Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 13, 2015 · 39 comments

  1. Saturday night’s dinner was a little of this, a little of that in order to clear out the refrigerator and avoid food waste. But worry not, no one was served an old crusty bottle of mustard, as there were multiple previous meal tidbits. Not one of us was served the same meal, but everyone left the table satisfied. On the menu was pizza, lentil soup, chicken drumsticks, and egg salad. It created some elbow room in the fridge, freed up a few Pyrex containers and fed us all perfectly.
  2. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages and brought home peanut butter, frozen peas, a half-bottle of wine and a mini quiche.
  3. We’ve been driving our new Prius instead of the mini-van which had always been our first go-to car. It’s now been weeks since we’ve bought gasoline!
  4. My husband was planning on attending the opening game of the Portland Thorns women’s soccer game over the weekend, but would’ve been late to the game due to his own soccer game. Instead he sold the tickets, which put an extra $20 back into our pockets.
  5. I batched errands this morning to stop at Fred Meyer to pick up loss leaders, (eggs, milk and butter) and to look at some historic photos that a friend had told me about. I then stopped at my father’s house to visit with him. I’m listened to a library audiobook of The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant and am planning on spending the day getting my house in order and working through a big to-do list. I will buy nothing.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been doing?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Tonya April 13, 2015 at 10:55 am

1. Ate breakfast from home after my workout this morning (yogurt& w
a banana) which I took with me to avoid eating at the gym smoothie bar.

2. Took lunch to work.

3. Carpooled to work and the gym.

4. Opted to share our one car. while SO had rental option on car while her car was being repaired it just seemed like paying the 20% for a rental was a waste. This also prompted us to consider on MWF we can and should carpool.

5. Washed dishes last night before bed so there’s no reason I have to give as to why we should go and eat out tonight!


A. Marie April 13, 2015 at 11:30 am

(1) DH carried out a necessary repair to our trashpicked light stand for plants–and didn’t have to purchase any new hardware to do it (he dove into our garage, aka the “man cave,” and came up with the necessary parts). So I can continue to nurture herb and vegetable seedlings indoors before releasing them to the vagaries of our Upstate NY spring weather. My hero!

(2) Dinner: The other half of yesterday’s roasted root veg (including, still, some of my 2014 leeks), a steak from our 1/4 cow in the freezer, and bread machine rye. Could be worse.

(3) Took a bag of reused bubble wrap and a bag of reused Styrofoam peanuts over to a neighbor who’s packing for a move. Was thanked copiously.

(4) Sending a pair of baby caps hand-knitted by next-door neighbor (I paid for the yarn) to a dear friend in NYC who’s expecting twin grandchildren in a few months. Fun for the neighbor, fun for me, fun for the prospective grandmother, and (I hope) fun for the expectant parents, if not the offspring!

(5) Cat adopted from local shelter back in January is just settling down around my on-the-mend sprained knee with an idea of being a living hot water bottle. Again, could be worse.


Vickie April 13, 2015 at 11:46 am

1) I ran out of dried cranberries for my morning mix, but I picked up a large package of raisins at the Dollar Tree instead – much cheaper.
2) I made chicken veggie noodle soup with a large single chicken breast I had frozen and the leftover turkey stock from Thanksgiving. The frozen veggies were left from an earlier meal a week or so back. It turned out great.
3) I brought the leftover soup for lunch today – yay!
4) I went shopping with my Library card Friday. I know I checked out too many books, but I don’t care, I’m eager to read and renew them as I can.
5) Paid $2 at DT to get art pads for my granddaughters. Nice score, it kept them busy on the trip home and back over the weekend!


Rachael April 13, 2015 at 11:46 am

1- I attended a free budgeting class at the library (wasn’t really worth much more than the encouragement, due to the other class members, but sometimes we get what we pay for?), and downloaded an audio book on finances and frugality from the library as well.

2- My last pair of ear buds broke- I paid for a dollar store pair with piggy bank change. I spent a few days doing my walk with my ipod held up by my shoulder. Hope you enjoy the audiobook, neighbors! I also taped my iPod screen back together when a piece of the screen broke off. ghetto functional?

