Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 18, 2015 · 35 comments

Found money

  1. I stopped into The Grocery Outlet yesterday while my son was having his Japanese tutoring, as they’re in the same neighborhood. (I batch errands whenever possible!) I didn’t spend enough money to use one of my $3-off-$25 coupons, although I did fill 2-1/2 bags with 3/$1 Tillamook yogurts, frozen pierogis, bananas, red potatoes, jam, avocados, tomatoes, sour cream, tamales and 99¢ kielbasa. I then found 7¢ in the parking lot, which has since been added to my Found Change Challenge jar.
  2. I was dangerously drooping after my grocery shopping, and still had another half-hour to kill while waiting for my son’s tutoring to finish. The library is attached to a coffee shop and I started fantasizing about how glorious it would be to sit down with a strong cup of coffee. But I changed my mind at the last second when I saw a sign proclaiming that they served “Infused Red Bull,” which is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard of. This shocked me out of my stupor, and instead I answered a few e-mails on my phone and picked out a couple of library books. And when I did get home, I enjoyed a 4¢ cup of strong and glorious Red Rose tea.
  3. My neighbors are going on vacation and stopped by to return a plate that I’d taken over with some pumpkin scones. She also brought the latest Sunset magazine for me, as she’d received an extra one. Having a give-and-take relationship with neighbors not only strengthens community, but also saves money.
  4. I’m transitioning my cats’ litter boxes from an upstairs hallway down to the basement, which means we currently have a three litter box upstairs-downstairs situation going on. Because having litter boxes in two areas is for a minimal period of time, I’d rather not buy an extra scoop. Instead of walking a scoop down two flights of stairs, I’m using an inside-out bread bag doggy style. It does the job without requiring an extra purchase to be made and an extra plastic doodad to be manufactured. This is definitely a make it doo opportunity.
  5. My older son’s computer mouse stopped working a few months ago, and he keeps stealing his brother’s one. Today I’m taking him to Goodwill to pick out a used one. It may not be pleasing to the eye and aerodynamically streamlined like a new one would be, but it’ll be functional. And peace will hopefully prevail again in our home sweet home.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to? 

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie March 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

(1) Enjoying being home after a 5-day trip to NYC (part pleasure, part business). The snow has now melted off our solar panels, so we’re back to cranking part of our own electricity at last. Here in Upstate, we’ll take what we can get.

(2) Frugal parts of the trip included:

(a) Staying in the Upper West Side apt. of lovely and generous friends.

(b) Getting into various museums with said friends’ member discounts.

(c) Scoring two Orvis “scrunchy” tops for $2 each at a thrift shop in the 96th St. area.

(3) Unfrugal parts included most of the meals out, although we did our best to economize even on those.


Katy March 18, 2015 at 11:54 am

That sounds wonderful. I’m seriously craving a NYC trip.


Sabrina | Frugal Italian Family March 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Today my husband managed to repair our dishwasher! It is just one thing but it is worth five!


Katy March 18, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Maybe even six!


Meredith P. March 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Today I am continuing to resist purchasing temporary furniture for our new house. We had to leave most of our (already sparse) furniture in the “for sale” house, so we are using boxes as clothing containers right now. I drool over every chest of drawers I pass…


AnnDenee March 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

1. I encouraged my husband to see that buying 2 motorcycles right now is a REALLY bad idea for us financially. (I don’t even have a motorcycle license.)

2. I heated up leftovers from last night’s supper for today’s lunch rather than making up something new and having even more leftovers.

3. I am staying home with daughter all day today rather than mindlessly driving around town for amusement, and ultimately spending money for an ice cream or something else equally frivolous.

4. I am crocheting a blanket for my daughter’s bed for next winter.

5. I am waiting for a formal quote from a new insurance company which I think will save us about $400 annually on our car insurance.


Katy March 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Ice cream is frivolous?! You take that back!!!!!!


