Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 22, 2015 · 37 comments

Free Ikea pillow

  1. I brought home a pretty Ikea throw pillow from a free pile. It had a small tear, which was easily mended. I also picked out enough stitches to remove the cover for laundering. The pillow now looks perfect, and my money stayed 100% in my bank account.
  2. I was able to score six free tickets to a Portland Thorns FC soccer game. This is because area 76 gas stations are currently giving vouchers for two free tickets when you gas up your car. It’s a bit fussy, requiring a receipt, a filled in form and going in person to the soccer stadium box office. However, since the tickets normally sell for $17.50, it’s worth the effort. Of course I’m selling the tickets, although at a sizable discount for the buyer. A profit for me, and a bargain for the buyer is always my goal!
  3. I made a nice homemade meal for Father’s day instead of eating in a restaurant. My husband asked for chicken pot pie, which was delicious for the four of us. I also assembled an extra pie, which I popped into the freezer. Perfect for a night when we’re tempted to get takeout.
  4. I have an all day meeting at work tomorrow and made sure to pack a lunch ahead of time. It’s right next to an in-hospital deli and coffee stand, so this will help to stave off any impulsive food buying. (I go to work to make money, not spend it!)
  5. I hung two loads of laundry on the clothesline today, helped my son bleach his hair with a $2.99 kit, watched a couple episodes of Netflix Supernatural episodes as my Saturday night entertainment, sat on the front porch with my husband as my Sunday evening entertainment, brought home a cute ceramic planter from someone’s recycling bin, used coupons for milk, produce, ice cream, Kettle chips and orange juice at Fred Meyer, enjoyed some beautiful hydrangeas from my friend Lise 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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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth June 22, 2015 at 12:44 am

Hi all,
My 5 frugal things are
1) stayed home over the weekend = no petrol used and eating all meals at home I also did all the washing and dried 95% of it on the line , finishing a few bits and pieces on the clothes airer
2) tonight my daughter is cooking pasta from food found at home , I’m having home made pumpkin soup from the freezer as pasta has too many carbs and raises my blood sugar ….I miss Pasta
3) my son bought himself a PlayStation 4 with his own money, I’m not sure why he’s too busy studying for Uni exams to play it , we found the best price at costco and the game came with 3 games, I am selling them on Ebay as he won’t use these ones, I am continuing to remind my children that money in the bank is best . I am also selling all his old PlayStation games he no longer uses.
4) bought my daughter a bunch of tulips and was given a bunch free for myself … Nice florist
5) added blankets to the beds and wearing socks at night as its so cold here at the moment ….trying not to use my electric blanket or heaters


Stephanie June 22, 2015 at 3:07 am

Are you familiar with the spiralizer? When my blood sugar was too high I used it to make noodles out of things like zucchini and carrots. Pretty much any similarly shaped firm veggie works. I still make zoodles (zucchini noodles) because they are yummy. It was nice being able to sit down for dinner and my plate looked similar to what everyone else was eating.


Ann Y. June 22, 2015 at 4:22 am

Just got one, and love it !


Cheyanne June 22, 2015 at 4:41 am

I use a plain old vegetable peeler to make my zucchini noodles! Works great and doesn’t take up any extra space


ruth June 22, 2015 at 4:48 am

Yes i have heard of the spiralizer but havent bought one yet


Isabelle June 22, 2015 at 4:11 pm

I asked one for Christmas, which I got… and it is still sitting in the box…. oops. I am starting a diet, so I’ll crack the box open soon!


Joy June 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I found it on Ebay for right at $4.50 from within the US. 🙂


Mand01 June 22, 2015 at 2:24 am

1. Lunch today was homemade pizza from the freezer.
2. Dinner today was tacos with sauce from the freezer.
3. My whole outfit today was secondhand, down to the shoes. My dress cost $1. Yes, $1.
4. I’m about to pack tomorrow’s lunchbox, again with food from the freezer. I’m teaching all day tomorrow so I need something quick and easy to eat on the run.
5. I bought another air dryer over the weekend, so my back room looks like a temporary laundry, but at least it’s free to air dry.


