Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 27, 2015 · 27 comments

College fund money

  1. I made good use of my library yesterday by picking up a hold copy of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. My son owns all the movies except for this one, and had been wanting to rewatch it. It took a few weeks to come in, but that made no difference as there was no hurry to watch what should have been titled “The Rise of Jar-Jar.” This movie is the worst, and I’m glad I didn’t spend a penny to procure it. Funny how all four of us gravitated towards it though . . .
  2. I’ve been looking for an easy budgeting tool, so I decided to give Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar a try. (Of course, I chose the free version instead of the one that’s $99/year.) I was well on my way to inputting all our May information when my credit union’s website suddenly went down for “schedule maintenance” last night. The online program is extremely user friendly, and I can see myself keeping up with it. I’ve tried other methods, but never been able to stick with them, so I’m hoping this will be the one. 
  3. My scrappy sandals finally bit the dust. (Remember how I snipped to repair them last year?) I was walking an errand yesterday and thinking about how loose and floppy they’d become when I suddenly became aware that my left shoe had suddenly become unattached from my foot. “Hmm . . .  I thought to myself. I guess this is the ‘wear it out’ part of ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.’ ” I’ll now take them at a shoe recycling drop-box and add “buy sandals” to my thrift shopping list.
  4. I stopped at The Grocery Outlet yesterday to stock up on groceries and cat litter. I had a $3-off-$30 coupon from a previous receipt, so I carefully added up as I went along. I ended up having to add an extra box of cat litter to my cart to spend enough, but in the end I bought three bags of groceries plus two boxes of litter for only $30. In all I bought:
  • 2 insanely heavy boxes of cat litter.
  • 4 cans of diced tomatoes.
  • 1 bottle of ketchup.
  • 2 boxes of organic cereal.
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 4 avocados.
  • 1 package of chicken thighs.
  • 4 cans of tomato paste.
  • 2 bags of black beans.
  • 6 containers of schwanky yogurt.
  • 1 honeydew melon.

5.  I returned a bag of library books and renewed everything to avoid any fines, used up the last of some barbecue sauce that came with my son’s birthday dinner, hung laundry on the clothesline, left laundry on the line all night to get rained on, negotiated with my son’s gym to get a better rate, batched errands, retuned bottles left behind by guest cottage tenants and didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby May 27, 2015 at 8:55 am

1. Boxed up a bunch of trade-in stuff and mailed it off (free shipping) to Amazon yesterday. If it all passes muster, I should make $54 and change off about an hour’s work decluttering a bookshelf.
2. Took two bags of donations to the Salvation Army and did not go inside to shop.
3. Continued to make meals around the batch of quinoa and tiny green lentils cooked in the rice cooker.
4. Bought gift cards for my son’s birthday at the grocery store with the gas discount program. The purchase earned me 30 cents a gallon off on gas.
5. Got the cats a $1 sample bag of fancy cat food instead of the little bags of insanely expensive cat treats they are addicted to. So fare they haven’t complained and are happily scarfing down the new treat.


Kathy May 27, 2015 at 9:42 am

1. Ate cold leftover for breakfast.
2. Having lunch with Dad, he pays.
3. Use of friend’s car for favor.
4. Bunched errands in friend’s car.
5. Sitting Grandkids, sew at their home.
1. No waste food, no power usage.
2. Free food and leftovers!
3. Back-scratching, for free milage/gas.
4. Less time wasted and free car.
5. While kids sleep, I use their power.


Nancy May 27, 2015 at 9:47 am

Katy- one of these days you are going to find a Lear Jet at Goodwill, then what?


Reese May 27, 2015 at 2:46 pm

I sincerely hope she finds a small toy lear jet. Or someone gifts her one for her birthday. It will have to live next to her laptop 😉


Hobart Chic May 28, 2015 at 5:16 am

Or a Lear Jet screen saver! Clutter free and affordable.

Personally I like looking at my free computer installed screen saver of butterflies captured flittering around in nature. It cheers me up every time I switch my computer on.