3- I used a free red box code to get a movie and took my kids to Bring Your Own Container day at 7-11. Because I made my kids use manners, the cashier gave us another free code. the free codes totaled the same amount as the Slurpees, so I’ll call it free.

4- We were compedtickets to the performance of the company dancers at my sons’ ballet school. I took my oldest on a mother-son night for free.

5- A member of our congregation offered up half a bag of seed potatoes for free, and we took them up on that offer. We’ll plant them this week.


Katy April 13, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Gotta love those free Redbox codes!


Betsey April 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm

1. The people across the street were paying for a person to haul away their yard waste. I asked if it would be ok before I emptied all my dead branches into the truck. They didn’t want any money for it, the hauler didn’t care, so I loaded it myself. That saved me a trip to the dump.
2. I washed the windows. That may not seem like much, but The windows are old, and I had to figure out how to get them apart and back together. No parts remained, so I guess I did it right.
3. I took some old ceiling paint, mixed it with some other paint I had on hand, and painted the downstairs bathroom. It looks lovely, a light green color that is great for an interior room.
That’s enough for now as I plan to take the rest of the day off and read a book.


Katy April 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

I love that you mixed your own paint color. Very few people realize you can do that.


Kim April 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm

1. Mailed off 3 books I sold on Amazon.
2. Mailed off the income taxes. So glad that’s finished!
3. I’ve been sick for the past 10 days and doctor visits and an ER visit aren’t frugal but I’ve spent nothing in gas since I’ve ventured out only once in the past week.
4. My big adventure out was to the grocery store on Saturday where I got several packages of markdown chicken and a small pork butt. Cooked pork in crockpot overnight, shredded it and added BBQ sauce. Love it when dinner is done before lunch. I’ve now cooked a package of the chicken in the crockpot which will be used to make Tetrazzini.
5. Gathering items for our church’s twice yearly free giveaway which I’ll help set up on Friday night. I use it as an opportunity to clear out clothes and household items we no longer need.


Jill April 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

I launched The Great Coat Closet Remodel Project this weekend. It’s a totally DIY remodel, and I hope to stay frugal and get most of the supplies from ReStore. However, we did have to buy a shop vac, since I ruined our regular vacuum on our last remodel project (hint: drywall + Dirt Devil = no suction + loud angry noise).

Did some laundry and line dried it during the GORGEOUS weekend that we had here. And on Saturday, we had free wonderful entertainment in the form of DD’s soccer game. Unfortunately, yesterday, we ended up taking my daughter to the ER after a nasty skateboarding incident. She is OK, but I am sure the bill will be non-frugal. Thank God I have a job with good insurance!

Recent events have conspired to promote a lack of frugalness. However, I hope things will start to get back to normal. We will be putting in our veggie garden soon as well which means yummy, free, organic veggies!


Tonya April 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

I put leftover ham in the crockpot with potatoes, onions and cream of mushroom soup for crockpot scalloped potatoes. Dinner will be ready when I get home from work. Never tried this recipe before, but I guess we’ll see!

I brought my lunch to work as usual. My lunch included glamorous items such as markdown yogurt and a homemade bean burrito.

I am taking home half an Entenmann’s coffee cake due to a coworker who doesn’t want to take it home.

Returned an item to Target for a refund.

Am reading another, wonderful library book for fun. I finished one this weekend and promptly started on the new one (all the stars aligned and my library holds have been coming in one after another).


Tonya April 13, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Oh, and a sixth thing- added shredded newspaper to my compost bin to rebalance the C:N ratio.


Anne April 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

1. A free can of slightly outdated soup has been sitting in my pantry for a couple of months. I finally ate the entire thing for lunch today. Quite good and surprisingly filling.

2. I keep getting $10 off a $10 purchase and similar type coupons in the mail. Since the beginning of the year I have used them to almost completely cover the birthday gifts for three granddaughters. Yesterday, I had one for $15 and bought a Christmas present for one of them. I pair the new clothes with a newish, used book and I’m set.

3. Am leaving on a three week trip and making sure all bills and HOA fees are paid in advance so no late charges are accrued.