Isabelle June 22, 2015 at 2:48 am

We are leaving for a quick 3 days vacation this morning and :
* we are planning to eat out only 1 time. Bringing food and stopping at the grocery store for the rest. Also bringing a 2 burner plug-in to warm up food in the hotel room
* got a hotel with “free” included wifi, parking, breakfast (waffles station!) And an indoor pool with a slide. 105$/night + taxes, for 2 nights. Good price down here. Will try to get some food from the breakfast station to eat at lunch (bagels and peanut butter?). Since my husband can’t eat their breakfast (he’s gluten intolerant, so brings is own food), I consider it ok to take extra food to “compensate”, hihi.
* Printing out a coupon for 4$ off one of our activity
* traveling in our paid-off 2004 Echo, which is very good on gas
* will be using my air miles to get 20$ free gas

Have a great frugal day!


Isabelle June 22, 2015 at 2:49 am

Ps : this 105$/night hotel is for the 4 of us.


Stacie M. June 22, 2015 at 3:02 am

That is a really cute pillow!
1.) It is garlic scape season, and my parents planted almost 500 cloves last fall so needless to say they have extra. They gave me a grocery bag full (plus swiss chard) so I made a big batch of garlic scape pesto (and froze some) and a swiss chard frittata for dinner…mmm…although I still have garlic breath from yesterday even after brushing my teeth x2….yowza 😉
2.) Picked up a wood peg coat hanger from a free pile. I am planning on making a chalkboard frame for next to my front door and will use that underneath to hang purses, coats, etc.
3.) Brought our dogs for a hike on a trail nearby (free exercise!) and went again just husband and I. It was soo nice right after the rainstorm we could hear all the birds chirping.
4.) Cut my husband’s hair myself, again. It grows so fast! Now if only he could learn to trim my ends…any tips, anyone?
5.) Brought homemade jalapeno jelly and a 12 pack of discount beer to my father-in-law for father’s day. He was pumped! He is too cheap to buy “fancy” beer but this was only 5.00 in the discount section at our liquor store. (not that we told him that!)

Yay, frugality 😉


cathy June 22, 2015 at 9:08 am

I LOVE garlic scapes! Just harvested mine last week too. Nowhere near the quantity your parents grew, but there should be enough to make at least a batch or two of garlic scape pesto. I figure growing hardneck garlic is one of the most frugal things you can do since garlic can be really expensive per pound and scapes, too, since they’re considered “gourmet.”


stacie m June 23, 2015 at 2:15 am

I agree!!! My parents try to grow enough to last them all year. They are obviously garlic addicts 😉


Rachel June 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Tips to have husband trim hair: pull a comb through the section you can’t reach yourself and tell him to snip off everything even with the bottom of the comb


Stephanie June 22, 2015 at 3:25 am

For fathers day we went to a university’s museum of natural history. State residents get in free on Sundays before 12 noon so we saved $60 off admission. My inlaws are out of state but as seniors they were $10 each.
I put together a small present for my husband with a $10 budget. His grill tools are finally biting the dust after 20 years so we gave him a new grill basket, tongs and silicone basting brush for $8.50. Everything was brand new in the package that I had picked up at yard sales the past few months.
The six year old outgrew her shorts so before I went online to Schoola to get more I checked the bins in the closet- plenty of shorts so spent $0.
The four year old needed a backpack for camp and kindergarten so I have been trolling sales for a while. When they were 25% off I let her pick from acceptable prints (I fully expect her bag to last through elementary school- I have had the same backpack for 15 years) and her sister has had the same backpack for two years and it still looks new.
We passed on a giant bag of outgrown clothes to someone who will use them.


K D June 22, 2015 at 4:07 am

1. I am getting together with a friend today, after she gets off work mid-afternoon. She’ll stop by and we’ll have time to visit. There will be no going out for lunch/coffee.

2. While not frugal for us, it is frugal for others. I listed several items on freecycle yesterday. Some are items that belonged to my FIL,and he passed away over 20 years ago. Most of the items are already spoken for.

3. My daughter cleaned out her closet, which means I have some new shirts. I like them better than what they sell new in the stores, they fit well (which is a big challenge for me) and I love the environmental impact (and the price tag).

