Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 25, 2015 · 43 comments

Carrots prices

  1. I took my older son to Costco yesterday to deal with a pair of woefully misshapen wire-rimmed prescription glasses. You may recall that we just had his frames replaced, but my son fell asleep while wearing them and warped the frames all over again. The woman was somehow able to twist them back into shape using that weird hot bin of plastic crystal thingies. Since we have prescription glasses coverage, I had her check into how much a backup pair would cost, and it ended up being a mere $25 for another pair, including the extra scratch protection! We then ate a few samples and gassed up the Prius, even though it only needed a half tank of gas. Might as well get the cheap gas whenever possible!
  2. I called our insurance agent yesterday and had a long conversation with her about our car insurance. I’m wanting to increase our collision and comprehensive deductibles, but I also asked about any additional discounts we might qualify for. When I told her about how my husband bicycle commutes, she bought up the “low driver’s discount” which is going to save us $448 dollars per year! All we have to do is drive less than 8,000 miles per year and fill out odometer paperwork a few times per year! And when I call her on Monday to let her know which deductibles we’ve chosen for the cars, we’ll save even more. Hmm . . . I just realized that we didn’t even begin to discuss our home owner’s insurance.
  3. I used the PLKMP982 Redbox promo code to rent two free movies over the past two days. First was Interstellar for my husband and second was Big Hero 6, which my 19-year-old son had wanted to watch. I think I’ll likely go into withdrawal after April 30th when this code expires. (Remember, this code can be used across the U.S., but is only good for placing movies on hold through their website or app.)
  4. I walked over to Fred Meyer yesterday and picked up a discounted $1.39 gallon of milk and a bag of carrots. Only, the individual carrots were 59¢/pound and the two-pound bags were $1.18. Same price, right? Nope. I brought three heavy feeling bags over to the scale and chose one that weighed in at almost 2-1/2 pounds.
  5. I recently discovered that you can make tasty roasted vegetables in the George Foreman grill, which I had previously only used for somewhat lousy panini sandwiches. Just toss the carrots in a small amount of olive oil and roast for ten minutes or so. I’ve been on a carrot kick, but plan on trying sweet potato wedges, beets and mushrooms soon. And the best part is the flavored oil that leaks into the tray can be used repeatedly. People, this treat is heavenly! And I’m guessing a helluva lot cheaper than heating up an entire oven to 450º. (Thank you to Simply Being Mum for sharing her yummy tip!)

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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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Betty Winslow April 25, 2015 at 11:28 am

Fabulous use for the grill – can’t wait to try that!

1. Worked downtown at the hardware store as a demonstrating artist for Art Walk, which netted me a free coffee and donut. Took some projects I needed to do for customers, so got a lot of publicity (including some photos taken for the newspaper) as well as some needed work done, plus handed out a lot of business cards and coupons, for follow-up business.
2. Last year, the store gave me a big bag of to-be-discarded brass plumbing bits, which I turned into jewelry for this yr’s show. (My design line for the store is called Toolbox Treasures, and is made of hardware bits….)
3. Took a packed lunch, which kept me from running down to the closest restaurant for lunch.
4. Got a free sign made by the sign painter who was also at the store for Art Walk; last yr’s said “Betty’s Bead Soup” (the name of my jewelry business), this yr’s was an inside joke with my DD’s BF’s band, to be presented to them at the next show I attend.
5. Husband made a big crockpot of chili for dinner, so I didn’t have to cook, and he’s going to make a big pan of cornbread, too. Frugal of my time, at least….. Just got home and now I can go rest, since dinner’s taken care of. Love that man!


Susan (Eastendmom) April 25, 2015 at 11:35 am

I’ve gotten some really tasty recipes from Simply Being Mum. And I think you’ve mentioned weighing the bagged produce before – you’ve started me doing this and the variation in weights is amazing. It seems like such an obvious thing to do but I just hadn’t thought of it before.


