Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 2, 2015 · 31 comments

Hispano Moresque tile table

  1. I spent a few hours over at my mother’s house yesterday helping her go through some things at the back of her kitchen, which also serves as an office space. We were easily able to consolidate and declutter, and the time went by quickly as I mercilessly teased my mother about her massive numbers of binder clips of every shape, size and pattern. (The tiny ones are so cute!) An antique tiled coffee table was under the desk, and when I asked her about it, she told me to take it for resale. I brought it home and quickly put together a Craigslist post, which I shared on The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group. A savvy reader quickly identified it as Hispano Moresque style, which helped me to identify the era, which makes it from the late 1920’s to early 1930’s. I haven’t received any offers on it yet, but when I do I’ll stash the money in yes . . . my sons’ college fund. (I’m 6.2% tempted to keep the table, but it’s a bit too pattern heavy for a room that already has a lot of pattern.)
  2. My mother also sent me home with a large glass canister and an untouched iPhone4 accessories set. Hooray for an extra charger and set of earbuds! The jar’s rubber gasket was completely dried out and brittle, but my friend Lise says she has an extra one to share.
  3. I stopped at The Grocery Outlet yesterday after dropping my son at school. Although it was only 8:30 A.M., the parking lot was full and the store was hopping. I was a bit confused until I realized that it was Senior Day, and they were giving out Bingo cards to win store gift cards. I didn’t take a card, but I did win at finding some great deals such as big bags of 69¢ onions, 99¢ tomatoes, and 99¢ organic bananas. I also bought more 8/$1 schwanky Müller brand yogurts and pretty much everything I need for my sons’ Easter baskets. (Lindt chocolate rabbits, Cadbury creme eggs and Peeps.) I still need to buy unshelled peanuts in place of nasty plastic Easter grass, and jelly beans for the plastic eggs.
  4.  I was able to make 14 jars of jam from two large containers of Costco strawberries. And when I went to Fred Meyer to buy the pectin, it was on sale for 80¢ down from $1.99. Since I was making freezer jam, there was no boiling the filled jars and buying of brand new lids. And I got to use whatever jars I had on hand, including this wee lassie. (Shh . . . she’s napping.)Tiny jam
  5. My husband and younger son are going to a Portland Timbers soccer game, so I’m making sure to have an early dinner planned out so they won’t be tempted to get takeout. Tonight’s dinner will be a chicken noodle soup, using the leftover bones from last night’s dinner, plus a couple of added drumsticks from the freezer. It’s all in the crock pot for now, which means I can come and go from the house without worrying about the risk of leaving a simmering pot on the stove.

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 }

Betty Winslow April 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

1. Dinner tonight will be leftovers.
2. Baked a batch of brownies from a boxed mix on sale and divied them up into three packages, one for a family whose pregnant mom is bedridden, one small one for my nephew and his wife and toddler daughter (taking them dinner tomorrow night, to help them cope as they adjust to a new foster baby that cries *all the time*), and another small one for us (we don’t need a whole batch. Would eat one, yes, but don’t need it….)
3. Fond a good site for free computer puzzle games, for when I’m in the mood to play.
4. Borrowed “Into the Woods” from the library and will watch it tonight or tomorrow night.
5. Entered some more reward codes into two sites that sell supplements we use a lot of, and scored two $3 and 1 $7 coupon that I will use next time they go on sale BOGO.


Lynn D. April 2, 2015 at 11:05 am

My husband has been out of town for a few days and when he’s gone I go into extreme frugal mode. I turn down the heat, don’t flush every time, batch errands and try to eat from the pantry. I made a delicious soup from 1 cup split peas, half a rutabaga, a leek, potato and homemade chicken stock. It is delicious, but it’s lasting forever. I’m going to have the last bowl for lunch, but I think I’ll have to buy some fancy champagne to get it down (kidding). I donated a lot of clutter to thrift shops, but resisted going into the stores to buy anything else.


Katy April 2, 2015 at 11:09 am

I do those kind of things while my husband works his very long shifts.


A. Marie April 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

(1) Just took another few items of clothing to my local not-quite-consignment shop (lower payback than the consignment shops, but cash on the barrelhead and less fuss).

(2) Took rejects from (1) plus several other items to local thrift shop on way home.