4. My husband wanted to eat out for Father’s Day. Not only did I have a good coupon but I had 20% off gift cards and there are leftovers for dinner tonight.

5. I have several errands to run today that I will batch with my usual Monday “work”. I have already loaded up my car.


Ann Y. June 22, 2015 at 4:25 am

Bought chicken from the grocery “mark down” area…1.31 for 4 servings.
Picked up scones, bread, and baked goods from the 50% pile.
Made homemade lemon pesto from the basil in my garden…put some on the chicken mentioned above and froze the rest in ice cube trays…now ready to go.
Watched free Redbox movies (2) over the weekend
Got more free stuff from the wonderful Public Library !


Betty Winslow June 22, 2015 at 4:39 am

1. went to several garage sales and a rummage sale two days in a row (2nd day was $2 a bag day) – scored some odds and ends I needed (and a few things I can use for stocking stuffers and Operation Christmas Child), and a lot of resaleable stuff, including a gorgeous like-new hardcover book with book jacket, the collected Narnia books by CS Lewis, for $3, that I can sell for 3-4X that, a bunch of baby/toddler clothes for ThredUP and Once upon a Child (plus some for a friend’s granddaughter), some jewelry to barter to a friend for a piece she can make, and some middle school paperbacks.
2. Made three pans of lasagna, served one for Father’s Day dinner, will be taking the other two to friends who are recovering from surgery. (Used up three boxes of noodles, cottage cheese in place of ricotta, and some gr. beef I stocked up on last time it was on sale).
3. Got a raincheck on a free box of Metamucil bars, which I’ll donate to the food pantry when I pick them up.
4. Gathered up more stuff to donate to Goodwill. Bought two new tops there last trip, so need to decide which two I currently own that have to go.
5. Husband and I considered buying a friend’s pick-up super-cheap, but since we need a new car more, decided not to.


Patti June 22, 2015 at 5:53 am

We are on vacation this week:
1. Went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and decided all produce was overpriced so we found ours at local roadside stands. We are cooking all but one meal this week and eating fresh fruit for snacks,
2. Brought our own laundry powder (homemade) to use to wash our minimal wardrobe.
3. We are in between a mission trip and vacation so had all day Saturday until we could check in to our condo. While it is fun to visit the local shops, they are strictly for tourists and full of beach decor. In the past I would shop, shop, shop but now I have NO desire for any more stuff. So we made a list of all the thrift stores and visited those! Picked up books for our vacation reads and found a ladder at the Habitat Restore.
4.While out on our thrift store run, we visited some local parks and historical sites. Also checked gas prices and found the cheapest to fill up before we went back to the tourist district where the gas was 20 cents more/gallon.
5. For outside entertainment, we are meeting a friend at the local college to watch an Indie film, then going out after for drinks. This is a lot cheaper than going out for dinner together and more fun!


Linda June 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

I always check where the local thrift stores are before I go on vacation too. lets you put in a zip code & gives you a list. On my last vacation I had a wonderful conversation with the flight attendant who does the same thing when she has a lay-over.


stacie m June 23, 2015 at 2:16 am

thanks for the tip!


Vickie June 22, 2015 at 7:42 am

Daughter & I had a stay-cation weekend with the kids.
1) We ate Fellowship Dinner at the church Saturday afternoon.
2) My daughter brought fajita meat w/mushrooms and warmed it up in the skillet for Saturday supper. We made soft tortilla fajitas for dinner with shredded cheese, sour cream and other toppings I had in the fridge.
3) The kids played with the toys they have at my house, watched videos and danced. My grandson had two Gamefly games from the mail, so he spent the evening playing his video games.
4) Sunday morning I fixed gravy & biscuits, scrambled eggs and sausage links for breakfast. We visited all afternoon and the girls helped me do the critter feeding chores outside and we took a walk with the dogs. They ate leftovers for lunch and left around 5 pm.
5) I spent the evening cleaning up, doing laundry and reading “Walden on Wheels”. Hubby and I watched A.D. the Bible, then I resumed reading and went to bed around 11 p.m.
Other than driving to church on Sabbath, we didn’t go anywhere, so my gas should last me all week. I need to return a book at the library today and pick up a few items at the store. We definitely had a frugal weekend!


