Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 8, 2019 · 72 comments

  1. I sold a few things here and there, including a pair of cute wooden clogs, a vintage light globe, a cute printed metal recipe box and more free Thorns soccer tickets. I also turned in a paid writing assignment and listed a few more things on eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. No one of these income hacks will individually transform me into a Rockefeller, but they’re still worth the effort.

  2. I attended a co-worker’s baby shower that was being held in a lovely downtown restaurant. I made sure to eat ahead of time and just ordered a coffee. (I did chip in $5 towards the total.) I used store credit from Powell’s Books to pick up three different CatWings books as a gift for the baby’s big sister. It was nice to see people outside of work and to celebrate the joy of new life.

  3. I was dropping my daughter off downtown and realized that Sunday evening was the perfect time to stop into Powell’s City of Books as free parking was rich and plentiful. You may remember that I’d sold them a couple boxes of books after gleaning garage sale leftovers a few weeks back, which left me in possession of some juicy store credit.

    I love books, and pretty much always have a couple going at once, but I’m a read-em-and-return-em kind of library gal. However, Powell’s sells stuff besides books, including . . .  locally roasted coffee beans for the tourist crowd! Which means I was able to magically transform other’s people’s garage sale leftovers into delicious caffeine liquid.

    Just like Rumplestiltskin.

  4. I finished reading a library copy of the marvelous The Secret Keeper, I was able to hand a lightweight eBay box to the mail carrier instead of driving to the post office, I picked up a library DVD of Coal Miner’s Daughter after putting it on hold for my daughter and I bought ice cream at New Season’s Market, as they put one brand on sale every weekend in the summer, which bring their food down to my budget as there’s no way I can swing $8 for a half gallon of ice cream!

  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.”

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary in Maryland July 8, 2019 at 11:24 am

1. I’m wearing a shirt I bought on sale in 2005.
2. I bought a 10 pound bag of onions. About half of them had some pathology. So I peeled them, carved out the bad parts, and sliced the remainders thin. Now they’re spending ten hours caramelizing in the slow cooker before being portioned out and frozen.
3. Got two spaghetti squash for a buck. I microwave them whole, then cut in half, pull out the seeds, and use the flesh to disguise dog meds.
4. Someone who’s moving gave us peanut butter that claims to have been best before Jan 2015. It still seems fine, although blending the oil back in seems hopeless.
5. I’m sewing a baby quilt for a shower gift with scraps.
6. I’m preparing for a workshop I’m giving on cheap and nutritious vegan eating.


Vickey July 8, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Mary, I’d love to hear your cheap & nutritious vegan eating tips, if you’re willing to share here!


Jenzer July 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm

When I have oil-separated peanut butter, I scoop it out of the jar into a mixing bowl, then whip the oils and solids back together with a hand mixer. This puts some air in the mixture, too, so it’s easier to spread after the peanut butter goes back into the fridge.


Audry July 14, 2019 at 3:41 am

That’s a great idea!


Tracy July 8, 2019 at 6:17 pm

I would also love to hear more about cheap and nutritious vegan eating. Do you happen to have a blog?


Mary in Maryland July 9, 2019 at 6:06 am

I don’t have a blog, but I did a long post in the comments here within the last couple years on how I feed two and many guests for under 2,ooo dollars a year. Still doing the same old things.


Vickey July 9, 2019 at 11:05 am

Sorry to have missed it.


Bee July 10, 2019 at 3:24 am

If someone would like to read it, I think you wrote that in January
2018. I remember because I asked you how you managed that incredible feet. There was s lot of good info!

Joanie July 11, 2019 at 7:41 am

Thanks, Bee, I found it. And thanks, Mary, for the many tips. It’s the Jan. 9, 2018 post, for those who want to read it.

Chris July 8, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Be careful with expired nuts and nut butters, they can go bad and make you sick.


Bethany July 8, 2019 at 11:25 am

Had very ripe bananas this weekend, so I made banana bread in my slow cooker so I didn’t heat up the house with the oven.

Had a terrible dust devil go through our property. Big enough that we could see it coming and made our 4 year old run into the house. It picked up our raft off the pool and banged it around the yard. It suffered a gouge, but I bought flex tape today to repair and then we’ll have some on hand if the pool liner or plumbing needs a bit of help. Cheaper running into the hardware store for it than paying for shipping.

Have a gallon of cherries from the kids trip to Oregon. The church across the road let them pick off their property. Will be making smoothies with them to keep down our added sugars content.

Researching delicious frugal recipes that can also accommodate my new post-bariatric diet. Down 30 sine surgery bringing my total loss to 80.

Clipped and used some coupons this week. Actually there were some healthy ones available. $1 off Jenny-O, which was already cheaper than ground beef.


Jill A July 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Congratulations!! 80 lbs. Wow.


Jennifer July 8, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Congrats Bethany!