4. I didn’t have quite enough socks to make it for three full weeks and absolutely hated the idea of washing them at night in the hotel room. But hated more to buy extra socks that I normally won’t use. So will wash a few pair after all.

5. We’re carrying tons of protein bars and other snacks as we are going to a very expensive city and find that sometimes we can reduce restaurant meals to only two per day this way.



Katy April 13, 2015 at 7:18 pm

I highly recommend you use Yelp to find inexpensive restaurants while traveling. Even while in expensive cities!


Michelle April 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

1. My fiancé and I went to a fancy dining place for a desert date. We ate real dinner at home. I had a $10 off anything coupon. We only had desert, so we only had to pay a nice tip to the waitress.
2. I picked up extra tonight for incentive pay! Time and a half plus 5 bucks an hour. Cool! It’ll go straight to that mortgage.
3. I went to a clothing sale at a church. Each item was 25-50 cents. I only spent 8.50. The proceeds will go to a soup kitchen. They have it every month. I’ll be sure to go next month.
4. After a year of use, our electric mower died. :(. We had to buy a new one. Well, we get nervous/scared of buying used when something big or important dies/fails us. We ended up buying a regular gas mower, but I looked online at the Sears website. I also looked for a coupon code. I found a $20 off coupon. It’s Craftsman, so I believe it will last.
5. Gotta love those redbox codes!


Michelle April 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Dessert not desert! Gah! I’m typing too quickly without thinking, and I can’t edit.


Lilypad April 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

I just picked up the book version of “The Boston Girl” from the library today! I won’t get to it for a few weeks as there are already 6 or so in line ahead of it—is it any good?

And since I drive about as much as a “little old lady from Pasadena”, I’ve gone a month sometimes without filling up my 2006 Prius. Such a good feeling! And yes, sometimes I feel a little smug when my friend complains about the cost of filling up her ginormous Chevy Tahoe—the one she’s usually driving around in all by herself. Sigh. Everybody makes their own choices…


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 14, 2015 at 5:08 am

I’m so curious as to what you and Katy (and anyone else who has read it) think of “The Boston Girl.”

I read it recently and thought the best part was the description of life at that time, almost like history. I live in Boston so it had some additional meaning since I know the locations and landscapes in the book. But I thought the story was … not particularly compelling, and the writing was also not particularly spectacular.

What about you?


Katy April 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

Because I’m listening to it as an audiobook, it’s like having someone tell me a collection of stories. I can see how the non-traditional plot line could seem non-appealing, but I’m enjoying that. It is making me want to reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which is very similar. Of course, I’m loving all the Jewish stuff!

Plus, it makes me want to go to Boston and visit my friend Barbara!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

We’d love it! There’s loads to do in Boston, and lots of history, maybe bring the kids? 🙂


Katy April 20, 2015 at 9:48 am

I’ll be on the east coast this summer, and plan to make it as far as New Hampshire. Maybe I should hit Boston as well!

LisaC April 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

I’m excited you found free wine. 🙂

I don’t always do what you do, but you inspire me to be more mindful about my choices every day, so thank you!


Mand01 April 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm

1. We are eating entirely out of the freezer this week. There are enough pre-cooked meals in there to feed us, which meant that I had enough money in my grocery budget to stock up on a few items at CostCo instead.
2. Went to CostCo and stocked up on things like craisins, choc chips, toilet paper, tuna, tinned tomatoes. We only have one CostCo in our city, so we go infrequently, as it is out of our way. I waited until I was nearby.
3. Baked up a storm over the weekend so the kids have snacks all week (it’s the first week of the school holidays here). So far I haven’t heard “Muuu-um! I’m hungry!!”
4. Found discontinued spaghetti at the supermarket for 29c a pack. Usually the cheapest I have ever seen is 59c on a big loss leader, so we scooped up a whole heap. Still in date, they were just getting rid of that brand.
5. We have mad an appointment with a Govt. Funded energy efficiency person to come over next week – he will install energy efficient globes and power meters around the house. We have LEDs in our main use areas, but as we have just moved there are many areas in the house that don’t have low energy globes yet.