Bettypants June 22, 2015 at 9:40 am

1. Bought three items at a garage sale for $5 on Friday, and sold them for $43 on ebay on Saturday.
2. Binge watching The Good Wife on Netflix as entertainment.
3. Posted my old vacuum on freecycle, so someone else can get a frugal item for their list.
4. Cleaned out our art cupboard, bagged up the art supplies to give away, and discovered photo paper to list on ebay.
5. Have been walking nearly every day on my lunch hours. Free way to refit my pants.


Amanda June 22, 2015 at 9:48 am

1. Rode my bike to the eye doctor.
2. I’ve started a box for goodwill donations. Every donation is a punch on my card toward 20% off.
3. I also made a home made Father’s Day meal.
4. Our youngest had strep throat week before last. When our oldest and my husband came down with sore throats, instead of waiting until today to go to the doctor, prolonging what we knew was strep throat and taking work time, we tried the minute clinic at CVS. A quick, cheap test confirmed the strep. It hasn’t been processed by insurance yet, but it has got to be cheaper and take less time than the doctor.
5. I overbought groceries last week, so this week we’ll be eating up last week’s food before I made a grocery run. I guess it doesn’t affect my monthly grocery expenses, but it feels good to have a cheap week.


Maria June 22, 2015 at 10:43 am

I loved this post! Now mine,
1. Harvested some tomatoes and peppers from my container vegetable garden. They did not cost a penny.
2. Made a delicious chicken stew with them, instead eating out.
3. Installed an extra shade sail that was given to us by a neighbor. Great for this HOT summer.
4. I started “minimalizing” my home. I started with the kitchen and organized discarded a lot of thing that I wasn’t using. This is a win because less cleaning, less compulsive buying (now I really know what I have in my pantry) and because “less is more”!
5. Instead of going to a pub, my husband and I had some Pisco’s shots home and we really enjoyed it.
The best things in life are free!


Sharon June 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

I love and look forward to “5 frugal things” postings!
My 5 are:
1) Yesterday being Sunday, I prepped for the week ahead. I packed my lunches, made dinners for the week, and planned breakfasts… All from items on hand. No heating up the kitchen over the week and no takeout!
2) This morning was spent cleaning up and cleaning out the garage. I put stuff in the donations box, some stuff into the kitchen from my backup stock, and got some exercise too.
3) After collecting 12 UPCs, I turned them in for a free bag of dry dog food.
4) On Friday, I picked up the Friday freebie… And only the Friday freebie at the store.
5) On Saturday, I picked up a free 6 pm of cupcakes from the birthday club and bought milk with a $1 off coupon.
I am working on eating down my pantry, so no other grocery shopping this week. I’m set for now!


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down June 22, 2015 at 11:29 am

Awesome job! It’s amazing to me how you can come up with these all the time!!
Here are a few of mine:
1) Make General Tso’s chicken for Father’s Day. It takes 2 hours but it is way better than take-out and it costs wwwaaaayyyy less!
2) I couldn’t wait…I picked a few green tomatoes for Fried Green Tomatoes. yummy!
3) I made the buns for our chicken sandwiches tonight.
4) My brother is interested in photography so I am loaning him one of my DSLRs from my old photography business. Not frugal for me, but it for sure is for him!
5) I scored a free birthday drink from Starbucks! Boom!


Linda M June 22, 2015 at 11:33 am

1. Father’s Day was a potluck at my brother’s. Good time had by all and no one had to do all the cooking. Brought home some leftovers that are being worked in with today and tomorrow’s meals.
2. Combined errands today. Borrowed books at the library. …cheap entertainment.. I am a participant in the monthly book discussion group so got the book to read for that. Nice gals and a luncheon while discussing an interesting book. Good, clean fun!
3. Got a few groceries….bought 5 of the 5 and save $5…also had coupons for three of the items and another had a 50 cent peel off coupon.
4. Picked raspberries….have been getting enough to put a few boxes in the freezer to enjoy this winter. Also baked some muffins with the red ones…very tasty.
5. Hemming slacks for my husband and mom….have a wedding coming up this weekend…..will save about 10 0r 12 dollars and have it done by the time we need them.