Sharon H. May 27, 2015 at 9:54 am

Here are my five things, they mostly have to do with food. 😉

1. trimmed hubby’s hair last night
2. blanched and froze the last of the elderly greens from the refrigerator, then popped them off this morning in a baggie, for quick side dishes and smoothies
3. picked up the first installment of vegetables and eggs from my CSA, prepped some of the vegetables
4. batching errands this afternoon — DH needs a clean shirt and tie after a lunch mishap, and Son #2 wants to use up his birthday gift card for a Chinese fast food place.
5. filling out paperwork for Son #1 for college, to make sure everything is set before orientation next month and I don’t accidentally pay for health insurance (thanks for the tip, Katy). What a sea of paperwork!


MamaMinou May 28, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Sharon–is your son moving away from home, and if so, any tips on where to frugally find extra-long dorm sheets?


Nathalie May 27, 2015 at 10:46 am

1) I downloaded several e-books from my library system to my Kindle for my upcoming trip to France. The books will remain on my Kindle past their expiration date since I won’t turn the Wi-Fi back on until I’m back in the states.
2) Instead of concentrating on saving money on my grocery shopping this week, I actually concentrating on stocking up my house so my husband doesn’t have to go shopping while I’m gone for a month: he won’t use coupons or drive the extra 5 minutes to go to a cheaper supermarket so I’m trying to prevent him paying exorbitant prices for items that I usually buy at Aldi. Even though my bill is 3 times what it usually is, it will save us money.
3) Found a small can and a pouch of cat food that had been left in a cart in the Target parking lot by a distracted shopper. I will donate them to the local Animal League next week since my own cats are on prescription food.
4) Another shopper at Aldi offered me her cart when she was done and refused to take my quarter.
5) I made marinara sauce with some of the Roma tomatoes that my plants have been producing. I’ll try to make some with the grape tomatoes as well since my plants are producing a lot more than we’re able to consume at this time. A great “problem” to have!


Trish May 27, 2015 at 10:47 am

1. Took car in for scheduled maintenance, it’s been 18 months since my oil change, as I have synthetic oil, and I only put 3000 miles on the car since my last oil change. Also needed wiper blades, they had a buy one get one deal, and since they told me the car was ready, and then realized I had paid for the wipers but they forgot to install them, they did the install and then washed, dried, and vacuumed my car for no charge. (normally $30). Sweet!

2. Took down the awful light fixture in my bedroom (dome light) and purchased a ceiling fan for $5 at my favorite local church thrift shop. Cleaned the fan up, and will install it after I borrow a stepladder from my father. (I have one, but need another so my daughter can hold the fan up while I install it.) Having an electrician for a Dad is a blessing). I can do anything!

3. Am hemming 4 pair of trousers for a friend at work, they are her daughter’s boyfriends uniform trousers. I learned to sew at age 13, and now take in sewing to earn pin money. I will be delivering the trousers in person to my place of work, even though it’s an off day, as I can walk there, and it’s good exercise.

4. I will be cat sitting next week and will be paid $100.

5. We did the grocery shopping for the month, along with all the errand running, I had 2 coupons for a new nitrite free, hormone free ham and turkey brand that my daughter likes, and the packages came with 2 more coupons, so I used the about to expire ones, and saved the new ones for next time!


Betsey May 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

1. I was invited out for dinner (dutch), and it is near the end of the month, I told her that I would eat at home and then order coffee if that was all right with her. I didn’t realize she was scaling back too, so we wound up bringing our leftovers to a nearby park and dinner literally “out.”
2. I figured out a way to put $200 more in savings by dropping more services (cable, lawn care, and magazine subscriptions (2). I do not feel deprived, either, Katy, by being frugal. In fact, I do not feel deprived, get more exercise, and prefer to live simply. Your post yesterday was great.
3. I did go the movies on senior’s day for $5, and skipped the concessions. “Far from the Madding Crowd” was terrific.
4. A lot of my friends are having expensive dental problems. I brush and floss 2 x daily and use a good mouthwash for plaque build up. So far, so good!
5. I went to a thrift shop and for &8.50 I bought a beautiful candle holder now on my mantel and a good picture for my back porch.