(3) Took latest load of street-picked NYS 5-cent deposit containers to local container return store next to thrift shop. (Personnel at store lamented the length of yesterday’s lines: “The snow melted.”)

(4) Was able to get out in garden after return home and dig out a few winter-killed plants. Excellent tune-up for flabby arms after long winter–and the psychological benefits of actual contact with garden dirt are beyond calculation!

(5) Leftovers tonight. Will enhance our appreciation of bestest neighbors’ Seder tomorrow night even further.


Lori in Michigan April 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm

The winter has left a somewhat pudgier version of me behind. I’m not quite fitting into my jeans, and I’m concerned that when I bring up my summer clothes I won’t fit into them. Darn this menopause hooey. I work out 2-3 times a week and am not losing a single pound! :/

Expedition today to help out the wardrobe. Drove past the expensive mall to the Salvation Army and Value World. Found some good stuff – two pairs of pants that are long enough that I don’t look like a short-pants dork (not so easy to find), and three pairs of summer capris that I could comfortably get into and look cute too. And all at great prices.


Jill April 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm

I replied to add on Freecycle for someone who wanted a lawnmower. For reasons I don’t fully understand, we have THREE lawnmowers, but the starter is broken on TWO of them. My husband is not handy that way and I am just flat out not interested, but the guy on Freecycle was totally cool with broken starters, so I think he will be taking both of them off our hands! Hurray! And we will be left with one nice working mower that I can actually push. I had been planning to put the broken ones on Freecycle for weeks, so this works out great!


Michelle April 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm

1. My phone is finally working! I bought an iPhone 4 (refurbished) from Pageplus with the intent of keeping that baby forever. Two years later, it died! We first tried to fix it from home via YouTube. I then brought it to Apple with the intent of paying to fix it. They took it back and discovered a scratched off serial number and non-Apple/Chinese parts. I had no idea! Needless to say, I was so upset and embarrassed. I looked for used iPhones on Craigslist, but I was terrified of what I was buying especially after this whole Pageplus fiasco. I bought an IPhone 5c new 🙁 but at least I know it’s real and/or not stolen. My monthly plan is cheaper than Pageplus at 45 bucks unlimited everything a month. I plan to have this phone for a very long time.
2. I’m working an extra shift at work. OT!
3. Except for my iPhone, I haven’t bought anything new in months. I’m really considering joining the Compact!
4. My SO found 2 screen protectors for our phones in the garage!
5. I’ve been eating up all the leftovers!


tonya April 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I have been making homemade freezer burritos and taking them to work for lunches. So cheap, as I make my own crockpot beans, yet filling.

Stocked up on library books and magazines.

Picked up 3 dozen eggs for $3. I see frittata, quiche and egg salad in our future.

Going to my talented sister’s show tomorrow night with a comp ticket. Meeting our other sister there. Frugal sister time, nothing is better!


Diane April 2, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Took advantage of a perk for renewing my lease…a free four room carpet cleaning. They did a magnificent job and my humble home looks so much better.

Enjoying the beauty of wildflower season right in my own backyard. This spectacular sight doesn’t cost a cent and makes my heart sing.


Katy April 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm

You’re next to a nature preserve, right?


J. Pario April 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm


Yes, there are things you can do before the Last Frost Date!


Another Trish April 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Yes! Another person who boycotts easter grass! This year my son is two, and he is getting a little metal watering can (I’m trying to do more Montessori practical life activities) and I’ve stuffed it with some of his favorite snacks. I am thinking that I might have him use the watering can for easter every year?
We will also do egg hunts with the cousins. My mother in law had a cute idea: – she had them use their plastic pails that they plat with in the sandbox to collect eggs with. I’m so tired of clutter that I really appreciate solutions that don’t involve me storing Easter-specific stuff the other 364 days of the year.


Katy April 2, 2015 at 6:35 pm

I like the idea to use a regular pail. No kid ever got excited about the actual basket! I bought my kids’ baskets when they were teeny from a thrift store and we’ve just used them over and over. The plastic eggs were given to me by a co-worker who took her large family to multiple egg hunts and subsequently had more than she could ever use. Every other year we break one, but that’s okay since my kids are 19 and almost 17!


K D April 3, 2015 at 9:19 am

I have a 19 year old and her Easter basket has always been a basket I received a flower arrangement in around 1988. I use horrible fake grass but it is the same grass I have been using forever, as are the plastic eggs.