Chris June 22, 2015 at 11:52 am

Had the niece and nephews again this weekend –
– went to the Mall of America where they have never been and I had enough free passes for each of them to ride 8 rides. It turned out 2 of the passes were “surprise amounts” for a total of 100 points each so they rode more than expected but I still brought home passes to give to a friend. No snacks or drinks while there.
– went to the lake where 2 swam and the other and I sat in the shade reading library books.
– Our library has once a month Lego time where the librarian generously brings her (now 25 year old) son’s Legos for kids to build with. I thought they would stay will I did a brief volunteer stint but they wanted to stay longer so I could read while they built.
– All meals were served from home. Truth be told, my husband drove them the 2.5 hours home and stopped and spent $10 on drinks and snacks. But he didn’t stop on his trip back which he normally would.
– And a first for me, I took change to the bank today and remembered to check the coin return and found a penny, a Canadian nickel and 2!!! Susan B Anthony dollars – not sure why they didn’t go through because I had one with me that did but I will add them to the change jar for next time – woohoo!!!


JD June 22, 2015 at 1:02 pm

1. We cooperatively dined for Father’s Day at my daughter’s house, with us and the son-in-law’s family. I brought dessert (for which I had most of the ingredients on hand) and others brought meat, sides, and salad. Cheaper and easier for everyone.
2. We’re enjoying the tomatoes and squash out of our garden. We have some fresh cucumbers almost ripe. Since we raised them from seed, they are all but free.
3. We are preparing to reglaze and repaint our front doors. They are French doors, and would be expensive to replace. The broken glass and chipped paint will be repaired and maybe they’ll last us another 20 years. The new window insert cost us some money, true, but we’ll save almost $100 by screwing it in ourselves after removing the old, much of which we’ve already done.
4. Time to trim my own bangs. I do this often, and only get a real haircut two or three times a year.
5. One of our kids bought steaks for all of us the day before Father’s Day and left a couple of cooked ones at our house. Tonight we have fajitas, with garden fresh tomatoes and salsa I already have.


Christine June 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Nice work!
Let me see if I have 5…
1) Made a belated Father’s Day dinner tonight using ingredients I had on hand (some free): Sea Scallops (passed hands 4 times from fisherman as a barter – to a relative – to my grandmother – to me (she doesn’t eat them), Bacon, Fiddleheads (foraged a few weeks ago), Potatoes (boiled leftovers from a family weekend that we brought home, I sliced and baked them with bacon fat and garden herbs), the Pioneer woman’s Blackberry Cobbler #1 (my husband’s fave) with last year’s freezer stash of foraged blackberries. I tried to refill growlers with his fave microbrew but the place was closed, so I *had* to shell out for wine.
2) planted our vegetable garden, including a lot of tomato plants started from seed
3) brought home some offshoot lilies to transplant in my front bed and moved some other little orphan plants to accompany them.
4) Chose a few unused dining chairs from a relative who is starting to downsize. We will replace 2 of our shoddy ones. Planning to buy a new dining table this year but we might just do mismatched chairs for a few more years.
5) Hoping to cram-watch Olive Kitteridge tonight (240 minutes??) before it has to go back to the library tomorrow.


Marcia June 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

1. Had a flare up of arthritis in my neck last week, so didn’t go anywhere for a few days. It got better in time to hit the grocery store on Thursday. A couple days I ONLY made a simple dinner but at least I cooked. Was on the couch the rest of the time.
2. Spent some of the couch time with hand sewing–hemmed a pair of thrift store pants for DGD, and replaced a button on them. Cost to her $0, because she works at the store and had store credits. Cost tome: a couple cents worth of thread. The button was recycled from my button box. She also brought me 4 more buttons for my button box when she stopped in yesterday.
3. Bought only a card for my husband for Father’s Day: we are in our 70’s and don’t buy when nothing is “needed.”
4. Defrosted a baggie of Christmas cookies for dessert/snacks a couple nights ago. They were some delicious chocolate chip shortbreads we were gifted at Christmas, but couldn’t eat because we had too many goodies in the house at that time.
5. Made breaded pork chops for dinner tonight to use up an egg that I cracked on Saturday and broke the yolk of–couldn’t use it for what I was making then because I needed to whip the egg whites. Also used up some breadcrumbs from the freezer–all I could find was a few crusts of white bread and some cornbread crumbs. They tasted great mixed together. I keep both bread crumbs and cubes from my homemade bread in the freezer–those were just what happened to be within reach when I looked. Time to clean the freezer soon!