The Frugal Shrink April 13, 2015 at 4:48 pm

1) Went to the used bookstore today to trade in some books. Used part of the credit to buy my relative three like-new books as part of a birthday present.
2) Made delicious stuffed shells with ingredients I had in the house. Didn’t have ricotta, so I subbed cottage cheese with no problem. Used up two half-used bottles of marinara sauce as well.
3) Have already prepped my lunch for tomorrow so that I don’t buy from the work cafeteria.
4) While running errands today, popped into a nearby thrift store. Found two beautiful work jackets (blazers) in like new condition for a total of $9. Already washed them with some other laundry and will wear one tomorrow!
5) Have been making an effort to keep my house and kitchen extra clean- this motivates me to stay home more and to spend more time cooking from scratch.


Deby April 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Ricotta cheese is extremely easy to make. All you need is milk, salt and lemon juice. Takes about 5 minutes to make and an hour to strain, and is absolutely delicious:


Lisa April 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm

We do exactly that kind of menu once every week or two!

On another subject–I am also an RN. I am working parttime right now. Taking care of elderly parent. After working in management and patient care full-time for 28 years, I am enjoying the slower schedule. I feel like our culture judges those of us who choose to work less. How do you counter this judgement?


Marilyn April 13, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Lisa, I am working part-time too and very happy about it. I really think I have a good deal because I get full benefits and I like my job. I don’t think you can do much about other people’s judgments. I am quick to tell people that I consider myself lucky to be working part-time because I value my free time so much. A number of people have told me that they are a little jealous and really wish they could work part-time.


Isabelle April 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

I also work in the medical field part time and I personally don’t feel judged for it. If anything, I feel some envy sometimes. It might also be a personality thing (I am pretty independent and not really interested in people’s judgment of things/situations/people). I feel like as soon as you own it, you won’t care what people think, It’s your life, not theirs. If you can afford it, enjoy it!! In the medical field we often make good hourly salary so let’s be grateful about this chance ☺


Isabelle April 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm

1. Sold a car seat for 60$
2. Doing a mystery mission at a restaurant that will pay for my meal (20$)
3. Was looking to buy a book. Went to Chapter’s to look at it instead and found out it would have been a bad buy, so I saved 30$
4. Hung the laundry outside to dry
5. Outings with the kids this weekend was simply enjoying the sun by going for bike rides and to the park.
6. Turned the heat down to 18 Celsius (from 22 in winter). Hopefully in about a month we will be able to shut it down completely
7. Needed a hair band. Found one (a slim scarf) at Value Village for 1.99$.

Have a great frugal day!


Katy April 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Interesting question. I’ve not found anyone admitting to being jealous of my part-time schedule as an RN. I worked very hard to get my degree and have been very patient to stay in the same job for twenty years, which means that I’m at the top of my pay scale. I do not spend money on myself in a way that would require a higher income, so it balances out well.


Ruth April 14, 2015 at 3:47 am

I’m also an RN , I work in a very busy city Emergency Dept , it’s normal for people to work part time , those that work full time hours often burn out quickly because they work is tough physically and emotionally with lots of aggression , , 8 shifts a fortnight is considered full time with only a hand full of the 130 odd staff working true full time hours .


Katy April 14, 2015 at 9:02 am

True. Working part time keeps me from getting too burned out. Although the college years may see me working more to cover the costs.


Chris April 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm

-I took off the storm windows today and put in the screens – fresh air!!
-Ate all meals at home last week – we tend to go out once on the weekend but my husband hosted poker and we had an odd – but edible -lunch on Sunday.
-Walked the dog around the lake – 3 miles on Sunday. Last year (0ur first with him) he was quite distracted by other dogs – much better this time. Great exercise for all of us.
– I work at a cafe part time and they offered me dinner to take home on the days that I take the dog to doggie day care when I work a longer shift. On short shifts, he is in the crate at home. I will definitely take them up on that offer.
– Was tempted to grocery shop today but can wait til later in the week when I have the car out for work.