Isabelle March 18, 2015 at 1:39 pm

For me today…
* Registered for a month of unlimited yoga at a quality yoga center for a first timer fee of 35$ (Usually 80$ plus taxes). So if I go 3 times a week (my goal), it will come to a cheap 2.75$ per class.
* I just sold my spinning bike for 200$, yippi!! Money for me, good deal for someone else and more space in my basement.
* Swapped a shift with a coworker, 3.75 extra hours for me.
* Hubby and I decided against buying the “official day-care pictures”. Being told that the packages are “cheap, starting at like only 20$” Multiply by 2, since I have 2 kids there. Sorry but “just” 40$ (or more) for pictures is not what I call cheap! We have them photographed once a year at Wal-Mart and it cost like 12$, so will stick to this until school pictures.
* Got rid of a bunch of books by giving them away. Less stuff, more space.
* Got a new-to-me book for free. It’s a cute children’s book in perfect condition so it’s going in the “next Christmas drawer” We all love books in my house, something I am very happy about!

Have a great frugal day!


Katy March 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

My husband took the preschool pictures for my sons’ co-op preschool and had it be a fundraiser and was still cheaper than the previous company that did them. Plus, they were like professional photo studio quality.


Jane F March 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm

But doesn’t your husband have photographic training? 🙂

Also is that were photos of kids as toddlers (in the wooden frames you painted black) were taken? Those are very cute

I apologize for my slightly creepy memory of your blog posts


Katy March 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Those are exactly from the preschool photo shoot. And yes, my husband used to be a professional photographer.


Jill March 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

1. Sold 3 things on ebay for $37. Crap out – money in!
2. We have a friend who moved into an apt. about a mile from the beach. We kept some things for garageless him and were able to stay at his apt for a beach weekend. Now he is moving to a house and we are delivering his items in exchange for a stay for a family wedding.
3.Painting a bedroom so we took 3 leftover gallons of beige paint and mixed it with 3 leftover gallons of white. Made a decent color and we used up all the paint.
4.My husband had to drive by where my errands would be for work so we carpooled and saved gas. I had to wait on him for about an hour but hey, saved money.
5.Shopped my closet for a dress to wear to the above family
wedding . Just came up with a different combination of dress and jewelry from a past wedding that I went to. No purchase necessary.


Emily March 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm

I love 5 frugal things and I also love (Just as much) all the comments detailing everyone’s frugalness!


Carol March 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Love that Red Rose tea, too! I’m a self professed tea snob! Love the blog, too, Katy.


stacy March 19, 2015 at 5:16 am

That’s the only tea my husband and step-sons will drink! They are finally backing off on the sweet tea now….but I still make it on occasion.


Kathleen March 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

My husband has realized that some of his old Magic Cards might be worth money. He is taking the time to sell them on Amazon.

He is going to go through his old comic book collection in the basement next. Crappola out and money in. Yeah!

I am reworking part of my kitchen. My goal is to sell my old wine rack for the same amount of money that two tall recycling bins will cost me. The space will be much more functional and the money will be zero sum.

My grocery shopping has been high so far this month. I’m going to work really hard to keep it low the rest of the month. I was so happy last month when I kept the cost down.

I went through my fabric stash and have weeded out the stuff I know I won’t ever use. My sewing area was becoming unuseable with piles. Rather than throw anything out, I’ve been finding homes for everything via a facebook group I belong too.


marleen March 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm

I’ve been enjoying Five Frugal Things as I’ve just recently discovered your blog.
I am most successful on the weekends when I have more time.
This past weekend:
I made yogurt in my crockpot, about ten servings for the cost of a half gallon of milk.
My husband wanted me to pick up marmalade at the store, and when I saw it was $3.99 for the jar, we looked up a recipe. He made his own for the cost of two oranges, one lemon, and four cups of sugar.
I write letters to my children who are spread across the country, and I like to make their mail interesting. I used some 2014 calenders and made twelve colorful envelopes.
I found a recipe for artisan bread in the crockpot, eliminating one item on my grocery list. I made up a batch which will make four loaves, refrigerated it, and make it up as needed. It takes about an hour-and-a-half from the time I set it in the crockpot to the time we can cut into it and enjoy it hot and fresh.
I kept track of our frugal efforts during the week, gave them an estimated monetary value, and put that amount towards one of our two remaining debts. We hope to be debt-free by the end of the year.


marie March 18, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I’d like to know how you make the yogurt. We’re trying to use up all the froaen raspberries in the freezer.


