Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 15, 2015 · 30 comments

  1. I was listening to an old Clark Howard podcast while gardening yesterday, and he mentioned that there’s an Amazon Prime music streaming app/site that many people don’t know about. (And like Spotify Plus, is commercial free!) And since my mother lets us use her Prime account, my ears perked up. I looked it up and you’re allowed to have up to ten (ten!) devices on each account, so I downloaded the app onto my phone. Thanks, Clark! And mom . . . thanks, mom!
  2. A nearby wealthy neighborhood had signs up for their annual garage sale. Which for me meant free-stuff-set-out-on-Sunday day. My son wanted to come along, so he drove us around and around (and around) the neighborhood until I finally realized that the signs were up early for next weekend. (Duh!)  At this point we weren’t too far from my father’s house, so we stopped by. Only my sister was at home, but she wanted in on the action, so the three of us slowly drove her residential streets. We did come across a box of free baby stuff, which made its way into the back of the Prius. No impressive diamonds in the rough, but good company and the thrill of the hunt made it all worthwhile.
  3. I stopped at The Grocery Outlet today and bought 3-1/2 big bags of groceries for $35. Yes, I had a $3-off-$30 coupon from a previous receipt, but it mostly just extremely discounted food.
  4. I brought three paper bags of yesterday’s free baby stuff to the kids’ consignment shop and they took one bag’s worth. They also had a $20.94 check for me to pick up from when I dropped off my sons’ clothing a few months ago. Free money, people. Free money. (Also, the consignment shop is a couple blocks from my son’s school where we were running one last school related errand.)
  5. My younger son will be working four days a week this summer, and my older son will be basically working full time. Having kids that can earn their own money, plus put money aside for college is a great savings! Plus, they’ll be able to use this work experience towards their careers later in life and be desirable employees when competing for jobs.

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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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrienne June 15, 2015 at 1:08 pm

thanks for the Amazon prime music tip! I didn’t know about it either.


John June 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Which neighborhood sales are you referring to? I was thinking Laurelhurst but see that those sales are on June 27… (next next weekend 🙂


another trish June 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm

1. Cut up an unused bell pepper before it went bad. We will freeze it then use it in home made breakfast burritos next time we make a batch
2. Cleaning out the closet Marie Kondo style. Its funny to watch my husband feel his old t-shirts to see if they spark joy. This is frugal because decluttering and minimalism help us to stay happy in our small, paid-for home instead of getting a bigger house with more storage, and to appreciate the things we have instead of always wanting more.
3. Made a smoothie with some bananas that were past their prime. No food waste at our house!
4. Going to donate the clothes we get rid of to various charities. This will feel good and earn a 20% off coupon at one thrift store ( which I will likely use to buy clothes for our son when he outgrows his current size).
5. Listing a bridesmaid dress I wore a couple of years ago on EBay. I like it, but is bit snug and strapless dresses aren’t my best look. I hope it sells!


Chris June 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

1. Listed 5 patterns I bought at a church rummage sale ($5 for a bag the last day) on etsy – one sold immediately.
2. Had my niece and 2 nephews here all weekend and we ate all meals at home.
3. Sewed a button on the pair of dockers bought at above church sale for my husband.
4. Continued to spray paint the dumpster found chairs along with a kitchen metal cart – nearly ready for craigslist.
5. Walked the dog for 40 minutes per walk – a Dave Ramsey podcast worth!


Kim June 15, 2015 at 3:36 pm

1. Picked 11 more lbs. of gas station cherries! I pitted half of them and transformed them into 10 1/2 pint jars of cherry vanilla jam, 8 pint jars of cherry almond jam, a bag in the fridge for smoothies and milkshakes and a very delicious pie! The rest will be pitted tonight for another batch of jam and some frozen for winter baking. I hope to get 1 or 2 more picking sessions in if the rain and thunderstorms let up.
2. Picked up a box of shipping envelopes from a fellow Freecycler right near my office. I love free shipping materials for my Amazon sales!
3. Found that the piece of Thai basil that I brought home from the Vietnamese restaurant had indeed rooted. Planted it in my planter on my deck where I hope it will be happy and grow big.
4. Got DH and DS#1 some shorts that they really needed for $1.50 pair from the charity shop whose proceeds go to the health clinic for low income individuals. I also got myself a pair of jeans for $1.5 in my favorite brand and my size that looked like they had never been worn. My jeans were starting to look a bit shabby so it was nice to find these. On the quarter shelf I found a mostly full box of fireplace matches and 2 vintage Fiesta coffee cups and a Riviera coffee cup. DH asks me to be on the lookout for the matches for lighting out woodstove when I’m out “treasure hunting”. The joy of simple pleasures!
5. I love that both my sons work at the same restaurant 5 minutes from our home. They are making terrific money and when DS#1 wanted off since he didn’t feel well tonight, DS#2 worked for him.


