Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2019 · 33 comments

  1. My daughter and I are sorting through her immense amount of stuff, and we’re being very deliberate with how everything is distributed. (Seriously, she has so much stuff!) Anything Japanese goes to the local Japanese language immersion program, a few things are listed on eBay, clothing is donated to Goodwill and special items are being gifted to her friends. The goal is to transition her childhood bedroom into a studio apartment of sorts, which requires some ruthless decision making. She’ll get her own apartment at some point, but we’re happy to have her at home for now.

    I also went through a bit of my son’s stuff and donated his expensive martial arts outfit back to his old studio. There’s no reason for it to take up precious space in our home when it no longer even fits! My sister jokes about how there’s an inverse relationship with how much you spend on martial arts supplies and how interested your kid is in the classes. But really, this could apply to all kid activities.

  2. I’m giving my couch one last chance after having been peed on by a certain cat a few weeks ago. (Hyena, it was Hyena!) I literally poured the enzymatic cleaner onto the cushions in the desperate hope that it’ll soak as deep as the urine. I’ll then spray the heck out of them with a power washer once the solution had a chance to eat away at the offending nastiness. Portland is forecast for multiple days of rare hot and sunny weather which should dry out the thick cushions. It’s definitely a last ditch effort to save this miserable couch. I could buy a new (to me) couch, but the last thing I want to do is to repeat this buy-couch-ruin-couch cycle.

    For those worrying about our two cats, they’ve been pronounced healthy and currently enjoy a luxurious numbers of litter boxes which are liberally sprinkled throughout the house. Specifically right next to the couch. So gross.

    I’ll understand if you prefer to stand when visiting our home.

  3. Sarah from Go Budget Girl published her YouTube video of us “Treasure Ranger-ing” at the Goodwill outlet bins. The audio at the beginning is clanky, but if you can power through the first few minutes it’s worth the effort. The video is part one of two, the second of which will air on Thursday.

    Click HERE to watch the video!

  4. My husband fixed a dresser drawer which had split, I walked to Fred Meyer for lettuce and bought nothing more than lettuce, (so challenging as it was after dinner and the ice cream aisle was whispering my name) I proposed more freelance article ideas, I reached out to a high end store about buying one of my gorgeous thrifted mirrors, I’m planning a Seattle mini-break, complete with free housing, (thanks, Lisa!) and I picked up various lovely bread items at the Dollar Tree.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Economically Proud May 7, 2019 at 12:01 pm

1. No drive day
2. Washed laundry in cold, and hung all to dry.
3. Ate bean soup with free beans, ham bone from relative’s Easter Dinner, free potatoes, and chard from our garden. Whole pot probably cost about .50 cents. The pot had 8 servings in it. Lunches for almost a week, that were a bargain.
4. No heat, AC, or lights on until after 7PM
5. Reading library book and watching Youtube for entertainment


Tonya Parham May 7, 2019 at 1:04 pm

1. Stopped by TJs when I took my wife to the airport for her three week teaching trip to Greece. (Not only is her trip free, she gets paid!) and got some Tempeh (over a dollar cheaper there than at our local Kroger) and then went by Sprouts and got 30 ear of corn for $6. I’ve already got it shucked and will be freezing it later this evening.

2. Have taken a vow to not eat out while my wife is gone because I think it will be a good reset for us both when she gets back that I am not inclined to suggest it. (I struggle with eating out more than any other spending habit. I mean, it’s absurd!)

3. Finished my extra job of grading but am keeping a close eye on my email because often classes are forgotten or added late and the coordinator will send out an email asking who wants the extra class. I DO!

4. Returned a library movie yesterday and avoided a fine. Will probably go later today or tomorrow and see what else they have I might check out to entertain myself– since it’s just me, I don’t have to please anyone but myself!

5. Have a very long to-do list of things I want to do while she’s away that are low cost and home improvement– clearing a fencerow in the back yard, decluttering my home office and the closets, putting up fresh strawberries, fresh corn, working on using thrifted and recycled things to spruce up my front yard (my neighbor gave me a seahorse bird bath that is busted and won’t hold a water basin but will look lovely painted and placed between our azalea bushes.


Dana May 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm

I am so jealous of your wife


janine May 7, 2019 at 1:20 pm

#2 resonates with me! DH had a seminar today so I can easily not make any suggestions about getting take-out or a quick bite at our favorite Chinese restaurant!