Diane C March 19, 2015 at 7:10 am

I’m not sure which method Katy uses, but her blog pal Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has a foolproof method using an ice chest for incubation. It’s the easiest method I’ve used and I haven’t lost a batch yet.


Lori March 19, 2015 at 9:14 am

I use Frugal Girl’s yogurt recipe too and love it… it’s simple and turns out great every time.


marleen March 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

It’s very easy and doesn’t take much time.
Pour a half gallon of milk (whole, 2 percent, or skim) into your crockpot, cover and turn on low for 3 hours. Unplug the crockpot, keep it covered and let sit for another 3 hours. Then whisk in one 6 oz. container of yogurt – I use a good Greek yogurt like Fage or Chobani for starter – Put the cover back on and wrap the crockpot in a big towel and keep in a warm place for about 8 hours.
It will be less solid than store-bought so you can strain through cheesecloth set in a strainer if you want a more solid product ( I do this for “sour cream”) but eating it as it is with fresh or frozen fruit mixed in is how I eat it.
For the next batch, just save about a cup to use as the starter.


KT March 18, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Oh, and I would appreciate if you would share the source for your crockpot bread! Please?


marleen March 20, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Here is the link
I found that I have to keep it in my crockpot longer than they suggest. I test it by tapping on the top. It does help to put in under the broiler for about 2 minutes to get the brown crust.


Betty Winslow March 18, 2015 at 6:39 pm

1. Semi-frugal: met a friend for catch-up and coffee at Biggby’s, but since it was their birthday celebration today, my drink AND hers cost $4.25 total!
2. Lunch was left-overs. So was dinner.
3. Not frugal, but decluttering – went through a big stack of papers, phone books, rosters, directories, etc. and trashed/recycled most of it.
4. Finally wrote the thank you notes I needed to do after Dad’s funeral (in June ) but used thank you notes I culled from his stuff as I went through it, and stamps that I found lying abandoned on the PO lobby counter after hours the other day.
5. Making my requested contribution for my adopted granddaughter’s 3rd birthday party on Friday, gourmet popcorn (the party’s theme is “At the Movies”). Popped three whole boxes of popcorn (bought on sale, and got three labels for education off them for our school drive) and so far have made chocolate striped popcorn. Yet to come: caramel corn and herbal buttered popcorn.


Linda March 18, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Don’t make any assumptions about the mouse you may find at the Goodwill. I picked up a NIB (actually the dreaded blister pack) wireless mouse at a garage sale. It was a fraction of what it would have cost retail.


Katy March 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm

I had my son make sure it worked before we took off the price tag.


Nathalie March 18, 2015 at 7:57 pm

1) I went over my goal of spending only $50 for groceries this week but it was because I bought several meat products on 50% clearance, rye bread on 50% clearance, muffin mix on 50% clearance (with coupons, almost free!), etc. My actual budget is $100 and I still came in under that so it’s all good. I did get several freebies too.

2) Met my middle son at Steak’n Shake for lunch since he was in town. I used coupons to save some money.

3) I had found a recipe to make my own laundry stain remover but I was able to get a bottle of Shout (my favorite) for less than $0.30 after coupons and rebate so I “splurged”.