Katy April 25, 2015 at 11:38 am

Glad to hear you’re getting benefit from the blog!!!


jo@simplybeingmum April 27, 2015 at 12:17 am

Susan you’re always so lovely!


Sandy April 25, 2015 at 11:41 am

We’re eating meals at home, using little processed food.
I repaired 2 t-shirts for my brother-in-law. Took all of 5 minutes.
Bought a late mid-century modern bookcase from Salvation Army store. First saw it at 50% off, decided to think about it. Went back a few days later, it was no longer on sale. Didn’t get it. Went to community garage sale and didn’t buy anything, saw a couple of things, but passed. Salvation Army store was on the way home, furniture was 50% off AND the bookcase was still there! It is now in our garage and I’m a very happy camper! Just have to decide on the finish as the original finish is very good but faded.
Know what we’re having dinner for the next several days and have ingredients already in the house, which will free me up to work on the bookcase!


Katy April 25, 2015 at 11:43 am

What about just using some kind of finisher restorer that can just be wiped on?


Roberta April 27, 2015 at 5:47 am

I have had good luck with the cider vinegar and olive oil combination from Pinterest. It didn’t turn gunky after time passed, and I had the ingredients on hand. Worked on scratched furniture, and on just dingy, old, ugly-finish furniture.


NMPatricia April 25, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Katy – you are a constant inspiration on how to save money. I may not agree with everything, but each post reminds me to think about what I am doing. Thank you.


Katy April 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Hmm . . . now you’ve got me wondering what I’m writing about that’s so disagreeable? 😉


Marilyn April 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Wonderful that you were able to save so much on auto insurance. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. I have only one frugal thing to offer, but it’s kind of an interesting one. Checked out missing and to my surprise I had some money being held for me. It was only $13.79 – a refund for a service we had cancelled years ago. Received my check yesterday and cashed it today. I’ll probably spend it on groceries this afternoon.


Melissa April 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

I’d never heard of before. I checked and I’m listed! Thanks Marilyn!


Lynn D. April 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I checked missing money and my deceased mother is owed almost $400. I was about 10 at the time and now I’m 67! Trouble is I’ve got to prove I’m her heir and provide proof that she lived at that address when the check was written. I cannot prove the latter. If you move around keep an envelope or bill from each address you live at and then pass those on to your kids.


Hobart Chic April 26, 2015 at 6:52 am

Lynn, I’m not familiar with the missing money website, not being from the US. I was just thinking, that maybe a birth certificate, with your mother’s legal name on it, would that be sufficient for the site? It might be worth asking, and finding out. Even her final will and testament might be enough, along with your drivers licence.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 27, 2015 at 9:04 am

Lynn: I have had good luck just providing whatever info I have, even if it doesn’t exactly match the requirements listed in terms of proving that you lived there at that time. Often the payouts include things like birthdates or Social Security numbers, which you can prove with your documentation. I would recommend trying it with whatever documentation you can find, and see what they say.


Melissa April 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm

I had a fabulous frugal Saturday!
1) Went to a neighborhood yard sale and found glass bottles with cork stoppers to use when I make my spice mixes for only $.50 each.
2) Found a brand new scarf with a $19.99 price tag for my daughter and paid only $3.00, will be a gift.
3) Parked my car and walked to all the houses with sales, so I saved gas and exercised.
4)My local consignment shop had their annual “fill a bag” sale. For $10 I got 3 pairs of shoes & 7 articles of clothing. One of the items I bought was a trench coat that is currently online for $100! Since I bought new items I cleaned out my closet and have a bag full of clothes to sell at my yard sale.
5) Purchased my daughter’s prom dress at another consignment shop for only $80. I had budgeted for $100 so we were happy!


LisaC April 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

I’d never heard of I have 2 things waiting for me and one for my husband . Might not be much but its something! Thank you Marilyn!


