Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 6, 2013 · 27 comments

  1.  I spent $57 at Safeway yesterday, which qualified me to use one of their $10-off-$50 coupons. However, I couldn’t find it in any of my Oregonians. I knew I’d seen it somewhere, yet it eluded my most focused spelunking. It finally turned up on the back page of a freebie newspaper that occasionally gets thrown on my porch. I’ll stop by Safeway customer service this afternoon with coupon and receipt in hand, and in return they’ll hand me a ten dollar bill. Free money, people. Free money.
  2. It took a few refreshings of my Craigslist listings, but I finally sold both the Goodwill rugs that I’d picked up a few weeks ago in Lincoln City. I paid a little more than $45 for the pair, and was able to sell them for $160. I did spend a few hours cleaning them up in with my Craigslist Bissell rug shampooer in anticipation of their rehoming, but the task is actually kind of fun. (The shampooer has more than paid for itself, as I’ve cleaned up at least four rugs for resale this way!) I’m happy to have the rugs off my porch, and I’m even happier to add another $115 to my son’s college account.
  3. I ended up combining errands with two Goodwill trips yesterday, and I was horrified to find that someone keyed my driver side door while I was at the Lloyd Center Goodwill! (What?! Why?! Argh!!!) I immediately pictured the $250 I would have to pay towards my deductible to get it fixed. I called my husband in despair, and he ended up buying a $13.99 packet of Dupont Pro-Fusion Color scratch repair sticks from Costco. (He was there anyway.) And in under a minute, my husband made the scratch pretty much disappear. It’s not a forever solution, but it saved us $236.01 in the here and now. So yeah . . . color me happy.
  4. I have to buy plane tickets to travel to my nephew’s October 12th Bar Mitzvah in New York City. I am using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price feature, starting very low and gradually increasing the price I’ll pay. Not sure if this method will pan out in the end, but you know I’ll do my best to find the cheapest deal. (Luckily, it will just be me and my 15-year-old son.) If you have any tips for cheap plane tickets please, please, please share them in the comments section below. I’m mostly a homebody, so finding cheap travel is outside my area of expertise. Thanks!
  5. My 10th and 12th grade sons are back in school now, and neither of them was taken school clothes shopping, school supply shopping or backpack shopping. Everything from last year was still good, (and it wasn’t exactly new last year anyway.) My older son did need a new pair of sneakers, which he was able to find at Buffalo Exchange for $29.50. They were used, but looked new, and he was super stoked to look online and see that they normally retail for $100 or so. People think that raising kids to accept used clothing is a challenge, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Kids are smart, and they know that $29.50 trumps $100 any day of the week.

What frugal activities have you been up to? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

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 }

Susan September 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

I just can’t get over someone keying your car. I think that just sucks. I brought my lunch to work today but I do that every day so to me, that no longer qualifies as frugal but common sense.


Megg September 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

In regards to the plane tickets, check at odd hours, especially Tuesday night. I’ve heard that Tuesdays are when they change their prices? Anyway, when we were buying our cruise tickets we ended up getting them at 11 p.m. Tuesday night and saved $500 from what I originally was quoted on Sunday night at 8 p.m.! I was very excited.

We just bought tickets for Christmas to go see my MIL. I hate how expensive plane tickets are but we were able to get 1 free round trip ticket thanks to our Southwest credit card! We pay it off at the end of the month and we put big purchases like car repairs and everything we did on our cruise on it and then pay it back with the savings we’ve set aside from those things. Clearly that’s paid off (no pun intended!) because we saved about $360!
Next year for Christmas, we’re staying home!


Rachel September 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

I do the same thing but with a Delta credit card… though I am planning on switching to a generic travel card because I don’t like being tied to Delta (I’ve heard the Capital One Venture card is good). I put every single thing I don’t HAVE to use physical dollar bills for on this card, and then pay it off immediately. I fly pretty often to visit family, so it is helpful. Just flew home to MN last month for a college friend’s wedding… for $5 🙂


Erin September 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

Katy, one of the keys to flying cheap is to fly at a stupid time. I just booked a flight for less than gas & tolls would have cost to drive it. I am, however, stupid enough to book the flight that leaves PHL in the height of rush hour, which means leaving my house stupidly early to be there on time. Also, since you are going to NYC, check all three major airports. Often Newark is cheaper (but factor in the cab fare to Manhattan) and Alaska Air has a non-stop from Seattle to Newark. Or, maybe try flying into Atlantic City or even Philly (Alaska Air also has a non-stop from SEA to PHL) if your sister is willing to come and fetch you. Atlantic City can be expensive but you may get lucky this time of year with a vacation kind of deal. Without traffic, PHL is only about 1 hour 45 minutes from Manhattan (but there are tolls). Good Luck!