A. Marie May 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm

What Dana just said. YASSOU to your wife!! (“Yassou,” plus “retsina” and “spanakopita,” will do for an introduction to modern Greek.)


Mand01 May 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm

1. Worked from home two days this week. Petrol has increased in price to a ridiculous level so I’m happy not to be spending anything on that.
2. It’s very cold right now. I put a dressing gown (robe) over my clothes and worked like that all day to avoid turning on the heat until the evening.
3. Made a delicious casserole from scratch and used up lots of bits and pieces hanging around in the fridge.
4. My youngest has borrowed a heap of classic movies from the library so we are working our way through these.
5. Making homemade sourdough.


Susie's Daughter May 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

1) I found .36 on the ground while vacuuming out my filthy car. The car wash/vacuum place has always been a hot spot for finding change which I think people just fling on the ground while cleaning.

2) I bought supplies for Mother’s Day at Staples (labels to print and put on the bottom of Hershey Kisses) and was able to use a $12 ink reward. I received a $10 of $20 purchase coupon from the reward purchase which I immediately used for the second part of my purchases – all things for work. Saves me and saves my workplace. Win!

3) Started scrubbing the deck furniture today and it is being rinsed in the rain showers this afternoon. It was expensive, but high quality furniture when we bought it so I expect to keep scrubbing it for years to come.

4) Bought two lovely cardigan sweaters at our church rummage sale last week for $6 total. One was Land’s End and the other was LL Bean.

5) Still eating from freezer and pantry though I desperately want to go out tonight for bargain “Burgers and Beer” night at our local restaurant.


Mary in VA May 9, 2019 at 5:37 am

Oh, I love church rummage sales! I went to one last Saturday. After several passes by all the tables, I left without making a purchase. But I would have jumped on those cardigan sweaters, lol.


Renee May 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm

OH! I have tip that might help with your couch! Get a syringe (bet you might know where to find one…) and inject the enzymatic cleaner down into the center of the cushion! This works!

Also, this month is crazy, but if you are up for thrifting/ikea/etc during your Seattle mini break I would love to finally meet you and also see Lisa again. She has my deets if you’re available/interested.


Karen B May 7, 2019 at 5:03 pm

And try Nok-Out! That stuff does work! Check out the Everyday Cheapskate for hints on how to use.


A. Marie May 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm

FFT, Stuff I Usually Do Edition:

Inspired by Economically Proud, here are five things I do so regularly I don’t usually bother to post them:

(1) Washed two dark loads in cold water as usual. I only wash lights/whites in warm, and not always even then.

(2) Had a no-drive day today, as I do on many weekdays, because I telecommute. The number of drive days has picked up a bit since DH started attending cognitive care programs, but the senior center where he goes for these is only 6 minutes down the hill from us, so the gas expenditure isn’t much.

(3) Soup making: I finally got around to making the lentil/veg soup with our Easter lamb bone in it that I was going to make earlier (I parked the bone in the freezer till I had time to deal with it). Darn good soup, too. I billed it as “the Soup Nazi’s End-of-Season Special” for the neighbors with whom I regularly share soup. (I don’t do much soup in the summertime.)

(4) Washed with trashpicked Olay soap (still in its warehouse club packaging), dried off with towels we saved from my MIL’s house 13 years ago when we were clearing out her stuff, and cleaned ears with trashpicked Q-tips (still in packaging, from the same pile as the Olay soap). And yet somehow I’m still alive. Beating the odds as usual.

(5) Finally, I’m celebrating the fact that we no longer have to run the furnace quite so much, since the temps here in Upstate NY are finally rising. (Of course, we’ll have to run the AC soon enough. One darn thing after another.)


Susan from Cincinnati May 7, 2019 at 2:49 pm

1. Taught son how to make homemade no cook pizza sauce using olive oil, oregano, tomato paste, KETCHUP, and chopped garlic. Then made gluten free pizza for my boys on GF bread. They loved it.
2. Made garlic chicken with tomato butter sauce without the chicken and my husband liked it better than with chicken. It is served over pasta and used regular pasta, not gluten free since sons weren’t eating it. Next day made pasta salad with left over pasta.
3. So far I have only spent $88 of $150 grocery budget and I think I can stretch our food out by using pantry and some freezer stuff.
4. Books and videos from library. Just finished Where the Crawdads Sing for book club.
5. Checking out Goodwill and consignment shops for a dress to wear to an evening wedding.