Beth April 25, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Thanks Katy for the tip on insurance, I will have to look into that as I am driving a lot less now, not commuting long distances anymore. Although I live in a metro area and our insurance is really high.

1. I have been using Redbox daily and if I don’t watch the movie I don’t feel bad because its FREE. 🙂 I will say I was able to use it twice in one day too, may want to check it out. Thanks Katie – we are watching The Hobbit and I just reserved Intersteller.

2. Proud today was tempted to eat out for lunch but daughter and I went home and ate leftovers before her soccer game.

3. Also brought my own coffee to game instead of stopping to buy some.

4. Found some good snack buys at the Dollar store last night for soccer – pre-packaged peanuts and fruit bars daughter said she really liked. Love to buy the Extra gum – four packs of gum to a package there as well.

5. Bought Little Ceasars $5 pizza even though I was tempted to get Dominos or Jets, which tastes a lot better but costs almost twice as much. Also said know to buying crazy bed as one pizza is plenty and gives us enough for two meals. When we stopped to pick up our movie at CVS from the outside Redbox had daughter run in to see if 2 liters of pop was on sale for $1 so scored that as well instead of paying full price at the pizza place when we got our pizza.


Katy April 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

And we’ll be watching The Boxtrolls tonight! <--- Portland production company, so I try to watch all their movies.


Nathalie April 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Oooh, that’s a very interesting tip about cooking the vegetables on the Foreman grill, Katy. I like the idea of being able to reuse the oil and to not have to use the oven. I don’t have a Foreman grill but I always see them at the thrift stores.

1) I repainted an already painted wooden student desk that I had gotten at a thrift store for $10 about 10-12 years ago. It was hunter’s green. I used a free sample of “celtic sage” paint that I had gotten from Ace Hardware a couple of years ago. I didn’t prime it or anything and it looks just great.

2) my husband and I wanted to check out some paint promotion at Ace Hardware today so we batched some errands together. We stopped by Publix to get bread and the Morton salt that is the SavingStar freebie of the weekend and Racetrac so I could get a free large flavored coffee for my breakfast tomorrow (after redeeming a survey reward code) and a free frozen drink refill for our son (we got him a Sodapalooza cup, free refills through 7/31). At Ace, we passed on the paint but got 2 rolls of landscaping fabric that we needed. It was on sale at $4.99 down from $10.99 so we saved $12! We also got a refill on our propane tank, which means I can barbecue again…

3)… as soon as my husband repairs the top of the table he had built for me to put the meat, etc next to the grill. The top was tiled but very badly water damaged. I decided to remove the tiles (salvaged from our shed, they had been left by the previous homeowners when we bought the house 13 years ago) before the top collapsed completely and the tiles broke. He will use wood pieces left from other projects to fashion me a new table top and will re-tile it.

4) I was thinking about getting a free movie from Redbox for our son tonight but I remembered that we’re having Family Movie Night and watching “Maleficent” from a DVD I got from our library. It took over 6 months to get it so we ARE watching it!

5) We moved some furniture around in our living room and re-housed some pieces in our spare bedroom. A no-cost “remodeling” which resulted in more usable space and also makes our spare bedroom look like a scandinavian hotel room (or rather what I imagine what it looks like). By doing this we also are saving money by not having to buy a new couch and a new bed.


Kim April 25, 2015 at 3:42 pm

1. Helped set up a Free Flea at church last night. Got rid of 4 bags of clothing, household items and books that we no longer need. Brought home 3 pairs of shorts for DS#2, 2 dozen canning jars, a few books, some rubber stamps and a vintage tablecloth.
2. Went to the dollar store to get newspapers and discovered that they now open an hour later. Since I had an hour I went to a church sale- bought nothing, then to Chic-fil-a and used a coupon for free chicken minis so no cost and then to a yard sale where I bought Fiskars pinking shears and a vintage galvanized watering can for $8.
3. Went back to dollar store bought newspapers, potato rolls and nothing else.
4. Went grocery shopping and chicken breast was 40% off and then I found lots of packages with additional $2 off stickers. Bought the 5 smallest packages to maximize the savings.
5. Stopped at the charity shop since final clearance clothing is 50¢ every other Saturday. Got DS#2 a brown Polo that will go with the shorts from the Free Flea, a navy cardigan for me and a DVD I’ll listen on Amazon. All for $1.75.