4) Got a coupon insert from the library’s donation pile and one of the latest thrillers to distract me from the housekeeping that I really should be doing 🙂

5) My youngest son voluntarily agreed to attend my oldest son’s jazz concert on Saturday night with me, which is a huge deal since 1) he never wants to do anything (he’s 13, need I say more?( and 2) he claims that he doesn’t like jazz. I’m thrilled that he’s actually interested in spending time with me and at a jazz concert to boot! It’ll cost me an extra $5 for his ticket but I’d pay more than that for the pleasure of his voluntary company. There’s nothing frugal about this last paragraph but I’m still so tickled about his that I had to share.

I checked on available rebates/tax credits for energy efficient windows, as had been suggested by a couple of commenters here, but there is nothing available for my area. It seems all the credit/tax incentives these days are for solar water heating. Oh well.


K D March 19, 2015 at 4:17 am

1. Dinner was leftovers, now the refrigerator is much less full.

2. I walked to yoga, to make sure I hit my 10,000 steps/day goal. I was thrilled that the ice was finally gone from the sidewalk by a busy intersection. Since I have a monthly membership to the yoga studio the class (I had never attended before) did not cost me anything out of pocket.

3. I will meet friends today for lunch. It is a bunch of us celebrating a birthday. I looked at the menu online, so i know what I will order, and I will drink water.

4. Tonight I will make the new family favorite for dinner, Buffalo Chicken pizza. I’ll make 2 large pizzas so there will be leftovers. It’s so much cheaper than take-out and probably doesn’t take any more hans on time than going to pick up take-out.

5. I must get off the computer and get to the grocery store. It is the last day of the current sale and there are some sales worth purchasing. I will run a few other errands at the same time.


Bari March 19, 2015 at 7:05 am

Upon reading all the interesting and innovative frugal accomplishments, I’m so pleased to see that not one person succumbed to the I-just-gotta-have-a-Lear-Jet urge!
You are all such Pillars of Prudence!


Katy March 19, 2015 at 9:59 am

We deserve a medal!


JD March 19, 2015 at 7:07 am

1. I have two crock pots going for supper right now — one holding a sale priced chicken, the other holding some sale priced beet roots (we love roasted beets). It’s so nice to come home to a fragrant house and a meal mostly prepared, and it means I have no temptation to stop at a store on the way home.
2. In my larger crockpot, I’m using the meat rack that I purchased at a yard sale for ten cents.
3. My reading material lately has been a free download from a magazine’s website. I took a free six-month trial, and during that trial, was allowed to download and print quite a few small books and study series. I ended the subscription after the free trial. I decided I didn’t want yet another bill.
4. My upcoming yard sale progresses. Every time we find something we don’t want, need, or use, we say “Put it in the yard sale!” With the great weather we’ve been having, my yard sale will be very soon.
5. I didn’t book the Danube cruise that we keep getting offers for at home. Not quite a Lear jet, but still…..


Val March 19, 2015 at 7:09 am

1. Just finally cut off the cable this morning! It took 45 minutes on the phone with
the cable company trying to convince me to take a cheaper package – but I just
kept saying ” No, thank you”, until they finally gave up. This will save me about
$35 per month.
2. Finished my taxes yesterday, and should be getting a refund in a couple of
weeks. This money will go into my summer vacation fund.
3. Wearing a sweater at home today so the heat is turned down while kids at
4. I didn’t buy a new car – test drove one while mine was being serviced. It was
in my fav colour – purple! 🙂
5. I didn’t buy a lear jet!


Katy March 19, 2015 at 9:59 am

Good job not buying a Lear Jet, that is very impressive!


Isabelle March 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

Just scored a white board for free, for the kids to draw on , and I am working an extra 3.75 hours today.


pattilou March 19, 2015 at 8:54 am

1. Made cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday instead of stopping and gettting a cake. I made an extra dozen to use up the very tastey peanut butter icing I had made and had lots left over.
2. picking up a few extra hours at work
3. After a very stressful day yesterday I resisted the urge to stop and pick up Chinese food on my way home. I made Szechuan shrimp with ingredients I already had instead.
4. Making birthday cards instead of buying
5. started making a Christmas gift for next Christmas using things I have on hand.


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