Katy April 3, 2015 at 9:36 am

When I think of the grass, I can’t help but picture it wound around the roller of my vacuum cleaner! 😉


Nathalie April 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm

1) I reused rainwater that I had collected in bins and stored in upcycled cat litter jugs to water my in-ground and potted plants.
2) I had to use the hose to top off my self-watering bins (it’s been in the high 80s for several days here in Central Florida). There is a leak where the 2 hoses connect so I put that part in a large plastic bin to collect the water. I then refilled my cat litter jugs so that water will be used for watering my garden tomorrow.
3) I had leftovers for lunch and half a 33-cent box of macaroni & cheese for dinner (hubby and kids have been away this week, not having to cook dinner is divine!)
4) Drove to Publix again since they let me use the Target Market Pantry butter coupon on their store brand so I got another lb of butter for just $1, woohoo! Also swung by Walgreens to pick up my free 8 x 10 print (code: FREE2FRAME good through 4/4, use with store pick-up).
5) On my way home dropped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift shop to see if they had the top for a toilet tank (I broke ours last night). They didn’t, but I saw a cool bistro table with 2 chair set for $75. I *thought* it was a good price (the table has concrete-poured top) but I drove home to think about it and price those online. I saw a similar table listed for $179.99 (but no chairs) and cheaper version of the set for no less than $130. So I drove back and bought it. It looks fabulous and will help hold my patio umbrella better. The cashier asked me if I was 55+ because seniors got 20% off today… I have a feeling she would have just taken my word for it but I don’t like to lie so I told her I was 29 (I’m 47) 🙂 She laughed but being honest doesn’t pay apparently so I didn’t get a discount. Oh well, I’m really happy about my purchase anyway.


Katy April 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm

We don’t do an Easter dinner, so I guess that’s my savings!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 5, 2015 at 11:37 am

Nathalie, I’m with you on the honesty thing. I feel like my integrity is not for sale, and certainly worth a lot more than $15 (20% of $75). I’m all for getting a good price or a discount, but not by lying.

And I too love the days off from cooking for everyone… it’s not that I mind doing it, but to have the freedom of not needing to feels *amazing*. 🙂


Sandy April 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

First time in perhaps 15 years, we’ll have family join us for Easter dinner! Our menu has evolved to a version of Thanksgiving dinner. So, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, plain green beans, carrots. My sister is bringing dessert. And, I have salsa and chips for snacking.
Shopped at Target and got a free$10 gift card. Few things not available at Target were readily available at Aldi.
And, I used all my own bags.
In Target, I found a drink dispenser with an infusion tube. So, I will fill it with lemon slices and strawberries, and our guests can help themselves. Looking forward to infused water all summer!


Sharon April 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

1) Breakfast was a burrito made with a zucchini and eggs given to me, cheese I got at Grocery Outlet (97 cents for 48 slices), a tortilla, and salsa left from a work event… A 15 cent burrito!
2) Dinner continues to be ham and broccoli casserole made with all gifted food items
3) I just had to replace my water heater. In the spirit of cooperation, the installed saved me $200 because I let him split the job over 2 days. It was late and he needed a part that he had to go to the next town to get.
4) Due to #3, I am on a strict no spend this month. I am well stocked, usually, so I have no doubt I can do this. My joys will come from using what I have and remembering how little I paid for what I have
5) I made muffins from strawberries from the freezer, chocolate chips that were on clearance, and the master recipe from the Tightwad Gazzette. Mmmmmm!


Jenny April 2, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Concentrating on making lunches to take to work and eating out of the pantry this week.


Kim April 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm

1. Made potato soup with some potatoes that were looking a little shriveled. Peeled them out on the deck to enjoy the spring weather and then composted the peels.
2. Stopped at thrift when I had to take my son somewhere for youth group and I had to kill time until I had to pick him up. Got a brand new pair of padded running socks for $2 that normally sell for $15. I also got a basket to hang on my door for $1 and DS was able to get ride home.
3. Got 8 2 liter bottles of lemon lime soda at Aldis for 25¢ each. Will be great for punch base for a baby shower for friend from church.
4. Had husband go to B&BW to get free travel size product with coupon that was expiring today. He was going to be at shopping center that B&BW was at so saved me a trip.
5. Tomorrow DS wants to go to used bookstore where I have over $100 credit to look for a few books. Since we’ll be in the area we’ll also go to the metal recyclers to take all the used cable that DH brings home from his job that would be thrown away. Then we’ll go use the $10 off $10 coupon at Kohl’s to get something that costs $10.