Kristen April 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

1. I went in for a work meeting (and paid OT!) which was very useful. Not only did they serve free breakfast but I won a $10 Tim Horton’s gift card!
2. I’m drinking free beer! I doubled up on rebates from Ibotta and Shopmium to get a 6-pk of Shock Top. Never tried it before but figured it was worth a shot!
3. I picked up the free Morton salt and a few other groceries for my 22 yr old son who just bought a condo! Can’t wait to take him his housewarming gift tomorrow!
4. I got a free Lindt chocolate bar by signing up with a referral code to Shopmium.
5. Fixed all meals at home this week – and didn’t have to buy too much to make next week’s meals complete!


Kristen April 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Oh and the groceries I did buy were from Walmart – and I had gift cards from Swagbucks and Perk so nothing out of pocket!


Mand01 April 25, 2015 at 4:03 pm

1. Cleaned up a fridge and freezer that were left by the previous owner of our house and donated them to a friend who is starting over. Glad to get them out of our garage and to help out someone else. We borrowed my uncle’s trailer to deliver them;
2. My sister organised a craft day with my girls. It’s a public holiday here, and neither of us had been grocery shopping. I searched around my freezer and found a pizza base, a single serve curry and a single serve chicken soup. Everyone was fed;
3. Dinner was a bottom of the veggie drawer affair, along with chicken breast from the freezer. I made a homemade focaccia. It was all very delish;
4. We were out of bread, so I made a loaf and six rolls, along with a batch of muffins;
5. It’s pouring here. It seems like all the clothes in our house need washing, just before school goes back, so I’m trying to rotate indoor air drying with the dryer to minimise the amount of power I’m using. Not sure how effective that’s been.


Jill April 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I am so proud of myself! I made my own hanger for my running medals. I’ve seen these in magazines and the expos for $50 or more. Mine of course isn’t as “pretty” but I love it better, because I made it myself. I used some wood that I found it our attic, some left over paint from color samples, and hardware from ReStore. I had to hit the box store for hangers, but the whole thing only cost $8. (I’ll be putting the directions on my blog, if any one interested.). Happy dance!

My daughter needed a new dress and shoes for her recital. After finding nothing appropriate at the thrift store, we hit the dreaded mall. She found a dress that was 50% off because it was the last one. Happy dance! We went for shoes next. Everything on clearance was apparently for 80 year olds or strippers, with the occasional pair for 80 year old strippers thrown in. She found slightly (in my mind) pricey non-sale pair that was perfect, and the sales woman gave us a nice discount, just because. Happy dance again!


Jenny April 25, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Both sweet and regular potatoes are great on the foreman grill. My sister and I loved these as an after school snack when we were kids. Rather than wedges, I would slice them though, and try to make the slices as even as possible so they all get brown on the top, and not so thick that they burn on the outside without cooking on the inside. A mandolin is a great help with this if you have one.

I haven’t tried mushrooms, but they sound great for this as well, as do the carrots you described.


Isabelle April 25, 2015 at 5:09 pm

* I received a check from Snap Groupon, 30,75$. Will be applied toward next week groceries
* Used a 4$ off coupon when bringing my daughter to Putting Edge (indoor glow-in-the-dark miniputt)
* Really really wanted to go to the restaurant tonight but I resisted the temptation and ate leftovers at home
* Registered to a gym with awesome prices. 10$/month! (Econofitness)
* My mom rented a movie yesterday and lent it to us for tonight, so it’s like a free rental (too bad it’s not a good movie…)

Have a great frugal day!


pattilou April 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Thanks for the George Foreman tip Katy. I also only really have used it to make paninis. Also thanks for the car insurance tip. I definitely don’t drive over 5 thousand miles so I will check that out.