Midwest Beth July 8, 2019 at 11:45 am

1. Making my own trellis’s/teepees for zucchini and beans out of sturdy sticks I salvaged from when daughter trimmed our lilac bush instead of putting them out with the garden trash.

2. Collecting rain water for garden, harvested basil for first time to use in omelette and going to figure out how to dry herbs and store – hoping to have enough to give as Christmas gifts – can’t wait to see their faces -older niece and nephews probably will hope it’s pot lol; Anyone use the brown paper bag technique for drying basil or do you spread it out on cookie sheets and wait the several days to air dry?

3. Listening to The Great Alone Free through library Hoopla app, so far really enjoying it; watching first season of Veronica Mars (using library DVD’s)with daughter- she’s hooked 😉

4. Took the time to help daughter fill out direct deposit paperwork and made special trip to the bank for deposit form so her check will go directly into her account. My theory is she will save more money and save gas/trips to the bank. Also signed up for her first debit card.

5. Using free napkins from $5 pizza purchase from Little Caesars they handed me a handful two inches thick! – I always ask for them and they always give a good size amount 🙂 Pizza provided several meals; doing Swagbucks watch videos throughout the day on computer and phone, sent daughter into grocery store for milk and bananas only which is a huge accomplishment as I usually cave to the request to buy ice cream; able to turn air off last night and open the windows as temp and humidity down; cooked a chicken yesterday and saved bones for soup; made homemade raspberry muffins instead of buying.


Mary in Maryland July 8, 2019 at 12:03 pm

I hang bunches of basil on the clothesline in the basement. When it’s dry and crunchy, I crush it above a large bowl. Discard stems.


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) July 8, 2019 at 6:08 pm

I do this, too, but I hang bunches from the knobs on my kitchen cabinets. I do this with fresh oregano from my garden, too.


A. Marie July 8, 2019 at 6:10 pm

I grow “mini basil” (there are various types) for drying. The small leaves dry much better than the leaves on standard types.


K D July 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm

1. I have been reading and listening too lots of books (and ebooks) borrowed from the library. I just finished Be Frank with Me and enjoyed it.

2. All meals were at home the past five days. There’s always something to scrounge up. Leftovers our alike gold in the refrigerator.

3. We attended an outdoor concert in the woods last night. It is about a five minute drive from our home. There is no admission fee but we do donate when they collect. We always run into at least a few people that we know also enjoying the free summertime entertainment.

4. We were hungry for ice cream so we bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and split it. It was on sale so was probably cheaper than one scoop out. It was very filling so we barely ate dinner.

5. I’ve been working in the yard most mornings, before it gets too hot and humid. Free exercise and a better looking yard/home. I firmly believe that fresh air and exercise are really good for us.


Mand01 July 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm

1. I took my youngest to see the new Spider-Man movie. I used my auto club membership to get cheap tickets. I saved more than 50%.
2. I went to my parents for a delicious three course dinner. No cooking!
3. I dug out a full load of compost from our two bins and spread it around the garden. Compost is literally one of my favourite things. I love seeing something that would have turned into anaerobic sludge in landfill go back into healthy soil in my garden.
4. Made yoghurt. My eldest eats a ton of natural yoghurt with honey.


Jennifer July 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

2. So nice when someone else cooks! When my mom cooks, it’s so much better than mine even if we use the exact same recipe.


Lindsey July 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Alaska is having record heat this summer and where I live in the interior of the state, the forest fires are terrible right now. The sky is pewter colored some days, and the sun is orange instead of yellow. Gorgeous in a sort of apocalyptic way.
1. The freezer is steadily getting eaten up, now supplemented by daily garden harvests. We will need to buy milk again, as the husband drinks it every day, but that is all. We should have a pretty minimal food bill this month.
2. Mended two shirts and a pair of pants.
3. Turned a thin old towel into wash cloths. They look sad but are effective and I love saving money not buying new wash cloths to replace the ones that we finally gave up and turned into rags last week.
4. We still buy the paper because how else will can we fund the investigative journalism expose corrupt/greedy politicians and businesses? (I do not mean that all politicians and businesses are corrupt, but some are.) I save the paper and this week took three giant bundles to the animal shelter, where they make good use of them.
5. Went to the doctor and was prescribed a new medication. I asked for samples to be sure it works before buying something that costs $900 a month (my insurance pays for it, but still…). She sort of blinked and had her nurse get me “some” samples. I ended up with a six months supply! The nurse said they usually just keep these samples hanging about and then throw them out. I actually gasped at the thought of folks who might not be able to afford it paying for meds the doc is throwing away! The nurse looked up what other meds I am using and gave me samples of two of those as well.


Bee July 9, 2019 at 6:22 am

I saw that it was 90 in Anchorage on the 4th of July. That is truly unfathomable. It looks like things are a little closer to normal this week at least in southern Alaska.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl July 8, 2019 at 1:20 pm

I LOVE that you can return library books and that you don’t have to keep them in your house. I can only imagine the book clutter that we’d be experiencing by now with a household of six.