Stephanie September 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

I use tripadvisor tuesday evenings to check flights. that’s been my best strategy so far as they search all the carriers.
I agree re: raising frugal kids. Last weekend Salvation Army was having a 50% clothing sale so I allowed my kids to pick some things out (they are 5 and 7) and we got 3 big bags of stuff – including a nice winter coat for 2.50 and a pair of black snow pants for $2 (so they can both wear them – unisex – do I get double frugal points for that?) and as we were leaving I made sure to mention to my daughter who is ‘into’ a certain clothing store that we got all this for the same price as it would cost to buy one outfit at the other store she likes. She agreed this was way better. Plus, since she picked all of her things out, she’s more likely to want to wear them. I was sad she didn’t like a few of the things I suggested but hey that happens at every store and I’m glad I don’t waste my money on them.


Reese September 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Ah, but aren’t you the wise mom! You listened to her saying she didn’t like them,and didn’t force it or buy it! I was often forced into things I didn’t like because they were “a good deal”. Regardless of the price, if something isn’t going to be worn, or is hated because it was thrust upon someone, it’s a waste of money.

Bravo. You did SO well…even though your feelings might have been a tad rubbed on 🙂


Robin September 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

I always use to find cheap(er) plane tickets. Generally, cheaper tickets are for flights in the middle of the week – weekends, Fridays, and Mondays are bad because commuters drive the prices up. As well, buying tickets as far in advance as possible will usually lead to a cheaper price.


Susan September 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

Low Fare Calculator on Southwest Airlines is how I do it! There’s a flight from SEA to NY that’s $163 in Dec. Not bad in my book. I’ve also had some success with Kayak, but Southwest usually has the cheapest flights to and from my small city.
Congrats on the rugs. I have a hard time managing my CL listings. I like to just put it up and forget about it. I guess I should update the 4 that I have posted on CL right NOW. Thanks for the motivation.


Jennifer Baldwin September 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

I use for routes I’m interested in travelling. They email you whenever the price drops to a smokin’ deal. They’re very smart about how they find rates, as it goes beyond just fancy computer algorithms (


Amanda @ The Scacchi House September 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I’ve flown way too much in the past year and I’m about to book another ticket next week. I’ve found (after lots of research) that flying on Tuesday and Wednesday is the cheapest, followed by Saturday (no one wants to ruin their weekend). As for airlines, if Spirit is available at your airport (most major ones), they are waaaayyyyyy cheaper than anyone else. The catch is that they charge for every bag, including a carry on. You are allowed one personal bag for free. My daughter and I are going to Florida for a week next month and we’re only packing one personal bag for the two of us. So if you can be a light packer, or at least share a suitcase with your son, it’s totally worth it.

So sorry to hear about your car, people suck sometimes (and sometimes they don’t!).


Renee September 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I was about to say the same things re: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, so if you can mold your trip around those days, that will definitely save you some bucks.


Jo@simplybeingmum September 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I did my Aldi grocery shop today. There was a £5 off voucher in the local paper for a £40 spend. I had two vouchers so I went over my usual weekly budget and did two shops so I could use both vouchers before their expiry date. My second shop consisted mainly of wine! Which in theory will last a few weeks! I’m hoping that my bulk buying doesn’t mean reckless consumption and I’ll actually benefit from my saving!


Susan Robinson September 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Good job teaching your sons about buying frugally. It will stick with them all of their lives.
Got a question… you know of any REALLY remedial book or article about putting things on Craigs List? I’ve never done it before, nor have I purchased anything that way. And I am a truly technology challenged. But I have many things that are in great condition that I would love to sell. One thing that I buy are Foxcroft shirts. I get them in perfect condition for $4.99 and they sell new for $58-78.
Any tutorial you could recommend would be great. Love your site, and I look for it each day. (Expecially Goodwill, Badwill!) Sue


dusty September 7, 2013 at 6:23 am

You might want to check with your local library to see if maybe they are giving classes on selling on Craigslist. This month our library is giving a class on selling on Ebay. You might want to suggest this to the librarian and maybe she could set up something for you. I too am getting ready to sell some items on Craigslist, not sure how to do it either.


Kristin (Meals Outside the Box) September 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

For plane tickets, check Southwest first. If I can fly Southwest, I will. When I can’t fly Southwest, I’ll try name your own price at Priceline. I’ve done very well there. Don’t forget to log into ebates first either way. I got a nice check from ebates last month because I booked travel for four of us to attend a wedding.


JaneUlness September 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I bought four jars of peanut butter for.95 cents each with a store and manufacturers coupon for the take home bags at the title 1 school.

I did our shopping at Winco, a ways to go for is, didnt find a lot of bargains, but discovered that they take coupons, so it was worth my while. Gramps got his beef jerkey meat!

Hung a load of clothes inside.


Penelope September 7, 2013 at 5:22 am

Today I walked to the grocery instead of drove. I only took one reusable shopping bag to help me stick to my very short list.
I found a penny on the way home 🙂
I cooked every night this week, mostly foraging from freezer and pantry.
I resisted the temptation to purchase an expensive coffee drink.
Nothing too earth-shattering, but still progress for me!