Beth May 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Five Frugals:
1. Took daughter to the movies to see the “Avengers” – got free popcorn plus free refills because we went to a MJR Theater (free popcorn through June 30th).
2. Took daughter to buy a drink and candy bar at Rite Aid for the movies to put in purse – cost $3 and change vs. $10 at the movie theater. Rite Aid had buy two get one free.
3. Ate free popcorn refill for lunch the next day. 😉
4. Told client would walk dog for a second week three times a day (she had surgery and cant go in the sun) – cha-ching! Hard for the AM walk before work but love the extra cash.
5. Went to small local grocery store to buy only a few things we needed on my lunch hour and spent less than $10. I find I can shop big once a month at Meijer’s and just fill in once a week at our local grocery watching the specials, and keeping a list for Meijer’s the next time I go. I feel like I am saving money and not as apt to buy more because its on “special.”


Beth May 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Forgot – didn’t buy a in the ground pool complete with matching hot tub and cabana/pool boy! May get the Lear jet Katy passed on instead. So hot here, lol, a pool would be lovely. Actually I have not weakened and turned my air on yet.


pattilou May 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm

1. I am sitting outside with a library book that I just picked up (along with two movies for the next two nights) enjoying a cold glass of water and the smell of my beautiful wisteria.
2. I’m sitting next to the flower filled planters that I just put in. Home Depot had hanging plants for $5 each the other day so I bought 4. I hung one up, gave one to my neighbor and transplanted the other two into two pots. If I had bought individual plants to fill the pots it would have cost me a lot more. Saved money and the pretty purple and pink colors make me smile.
3. I cut my own grass and the neighbor’s as well – free exercise.
4. I’m still eating left overs from dinner at a friend’s house on Monday night and I packed work lunches,
5. I had bought a pair of shoes that I had hardly worn when I noticed that one of the shoes started to squeak annoyingly. Then the other shoe split where the sole meets the front of the shoe, which I noticed when my foot got wet during a rain storm. I wrote the manufacturer of the shoes and their response was to give me 40% off a pair of shoes which I had to choose from a limited number of pairs on their web site. I paid 59.oo for the shoes and most of the shoes on the site were at least $100.00. So, essentially, their response was that I pay an additional 40.00 to replace their defective shoes. I had bought the shoes at DSW so yesterday I took them back and not only did DSW give me store credit for the entire cost of ths shoes, I ended up finding a great pair of shoes on the sale rack for about $34.00. So I got a new pair of shoes and now have store credit which I can put toward getting my niece a new pair of shoes!


Betty Winslow May 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

1. Used a partial sheet of labels at work, but saved the leftovers and will run them through the printer again, after carefully setting up the new info to go onto the leftover spots. Label sheets ain’t cheap and being frugal for the school helps my meager budget there, too!
2. Have two onions successfully sprouting on the porch, in a reusable styrofoam tray filled with gravel and water, plus a romaine stump that’s sprouting (although at the rate it’s growing, I should be able to have a dab of lettuce for a sandwich in 2-3 months…..)
3. Went through the Kingdom Kids store at school, bought 2 books for my granddaughter and one to sell, for a total of 30 cents.
4. Worked an extra day at school, to get some more backlogged work done, and got paid for it. And was able to enjoy a piece of cake from last night’s kindergarden graduation and several pieces of chocolate-dipped fruit from the edible bouquet one family blessed the faculty/staff with. Score!
5. Sorted out my tea cabinet this week and set aside some blooming tea that was gifted to me that I don’t care for; I’ll pass it along to my girlfriend, who loves it.


NMPatricia May 27, 2015 at 2:52 pm

When I get to the end of your post and read “didn’t buy a lear jet”, I now hear in my head “and a partridge in a pear tree” part of the son. And I laugh. Thank you, Katy.