I don’t get any joy out of owning a book…I just want to read it and then get rid of it. 😉


Mand01 July 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm

I think there are a couple of exceptions to book ownership! I’m thinking of the full set of hardcover Harry Potter novels, for example.
But most read ‘em and leave ‘em novels for sure do not need to be stored in my house.
My rule is that if I haven’t read it in two years and it is not a reference book, out it goes. That generally keeps my book collection to a manageable size.


Jennifer July 8, 2019 at 5:11 pm

There is only one exception for me and it is The Tightwad Gazette…well, and just a couple that are signed copies from authors I know.


Mand01 July 8, 2019 at 9:27 pm

I’m re-reading The Tightwad Gazette right now. I’ve had my copy for almost 20 years and I still refer to it often


Diane July 8, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Kristen, I totally agree with you. I love my library and I have no desire to buy a book that I will only read once.


A. Marie July 9, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Sorry, but I can’t agree re: a complete thumbs-down on owning books. As a proud Life Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, I have a pretty fair collection of JA-related books that will continue to bring me joy till I too can no longer read (DH, I’m afraid, is there already, though he won’t admit it). And I also rely on my reference collections of gardening books and cookbooks. And so forth. Ah, well, it’ll make for an interesting estate sale.


Lindsey July 9, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Oh, A. Marie, your poor husband! As a person who loves reading I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to realize that is now a loss, too. I think of you sometimes and wonder how you are doing. You always sound so, not exactly cheerful (sometimes that, too), but so accepting and full of grace. I hope you have a good local support group.


A. Marie July 11, 2019 at 8:35 am

Thanks for the kind and compassionate words, Lindsey. Yes, this part of DH’s decline hits us particularly hard. (He earned a PhD in English “with distinction” at our local private university in the late 1970s.)

And, believe me, I’m no saint, and I have my full share of bad days. But I keep reminding myself that this is no one’s fault, that neither of us rang up God and asked for this, and that no one ever said life was fair–all of which I can guess you know from your own experiences.


janine July 8, 2019 at 1:56 pm

1 & 2 Spent the day at home = no spend. Make home-made refrigerator green bean pickles – will see if they are fit to eat in five days! Also did wash, folded clothes, and made a scratch chicken a-la-king from a free chicken with fresh shelled English peas.
3. As I have posted before, we are not using a/c yet even tho is is getting hot out there! Fans have been fairly effective.
4. Added up charitable and political donations – added a small addition to an El Paso Charity that goes to migrant chidren’s border crisis. Wish we could help more – get fundraising e-mails everyday from candidates and causes – many of them very worthy!
5. Moment of truth: did not enjoy my day of doing everything from scratch – shelling peas, making white sauce for the chicken dish, loads of laundry etc. Am glad it is accomplished, but can easily think of stuff to take up time that is more enjoyable!


Jill A July 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm

1. I found a new recipe for scones that uses sour cream rather than whipping cream. The sour cream is cheaper and I always have some on hand. I used some dried cherries that I’d purchased for snacks. They turned out delicious.
2. I’m reading books on my Kindle.
3. My daughter and I watched a library copy of the movie Eat, Pray, Love. We watched in the basement during the hottest part of the day. The basement is nice and cool.
4. I invited my mother over to float in the pool. We visited and enjoyed mojitos.
5. I sold another item on ebay and listed a few more. I reused shipping materials and had the post office pick up at my house during my normal delivery.


Vickey July 9, 2019 at 11:13 am

Our next door neighbors of several years ago hung a white sheet on the side of their backyard shed and watched movies on it on hot summer nights.

I thought it was resourceful and charming, and was glad they were both educators. 😀


Bethany July 9, 2019 at 10:12 pm

I remember hanging out in the basement on hot days. Wow! That was like forever ago.


Jill A July 10, 2019 at 3:46 am

That was supposed to say “reading library books on my kindle”. I’m reading and re-reading posts and can’t help but notice the similarities. Lot’s of library books, library movies, ebay selling, thrifting and garage sale-ing etc. etc.


Teresa July 8, 2019 at 7:46 pm

My printer was printing so light that it was barely legible. I have been trying to fix it for several years and on July 4 I finally gave up and ordered a new one from Costco. Well, on July 6 I REALLY needed to print something, so I went online for tech advice ONE LAST TIME…and you know what? Printer fixed! Order Cancelled! And I saved $278 on that non-purchase. Later the same day I was about to order a new trash can because the lid would not stay on after my cat knocked the can over. While looking on Amazon for a new trash can (and I was considering buying a fancy one) I found a fix-it tip from someone who’d had a similar problem. 10 minutes later: Trash can fixed!! So while I didn’t get anything on the cheap or sell anything amazing, I did save a bunch of money and also saved plastic and old electronics from the garbage heap. Those are my wins for the weekend. 🙂


Ber July 9, 2019 at 11:04 am

There is something very satisfying about fixing something. I would say those are great wins!