Katy April 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

Mmm . . . I love fancy socks! Padded running socks sounds like something that would be great for an RN who spends 12+ hours on her feet!


Rae April 2, 2015 at 10:22 pm

My five:

– made dessert for family that came over for dinner using what we had rather than going out and buying. It was successful.

– did not buy The Imitation Game at the store tonight, though I probably will at the end of the month. Did not stop for McDonalds, either in spite of wicked cravings.

– used our zoo membership to get family in at the zoo for free. Used coins out of the pigy bank to get kids and cousins the smashed coins at the zoo to combat the asking for souvenirs. I’ll pay $2.04 for that peace and quiet- money well spent.

– used a code to order some free 8x10s. Mothers Day is covered.

– this will sound gross and I’m a little embarrassed, but our toilet has had some… Deposits on it since before we bought the house. Today I took a pumice to it and took care of a lot of it. Will probably hit the dollar store for another to finish the job.


Katy April 3, 2015 at 7:59 am

Ooh . . . I’d forgotten that I wanted to see that movie. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I have a free Redbox code!


Nathalie April 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

Katy (and everyone else), here’s a Redbox code good though 4/30 PLKMP982, apparently it’s good for multiple uses but you have to use it with their app or to reserve the movie online from their website. You cannot use the code at the kiosk.


Katy April 3, 2015 at 10:34 am

Thank you so much!!!!!!!


K D April 3, 2015 at 9:30 am

1. I switched a prescription from the drug store to the grocery store (both of which I walk to). For doing so I received a coupon for $25 off a grocery purchase. The out of pocket is the same at both pharmacies.

2. Stopped at the grocery to get this week’s Saving Star “Friday Freebie” – a Reese’s Easter egg. Found $.34 while I was there.

3. Tomorrow I will take hubby to the airport for an early flight. He’ll spend the day visiting his mother. I’ll pick him up when the last flight of the day lands. We are ten miles from the airport so it is a fast (and relatively cheap) trip. We used airline points for the flight so the only expense is one day of a rental car.

4. Today was the last session for my yoga class. I wrote the teacher a thank you note, on a note card I already had.

5. We will eat Easter dinner out, using gift cards we received at Christmas time. We have enjoyed doing so the past couple of years. I cook pretty much every day so that is a nice treat. Every one gets to eat what they really want and there is no prep or clean-up.


Dawn April 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

1. Finished priming my living room with roadside rescued Zinsser primer.

2. Started painting my living room with $10 worth of a shade mis-tint paint. Instead of $60 for two gallons! Yay!

3. Had to buy a new battery for the lawn mower but brought in the old one to the store to recycle of course and got $7 rebate towards the new one.

4. Ate a frugal lunch–a mish-mash of leftovers.

5. Ironing and steaming clothes here at home instead of having them professionally pressed. I think they will look just as good!


Katy April 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Roadside paint? That’s my kind of shopping experience! 😀


tonya April 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm

1. Found a penny while I was pumping gas, picked it up, brought it to change jar.

2. Stocked up on butter for $1.99 lb since its on sale.

3. Reserved a free movie from Redbox with the code you posted on Instagram.

4. Bought asparagus for $1.77 lb. I’ll be eating it every day while I can get it at this price.

5. Needed a car wash and vacuum so I hand washed it and will vacuum it later this weekend.

Bonus: We have an acre and a half yard– we push mow this yard and while sometimes we enjoy it, we often hate it as well. My partner and I (both of us college professors) seriously considered hiring it done as we can afford it and it would save us time. The entire reason this discussion came about was the lawnmower died at the end of last year and we were unsure if it was worth it to us to go ahead and get it repaired.

I made a couple of calls for estimates but no one ever returned my calls or came out to give me an estimate. She and I decided that it must be a sign that we are simply just people who should mow our own yard because 1. we are cheap and 2. we don’t like to rely on anyone else. So, even though we spent $45 to repair the mower, we probably saved at least $100 a month on lawn care costs. (Which is funny because I bet it’d be twice that but that’s all she said she was willing to spend!)


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