Kim May 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm

1. I have been picking strawberries from my small 3’x3′ raised bed garden. The plants were free from my neighbor when her plants sent out lots of runners and I bought the raised bed NIB a few years ago at a church yard sale for $4. It was from Gardeners Supply and retailed at the time for $50 plus shipping.
2. Picked up an 8×10 outdoor rug from a fellow Freecycler. It’s going on my deck. I’ve been wanting one for several years but didn’t want to spend the $.
3. Planting some Shasta daisies and daffodil bulbs I got from some fellow gardeners that were thinning their plants. I’m digging up some hostas and fountain grasses that are going to a friend and to a co-worker.
4. I found $40 on the ground at the grocery store the other day. My first thought was wouldn’t Katie be excited! LOL!
5. I also found red vintage Fiesta ware. An oval platter, a dinner plate, 2 large fruit bowls and a covered casserole. We have collected Fiesta since I got out of college 35 years ago and we actually were antique dealers for several years specializing in dinnerware from the 30’s-50’s. It’s hard for me to find pieces that are lacking from our collection that we can afford. I paid $70 for all and the covered casserole alone sells for $285. It may be my husband’s Father’s Day gift and I will probably sell the platter which will more than pay for all of it.


MamaMinou May 27, 2015 at 5:45 pm

1. Spent $0 since grocery shop Friday!
2. Walked home from work enjoying the beautiful Oregon sunshine…bonus exercise, no gym membership.
3. Had rather boring dinner of leftover rice and black-eyed peas planned, then neighbor brought over rolls from local bakery to add to it
4. Ate some old mandarin oranges found in work fridge for daily fruit serving
5. Had multiple cups of progressively weaker Earl Grey tea in my Mason jar today…just one tea bag
6. Put my poor dog on a diet…on the vet’s advice, but good because he seems to do better while eating spendy Grain-free food
7. Didn’t buy anything, and trying to make that the norm!


Isabelle May 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

* Answered a quick survey at the health store and received a 5$ coupon. Bought food from the reduced rack sale. Organic bananas, organic plums, dattes, organic baby kale, goat cheese, pretzel and chicken pad thai, all for just a little under 8$ when using the coupon.
* Eating primarily from the freezers and pantry right now, so buying much less groceries.
* Not calling in sick at work even if I feel unmotivated to go at the moment (I don’t get paid for sick days).
* Doing my May budget today, I realized that I spent 0$ from my personal account this month for entertainment (does not include restaurants).
* Sticking with our 2004 Toyota Echo. It’s not fancy but it’s a really good car and it’s been paid for a long time ago. It’s also cheap on gas and insurance.

Have a great frugal day!


Isabelle May 27, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Plus, DH found 10$ on the ground and I found an unscratched lottery ticket in the street the same day!


Katy May 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm

My kind of day!


Ellendra May 27, 2015 at 7:54 pm

I read the fine print on an Amazon order and saved myself from a $150 mistake! I needed burlap sacks for my herbs farm. Specifically burlap, it was in the buyer’s directions that the herbs be either in burlap sacks or cardboard boxes, and the boxes were more expensive and took too much space. I saw the sacks listed on Amazon for 10 cents each, great deal right? Wrong!!!! The seller was charging $4.99 shipping PER SACK!!!!! They even had the audacity to claim they offered free shipping if you ordered $35 or more, but the maximum you could actually order was 30, and it didn’t count what was ordered from other venders, so you could never even get close to the free shipping.

I ordered from another seller, paid $40 for a pack of 25, but it was a bargin compared to what that scammer was trying to pull.


Diane May 28, 2015 at 4:23 am

Zero spending aside from groceries and gas. Continuing to stay out of stores of any kind. Working on a quilt made from fabric and batting already on hand. Reading library books and watching TV shows online. I have everything I need.