Ava July 8, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Probably don’t have five, but we shall see:
1. Trying to eat all perishables before going out of town. So far, we are very successful at that. We have very little food waste.
2. Went yard saling with my friend and found a great recliner for my husband. We had planned to buy a new one (in a real store) but had been putting it off. This one is in great shape, was a great price, and the nice seller even delivered it. We will either give away or donate the old one. It is still usable but the new one is like lounging on a cloud.
3. On the same yard sale venture, found a large insulated shopping bag for .50 but the plastic lining was torn up. Purchased a quilted pillow sham from Goodwill and made a new liner. This should now be great for keeping food cold on trips and take up less room than a cooler, for a cost of under 2.50.
4. Reading and listening to library books. Reusing, recycling, refurbishing, sharing, trying to be inventive with what we have.


AuntiAli July 9, 2019 at 2:39 am

1. Saw a Jansport back pack that I liked on the Kohls website. I read thee description and it said imitation leather on the bottom. Um, no thanks. That saved me from pulling the trigger on something I really don’t need.
2. On July 4th we went out to try and find a good spot to watch fireworks without actually being in the mess of people watching.
3. Daughter made dinner last night using some of the chicken breasts that are filling up the freezer.
4. No spend day yesterday and Sunday.
5. I bought a new comforter for my bed from Pottery Barn – it was on sale – and I hope I like it and I hope it’s sturdy enough to last me forever and 3 more days.


Roberta July 11, 2019 at 8:19 am

If you declined the backpack because you thought the fake leather would not be sturdy enough, know that Jansport guarantees their backpacks, and repairs them if there is any problem. We sent ours back for a broken strap and it was easy. If it’s not repairable (torn leather) they’ll replace it.


Crosby July 9, 2019 at 3:48 am

1. I’ve really wanted stools for our kitchen counter that have backs and were the correct height (ours were too tall and backless) and I found a really nice pair on Facebook marketplace for $25! I’ve wanted these since we moved into this apartment 3 years ago and I’ve held out for a pair that I liked and were affordable.

2. I made dinner from our pantry and freezer last night and most likely will do the same tonight.

3. My outfit consisted of thrifted shoes, a thrifted top, and pants that were hand me downs from a friend close to 10 years ago.

4. I’m being patient with some federal savings bonds and cashing them in as they mature instead of all at once. And I’m reinvesting them so the cash keeps making me more cash.

5. I have a work meeting 80 miles away in the town where my parents live so I’ll be able to pop in and say hello without spending the gas to get there. My university has us rent cars for travel if it’s more than a 100 mile round trip – much more cost effective and it keeps the miles off my car.


Kim A. July 9, 2019 at 5:19 am

Hi Katy! I’m the one who recommended the Secret Keeper. I’m so glad to hear you thought it was marvelous. I’m just about done reading the Clockmaker’s Daughter. Kate Morton is such a fun storyteller.


Jess in NC July 9, 2019 at 5:34 am

1. I had a long weekend for the 4th so I stayed home for 3 no spend days.

2. On the days I was at home, I tried to spend most of the day on the screened-in porch. It’s cooler there and I’m not using any electricity when I’m out there.

3. We’ve been going through a hot spell but I’ve resisted the urge to buy an AC window unit. The house has ceiling fans, we’ll be okay.

4. I have been loading up offers on my grocery store app. Lately, Food Lion has had Shop & Earn deals that give $3-$4 rewards when you spend so much in a department in a month. So it’s easy to earn money back for the $10 I was going to spend on dairy anyway!

5. The spouse and I have been listening to podcasts together lately as evening entertainment. We’re currently enjoying Deadly Manners. It’s a great time for free!


Jenelle July 9, 2019 at 5:42 am

1. Found a large glaring error on my children’s daycare bill. Promptly called and they corrected the error. My last payment was missing and the total due was double what it should be!

2. While on our most recent camping trip, we hit up a yard sale that happens every year at that same spot. I love this yard sale because their kids are just right ahead of my kids and they always have clothes and shoes. I got there early enough and found shoes and clothes for my kids very reasonably priced. My son even found a pogo stick..which he has been begging for now for some time for only $3!

3. Decided to forget about fancy invitations to my kids’ birthday party. After I created the Facebook invite, I just took screen shots and made paper invitations to give out to those that need them.

4. Used our annual passes to the local amusement park and packed our own lunches. It was nice to walk out of the park for a bit and enjoy lunch under a shade tree.

5. Hubby is heading out of town for a few days for a conference and knows that I can’t cook. He made ahead a few things for me to heat up instead of being tempted to go out to eat.