Thank you, Katy, for being such a positive influence and inspiration in my day-to-day life 🙂



Katy September 7, 2013 at 6:25 am

No, it’s all of you who keep me inspired!



Suzanne P. September 7, 2013 at 6:51 am

I am making my own Kombucha for the first time. I hope it turns out. That stuff’s $3 a bottle at the store and less than $2 a gallon at home.

In between thunderstorms I have been line drying laundry. I have 1 to 3 loads a day due to cloth diapers.

I went shopping at my Co-op on First Friday (lots of stuff on sale) and used my monthly 10% off discount so saved A LOT of money.

I went thrift store shopping and found my dad’s Mikasa plate pattern and picked up $211.50 worth of his plates (to replace chipped ones, etc.) for $15. That’s his Christmas present this year.

This isn’t a frugal thing but I LOVE your blog. It’s the only one that I faithfully read. It makes me feel like I can be frugal and live on a budget and that I’m not alone! Thank you for your ideas.


Isabelle La Vosgienne September 7, 2013 at 8:29 am

Hello Katy,

First, I’m very sorry for your car being keyed. This is just plain, gratuitously mean. I’m very happy your husband had a quick and cheap way to sort this out.

As for cheap plane fares, and lots of other good info, BuzzFeed just had this on their website:

Don’t be mistaken, they’re talking about way more than couponing, and it includes ways to get the cheapest plane fares, and cheap hotel bookings.

Hope this helps. 🙂


Mauren September 7, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hate that your car was keyed like that. Why are some people just so mean that way. I hate that!

Didn’t really do anything money saving on Friday, except used leftover beans and made some soup but I didn’t have enough beans for the soup so when I went grocery shopping I picked up a can and added it. And my husband loved it, which is great cause I can add a really simple recipe to our menu.

As my husband was reading the local Pennysaver, he noticed our dog food store was having a 20% off everything in the store sale. We stopped by today and saved that 20%. There was an animal fair going on so we were able to pick up a few freebies too. Since I spent so much on dog food — dog requires grain free food and meds, so I need dry and canned — I got a free spin on the prize wheel for another 20% of my next shopping trip. I liked that!


AFS September 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

I rode the bus to a basball game. Not only did I not have to pay for parking but it was a FREE pass from the Chinook Book. I took snacks with Stadium food is outragiously expensive. I was joined by friends. We all had a great time. And our team won!


Diane C September 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Actually spent $270 at Lowe’s today after the 10% off coupon. Gak! However, most of the buy was supplies to complete projects in our new home. The previous owner left a dresser behind and we are customizing it with beadboard and trim to make a dresser/headboard combo. Don’t have to buy a dresser or a headboard this way. Almost makes up for the big spend right there. We were planning on building vertical shelves into an existing cabinet for tray and cookie sheet storage, but we found inexpensive wire racks that just screw into the cupboard walls. Faster, cheaper and I can finally get my griddle off the counter. Win, spend, win.
When we got home from Lowe’s, I created a new dinner recipe from scrounged pantry items that got approval all around, so on the whole, not too bad.


Jen September 8, 2013 at 5:05 am

Don’t be too upset if your plane tickets are super expensive though! I have been flying to and from Portland for many years and plane tickets from Portland are just expensive and the price has gone up a ton in the past few years. When my 9 year old son was little the two of us could fly for about $250 a piece. Now, I am lucky if I can fly three of us (I have a daughter now too) for $400 a piece!

It can sometimes be cheaper to fly out of Seattle, but I have never really done it because I figure driving from Seattle would be expensive too.


Adrienne September 9, 2013 at 4:38 am

I just opened a credit card to get the 30,000 mile bonus (after I spend $1,000 in the next 3 months). This will help the cost of tickets on an upcoming trip. If you are close to the number of miles you need you can also ask around (I believe some airlines let people give miles to one another – I gave my sister some Delta miles a while back).


Beth B. September 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

Have you looked at JetBlue for tix? They have red eye flights to NYC for about $250. Not bad if you don’t mind sleeping on the plane.

Sorry to hear about your car getting keyed. Glad you could fix it easily.

Frugal things I’ve done lately:
We had a yard sale this weekend and sold a bunch of unwanted furniture. We made nearly $300 and I still have a bunch of kids stuff leftover to consign. The extra money is nice, but I’m most excited to reclaim space that was being occupied by all this stuff.

I have picked about 18 quarts of tomatoes from my garden in the past 2 weeks and made 2 large batches of spaghetti sauce and a large pot of chili with mostly all homegrown veggies. All the leftovers go in the freezer to be enjoyed mid-winter!


Kim September 9, 2013 at 10:13 am
Saw this on another site, thought you would like it.
For those handy folks who like to garden.


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