Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 28, 2015 · 40 comments


  1. I just fixed myself a delicious yet scrappy Mexi-bowl of goodness. It used up the last of some homemade refried beans from last week, as well as the last of some cheap-o Grocery Outlet sour cream. It also included a healthy squirt of Sriracha sauce, a handful of shredded mozzarella and some trimming from a bunch of cut cilantro that like a flower bouquet, I keep set in water. The meal was completely satisfying as I get a weird thrill when I use up food. Plus of course, it was cheap, healthy and tasty.
  2. My younger son decided at the last minute that he had too much homework to be able to go to last night’s Timber’s soccer game. My husband wasn’t sure there’d be time to find a buyer for his ticket, but in the end he was able to sell his ticket for $22. Like any surprise income, that money will go into the college fund.
  3. I have a crock pot full of black beans today, and a plan to assemble a batch of my black bean burgers. I have half an onion in the fridge, as well as a plethora of bread crusts in the freezer, plus some almost forgotten mini carrots, which will all be making their way into these burgers. As for the buns, I’ll bake up a couple dozen of The Frugal Girl’s handmade hamburger buns. Why so many buns? I’m accounting for the appetites of teenage boys who possess both hollow legs and speedy metabolisms.
  4. The weather is hot and dry today, which is a perfect opportunity to wash our towels and dry them on the clothesline. Yes, they get hard and scratchy, but I like to see that as a luxurious spa-like loofa experience. (My cup is half scratchy.)
  5. I once again cancelled our newspaper delivery after being drawn back in with an extremely cheap limited-time offer that just ended. I know it’s only $12.99 per month, but that’s $155.88 per year. Definitely worth it in my book.

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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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam E-P May 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

Well now I fear you’ve bought a lear jet.


Dori May 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

I knew Katy would eventually surrender to the siren song of that Lear Jet!!! What hope is there now for the rest of us . . . ?! LOL


Katy May 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

What can I say? I like a fine luxurious flight experience!


Gina (aka CraftTeaLady) May 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

I bought some wool dryer balls on Amazon last week (my dryer is old and takes “forever”to dry a load & my cottage hoa doesn’t allow for a clothesline). They seem to be shortening the drying time. Anything helps!

I look forward to the day that I move and get a line to dry clothes on again. 🙂


Heather May 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Have you checked your exhaust for build-up or loose connections? We’ve had both (at seperate times) be the culprit of slow drying.


Lucy May 29, 2015 at 8:03 am

You may need to wash (as in scrub with soap, water, and a brush) the lint screen also. It can get gunked up even if you don’t use softener or dryer sheets, and that reduces airflow and extends drying time. Let the screen air dry very thoroughly before putting it back in the dryer!


Kathy May 28, 2015 at 10:52 am

I love sun dried towels. I’m one of those odd folk who do not care for fabric softener at all. Enjoy the “rub”!


Sharon H. May 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

I recall reading a article years ago that attempted to measure the cost of various types of cuisine as an ongoing home cooking style. Mexican came out on top for ease of prep and flavor as well as taste. It’s my go-to when I am hungry but don’t want to work too hard. 😉


K D May 28, 2015 at 11:32 am

1. I finished the seven hour toddler sweater, in just under seven hours of knitting. The sweater needed six buttons. I had some large, not very attractive black buttons left from a bargain container of craft buttons purchased a few years ago. The buttons had a dip in the middle. I simply used small buttons, that matched the yarn color, they fit well in the black button dips. They looked great when I was done.

2. We will take a trip to visit family next week. While we had to shell out for airfare (we did get a good rate) we will stay with family and not need to drive a car. I suspect most meals will be “at home” as well.

3. I made soup from a chicken carcass. I didn’t have carrots so I used a sweet potato. I also used a partial bag of mixed vegetables. It was rather scrappy, but made for three delicious meals.

4. I continue to walk short distance errands. It is good exercise, good for the environment, and the budget.

5. My library account showed I had a book due soon. I couldn’t find it in the house and then thought I had returned it a while back. I called the library and someone there went to look for the book on their shelves, found it, and returned it for me.


marie May 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

I am also taking advantage of the warm breezy day to line dry my clothes.
Trying to fiqure out how to make my sheets less dinghy looking. I change them every 4 or 5 days. Maybe it’s my husbands bald little head, either way they look bad. Maybe the sunshine will help.
Having leftover Bean soup tonight. Kinda warm for soup, but I had a ham bone in the freezer that needed to be used up.
Cleaning the house today, since it’s too warm to work on the property, and condensing and using up all older cleaners, so it’s tidier under the sink.
Oh, and made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread this morning. Using up the frozen pumpkin, since I’ve planted more sugar pumpkins for this season.
Well, after reading about my morning, i’m tired. Might be time to read my book!!!