My checking account balance is stable.


deb in sc May 28, 2015 at 4:50 am

I would like your opinion on something. My house is full of too much stuff that I need to get rid of. Some of it would certainly be sell-a-ble…but it would take me longer to post on Craig’s list (take picture, do write up, learn how to post on the list) than to put in the car and take to Goodwill. Do you think I should concentrate on getting rid of it to simplify my lifestyle…or try to make a few $$$? I am retired, and have time, but never seem to get to it.


kris May 28, 2015 at 6:45 am

This is for my week:
**Decided to skip the busy beaches and springs on the holiday & rounded up family to all meet at my In-laws house and bring meat for their family and 1 side. My in-laws live on a beautiful lake, so we swam, cooked out and did a little fishing. Was a beautiful day and everyone had a good time. I baked cupcakes from scratch to bring for dessert; pork steaks that were on sale and made a potato salad from a half a bag of red potatoes I had at home. Very frugal but fun, fun day!
**Dinner last night was meatball subs, made with meatballs from my freezer, various bits of cheeses from my crisper and buns that my MIL gave me on Monday and homemade oven fries for kids and my husband and I tried some “Sweet Potato Puffs” (think tater tots) that I got on sale. They were good! Leftovers are in my lunch today 😉
**Dinner tonight is a casserole made from our baked chicken dinner from Tuesday. Unfortunately my daughter threw the carcass out after I’d picked the meat off so I won’t be able to make some stock from it.
**Lunch all week has been brought from home (mostly leftovers)
**Didn’t order any books from Amazon Prime this week! Lately that’s been my weakness!


Amanda May 28, 2015 at 9:06 am

1. I didn’t have to drive to school this week as it is summer (50 miles one way). I probably saved about $40, which is what I spent per week during the semester.
2. Now that it is hot in Virginia and the temperature of tap water is warmer, I have started using cold water for otherwise discretionary hot water uses like brushing my teeth and rinsing dishes. A truly frugal person would never use heated water for these activities, but I evidently have the resting body temperature of a lizard.
3. I was out running errands at supper time day before yesterday and was sorely tempted by restaurant foods. Luckily I am also too lazy to stop and go in a restaurant, so I went home to a simple but delicious and cheap meal of bread with melted cheese, tomatoes, and basil.
4. I need some flash cards because I am leaning Spanish this summer. Instead of buying a pack of note cards I used a paper trimmer to cut up a few sheets of card stock. We had tons of card stock and it took like two minutes.
5. We’ve started putting more stuff in the dishwasher. We used to hand wash baby bottles, all plastic, anything odd size. We found out that the dishwasher actually does an even better job with the bottles and some of the plastic. I’m counting this as frugal even though it means we use more dishwasher soap because it is supposed to take less water than hand washing and if it saves us half an hour of kitchen chores a night it is worth the 15 cent soap packet. Time is money.


JD May 28, 2015 at 9:20 am

1. Picked up a purple blooming water lily from a fellow Freecycler and it appears to be growing in our fish pond. Yay!
2. Got a $100 check from my work insurance critical care policy, for my husband having his PSA run during a physical. Double yay!
3. Realized I can make dog beds for my two little dogs out of old bed pillows we have, and thrifted pillowcases. Pets aren’t that cheap, but at least the little sized dogs are cheaper to feed and easier to bathe and groom them myself. And we get rescue mutts, which often have less genetic health issues.
4. Using my insulated cup to hold my ice water at work, instead of disposables.
5. We have to purchase a pair of shoes, too, so we’ll check clearance and thrifts. There goes our chance at buying a Lear jet this week!


Vickie May 28, 2015 at 9:28 am

1. Eating at home and lots of leftovers lately.
2. I picked up raisins at the Dollar store and walnut pieces at Aldi’s for my breakfast mix. Cheaper than anywhere else on both.
3. I used my grandson’s Gamefly rewards to get him a used game for $8. He gets a $5 coupon and 10% off every 3 months. It’s much cheaper than even buying them at Gamestop.
4. I’ve worn a few of my nightshirts for so many years, they have holes in them. My favorite one is about to be repurposed as a rag. I think it’s over 10 years old, but it’s so comfortable. I like cotton nightshirts. The blended materials are too hot to wear during warm weather.
5. I stopped in at Big Lots during lunch yesterday and found a bottle of D3 vitamins for $3. A box 30 of Emergen-C Acia Berry drink packets for $6, a box of low-carb brownies for $3 (good snack bars) and I bought a new Angelina Ballerina DVD for $5 for my youngest granddaughters birthday in August. They usually have some pretty good deals on food and drug items.


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