Bee July 9, 2019 at 6:12 am

It has been a heck of a week. My family has experienced illness, earthquakes and no AC. But, we are all still standing …
1. eBay has awoken from a summer nap and I have sold 9 items this week. These sales include an item that has been listed for nearly a year and suddenly had tons of interest. Now if I can just find where I stashed it. Hmmmm…..
2. I had my book club meeting last night where we discussed “Where the Crawdads Sing.” Really, there is nothing better than books and friends. The library wait list was so long for this book that I purchased it with an Amazon credit. I will now pass it on to my cousin who will pass it on to her daughter and so on…
I put next month’s selection on hold at the library. There was only one person
ahead of me.
3. I made a trip to Goodwill this week. I spent $10 and bought a beautiful framed watercolor by a listed artist, a piece of studio pottery and a cashmere sweater. Really that’s amazing.
4. I dug chicken carcasses out of the freezer to make soup. Even though it’s hot, chicken soup is always the go-to when illness strikes. I used my Instant Pot so it did not heat up the house. It makes the best chicken and veggie stock. Other meals this week were also eaten at home. We drank primarily water and brewed our own coffee. Cheaper and healthier.
5. I used my HSA to pay for medical bills using pre-tax dollars. I will use my eBay funds to fix the AC. If I am feeling better, I may go to the gym to run. It is air-conditioned.


Joy July 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I just made turkey soup out of the carcass from a turkey I baked in the spring, which had also been in the freezer Added in veggies and noodles previously cooked and in the freezer as well. I keep tubs full of leftover veggies in the freezer just for that purpose.


tracy July 9, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Woot woot on the Goodwill scores!


Christine July 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Is your son still hiking the PCT? My DH left Sunday to hike another leg of the AT. Best wishes sent to your son for a happy and healthy walk.


Bee July 10, 2019 at 3:39 am

Yes, he has finally gotten through the Mojave and entered the Sierras which is going to be exciting and challenging. He was in Ridgecrest on 4th of July when the first big quake hit and on top of a mountain near the epicenter when the 7.1 hit the next evening. It is a much different hike than the AT with diverse climates and topography … and earthquakes, landslides and snow.
I wish your husband a beautiful and safe journey.


Ruby July 9, 2019 at 6:35 am

It’s been spend-a-rama at my house, but we have done it as frugally as possible.

1. The Mister needed hearing aids and diligently shopped around among three providers, which meant a lot of time taking hearing tests. The best deal was found at Costco, which we had to join to get the hearing aids, but it was several thousand below what he was quoted elsewhere. He is absolutely thrilled to be able to hear well again.
2. I was wondering what on earth we’d do with a Costco membership – we don’t eat that much anymore – when the little Android tablet that is my daily workhorse developed an electrical problem and became a permanently dead little tablet. A replacement from Costco was $40 less expensive than Amazon, so now I know what we’ll be doing with a Costco membership. 😀
3. Sewed a slipcover for a large ottoman out of remnant upholstery fabric. This keeps our dogs from destroying the surface of the ottoman with their claws when they jump up there to sleep. It’s anchored with little bungee cords from Dollar Tree around each ottoman leg.
4. Used a heap of Food Lion coupons that were tailored toward our preferences to save $24 off groceries. Also used CVS Extra Care Bucks to get a jug of laundry detergent and a can of nuts for a total cash outlay of $1.17. Between that and doing basics shopping at Save-a-lot, our grocery total for three adults was $63 for the week. Our pantry and freezer are nearly bare, so a big shopping trip is coming soon, but this very frugal week was nice.
5. All the regulars: made overnight iced tea in the fridge, wearing cute thrifted tops to work every day, packing my breakfast, lunch and drinks to work, and driving with a light foot.


KT July 9, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Re: hearing aids at Costco…..
My friend is a Dr. for the elderly and he said he was constantly hearing about how good and cheap the aids were there. Then a recent issue of Consumer Report listed them as #1 in their recommendation for quality and price. Wish I had known this before, I would have literally saved thousands of dollars!!! Congrats to you!!


sea July 9, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Some more ideas for Costco: I always buy gas at Costco, it tends to be cheapest there. I also buy stock-up type things there, and I wait til they have an “instant rebate” (sale price): contact lens solution, deodorant, etc. Eyeglasses there are cheaper than anywhere else, too (except for online).


Momma L July 10, 2019 at 1:45 am

Yes, gas at Costco is always cheaper! We also buy ground coffee there, and a few other staples. Their online site makes it easy to comparison shop. The trick is sticking to the list.


Ruby July 10, 2019 at 6:54 am

Thanks to Katy writing about the food court there, I was able to point out to The Mister that it would be worthwhile to have a cheap date meal there once in a while when we get a hankering for pizza or hot dogs.

There’s always a long line for gas and it’s a bit out of our way to go there, so that is something I may not use unless we’re already there.


Roberta July 11, 2019 at 8:26 am

If you get to Costco early the lines are usually pretty short. Ours was always really bad, but they just doubled the number of pumps, so I’m hoping they’ll do that elsewhere.