Betsey June 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm

1. Went to a free concert last night. Wonderful music and good company.
2. I mended a brand new sweater that literally came apart at the seams. It had been an order from a mail company and I would have had to pay the postage. So I got out the needle, thread, and crochet hook and did it myself.
3. I did not go to the DQ for dessert tonight. I made pudding instead.
4. I have been turning off the AC at night and using a fan. Seems to be working.
5. I changed around the furniture in my home from room to room so I would not buy anything new. I get bored sometimes with my stuff and that can be dangerous. Now I simply change things around.


another trish June 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I love rearranging furniture! There used to be a great show on HGTV about it. A young guy would go around to peoples homes and rearrange and declutter. I would imagine it went off the air because of a lack of corporate sponsors! Its amazing how that desire to buy new things can be mitigated by moving things around a bit!


Katy June 16, 2015 at 4:06 pm

I would love to watch a show like that. Do you remember what it was called?


Isabelle June 15, 2015 at 4:05 pm

…..ahhhhh! I usually always have something to add, but right now, nothing. We are buying a new house while trying to sell ours, so my frugality is kind of taking a step back with all the costs involved at the moment. It’s stressful!!! BUT we are able to do this (get a new house while the other one is still on the market) BECAUSE we are generally frugal, so there you go!


cathy June 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

1. Reading library books. I returned a stack this morning (on my way home from dropping off my son at his class) since one of them was due. Trying to avoid late fines! Other son has found he loves reading books on the Kindle. He requests them from the library and we download when they’re available.
2. Picked up some Heavenly Blue morning glory seed packets a couple weeks ago. They were 40% off, had a ton of seeds in each packet and a very high germination rate. Planted them in my two largest pots and they’ll twine up the bamboo poles. Also growing other flowers from seed (some gathered wild) to reduce the number of plants I purchase. And I’m dividing plants like daylilies and moving from one part of the yard to another.
3. Keeping windows open and AC off as long as possible each day. Today we got some unexpected rain. As soon as it started, I opened the house back up. When you live in one of the driest states in the country, you learn to relish every rainstorm no matter how short!
4. I need to go to the grocery store, mostly for produce, but I’m waiting ’til Wednesday. I have a doctor appointment that is across the street from the store AND on Wednesdays Sprouts honors ads from the previous week as well as the new ad week. Plus, it’s not in my neighborhood so I always try to batch errands when I go there.
5. Picked up a baker’s dozen of the local bread we eat. I order it every few months, pick up at the bakery, bring it home and put a dozen in the freezer. The bakery is across town, but they charge half of what it costs in the grocery store.
Katy, I’ve been gathering up books I want to sell and I’m wondering if you’ve ever done a post about the best place(s) to sell books. I know you’ve mentioned Powell’s before, but does it make a difference that you can go to the store, since you’re in Portland, instead of selling online?


Jan June 16, 2015 at 2:43 am

I would love to see a post about Powell’s, too! I sold a bunch of my books a couple years ago and got PayPal money, but I have no idea how to actually *use* the PayPal money! So I feel like I got ripped off, which I know isn’t true, but – my money is out in space somewhere!


K D June 16, 2015 at 4:07 am

You can use your PayPal money to buy things, both on-line and in some stores, or you can link a bank account to your PayPal account and transfer the PayPal funds to your bank account.


K D June 16, 2015 at 4:40 am

I believe you also can use your PayPal account to pay other people (with a PayPal account), via their e-mail address.


cathy June 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Maybe I should pose this to the NCA facebook group (though I’d have to brave fb), but I’d love to see a comparison of different ways to sell books. Has anyone ever seen something like that?


Ruby June 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm

1. Cleaned and organized the fridge today, which included putting all the tasty last bits of things on the shelf where my husband is most likely to pack them in his lunchbox.
2. Discovered that straight vinegar makes a great weed killer that’s not harmful to our pets. Our old brick patio had a healthy crop of weeds growing up in the cracks between the bricks. It took about $2 worth of white vinegar, applied with a reused window cleaner spray bottle, to render the patio both weed-free and dog-safe.
3. Found some leftover stick-on numerals in the garage and used those to put our house number on the mailbox.
4. Used a 25 percent off coupon at CVS to buy some soap from the $1 aisle.
5. Carefully opened the wrapper on an 8-pack of toilet paper so that the non-recyclable plastic wrapper could be turned into a bag for the next litter box scooping. Now that we shop so much at Aldi, plastic bags are getting kind of scarce around here.


Linda June 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Boiling water poured on the cracks in your patio will do the same thing. When I drain boiling water from pasta or vegetables. I take it out front and pour it on the weeds growing in the cracks on the driveway & sidewalk.


Ruby June 16, 2015 at 4:29 am

I’m going to do that to kill the sand spurs. They seem to be impervious to vinegar.


JD June 16, 2015 at 8:15 am

I boil out sand spurs, or dig them up. So far, those options seems to be the only way to get rid of them. Vinegar doesn’t work very well on my other weeds in my pavers. I had to use expensive horticultural vinegar, which is much stronger.


Ruby June 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

I had no idea there is such a thing as horticultural vinegar. What a cool thing! I think the white household vinegar worked so well because of saturating the plants on a very hot, cloudless day. Most of the weeds were grassy types, and it turned them brown and brittle in a few hours. It did not kill the sand spurs, but did turn the burrs brown. I pulled the spur plants by hand to make sure the burrs wouldn’t get on the dogs and will go over the spots where they were growing with a kettle of boiling water.

Isabelle June 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

Reading fast I saw “all the nasty last bites for my husband (#1)” and I thought “poor husband….”


Ruby June 16, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hehee! It is often but a short step from tasty to nasty when dealing with leftovers. 🙂


Catherine June 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Today I shopped at a children’s thrift store. And since I live in a somewhat affluent area, was able to score some Nautica, Guess, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger clothes for 6 bucks or less for my kiddo. Son will be wearing designer Diggs while mommy can barely afford gas. Gyahh.


K D June 16, 2015 at 4:17 am

1. I am picking mulberries every other day, from the branch of the neighbor’s tree that hangs over our yard. I rinse them and freeze them. I’ll use them later in smoothies.

2. I am knitting yet another toddler sweater for charity. I am using the remains of a few skeins, in an eye pleasing manner. The buttons will come from my “stash”.

3. Dinner Sunday night was a big batch of pancakes. Leftovers were frozen, as my husband loves to have them available for breakfasts. From scratch pancakes means they are healthier than from a mix and I used up ripe bananas (and also added mini chocolate chips, coconut, and cinnamon).

4. I continue to clip/print coupons and stock up on items when they are on sale and I have coupons.

5. Summer fruit has been so good already. I especially love to buy cantaloupe and and watermelon when they are on sale. With a bit of work they are inexpensive (price per pound). The same is true for pineapple.


Mary June 16, 2015 at 5:22 am

1. Finished watching “Orange is the New Black” on my daughter’s Netflix acct we share with her. Gotta love half price!
2. Grilled out on our new to us grill that my BIL gave us for free when he replaced it with a new one. Grilled extra on-sale beef burgers for DH’s lunch.
3. Registered for our town’s community garage sale in August.
4. Continue to troll house for excess things to sell. Not only am I asking myself if potential sale items bring me joy, are beautiful and useful, I am asking myself if I would want them if we were moving.
5. I am pouring water collected in the dehumidifier into the washing machine before each load.


Jess June 16, 2015 at 5:56 am

Jan, you should be able to transfer the Paypal money back into your bank account. There is an option to do this on the website.


Kim from Philadelphia June 16, 2015 at 8:25 am

I’m totally for teens having jobs. It’s about much more than the money-developing a work ethic, having to answer to a boss, learning how to interact in a professional/ courteous manner with coworkers and customers, experiencing the satisfaction from earning your own paycheck.


Katy June 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

I agree with you 100%!


JD June 16, 2015 at 8:26 am

I’m eating the very last of the eggplant parmesan for my lunch today, made with our home grown eggplants. None was wasted; it was too good to waste, anyway.
The husband was talking about picking up some meat to grill for supper, since we don’t have anything thawed out today. I told him that we should have hard boiled local eggs, fresh raw homegrown veggies, homemade ranch dressing, and a sale cantaloupe instead. He’s happy with that and no shopping is necessary.
I’m planning to freeze or can some of the blueberries I picked. I love, love them fresh, but I can’t eat them all fresh. I picked almost five pounds.
Our native wildflower bed is growing like — wild! Native plants are such a frugal option, and we can grow them from seed. I plan to scatter coneflower seed in with the other flowers this fall, from seed heads I’ve collected out of my butterfly garden.
We stopped at a used appliance store today to look for a dishwasher — mine has been dead for well over a year now. They had nothing for us, but I’m pleased that we take time to look, instead of automatically springing for a new one as soon as the other one died.


Katy June 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

Check Craigslist. Always lots of perfectly good dishwashers that people rip out when remodeling.


Michele June 16, 2015 at 10:02 am

Grouped recycling and Goodwill and Lowe’s returns in one trip into town.
Coked up another bag of beans to throw in freezer- 1/2 the price of canned.
Enlisted youngest son in turning off fans/lights, etc.
Unplugged unused appliances. Phantom electricity!
Didn’t buy a “chunky necklace “( or Lear jet) I have lots of jewelry at home.


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