Christine May 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm

1. Made DH and I breakfast burritos to celebrate Cinqo de Mayo. Two days later I made us homemade guacamole to celebrate again.
2. DH is being a trooper about hanging laundry outside while I am working at my new job. The conversion is happening…
3. Dh and I took a walk on a trail beside a swiftly flowing river. Free exercise and inner calm.
4. I worked at the town election yesterday. Nice to get an extra paycheck plus see friends and neighbors. I went home for lunch and took a banana and a granola bar for supper. I ate these at our town library’s café area while browsing through a book I picked up.
5. I watched the latest episode of Call the Midwife through wi-fi on our tv. I so do not miss cable tv.


Bethany M May 7, 2019 at 6:19 pm

I had to run my oldest in for state testing today. Also needed to run over to the hospital and pick up xrays and have my son see an orthopedist in that town. We snuck in trip to Costco which saved us from a back and forth/ back and forth trip. FYI, son named his cast “cookie” because it’s blue like cookie monster. 🙂

I delayed my mortgage payment just a few days to get an extra paycheck. Got it in the mail before the grace period ends. No fees!

Since I was out late because of the orthopedist, hubby fixed dinner for us. I didn’t even have to ask. So nice and I resisted the kids pleading to grab some fast food for them today.

Using up some of the preschool books I’ve had around forever. Bought them at garage sales for a dime or quarter here and there before even having kids. My three year old goes nuts for cut and paste pages.

Doing a spend freeze, to let the travel expenses and a car repair get behind us. Not always the most fun, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.


Katy May 7, 2019 at 6:50 pm

Oooooh! Can’t wait to watch, not for at my fft:
1. Trying to loose a couple pounds for free (walks, kettlebell I already own and eating less thanks to free my fitness pal app helping me track it).
2. Found 2 pennies on my walk today.
3. Bought bread 2 loaves for $1. It’s not the greatest bread, but for that price I thought its make great cheap croutons.
4. Cooking beans in the slow cooker.
5. Used a card I already had for my mom this mother’s day and wrote the many things I appreciate about her.


jds May 7, 2019 at 8:27 pm

1. Found a new local source for a medicine for our dog that’s $10 cheaper than buying it at the vet.
2. Found a price match at Target for batteries I needed ($3.64 vs $12.99 … I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart but I’ll happily get the price!!!).
3. Sold two pieces of furniture my son no longer needs on FB Marketplace.
4. Have actually used the WW membership I’m paying for the last 2 days.
5. Used up a soon-to-expire loaf of bread by having French toast for dinner.


Midwest Beth May 7, 2019 at 8:44 pm

1. Did not treat myself to a movie today, saved the cash instead even though was $5 movie day and free popcorn.
2. Went to the library for a free presentation and also picked up several vegetable seed packets from the free seed library.
3. Signed myself and daughter up for a free Bob Ross painting class in June at the library, we paint along to a video of one of his shows, library to provide all materials free.
4. Did a pet sit today and Swagbucks. Earned enough Swagbucks to get a $25 gift card to Lowe’s to be used for a plant for my mom on Mothers Day and mulch for me.
5. Met up with friends at a free nature society event, went for drinks/food after, I drank water and ordered a baked good to save cash and had dinner at home.
6. Frugal fail – went to Aldi to buy three items left with two shopping bags full!


K D May 8, 2019 at 4:11 am

1. I was scheduled to meet a couple friends for lunch. One friend was unable to go out (was helping out a friend with a day care emergency) so offered to host us for lunch. Because we’re not fussy she made soup with a ham bone and other items she had on hand. We had a good visit, which was the reason we’d planned the outing in the first place.

2. We’ve been home from a family wedding for four days and have been eating whatever is on hand beyond the purchase of bananas, spinach, and carrots.

3. I went out the other night to join some others for charity knitting/crocheting. The group even provides yarn for this activity.

4. A relative gave me a bunch of Safeway Monopoly game pieces. I won a few free items. The ones I won’t use I’ll give away.