1. made a birthday gift for a friend’s one year old with things I already had.
2. I got my weekly free item from my local grocery store . This is a new to me offer but so far I have gotten paper towels (which will last a long time since I rarely use them), yogurt and a can of beans.
3. A friend gave me a free box of food from a fancy meal delivery service. Although I think the packaging is wasteful, I appreciate the gift and enjoyed seeing what was in the box. I have enough food to get through the next few days. They’re supposed to be portioned for two but tonight ‘s meal fed two with enough left overs for lunch tomorrow. It was also something that I never would have made so that was a nice change of pace.
4. Used the Redbox code again for a movie – thanks for that too Katy.
5. I definitely have fantastic friends. I have been unable to buy a computer so a friend gave me a barely used mac this evening. It is a god send right now since I need to do some job hunting.


Mary Ann April 26, 2015 at 2:35 am

I was rather non-frugal, since I spent $65.00 at the nursery, which did include a lot of herbs for my son and I, and I used a $10.00 off coupon, (so does that count?), but I was wondering about your Costco comment. Does your Costco accept insurance? I have gotten glasses there because it was still cheaper than going through insurance, but Costco didn’t accept any insurance plans. I am wondering if that has changed.


Katy April 26, 2015 at 8:48 am

I don’t know how long Costco has been accepting insurance, but at least a year or so.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 27, 2015 at 9:07 am

I’ve used vision insurance at Costco for many years… at least 8. Maybe it depends on the country?


Christine April 26, 2015 at 3:39 am

1) Sold our baby swing (purchased on kijiji 4 years ago) on kijiji. It was oddly emotional letting it go, even thought it was taking up too much space and our current baby doesn’t love it like our first did.) I’m hoping it helps this next mom soothe her baby, and enjoying the open space it leaves.

2) Took advantage of a sunny day to wash down and paint an old night stand. We want a dresser for towel, etc. storage in our bathroom. In the meantime, this works just fine and gets it out of our basement. I had “stolen” it from the family cottage when we bought our first house and tried a DISASTROUS crackle finish treatment on it, so we were just using it as a small potting bench when we had a walk-out basement. Now it’s white and kind of shabby chic.

3) Dutifully made chicken soup from a chicken I roasted, even though I am tired of the soup and lately it’s been going to waste in the fridge when I make it. I decided that this time I’d freeze it in lunch portions right out of the gate… lo and behold, everyone decided that they loved it and it was demolished over the course of two mealtimes.

4) We’re taking dessert to a get together today, I was tempted to pick up something from the supermarket bakery. Instead I managed to make a pineapple cake from ingredients in my pantry, plus used a half can of Duncan Hines buttercream and packaged shortbreads (both free because they were brought here on recent occasions) plus a few sprinkles, to do cookies for anyone who might not like the pineapple/coconut cake. Bonus – it gets those two temptations out of my house!

5) Met a friend for coffee and we got our Starbucks orders free because their system crashed. I didn’t mean to be frugal, but it was a bonus!


stacie m April 26, 2015 at 8:19 am

Ha, I love the idea of getting the temptation out of your house 😉


stacie m April 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

Let’s see….
1) Had our “Christmas” with my grandma (it gets hard to travel in the winter in NE with all the snow, esp this year, so we do it in the spring) and gave all homemade gifts! The standout were the ornaments I made using plain glass ball ornaments (bought in clearance), crayon shavings, and a hair dryer. So glad I have kept all my crayons for the past 20 years. 🙂
2.) Bought some croissants in the day old section at the grocery store, as well as some cheese ends with a 2$ off sticker. I am going to use them to make egg (help! I’m drowning in eggs over here! getting around a dozen a day) , cheese, and bacon (given to us from out neighbor) breakfast sandwiches to throw in the freezer for my husband.
3.) making chili for dinner to use up some homemade salsa and enchilada sauce before they get moldy.
4.) reading free books on my kindle, yay!
5.) finishing up some crochet slippers (made with yarn that someone didn’t want and gave to me) for a Mother’s Day gift.


