bit obsessed. My faves are brown rice tuna and avocado., and salmon.

– free lunch at work 3 days this week
– received a $10 cash back from a printer I bought
– mum brought tea and dessert over for us one night
– had veggies for tea tonight that were left here from when my mum brought tea over
– was gifted a bag of nectarines

Unfortunately I just shelled out $825 this week to switch universities (it will end up saving me over $10k in the long run though).


Hida March 7, 2015 at 4:12 am

i love love your blog and love reading your frugal tips. I am mostly a silent reader until today. I must say I am slightly
uncomfortable reading your point 3- when is it ok to
lie in order to become frugal?


Katy March 7, 2015 at 10:44 am

You bring up a good point. I hate lying, and like to think that it has no place in my life. I normally would not have gone shopping with lying in mind, and did ask for an extra coupon, and was not trying to cheat. I guess since the employee told me to do it, it didn’t click for me.

Next time, I’ll put a bit more preparation into having coupon in hand before I hit the store.


K D March 7, 2015 at 5:05 am

1. Reading your blog and Facebook group posts to give me ideas and keep me frugal.

2. I made two pizzas for dinner last night, knowing there would be a lot of leftovers. There won’t be a lot of cooking this weekend.

3. I did boil a chicken carcass the other night so I will make soup today, for lunch.

4. The weather forecast is for warmer and drier weather ahead. After about 10″ of snow on top of what we already had we are so ready for spring. I can’t wait to get out in the yard (once the snow melts). That will improve my psyche, which will allow me to use my time more productively.

5. I did not buy anything the past two days. I will pick up a few things at the grocery store today for my husband’s work trip. He will get a per diem for food but will pack stuff for breakfasts and lunches.


Katy March 7, 2015 at 10:48 am

We had pizzas for dinner last night as well, although my son had a friend over so there wasn’t as much leftovers as usual.


Elaine N March 7, 2015 at 7:11 am

Thank you for sharing both the things you accomplish and your thought processes. Today I am sewing new projects from repurposed fabric. My husband is truly Mr. Thrifty. He is making a mantle for our fireplace entirely out of wood he had on hand. Not a penny spent.


Katy March 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

I would love to see a photo of the completed mantle when it’s all done. Maybe share it over at The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group?


Elaine N March 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

Definitely, once it’s complete. Right now one of the coats of finish is drying.


Kim March 7, 2015 at 8:26 am

1. My husband’s Epi-Pens were very much out of date and needed to be replaced; he is deathly allergic to yellow jackets and so must keep an Epi-pen with him at all times. With our insurance the co-pay is $75 so I did some research and found a coupon where the company pays the co-pay! Yahoo $75 savings!
2. Went to a church sale this morning. Husband has said just the other day he would like to get a vaporizer and I found a new one in the box for $2. Also bought new pillow covers for my deck pillows for 25¢ each. Found DS#1 the 4th book in the Game of Thrones for 50¢, he’s currently on book 3. Bought 5 books, 3 DVDs and a game for resale. I came home and listed all of them right way.
3. Repurposing a pretty coffee syrup bottle to hold my olive oil near the stove.
4. Cleaned the filter in my dishwasher which I try to remember to do weekly. I also cleaned and washed the filter in my vacuum. What a dirty job!
5. I’ve been decluttering my laundry room and so today I’m taking my sister a bag of dog treats and shampoo and carpet cleaner for pet owners. We had to put our beloved Husky to sleep last June so we no longer need it and she has 3 dogs. So it will be rehomed and I cleared a shelf!


Katy March 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

Hooray for free medications!


Sharon March 7, 2015 at 10:39 am

Happy weekend everyone!
My 5 frugal things:
1) baked apple butter muffins using pear butter, because that is what I have and doubled the raisins, which, by volume, gave me 2 extra muffins. I am putting half in the freezer and half for breakfasts this week.
2) while the oven was still hot, I baked off dozen potatoes a friend gave me before the rotted and I will use them throughout the week.
3) separated 5#s of chicken legs a friend gave me into legs and thighs. The legs went into the crockpot with veggies for soup and I am roasting the thighs for dinner and dishes throughout the week.
4) I had a spare moment at work yesterday and cleaned the kitchen. There was a box of new zip top bags with crud on the outside. The boss said toss, I asked if I could have them. She said yes. All I have to do is wash the outside and I will have free bags!
5) I went to a birthday party last night and the gift I brought was from what was already in the house and the appetizer, the same! Oh, and I walked there, as it was only 3 doors down!


Katy March 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

I love that your initiative to clean the work kitchen resulted in the bags that would otherwise have been thrown away!


Bobbi March 7, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Love your sushi! It is inspiring me to learn to make it.

1. I cooked from scratch all this week, including homemade tortillas, which is a triumph for me! It’s not that hard with a little planning ahead of time, but I tend to forget that in the mad rush of work/kids.

2. Today will be my second trip to Goodwill to drop things off that are perfectly good, but unused by us. It’s mostly clothes, but we also have two perfectly good, but spare, suitcases gathering dust in our garage for a couple of years. I am enjoying imagining them traveling around soon with a new owner. 🙂

3. I didn’t buy anything new this week. I pretty much bought food and gas. But I had a terrific week, watching my daughter’s high school musical on opening night, getting a lot of work done, watching stuff on Netflix when I had a minute to chill out.

Happy weekend!


Isabelle March 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Ok… I really need to give a second chance to the home made sushi process… it’s so darn expensive at the restaurant!!

* Being at my parents in law all week for an out of town funeral, we spent only 30$ (for 5 adults and 2 kids) to provide supper yesterday (crackers, cheeses, patés, baguette, etc), and decided to only buy bananas and lettuce (we’re back home) until Thursday. And our eggs (8 cartons for 28$) from the farm. So we are under budget still for the week. Not by much, but 20$ is 20$!
* Our free babysitting arrangements have kind of changed… it sucks big time, but i’m trying to see a positive : since I’m not really ready to pay big bucks for babysitting for dates, they will have to be rarer, so it will be cheaper…. i guess…. We’ll make more “dates-in”.
* Always working on eating less (= cheaper and healthier in my case)
* trying to sell a couple items on kijjiji
* tonight’s and tommorow night will be leftovers

Have a great frugal day!


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