A. Marie May 28, 2015 at 11:40 am

(1) Great idea re: the cilantro bouquet. I know your shady city lot isn’t set up for much gardening, but for readers with garden space, here’s this tip: Set aside a square yard or two just for cilantro, throw in a fistful of seeds, and let them grow up and keep going to seed and replanting themselves. I now have “self-perpetuating” cilantro, parsley, chervil, and dill beds (these herbs are all in the same family and have similar habits).

(2) I’ve been rack-drying clothes and towels for so long that anything dried in a machine with a dryer sheet feels slimy to me by now!

(3) If what’s happening to the Portland newspaper is anything like what’s happening to the newspaper in my Upstate NY city, you’re better off not getting it. Sad but true.

(4) A friend gave us some Sriracha sauce and we didn’t like it, so I’m squirting it around rabbit-vulnerable plants in my garden. Pretty good success rate at repelling bunnies so far. (Hey, I’m using it up, right?)

(5) Did the rounds of the nearby thrift shops this afternoon and found a couple of shirts that DH desperately needs. (I kept telling myself, “Needs, not wants.”)


Alison May 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

I’m considering a trip to Portland OR! My husband has to be there for work so his airfare (we live in Boston) and hotel will be paid for by his employer. I can use frequent flyer miles so it’s a somewhat frugal trip. Anything I should consider when planning this vacation (in July)?


Angela Wilder May 28, 2015 at 1:56 pm

ugh…I got pulled in too by the LA times. I’m going to cancel after they send me my 10.00 target card they promised me.


Katy May 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I got a $5 Fred Meyer card plus a discounted subscription, but they handed it over at the time of the transaction.


Maureen May 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm

I’m sitting here reading and enjoying my salad with leftover greens and other veggies with homemade Dijon mustard vinegrette dressing that I made. Very happy that I finally got to use a mustard container and add some cider vinegar and oil and make dressing. Not a big spicy mustard fan, so most of the mustard containers are rinsed and recycled. This is so yummy too!

I’m getting a gift card from work for outstanding work that I will be bringing on my vacation in 4 weeks. I don’t know the amount yet, but I don’t expect more than $50. But that’s still less money I have to take for spending money.

Enjoying my evenings alone as hubby is working 2nd shift this week. I’m getting a lot of pictures hung and arranged with frames I already have.

Tonight I will be making strawberry jam as well. Strawberries are chopped and jars are cleaned. I just have to walk the dog after dinner and then come home and start working.


Michelle May 28, 2015 at 3:15 pm

1.). I’ve been using yerdle, and I love it. In fact, I really haven’t been buying anything (like I have been) which is progress. I’m actively trying to get rid of things. I’m feeling so overwhelmed with years of purchasing stuff. With my yerdles, I’ve been buying gifts. A year ago, I remember going to Target to just browse, and I would leave there with so much stuff. Weird.
2.). I planted a garden from seeds. So far so good. Lots to do there, though.
3.). Mystery shops. All the proceeds go to a savings account I set up for our wedding.
4.). I’ve increased my contribution to my 401.
5.). I’ve been trying surveys for gift cards. I’m going to see how that goes…


Lilypad May 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I had a Mexi-leftover lunch too! It was a mixture of rice made with salsa and tomato + black olives + a crumble of tortilla chips. There was a little bit of refried beans + cheddar left too but I saved that for tomorrow. And my teenage son suffers from what he calls “infinite teenage hunger” so I feel your pain in that respect. We stopped at Safeway on the way home from our (free!) homeschool social meeting to get ice cream bars (it’s very hot today in the Seattle area, a good 10 – 12 degrees higher than they said) and we chose the chocolate raspberry Tillamook bars because they were $2.99 instead of $3.99 like the rest of their flavors. Have you tried those? They are fantastic!


Lilypad May 28, 2015 at 3:27 pm

p.s. my son was BEGGING for a Jamba Juice too on the way out of Safeway (curse whoever put the Jamba Juice there 😉 ) and I was mean and said “no”. He’s still in the living room grumbling about it, but drinking an ice water. I’m drinking an iced tea which I made myself after we got home.


Amanda May 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

1. We’re eating up leftovers and salads made of odds and ends for supper.
2. My husband went for a run this afternoon. His willingness to take advantage of free exercise and avoid a gym membership is one of the many, many things I love about him.
3. It occurred to me that we will go right by Williamsburg on the way to the Eastern Shore this weekend, which means I can stop for more books and avoid the drive next week.
4. Yesterday my husband called to check on a rebate check that hasn’t arrived. They are issuing a new one.
5. Just cut my four year old’s hair. Almost five years of no paying for haircuts!


MamaMinou May 28, 2015 at 5:44 pm

1. Knitting up some socks from luscious thrifted bamboo yarn
2. Eating “ALL the things” from the freezer for dinners
3. Showered at work this morning instead of at home
4. My older son needs dress-up clothes for his high-school graduation ceremonies–will take him second-hand shopping Saturday.


Isabelle May 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm

* I am helping my mom clear out her enormous collection of books (over 1000 for sure) and was able to sell some today. I made 20$. There is about 950 more books to go through, so hopefully I will be able to sell more, and give the rest (I am doing the work of sorting, selling and giving away, so I get to keep the money).
* shopped from the reduced rack at my favorite health store. 8$ for 2 big bags of pretzels, 2 bags of organic aragula, a pot of organic greek yogourt and 6 big organic sesame bagels.
* spent some time at my mom’s house tonight. She paid to rent a movie we were both interested in watching (small is beautiful), about tiny houses.
* The day care is having the annual pot-luck. They made a list of what to bring and I picked “1 tray of veggies”. I will go for whatever is cheap/on sale and try to keep it under 10$ (under 5$?). The way I see it, the amount I pay for the tray is the cost of our dinner that night.
* Bought 4 pair of panties on sale, total of 9$ after taxes instead of 21$. (That is one item I will not buy used).
* Work offered free ice cream treats to employees today, miam! I love free food.
* I don’t have a lot of summer clothes fitted for work, but I am determined to not buy more and just wash it more often (I alternate the same 4 dresses, basically, for work. Not allowed shorts and will not wear pants in the summer).
Have a great frugal day!


Ellendra May 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

If you decide you don’t want scratchy laundry anymore, try using vinegar instead of fabric softener. I’ve found it gets clothes soft, and without that chemical scent that all softeners seem to leave.

I think my frugal things this week have all been “more of the same”. I still pack all my beverages for work, including an iced hazelnut mocha. Lunches are made every other weekend and frozen. And I stay away from the stores most of the time.

I did break down and get Amazon Prime. I was home sick, zonked out on decongestants but not able to sleep, and wanted to just veg in front of some shows. I did the calculations and Prime got me the shows I wanted for less money. Later I’ll browse the free ebooks I now have access to, but for now I’m satisfied watching Grimm episodes.

(No cable. If we want to watch something, it has to be either on DVD or streamed. Given that we usually don’t watch much unless someone’s sick, this has saved more than I could count.)


Katy May 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm

I don’t use fabric softener, as I hate unnecessary chemicals and artificial smells.


Michele June 9, 2015 at 8:12 am

Ever since I started making my own laundry soap I don’t have scratchy clothes off the line. It doesn’t suds up but I think it works great.


Betty Winslow May 28, 2015 at 7:31 pm

1. Met two friends at the park for lunch; they both brought fast food lunches, I made one at home. Win!
2. Was gifted two large cartons of kids’ books for our school library and sale cart, sorted out some to take to the used book store for credit, which I will use to buy books we need more than the ones we were given. Also, will try selling some really nice hardcovers that we can’t use. The rest that I don’t want will go on the sale cart, for the kids to buy for a quarter each, if they have all their books back and overdue fines paid.
3. My romaine stump on the front porch has sprigs of lettuce sprouting out! They’re tiny, but I’m still excited!
4. I try to turn in at least 15 CEUs each yr that pertain to my job, which can add up, but I’ve discovered a website that offers free webinars on literature, literacy, library management, tech tools, etc. and awards CEUs for them. I’ve been listening to/watching them during my lunch breaks or during routine work.
5. Was given a $10 Panera gift card today by a school family as a thank you end-of-the-year gift. I love eating there!


Bellen May 29, 2015 at 3:36 am

I read my local – locally owned – newspaper on line at $3.75 a month. Money well spent and no recyling! No, I don’t get the sale ads but then again I don’t shop at anything but thrift stores except for groceries and those sale flyers are on-line too. I don’t worry about coupons as we don’t buy processed foods and coupons are few and far between for produce, dry beans and what little meat we do buy.

An added bonus is that I can cut & paste any article I want to e-mail to family that lives out of state – easy way to keep them up to date on what’s happening in my neck of the woods, especially now that Hurricane Season starts on June 1.


Elise May 29, 2015 at 4:24 am

I just can’t do the sundried towels…ouch! But I have been working really hard in my garden and even have a few green tomatoes! I am trying so hard not to pick them early and make fried green tomatoes (I’ll have plenty of those at the end of the season!)

We are also trading in my giant SUV this weekend for a hybrid. It doesn’t really save any money on the price of the car (they were only about $1000 difference) but the savings in gas will be amazing!!! Not to mention I’ll just feel better not polluting the world with a giant car when I only have 2 very small people to put in it!


Lauren May 29, 2015 at 4:26 am

1. Reserving Red Box movies for tonight. 2 for 1 code means $1.50 gets us movies for the kids and for my hubby and me. Friday night movie = done.
2. Making the Frugal Girl’s granola bar recipe with ingredients I had on hand. Yum.
3. Tomato and zuke chowder to use up some of last year’s frozen goodies before we start stocking with this year’s garden harvest. Same for peach muffins.
4. Not done yet, but planning to make jean shorts out of jeans for my youngest daughter. The jeans have been handed down through three girls and are now too short.
5. Had the best salad with spinach from the garden, hardboiled eggs from the chickens, sunflower seeds, a bit of cheddar and a Dijon vinaigrette. Still thinking about that salad!


marie May 29, 2015 at 5:37 am

how to you make the dijon vinaigrette. Sounds delicious!


Lauren May 29, 2015 at 11:34 am

Marie, I just whisk up some apple cider vinegar, olive oil, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and a hearty helping of Dijon. Sometimes I add a little honey. Easy and good; it is our “house dressing.” 🙂


marie May 29, 2015 at 4:59 pm

thanks, i’ll try it. Our house dressing is my homemade ranch, and we can use something to spice it up.
Our salad tonight is spinach, argula, lettuce, chives, cilantro, asparagus, from my garden.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary May 29, 2015 at 9:10 am

We’re having “Mexican-clean-out-the-fridge” night here tonight! Seems to be a trend. 🙂


Katy May 29, 2015 at 10:41 am

¡Si, esta muy delicioso!


JD May 29, 2015 at 9:10 am

1. Shopped a Goodwill while my husband saw his eye doctor yesterday and left with nothing, because I didn’t find anything I actually needed. I almost bought a dear little dish, but it wasn’t saleable and I didn’t need it. Whew.
2. We picked up more buckets to make grow buckets. We do pay for them ($2 each at Firehouse) but they are non-taxable and cheaper than buying the ones at big box stores. You don’t have to eat there — we just go in and buy buckets. Plus, they can be used for several years, reducing their costs considerably. We are growing veggies quite well in them.
3. We started to stop at a grocery store on the way home to get something to go with leftover cooked veggies at the house, until I remembered some easily thawed, locally made farm sausage in our freezer. We sailed right on by the store without spending a penny and ate food we already had.
4. I’m so glad to hear Katy say her boys have hollow legs. My mother used to say that about me, yet when I repeat that phrase to anyone else, people look at me as if I’m crazy. They never seem to have heard it. Okay, so that’s not frugal, unless you call hearing that phrase from Katy a “cheap thrill,” but I enjoyed it.
5. My office mate went out to lunch. I’m eating the leftover leftovers at my desk. I still have cash in my purse instead of spending it all for a mediocre bought lunch, so I feel good!


Diane May 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Do they even make print newspapers anymore? I haven’t subscribed to one since 2005. At first I really missed reading the paper in bed on Sunday morning. But after a few years I got used to reading online and now only read the headlines and a few NYTs articles each week.


Rosa May 30, 2015 at 5:09 am

I love the scratchy towels and my husband doesn’t, so half the year (winter) he gets his fluffy towels and half (now!) I get my scratchy ones. Compromise!


Ruby May 30, 2015 at 7:09 am

1. Celebrated our son’s 25th birthday yesterday with a scrumptious homemade chocolate cake. His birthday card was one I discovered while cleaning out my desk. A couple of years ago I got some cards on a “buy two, get one free” discount and had tucked the spare one away.
2. Continued the steady quest for a decent supply of summer shirts by snagging a cute $2 shirt at the Salvation Army. My goal is to spend $12 max. on a summer wardrobe.
3. Had lunches of leftovers all week. I’m starting to think the definition of eternity is one woman and a pot of lentils. However, they do dress up in apparently endless yummy variations.
4. Did further diagnostic work on our vacuum cleaner and the vac works like a champ now. I actually enjoyed vacuuming the house yesterday.
5. Repaired the cats’ Da Bird toy instead of replacing it. They’re happy and we didn’t spend $7 on a new wand for the toy.


Angela Wilder May 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Your mexi-bowl of goodness made me hungry so I made beans, rice pico de gallo and bread today.


Mary Ann June 1, 2015 at 10:13 am

I absolutely love line-dried towels, because they are scratchy. And you just can’t beat the smell.


Katy June 1, 2015 at 11:53 am

My son, (who doesn’t read the blog) was screaming in the bathroom when using one the other day. “This hurts, mom!”



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