5. As always, I’m enjoying ebooks borrowed from the library. There’s no need to visit the library for pick up and return. I use an old tablet that my husband was done with.


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 8, 2019 at 4:35 am

Oooh I’m jelly of your Dollar Tree foods. Our food selection is a little underwhelming at the dollar store. Also, kudos on that video with GBG! I met her at FinCon two years ago and she’s such a wonderful person.

This week:

1. We took an old fan from my husband’s parents, cleaned it up, and now use it in our home fitness studio.

2. I took a DIY approach to Mother’s Day gifts instead of a storebought present. Love it!

3. Last night I burnt one side of our salisbury steak. Instead of tossing it, I cut off the burnt parts. I’m no gourmet chef, but it saved dinner. 😉

4. I worked in a coffee shop yesterday and bought the cheapest item on the menu. (Tempting when they have French pastries!)

5. Speaking of French pastries, I’m making homemade macarons for Mother’s Day celebrations this weekend.


tracy May 8, 2019 at 4:53 am

1. Made a (delicious if I do say so myself) Salade Nicoise for dinner last night even though I REALLY REALLY wanted to just go out for dinner. Healthy, cheap and avoided wasting lettuce and green beans we already had on hand.
2. Treated myself with a bowl of premium ice cream afterward — used a coupon on top of a great sale price for Freddy’s Private Selection brand to buy a half gallon for .74 cents!
3. Bought an Ann Taylor summer silk dress from Ann Taylor at Goodwill — half off tag so $5, already have shoes that match!
4. Spent a fortune yesterday on a neuro-psych assessment for 14 yo DD — she’s struggling in school despite trying hard and we want to figure out what’s going on. This is why we try and be frugal, so we can spend on what matters.
5. Went to Seattle this past weekend to see nephew row for UW crew team. Beautiful weather and while not frugal (one night hotel plus restaurant meals) all activities were free (watching the regatta/opening day on the water, walking around the campus, window shopping, attending church) and we took advantage of the hotel breakfast to cut down on meals out. Also we got up nd left Saturday at 5:30 a.m. instead of going up Friday eve to avoid a second night in a hotel. Great weekend!


Roberta May 8, 2019 at 6:19 am

1. I subbed at the kids’ school yesterday, and I made dinner afterwards. I’m usually tempted to get something out afterwards (I don’t, but I’m tempted), but they had dentist appointments after school, so I wasn’t rushed for a change.
2. I have an old towel with a big hole in it. I will cut that up, and zigzag the edges with weird thread to make washcloths for washing dishes.
3. My son is taking the AP test today. His school got a grant, so we don’t have to pay for it! If he passes, that’s a free class in college.
4. I found a new thrift store near my daughter’s acting class. Prices are much better than our Goodwill, and I need to freshen up my wardrobe. It’s been too long. I found a couple of shirts, including a nice linen one for summer, and a pair of pajama pants to replace the threadbare ones I have.
5. Trying to lose weight. I’d be thrilled with 20 pounds, but happy with 10. This causes me to eat less, spend less on wine, and spend less on new clothes at the new thrift shop (because why get something too big if I’m going to be fabulously slender in a couple of months…?)
FF: My son got a parking ticket at the community college. But he admitted his fault up front, instead of making excuses, so we will pay half. This will be an important learning moment (keep the $2 for parking in a safe spot in your car, so if you forget your wallet you’ll have the parking fee, just in case.)

Did anyone else have difficulty finding the video? I followed the link, but it just took me to her home page. 🙁


Danielle May 9, 2019 at 6:55 am

Roberta, when I clicked on the image at the beginning of the post it took me straight to the YouTube video. Maybe try that? 🙂


Kathy May 8, 2019 at 11:28 am

1. Walked 1.5 miles round trip to market to pick up fresh veggies to cook with marked down pork tenderloin
2. Sold $46 on mercari
3. Have 7 livestock care assignments this month
4. Regifted a couple of items to friends via mail
5. Paid my platinum sponsorship for dog show in September all with $$ from the fund my fun fund


Economically Proud May 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm

1. Made lunch for 2 for $1.45
2. Picked up son’s b-day gift and a fan for 2/3 price because I used some Swagbucks, returned a swimsuit at the same store because I found the same suit for $5 less
3. Planted 3 pepper plants that we grew from seeds
4. made scratch pizza and cake from a 50 cent mix, thrifty and yummy
5. made brewed tea reusing three tea bags and one fresh one


Stephanie May 8, 2019 at 1:33 pm

Good luck with the couch! Cats are so wonderful and sometimes so awful at the same time. (One of mine brought me a live mouse a few weeks ago. That was fun…)

1. I’ve discovered a really cheap source of shredded cheese, which is awesome, because the way my family goes through it is ridiculous.