Jennifer July 9, 2019 at 7:32 am

1. When we got back at 6pm from our vacation, I threw my emergency frozen pizza in the oven for dinner at home. When I went grocery shopping the next day I bought another one. $5 is much cheaper than eating out.
2. Working/volunteering at the MLB team near us. We make money and don’t spend money. Win/win.
3. I planted a pack of beet seeds and a pack of pie pumpkin seeds. Not everything sprouted, but definitely enough that I will get more than my money’s worth. We won’t talk about my tomatoes.
4. Dd has been hurt and not in the gym much. I was not charged the July tuition which is an enormous help to my budget.
5. AC has been mostly off, only turning on the bare minimum. Cashed in my ibotta deals for a Starbucks gift card. Dh and I rode our bikes downtown to run our errands and visit the farmer’s market. I came away with kale, peaches and tomatoes. I sold 2 leotards and a pari of shorts making about $40 in profit totay.


Christine July 9, 2019 at 4:08 pm

Those emergency pizzas have saved me from going out to eat many times! Whoever made the first frozen pizza sure knew what they were doing.


Joy July 9, 2019 at 12:39 pm

1. I guess I have been doing the Non-consumer advocate for a while. I occasionally use cornmeal, which I keep in the freezer most of the time, and I may buy a new bag every year or so. I got it out of the freezer recently and the Ziploc bag (I keep the cornmeal in its original bag in a Ziploc, mostly to keep the freezer clean and prevent wasteful spillage) and saw the date on the Ziploc bag – bag was placed into service in 2009 ! Bag still intact and in use and will serve longer.
2. Eating more at home lately, not only saving the costs of meals in a café/restaurant, but can also save calories and sodium. While I love eating out, the new calorie counts on the menus are eye opening. It’s good they don’t post sodium content, because I’m sure it’s sky high.
3. Made a soup mix given to me by my Mom. Looking the sodium content, it was horrendously high. So, I used only half of the seasonings – I had added other herbs on hand to the soup, as well as carrots, celery and onions and frankly, a great taste ! Can save the other half of the seasoning for another soup or possibly for baked fish or chicken.
4. Rebooked hotel for next trip, saving about $15, as there was a less expensive alternative right next door and will still get free breakfast.
5. Scored more vegetables at our Master Gardener facility, including spinach and garlic. I had extra banana peppers and a beautiful blue – purple salvia plant (ornamental) so I left if for one of the gardeners Another gardener asked if I needed any pineapple sage and I said yes, and next time, I’ll bring her one of the blue-purple salvias that come up all over the year. We leave things and trade things and it all seems to work out.
6. Consumer – Non consumer day. I needed to run errands to the bank to make deposits and decided to get hubby some of his favorite tacos, which is near the bank. He is suffering from gout right now and it really hurts, so he needs something satisfying to eat ! I made another iced latte’ instead of stopping at Starbucks, but it was small and drank most of it early in my trip. II got a hot coffee at the bank (free for customers) and then at the taco place, I got a cup for water, which I filled with ice to cool down my now hot latte. Did not feel bad, as I did buy tacos from them and they give you a small cup for water for free. Will reuse both cups – plastic water cup for a scoop for various items and will cut up the stryofoam (which I hate to throw out as it can’t be recycled) to use at the bottom of plants I am repotting. I learned this trick from a gardener who uses those Styrofoam peanuts at the bottom of his potted plants. I also cut up restaurant to-go boxes now, so I feel a little better about not putting so much in the landfill.


Christine July 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

I love how you mark the date of first use on the Ziploc bags. I have some really old ones I’ve been washing out and reusing forever but it would have been interesting to know when their infancy was! BTW, when they finally do spring holes or the zipper decides to break, you can recycle them, zippers and all, with plastic grocery bags.


Linda July 12, 2019 at 8:43 am

My husband had a gout attack decades ago. He takes his meds and we eat very little meat. (He came from a family that ate large amounts of meat twice a day.) I hope you find an eating plan that works for your husband.


LB July 9, 2019 at 1:28 pm

1. Had a stressful day of meetings and while I usually try not to let anyone buy me anything/eat during them to maintain professionalism, I caved to a coffee and lunch purchase.

2. Convinced a friend to meet me halfway for dinner to avoid traffic and gas and be able to meet in a cheaper part of town.

3. Have resigned my fate to a more expensive electric bill with the AC’s on while I’m home all day, but am trying to keep it at 75 when that doesn’t feel too hot. Every little bit helps!

4. Continuing to love my libby app and audiobooks.

No fifth one this week, as I can’t claim to be taking advantage of any good free deals or being extra resourceful. Just a lot of water drinking and eating meals at home. Can’t complain!


tracy July 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm

1. Took bus to/from work and brought own breakfast/lunch food.
2. Got a raise (yay!) and upped my automatic savings deduction — only way I save is to pay myself first.
3. Returning an item I ordered (my bete noir in aiming for non-consumer living).
4. Cooked a nice dinner after work last night even though I didn’t feel like it.
5. Canceled several recurring memberships/charity deductions (having made pledges that have long since been fulfilled).


ouvickie July 10, 2019 at 10:19 am

YAY for raises!!!


sea July 10, 2019 at 4:36 am

1. Stopped at DQ (can’t remember last time I did that!), and learned something very important: if you order a small Blizzard & ask them to split it into 2 cups, you get 2 mini size Blizzards for $2.99 instead of $4.78 ($2.39 per mini). Still pricey, but it was hot & I missed lunch!
2. Cashier was going to toss out my receipt. I asked for it, & if I fill out a survey online I’ll get a free ice cream bar, no purchase required!
3. Continue to drop the magazines I’ve read in the swap pile at the library, while grabbing new-to-me ones almost every time (thanks again to those who read their People magazine in such a timely fashion!)
4. Took my teenage son to see a movie he’s been eager to see. It was $1 for each of us, as it was the summer kid movie series. He wasn’t bothered to sit with a bunch of little-kid camp groups (and a few other teenagers). He also didn’t ask for anything from the concession stand; when the movie was about to start, he asked what snacks I had in my purse (popcorn, box of “movie candy” & water, of course).
5. Went to a historic site on July 4, one of our party was able to use the educator discount to get in free (although admission fee goes to a good cause, it was not cheap).
6. I always use the public library to get Kindle books, but was reading reviews of a book on the amazon site, and a banner popped up offering a $5 kindle book credit. While looking at another book, a $7 book credit popped up! Then it showed that I had $4 in digital credits that I could use toward kindle books (digital credits are from times I agreed to slower shipping on prime items). I was able to get 2 multi-book collections, which are nice to keep on the kindle for times I can’t access the library or can’t find anything I feel like reading (unusual). $16 in free e-books was great!


ouvickie July 10, 2019 at 6:43 am

1) I’m wearing a blouse given to me by a family member and a pair of EasySpirit slip-ons I bought at the GW several months back. I LOVE free and thrifted clothes and shoes!
2) I ordered a Reel lawn mower from Amazon, but the package never arrived, so Amazon is refunding my money. In the mean time, I found a used one at a Thrift store a few miles from where I work, but they want the price of a new one for it. However, Thursdays are 50% every week, so I’m heading over in there in the morning when they open. If it’s still there, I should be able to get it for $30.
3) A co-worker’s wife made homemade chocolate cupcakes with Kahlua icing yesterday – so that was breakfast – YUM!!
4) The University is giving all full-time staff a 3% raise in October. We haven’t had raises in over 5 years – so I’m happy!
5) I found Flea & Tick drops at Dollar Tree, made from essential oils. So I bought 5 boxes, which will get me through the warm months. $5 for 5 months worth is awesome!


rebecca July 10, 2019 at 6:58 am

1. Only money spent recently has been on groceries.
2. Clients who owed me money have recently all paid
3. Keeping the air conditioner at a reasonable temp
4. Although I really like going out, summer tends to be a leaner time for. I have watched Doc Martin, The Great British Bake off and Wimbledon for entertainment.
5. Friends came over for dinner the other night and I was able to use some things that needed to get used up from the freezer.


Jill A July 10, 2019 at 7:46 am

I’m really liking Doc Martin. Someone on here mentioned it…possibly you, I don’t remember….if so, Thank you. I’m always looking for suggestions.


rebecca July 10, 2019 at 8:14 am

I don’t think it was me. So good, poignant, quirky and, frequently, psychologically realistic. The scenery is stunning as well!


Amanda July 10, 2019 at 8:52 am

1) I have been really wanting to read a book by a friend that was published this year, but it is so recent that the university libraries to which I have access hadn’t gotten it yet. I almost broke down and paid $33 for it, but then I thought I should do a new search since it has been a while. I found it at one of the libraries!

2) My husband and I and our youngest are going on an international trip at the end of the month for the wedding of one of our employees. We found super cheap airfare six months ago. However, the baby wasn’t born until April and didn’t get his passport in the mail until June, so I couldn’t add him as a lap infant when I booked the flights. Adding him now has been a nightmare because the fly-by-night travel agency (Travel2be) that booked our cheap tickets has been waivering between telling me that it is impossible to add the baby and telling me they will call the airline and call me back, but then never doing so. The airline keeps telling me only the agency can add him and that it is easy but they just have to call. I have spent hours on the phone for the last few weeks trying to make sure I don’t get to the airport and get turned away. Finally after lots of desperate messaging with the airline the agent broke down and told me that they can make additions to tickets bought through travel agents 24 hours before the flight. She/he also said they will add lap infants for 10% of the adult fare. I checked prices today for tomorrow’s flights, and concluded that a lap infant should cost us about $100, which is totally reasonable. I was having nightmares about being all ready for this amazing adventure and then being turned away at the airport because my stupid travel agency refused to help me. Thank goodness for perseverance.

3) We’re doing a few cheap things like finally changing lightbulbs (it doesn’t help to put the light bulb box next to the lamp if you never get around to changing it!), cleaning crayon off the walls, and hanging some things that we should have ages ago to get the house ready for a home exchange guest coming this weekend when we’re out of town. It will get me free accommodations in her house next summer!

4) I am working on an application to my university to get travel funding for an upcoming trip.

5) We are incredibly fortunate to have the option to purchase health insurance for our family through two different universities this year. I took the time to compare the plans and the rates. Switching from one to the other will save us money, but left us with a two-week gap in coverage. Ordinarily we would just hunker down and try not to break a leg for two weeks, but our family of six will be traveling on the other side of the country. So I found a $200 super high deductible policy that will cover the six of us. We don’t plan to use it, but at least we know if all six of us are in a car accident we won’t have a $100,000 hospital bill. Then I figured out when I can sign up for the new coverage and what I need to complete a waiver for the other university. Now I’m taking stock of any health stuff to wrap up before our current plan ends. I’ll go ahead and buy the contacts I might have put off until September. So many details!

6) I carefully plan my Target runs and only go about once every other month or so. Unlike what seems like so many other women in my time of life and socio-economic class I hate Target. It is so big and bright and seems to me full of pre-Goodwill items that I will be able to just buy at Goodwill for $1 in a couple of years. But Aldi doesn’t have magic erasers or the toothpaste I like, so I think I am going to take my carefully curated list and go tonight while my husband is bathing the youngest kids. (I’ll also do the pick up option, which I discovered last month. You send them the list, and then they bring it out to your car when you pull up!) Then I’m going to swing by that university for the book I have been waiting for!

If I stop writing this list I have to go back to writing my dissertation. At the risk of this comment turning into a dissertation itself . . .

7) My husband has wanted to upgrade his phone for a while. We both have iphone 6s that we bought used millions of years ago. I’m fine with mine because I like to run cars and electronics into the ground before I replace them. But my husband had been really wanting an upgraded phone for a while. He uses his to run our business more than I do mine, and he really wanted the upgraded camera to take pictures of our kids. So he did his homework and looked for exactly the specs he wanted in a used phone. He found a guy on fb marketplace who buys and resells used phones, and met him at the Verizon store to check all the particulars of the phone before he bought. He saved us hundreds of dollars. I’m so proud of him.

8) I am continuing to cloth diaper and breastfeed the baby, the kids took their beach towels that came from Goodwill to camp this week for the pool, we’re eating food prepared at home, a clock I thought was broken just needed a battery, and I’m keeping up on my bookkeeping and personal budgeting.


Lisa M. July 10, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Amanda – Re: Your #6. I also dislike Target. When I frequented our GW in past years, I found many NIP Target items there. Apparently, our local Target donates returns to the local GW for tax write-offs. I will concede that they have tasteful holiday decorations & their parmesan pull-apart bakery bread is to die for. That’s about it…


Alison July 11, 2019 at 8:19 am

1. Bought a used, older motorhome (not frugal) as an experiment to see if we like it. So far so good. DH has put his “baby” up for sale, his BMW, and when it sells, we will put the cash down on the MOHO, and start sharing my car.
2. Accepted a one day per week job in the office of the school I retired from two years ago. Extra cash will be minimal, but nice, I’m really doing it for the social aspect and the mental stimulation.
3. Took my own glass container to the fish counter at my local store to avoid the plastic and paper wrappers.
4. Had a $5 reward from Eddie Bauer, so a $25 travel wallet, reduced by 50% cost me just over $5. (I never pay full price for anything there).
5. Enjoying borrowing books from our neighbourhood little libraries, and donating books I don’t like, or have already or will never read to them.
6. Gave a friend a panini maker we haven’t used in years as we no longer eat bread. Her son and his friend are moving into their first place, and will love it.


Roberta July 11, 2019 at 9:03 am

1. It’s going to be hot here for the next week (ish), so we’re planning things that take us to the coast where it’s cool. Except Saturday, when the kids already had friends scheduled to come over. Early matinee tomorrow with a friend of my daughter’s, sailing and a barbecue at the club, zoo and lasertag with coupons from my daughter’s birthday party.
2. Since we couldn’t take our planned summer trip, we spent a couple of nights camping in the local mountains. The site cost was a lot less than I expected, and it was a beautiful site. Saw bats, woodpeckers swooping bugs out of the air, a turkey with two chicks, and a mountain lion! Our dog scared it away, but it was really exciting — in a good way — for our daughter who saw it. The site was nice enough that we’re planning another trip out there for when the temperatures cool off — much cheaper than needing another expensive trip to make up for the trip we’re missing.
3. Returning the wood we bought for our camping trip, because people before us left lots of wood. We left kindling and tree trimmings for the next person (and decreased our woodpile at home).
4. My daughter is getting a free French class at the local community college, because she is in high school and our school does not offer French. Signed up today.
5. Squeezing lemons off the tree, to free their juice for winter.


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