stacie m April 26, 2015 at 8:27 am

Oh! and I have a 6th! I’ve been selling some unwanted books on Amazon, and have sold 4 in the last week. Wooo! A wise woman once said “stuff out, money in” 😉


Sharon April 26, 2015 at 9:26 am

Did you know you can freeze eggs?


stacie m April 27, 2015 at 5:53 am

I have seen many things online about that, and will probably do so when it gets closer to fall. Most of the winter we are getting few (if any) eggs. We have been selling some, but the chickens (and ducks) are laying more than anticipated this year, haha!


Cindy April 26, 2015 at 9:14 am

– checked missing money- thanks for the idea! I’m not owed money but two people in my husbands family are

– my husband and I are trying to fix a toilet in our house without calling a plumber- it’s an easy fix supposedly but we are total novices. I’m calling it a learning experience and trying to be positive. I think it’s going to require one more trip to home depot but i do believe we can do it. totally frustrating but i’m pretty proud of us. we make a good team.

– doing my once a month run to costco this week and I’m prepping my list, the total is sometimes pretty high but I stock up on what we need for the whole month.

– registering my son for some supplemental disability health insurance provided by the state that should cover the excess on his medical bills (not a major disability- a speech delay due to some hopefully fixable problems with his ears). should save us a decent amount of money!

– super psyched about my about my library’s book sale next weekend. I’ve arranged for my mom to babysit and I’m planning on scooping up some great children’s books, craft books, cook books… all for about 25 cents each!

– also super psyched about a giant rummage sale I go to every year coming up next weekend. I keep a running list of things we need around the house and most of the times I come home with everything we need.


Sharon April 26, 2015 at 9:35 am

I love grilled veggies! I do not have an indoor grill, but I do make them on the outside grill.

1) Went to Grocery Outlet for their 97 cent bacon… They were out, but the manager gave me. $3 off card, soI got one bacon pkg free.
2) While there, I checked their frozen meat discount section and found ground beef with $1 off stickers and bought all they had. It came out to $2.49 each
3) Also picked up Grands biscuits at 2/$1 and bacon cream cheese at 37 cents
4) Had company over for “dinner and TV (my friends don’t have cable, so I record mutually beneficial stuff) and we watch that instead of renting a movie.
5) I really wanted ice cream, but did not want to have leftovers in the house, so the two teens staying with me this weekend and I bought a 3 count box of ice cream bars from G.O. For 99 cents. Just perfect!


LisaC April 26, 2015 at 9:56 am

Found pre cooked frozen chicken strips on sale, with 3 dollar stickers on them, I bought them all. Seems wasteful when I could cook the chicken myself, but I work full time and these can be a lifesaver when I’m worn out.

Weighed my produce, got the heaviest bag. I never would have thought to do that if it weren’t for you, so thank you!

Found out that both my husband and I have money in another state (, applied online to get it.

Thank you for all of the advice!


Katy April 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

You’re welcome! 😀


Bonnie April 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

I haven’t read all the comments, so excuse me if I am being redundant. Asparagus is also wonderful on a George Foreman grill. As for insurance, ours went down by over 50% when we switched to USAA.


jo@simplybeingmum April 27, 2015 at 12:19 am

Asparagus sounds good!


jo@simplybeingmum April 27, 2015 at 12:21 am

Thanks Katy for the link!
I’m not a fan of kitchen gadgets usually but the grill is so simple. My frugal thing is the grill probably wouldn’t have been purchased had it not been reduced from £39.99 to about £26. It looked a good buy, and although I’m not typically one to impulse purchase it called to me. Wondering if my slow cooker is feeling a little left out though?


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