Frugal fail: fixed myself a bowl of cereal this morning, with fresh strawberries, and found out at first bite that the milk was sour!! YUCK. The sell by date was TODAY, so it shouldn’t have been bad, but it was!! Husband had eaten it earlier and “didn’t notice.” I can tell it’s sour three days before he cam, but this wasn’t even close–it was BAD. He is still ok and upright.


One of God's June 22, 2015 at 5:44 pm

1. Made dinner tonight with meat from freezer(no meat purchase this week. Used fresh herbs from my yard to season it. Also used a cucumber which had been given to us.

2. Used raincheck to purchase three 24-count boxes of family-size tea bags at $.70 savings each over this week’s advertised price.

3. Used persimmon puree saved in freezer from front yard tree to bake dessert for tomorrow.

4. Took advantage of a rare decent produce offering at our only local grocery. Got very good ripe slicing tomatoes for $.97 per pound.

5. Waited impatiently for USPS to deliver inexpensive sprouted moringa seedlings. They should have been here Saturday.


marleen June 22, 2015 at 6:04 pm

1. I took inventory of the perishable foods in the house that we need to use up before we leave on vacation this weekend
2. cut my husbands hair
3. reused a mailing bag to ship presents to my grandson
4. used baking soda and vinegar to flush out the bathroom sink that was a bit sluggish
5. mended clothing that has been in my mend pile for awhile


Kim June 22, 2015 at 10:51 pm

1. Pitted the rest of the cherries I picked at the gas station! My hands are permanently stained I fear! Four quarts went in the freezer and I will use the rest tomorrow in 2 pies , a loaf of bread and 1 last batch of jam.
2. Sold several items on Amazon. Shipped them in packing supplies that I have gotten for free.
3. Planted some organic seed potatoes I got from a Freecycle buddy. I missed the time to get seed potatoes and figured I was out of luck. The very next day my buddy posted she had extra seed potatoes she hadn’t used. I planted some in Gardeners Supply grow bags I bought last year at a church sale. I discovered when I looked at their website that these bags sell for $20-25. I think I paid $1 for 2 of them- brand new with tags still on them. I also divided and repotted a fern I had into a pot I already had and we moved a really large ornamental grass that had overgrown the space it was in. Now it’s by the pool and blocks the view of the pump.
4. Netted some of the raspberry and blackberry bushes. They are loaded with berries which should be ripe in the next week or so. I need to net the other side of the arbor which I will do tomorrow.
5. I’ve been binge watching Call the Midwife on Netflix. It is delightful! I had to do something while I was pitting all those cherries!


Ruby June 23, 2015 at 7:55 am

1. Found the right size faucet handles for our 1952 shower for $26 online instead of the $150 the plumbing supply store wanted for something that “might” fit.
2. Went shopping at the produce stand and got us a week’s worth of fresh produce for $21.
3. Mended a blouse I wear while working around the house so that’s now wearable again.
4. Reused the tea bags from making a pot of Constant Comment tea. I put them in a pitcher of ice water and let it steep in the fridge overnight. The resulting drink was kind of weak, but very refreshing on these hot days.
5. Boiled some eggs to have as a cheap protein with all that produce.


Melissa June 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm

1. Bought a “new to me” couch and bed frame from my upstairs neighbour who was moving out (valued at more than $3000 for only $150!) considering my couch was falling apart and 20 years old I thought I did well.
2. Rescued a new looking golf umbrella from the garbage bin – I think the same neighbour threw it out.
3. Took my breakfast and lunch (leftovers) to work
4. Made a cherry slice for my father in law who is visiting today using only ingredients I had at home.
5. Took home the leftover bread from work to make into breadcrumbs – they were going to throw it out.

Love your blog – very inspiring!


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