2. Two churches had yard sales last week and I filled up three or four bags of clothes for very, very little money, so that makes me really happy. They were mostly for my daughter, but I got a shirt for my son, two sweaters for me (wearing one right now), and some swimsuit pieces I need to try on.

3. I went to a used book sale, got an entire paper bag of books for seven bucks, and found a book I’d been trying to remember for the past TWENTY-SIX YEARS. I’m beyond amazed by that.

4. Took my daughter for a walk the other day. We’ve got four Little Free Libraries within comfortable walking distance from my house and we hit three of them. I gave away two adult novels and a children’s book (frugal for others, space-saving for me!) and my daughter brought home two children’s books.

5. I’m using up all the spinach before it goes bad, so that counts for something right?

Have a great frugal week, everyone!


Texas Silver May 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

Happy Nurses’ Week Katy! Is it too personal to inquire why you stepped away? I I am a nurse x 42 years. It is a profession that is hard to age in. I teach nursing now but miss patient care.


Jill A May 9, 2019 at 3:56 am

1. My daughters both got haircuts at a less expensive salon. Almost half the price of the usual salon.
2. My tractor is broken and I was able to borrow a neighbors instead of hiring a service to mow my lawn.
3. I filled my tank up with gas that was cheaper than Costco and washed my car at the cheap DIY car wash saving my several several dollars. I did this while running other errands so no special trip.
4. I sold some weed & feed that’s been sitting in the garage on facebook yard sale site. I waited until it was time to apply ensuring that I would sell it quickly. I had at least 15 people contact me to buy it.
5. I took my daughters to dinner at a local restaurant that featured 3.50 a plate spaghetti special. We ate on the patio in our charming downtown and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was an inexpensive treat.


Cindy in South May 9, 2019 at 7:48 am

1. I harvested yet more mulberries.
2. aaannnnd I harvested yet more mulberries.
3. sigh…still harvesting mulberries…
5. yeah y’all know….I sure hope they have the health benefits they are touted to have because I have a freeze packed…sh@#tful of them!


Katy May 9, 2019 at 10:18 am

I love your five things!


Cindy in the South May 10, 2019 at 12:28 am

Lol.It rained today….a monsoon and the @#$ berries are now on the ground not the tree sooo Yeah, I am gathering them off the ground and washing them really well just like my grandma’s generation. They wasted zero food.


janine May 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

1. Christmas is coming! I am currently putting together a box of items for annual Toys for Tots. Prices are reasonable. I have assembled a crossword puzzle book complete with pen, a gigantic teddy bear won by my son and not re-gifted last year -( this year we have promised him a new home with young owners!) and several children’s books from half price book store. I try to remember to buy gifts all year so the bills are somewhat less at the end of the year!
2. Our old, tired lawn furniture will face another summer in our yard and patio. Elbow grease will take the place of smart new cushions and a nice looking set featured at the store this month.
3. This is the month of NOT: buying commercially packaged tea and orange juice and relying on the homemade variety.
4. Gifted two free flower seed packages from school children handing around homemade May Day baskets,
5. Have not purchased a jet; However, we did manage to pay our legitimate taxes this year.


Ave May 9, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Not sure if you have a Zerorez carpet/upholstery cleaning service in your part of the country. They were able to get the smell of elderly human urine out of an upholstered chair for us. (Don’t ask, but it was horrible.) It was a bit pricey solution but so worth it, especially since the chair in question is a favorite.


JC May 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

1) Stayed within budget by planning by looking at my week and planning for when I’d need to spend money and when I could save by avoiding purchases with some planning
2) Returned library DVD on time and picked up my library hold book at the same time
3) Brought my lunch to work all week
4) Booked a training session package (saved $50 – not that much but better than buying a la carte) and am trying to figure out strength training I can do at home
5) Reminded vendors to send me invoices so I could submit them to claims


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: