Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 16, 2015 · 32 comments

Cheap milk

  1. I stopped into Fred Meyer on my way home from dropping my son at school today. I bought the above gallon of milk which doesn’t even expire until March 21st, as well as two 2-lb loaves of Tillamook cheese for $5.99 apiece. I’ll make a couple more cheese runs this week, as the coupon limit is to only buy two at a time. I’m 100% brand loyal to Tillamook, which is how you can tell I’m a native Oregonian.
  2. I had to drive my son to a far flung suburb for a birthday party yesterday. Instead of simply driving home, I set my phone’s GPS for the nearest Goodwill and indulged in a quiet half hour or so of shopping. I ended up buying a brand new Land’s End long sleeve T-shirt for $3.49, which I paid for using a Goodwill gift card. I ruthlessly decluttered my clothing recently, and was left with not much at all. I actually need a few more items to fill out my wardrobe.
  3. I’m setting up a blog giveaway for Gretchen Rubin’s newest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I’ll be receiving a review copy, which will save me money as I have a Compact (buy nothing new) exception for books written by friends. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, as my self discipline leaves much to be desired. Plus, Gretchen Rubin has a gift when it comes to disseminating dry information in a way that resonates with the masses.
  4. My husband and I have been recent recipients of some terrific free stuff. I found two ponytail holders plus a stretchy headband on the turf at my son’s soccer game yesterday, while my husband was given an elite club seat ticket for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament. (The ticket includes free food and beer.) Can you tell that I thrill more easily than my husband does? What can I say, I’m a cheap date!
  5. I’m eating bulk purchased oatmeal for breakfast, keeping the furnace off as much as possible, cleaning two of my mother’s guest cottages this week, convincing my husband to sell his dust collecting drum set, doing our taxes using Turbo Tax, washing our hands using a foaming hand soap pump dispenser that I refill using just a few squirts of liquid soap plus water, planning meals based on half-priced chicken and noting the blue skies and thinking it would be a perfect day to dry sheets on the clothesline.

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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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat March 16, 2015 at 10:42 am

Hope you have better luck with Turbo than we did. I now get my taxes done and get far more back , following instructions left too much on the table for items we didn’t even know we could deduct. ( I am in Canada).


Katy March 16, 2015 at 10:47 am

We’ve been using Turbo Tax for five years or so and have been very happy with it. Of course, we haven’t had an accountant look it over to see if we could have been doing better.


Darcyjo March 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

Turbo Tax pulled a fast one on a number of folks this year, adding to the price for those of us who need it for self-employment purposes. You don’t know the price has gone up until you get to that part. They’ve offered to let you fill out a form and get a refund for the price increase this year, but thankfully I was warned in advance of what they were up to. Think I’m going with H&R Block online this year, at least you know how much you’ll pay in advance!


Isabelle March 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

We use TurboTax too (in Canada), never had problems so far. Cross fingers!


beckie Abbott March 16, 2015 at 11:10 am

Hi Katy, I am in Eugene. Bandon cheese is the way to go! Try sometime when it is on sale and let me know what you think, if you haven’t already done a taste test with Tillamook. Naturally, Tillamook is my back up cheese😃 Goodwill here will often give a 20% off coupon for donations, so I take something before going into the store.


Vicki March 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm

I heard that Tillamook bought out Bandon Cheese quite a few years ago. They didn’t change much of anything, though.


beckie Abbott March 16, 2015 at 11:13 am

I use Tax Slayer and one year compared to TurboTax, as I had been using it. A bit better cash back with T.S.


tracey March 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

My clothes are hanging outside on the line drying as I write. Yesterday we went up to Mesa, AZ to watch a Cubs spring training game. (We live in Tucson.) We squeezed in a side trip to Once Upon A Child (used kids clothing store) in Gilbert (they do not have one in Tucson) and got everything my 7 year old needed for the rest of the school year and summer. We spent $97 and got:
2 hooded sweatshirts (for camping)
3 pr denim shorts
1 pr plaid shorts
2 pr running shorts
4 polo shirts
1 pr sneakers
1 pr water shoes
1 fleece lands’ end pullover
1 long sleeve button down shirt
1 toy (interactive globe)
I wish they had a decent second hand clothing store for kids here in Tucson but I haven’t found one yet. Our Goodwill has very few kids clothes. Oh well.


Sharon March 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

Turbo tax does just fine for me, as well. And I always stock up when Tillamook cheese loafs go on sale!
Five frugal things:
1) Breakfast was an egg sandwich made with eggs that cracked in transit, cheese from grocery outlet bought for $.97 for a 2# box and bread given to me.
2) lunch was grilled cheese made from same as above.
3) Dinner will be stir fry made from veggies off the discount rack, a 4 oz slice of leftover pork, and a bit of extra sauce from another meal.
4) I decided to not go to the store today as I am waiting for a coupon I know is coming and I want to use that on this trip.
5) I am walking the dogs and doing housework for my exercise instead of using a gym. So, no extra money spent.
Happy Monday!


chris March 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

Those foaming soap dispensers – what a gem! I’ve been refilling mine for 3 years from the same yard sale purchased bottle of hand soap! About 1/4 soap, the rest water!


Katie March 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm

1. I’m super lucky when it comes to taxes. My boss’s husband is a CPA and does the staff’s taxes (3 of us) for free every year as our Christmas gift. I just got my letter to sign today to submit them.

2. I have been dabbling in selling things on facebook garage sale groups to some pretty great success. $37 in a week and another $15 pending pick up. My house is being decluttered and I have some extra cash to help pay off my debt.

3. Speaking of debt I realized I have almost paid off my last credit card (only $400 left) until I am 100% debt free including credit cards, car, and school. YES!!!!

4. I spent sunday evening mending clothes as I put them away from the wash while watching Grey’s on netflix for the 5th time. My roommate throws out anything that gets hole in it. If I did that I’d be naked.

5. I broke the 2nd plastic water bottle (the kind with the straw) in 3 months so I used my store credit (from returning the broken ones) to target to buy a beautiful glass water bottle. It cost $5 less than the plastic ones and I’m looking forward to washing it a lot easier. Plus now I still have a $5 target credit…. maybe I’ll treat myself to some easter candy after easter.


Jill A March 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Congratulations on being debt free. That’s great.


Jill A March 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I have heard you mention Tillamook cheese so many times I had to try it. We just joined Costco and they have it there. It is so good.

Also I’m wondering where and what kind of foaming soap dispenser you have? That might be worth trying.

My frugal list:
1. Cooked dinner at home this weekend. I made wet burritos from Mexican chicken I made in my slow cooker, homemade refried beans from the freezer, bulk purchased cheese, and the sauce was brown gravy mixed with homemade enchilada sauce. We also made steaks we purchased at Costco for my daughters last day of spring break. Not the cheapest but less than a steak house.
2. Husband and I painted in our basement this weekend. We are finishing it ourselves.
3. My poor husband has a migraine tonight so he’s not hungry so I made a
quesadilla for my daughter with the leftover mexican chicken and cheese. I will have leftovers later.
4. Cleaned house all day so no shopping or money spent. Used homemade cleaners to clean with.
5. Repaired my dishwasher silverware basket using plastic ties. Hopefully it will last a few more months. I will have to look for a new one.


Isabelle March 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I got my foaming bottles at a dollar store! After looking EVERYWHERE to buy some (even specialized stores) without success, I found some at the dollar store for 2$ (including the chimical soap in it, that I dumped) Still in good condition after 2 years of daily use.


Karen. March 17, 2015 at 6:51 am

We found halloween-themed Dial foaming soap dispensers (with soap, of course) on sale for 50 cents. The label is a shrinky so it peels right off with no residue, and we’ve been reusing ever since. With six people washing hands, we use them a lot — they seem really sturdy.


Jill A March 17, 2015 at 7:21 am

Thank you. I’ll have to try that. My mother has the bath & body works brand. She’s tried refilling them before, but says it doesn’t work. Maybe it is just with that brand.


Another Trish March 17, 2015 at 11:38 am

We have refilled the bath and body works ones just fine– you might want to take a look at what she is doing. I just fill it about 3/4 with water and 1/4 with soap. Sometimes, after a lot of use, the pump gets stuck or broken though. Maybe that’s what has happened. We refill with Seventh Generation soap. If you are trying to refill with a non-sudsing soap you might be disappointed. At any rate, we are going back to pure olive oil bar soap and swearing off detergents once my stash in the linen closet is gone.


Isabelle March 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

We use liquid castille soap, a couple squirts (1/8 of the bottle?), and fill up with water. A 12$ bottle of castille last forever this way!

Hobart Chic March 16, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! Today, is the best day for second hand shop forays where I live in Tasmania. I found a DVD last week which provided me with very cheap therapy. Laughter is good for body and soul! I rarely buy DVDs but try and buy them second hand only, or borrow from the library.

For future tax, the eTax service may be useful. I use the Australian version for my taxes and found it was well run. Obviously, I have no personal experience with the USA product, the link is:


Isabelle March 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

* Scored 2 places (usually always fills up too quickly to have spots) at the community center for a night of babysitting. 25$ for 5 hours, for 2 kids. Really cheap. So basically we drop them off there at 3h with a supper, and pick them up at 8h.
* Went to our monthly restaurant outing with the kids and scored A LOT of food (supper for us 4+ leftovers for a lunch for me AND a extra supper for myself and the kids!), all for 45$ taxes and tip included (36$ worth of free food).
* we’ve been having water plant problems for a couple days. Instead of going out to buy bottled water I am boiling some at home and chilling it in the fridge.
* Decided not to go back to school after all. In this economy, I’m already lucky to still have a job (that pays well, is a good schedule and 3 weeks vacation yearly at the moment), so I better stay put!
* work-out at home today

Have a great frugal day!


Betsey March 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

I read an article today on MSN about how cleaning products and cosmetics containing parabens can really screw up your endochrine system. I had to laugh because I have used vinegar, baking soda, and soap & water for years to clean my home. I also only wear makeup on special occasions. I firmly believe that a good hairstyle, a little color on the cheeks and a big smile is all you really need.
I made stir fry with Hawaiian bratwurst (on sale), veggies in the fridge I already had, and it was yummy.
I had been looking for a new sofa, but everything is so blah and I like color! So I bought a new bright area rug and yarn to make a cozy afghan.
I sprained my ankle. The doctor gave me a prescription for pain. Really I wasn’t in that much pain, so I skipped the prescription and used aspirin.


jiiill March 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

1. I was sick yesterday, so Hubby went to Safeway to pick up two items that were free on their “just 4 you” program. He got some pasta in a huge bag that will feed our family for two meals and a container of yogurt. PLUS…there was a digital coupon attached to the pasta, so the cashier handed him a dollar! The receipt stated our savings was 112%!
2. Had half of the free bag of pasta for dinner, plus I thawed a loaf of bread that was in the freezer. No veggies with dinner tonight, but we snack on fruits and veggies during the day.
3. Went to a work thing where there was a raffle. I won a bag of Starbuck’s whole bean coffee. I don’t have a grinder, but my friends told me that Starbuck’s will grind it for free!
4. Returned the movie to the library before I was dinged with fees. Fees on library items make me a grumpy bear.
5. Worked out at home, no gym fees.


Chris March 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Went to Sam’s Club with a coupon from the paper for a free 60 day membership. Came home with coffee beans, dawn, english muffins and lo dose aspirin as well as a list of prices for products I normally buy and realized that the cost differential is minimal so I don’t think this is something we will pay in order to continue.

However I may stock pile a few things to save trips – and reduce packaging – during this 60 day period.

My husband had been chomping at the bit with excitement and came out saying he never needed to go again. Glad we are on the same page!


Madeleine March 16, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Check TaxACT!! Way cheaper than TurboTax ($13 versus $35) and I got the same $ return.
I was skeptical until two of my coworkers mentioned they use it (and not that it means we know anything about taxes, but we’re all PhD economists).


Jill March 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Such a great price for a gallon of milk! I have never seen milk go on sale that low here in South Carolina in the 15 years I have lived here. If you’re lucky, you can find it for $2.98. Maybe.


Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life March 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm

These past few weeks I’ve been busy working extra shifts to make a few extra bucks which means saving energy at home and drinking a lot more fluids on the company’s dime! (yay for free organic coffee).

With a bit less time to do the laundry list of tasks for the week, I’ve been efficiently stopping around town either on my way to work or on my way home, saving me lots of gas and headaches because no one is there when I stop by!


Ronnica, Striving Stewardess March 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm

Goodwill has giftcards? I know what my SIL is getting for her birthday…she is as frugal as I am!


Diane March 17, 2015 at 5:00 am

Paid the final installment on one loan. I’ve been living the ultra frugalista life for many years now to get my debt under control and finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Another loan and 3 credit cards to go and I’ll be debt free by age 73. It’s been a long time coming!

I went thrift shopping for the first time in many moons and found 2 lovely all cotton summer tops…one from the Gap and one from Coldwater Creek. and I had a coupon to make the final cost even lower!


JD March 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

1. I got my free exercise by taking a long walk at lunch. It’s warm and windy today, and I’m taking advantage of it before the heat turns brutal, which it will quickly do here in Florida.
2. I’m eating leftovers for lunch from a meal made last night out of — leftovers! I had reheated the veggies and made a version of Spanish Rice with leftover meat and rice. The only new thing was the tomato sauce.
3. For my granddaughter’s birthday, I made cupcakes. They are so easy to make, frosting included, I don’t know why anyone would buy them.
4. My husband raises veggie plants from seed and is selling them very casually, on a table at the side of the yard for three or so hours per day. In two days he has made over $65.00 and he expects to sell much more when the weekend hits. His best day ever since he started doing this a couple of years ago was $400 in a day at the height of the planting season. He raises heirlooms so he can save some of the seeds, cutting down on expenses. Since he’s not able to work full time, this is much needed.
5. This nice breezy weather means it is time to wash and hang-dry my winter blankets and put them away. One of my cotton blankets is from my childhood home and is about 60 years old, without a single ravel, tear, or pick. I would have to say it was well made!


Kim from Philadelphia March 17, 2015 at 9:13 am

I have never, ever- in all my shopping years been lucky enough to find discounted milk at the store. Boo!!

– just baked a cake for my husband’s birthday. Hershey’s chocolate cake, vanilla frosting with a hint of green for the Irish Bday boy
– invited 2 friends over for dinner last night. We had make your own grilled chicken salads. I pulled out some chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled them. In addition to lettuce we had shredded carrots and cheddar cheese ( (I used my grater) , garbanzo beans and sliced olives ( had cans in the pantry) and hard boiled eggs. I also made a Dijon garlic dressing. It was delish


Betty Winslow March 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Not frugal, particularly, but have spent the last two weeks of work days decluttering my office, going through files, shredding and recycling stuff, and trying to get everything back in order for the end of the school year. I need to spend some time decluttering my e-files, too…. and wow, it feels good to be able to put my hand right on what I needed! Oh, and you guys will appreciate this – I purged and semi-organized my books last year and last week, when my husband was complaining about the wait at the library for a book he wanted to read, I told him I was pretty sure I had a copy of it. He laughed and said, maybe so, but the chances of it ever surfacing were pretty slim. I walked in the living room, knelt down, ran my hand over a row of Christian theology books and handed him the book. He was amazed! (So was I…. LOL) I have more purging and shuffling to do, but that moment went a long way towards making me want to get back to it!! 🙂


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