Betty Winslow April 13, 2015 at 5:37 pm

1. Back to work this week, and lunch today was leftovers. Hard to spend money when you’re working….
2. Dinner last night was butternut squash/sausage lasagna (yum!) and I had all the ingredients in-house. Made a big pan, so we can take for lunch a couple of days, and husband can finish it up on the night I meet my co-workers for dinner.
3. Got a $7 off coupon for Nature Made vitamins, courtesy of their (soon-to-expire) reward program; waiting for somewhere to have a BOGO event on them to use it. I usually wait to enter the reward codes until the bottle is empty, but since the program ends soon, I’m gonna haul all the rest of them downstairs, enter, and order my rewards.
4. Continuing to drink bottled water at work from a case our church bought for an event and didn’t use up, to save me running up and down stairs to the water fountain. The janitor was gonna throw the bottles away (!!!), so I grabbed them and stuck them in an empty cabinet in the kitchen. I don’t like to buy bottled water, but hey, if it’s free…
5. Dinner tonight was chicken breasts cooked with a can of cream of chicken soup I had on hand, in a small crockpot, then served over rice, with some steamed veggies. Tomorrow’s will be a big pot of 15 bean soup, made with a bag of mixed beans I found in the cupboard and some of the ham left from the Easter ham (although we bought it for that and I got sick, so we never ate it and it’s waiting to be used…) and some cornbread, to use up a mix in my baking drawer.


Stacey April 14, 2015 at 5:24 am

Thanks so much Betty! I never noticed the reward codes on the Nature Made vitamins. I signed up and entered all the codes from my stash of vitamins and scored a $7 coupon. I wish I had heard of this program sooner.


Marilyn April 13, 2015 at 6:01 pm

1. While on a morning walk on Saturday, we stumbled on an estate sale in our neighborhood. There was no line at the door, so we could not resist. I bought 2 music CDs to play in the car when driving to work. They were $1 each. I also bought a nice lamp for $5. It will go in our bedroom to replace one which broke a couple months ago.
2. Made spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner. Continued my practice of using a little less meat than the recipe calls for. So instead of a full pound of hamburger, I used 3/4 of a pound. It was still tasty.
3. Tonight, we will watch a video we got from the library. Nothing like free entertainment.


Sharon April 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

1) I went to grocery outlet to get one thing, found many other things jumping into my cart, walked around the store and put the stow always back where they belonged and left with the one thing I went in for : Ball Park hamberger patties $2.99/ 6.
2) Made and ate all meals from home.
3) Carpooled dog walk outings with a friend.
4) The weather was nice so I washed the dogs myself. U wash ’em doggie is $10/ dog. Dog shampoo is $6/ bottle. I used 1/8th of a bottle. I love petting clean puppies!
5) I have this weeks meals cooked and ready to eat so the rest of my week can be easy and I will not be tempted to eat out coming home late.


Katy April 14, 2015 at 9:03 am

Oh yes, I often put stuff into my cart at The Grocery Outlet that I end up putting back.


Gina April 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

1) Picked up my library holds – four movies and an audiobook. Free entertainment for the week.
2) Shopped the Friends of the Library sale with my 25% off member discount. Love that sale – got some great finds at great prices, including two books I will gift (never even opened fully, like new).
3) Skipped the grocery this week as I have plenty to eat in freezer, fridge & pantry – I think I will be able to skip next week as well.
4). Scooped up four bags of Twix Easter candy at Target for 95c each, originally $4. Four bags for the price of one – couldn’t pass it up. Now to summons willpower not to snack on it constantly.
5). Friend brought in her Easter ham made into sandwiches & fruit to share for lunch – so nice of her – and delicious!


shannon April 15, 2015 at 7:36 am

1) got overcharged on a markdown item at the grocery store. Went back to get the difference 0.40 still owed of the original 0.65 discount and they gave me the full 0.65 back. The store manager was there so I did not look a gift horse in the mouth.

2) went to another grocery store to return something hubby lost the receipt to and that I had been dreading returning. Return process was more mortifying than expected and based on that stores policies we will not be shopping there. Still – managed to turn a useless return into toothpaste, deoderant and 2 shaving creams.

3) park date and little Caesars pizza = cheapest kids party ever. And we had leftover pizza for dinner

4) managed to quiet the beast inside me that equates boredom w a need to buy something for multiple days in a row

5) turning in kids library reading logs today for free burger coupons. The way my oldest reads we should never be hungry again!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: