Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 30, 2015 · 51 comments

  1. Half of all paper Portland Timbers soccer tickets feature a coupon on the back for a free meal at Ikea. (Up to $5.99.) Even the development team tickets, which come free with our season tickets. So you know I snatch those things up faster than Imelda Marcos at a Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. They have to be redeemed pretty quickly, so my husband and I headed over to all things Swedish yesterday for a rare and appreciated restaurant treat. However, we had four tickets and zero teens in on the fun. No problem for me though, as I simply brought my own Pyrex leftover containers and kid orders for the chicken strips with fries. Add in my Ikea Family card and a tall mason jar, and a free iced coffee was added to our bill. That is, the bill of $0.00.
  2. My husband and I stopped at The Grocery Outlet on our way home and filled two large reusable grocery bags for the low, low price of only $15. 99¢ off-brand Corn Chex, 10¢ Greek yogurts and $1.50 boxes of Luna bars (among other things) made their way home with us and our money stayed in the bank, where it’s needed for our sons to go to college.
  3. I finished reading my library copy of In The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume’s latest adult novel. I sometimes worry that books from my favorite authors won’t live up to my high expectations, but that was a complete non-worry as this book was so amazingly wonderful. Go read it. Now. I love you, Judy Blume!
  4. I hung laundry on the clothesline, I made club sandwiches from scratch, I relisted three Craigslist posts, I washed my hair using dollar store shampoo, I slept on free-pile sheets, I watered plants using water from the kids’ unfinished water bottles, I washed laundry in cold water using small amounts of detergent, I used fans instead of air conditioning, I viewed the bright world through thrifted $1 sunglasses and I wrote my blog on a much repaired laptop.
  5. I 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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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathalie July 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Dang it, I wish we had a Grocery Outlet down in my neck of the woods!

1) I stayed home and didn’t spend any money.

2)Yesterday I went to several thrift stores and bought a few things including an electric kettle, a skillet, and a birthday present for my BFF.

3) I’m working on getting as many Swagbucks as I can to get another $25 Amazon GC soon.

4) I’ll be having leftovers for dinner tonight despite having a strong urge to go pick up a burger from Hardees or BK.

5) I picked through a bag of rotting grapes to find those that were OK and had them for dessert at lunch time.


K D July 30, 2015 at 12:48 pm

1. It rained a lot yesterday and some today so I did not have to spend time (and a tiny bit of money) watering plants.

2. Yesterday was an Energy Saving Day, with our local utility. By over cooling the house before 1:00 then turning the A/C and the dehumidifier off and not running the washing machine/dryer, the dishwasher, or using the stove/oven until 7:00 we greatly reduced our energy usage and will receive a bill credit of $26.13. That’s over $81 that we have saved over three days this summer. Essentially free money.

3. In a few days I will switch my cell phone coverage to Ting. My daughter has test driven it over the past few months. Because we will have a joint account, I expect I will save quite a bit of money every month over what I have been paying Virgin Mobile.

4. I have given away several items on this week. Even though I have not made any money I know all items went to someone that wanted them (and they were free to them).

5. I finished a library e-book and picked up some books on hold while coming back from a meeting.



LatteLaura July 31, 2015 at 6:23 am

That’s really cool that you could do that with your utility bill! I wonder how many people in your area take advantage of that.


A. Marie July 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

(1) Packed off a super-stinky project to my employer today (I telecommute). Major temporary source of stress removed = priceless.

(2) Picked up two new pairs of spectacles at Lenscrafters (one for street wear, one for office use). Given my complicated prescription, this is a major unavoidable expense–but I do get the AAA discount there, which saves some serious dinero.

(3) Celebrated the removal of the super-stinky project by making a “clean out the fridge” stir-fry, with the aid of some slender pork cutlets (a rare Trader Joe’s treat). Probably enjoyed this more than any restaurant meal we could have had.

(4) Served the first green beans of the season as a side dish to the stir-fry. Yum!

(5) I liked your reuse of water from water bottles, as I’m a reuser of water from odd sources (water from our own and others’ water bottles, ice from portable coolers, our rain barrels, etc.). Not that we’re likely to run out of water in Upstate NY any time soon (especially this summer), but it’s all water we don’t have to pay for.


Kim from Philadelphia July 30, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I wish we had a Grocery Outlet in Philadelphia. Boo!!!


Anissa July 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm

They are called Amelia’s Grocery Outlet in PA. I am in the Lehigh Valley and the price tags look the same as what Katy posts so I think it is the same place. If you are super concerned about expiration dates this is not the place for you. I personally love, it but the closest one to me is about 40 minutes away so I don’t go often unless I am in that area.

It looks like they have one in Woodlyn, is that close to you?


Annette August 2, 2015 at 11:56 am

I am west of you in Schuylkill County and the Amelias all have been changed to Grocery Outlet in PA also we have one in Pottsville


auntiali July 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I have my sister and her family visiting. They are staying in a hotel as there is no room at the inn here. This crowd are total consumers. I wish I had more frugal ideas of things to do with them and that I wasn’t so lazy that I didn’t plan home dinners.

Five unfrugal things:
1. treated them and dh, me and dd to dinner out.
2. treated them to bowling as my 11 yr old great niece is visiting. I did get a $2 discount on the bowling as my sis and bil are seniors.
3. we are ordering pizza for dinner.
4. they went to the mall to shop. I stayed home.
5. wish I thought to make a cake last night or this morning.


Ruby July 30, 2015 at 3:07 pm

One of the things I’m going to do now that I have more time is seek out the United Grocery Outlet here. It’s in a part of the city where I’ve never been, so it will be an adventure.

1. Today I took some coupons to CVS and came home with some free stuff. Love how that works!
2. Scheduled my dog’s dental cleaning for next month, when her vet is having a month-long $100 discount on doggie dental work. Also got her some discounted doggie toothpaste, as it was the last tube of a certain kind that they had in stock. (It is not frugal to own a rescued dog who came with a mouthful of malformed teeth, but we figure her heart full of love makes up for it.)
3. Got a free e-book from Barnes & Noble.
4. Browsed through the Salvation Army and did not buy a thing, but it was fun looking.
5. Did not buy a BMW. 😀


Sue G. July 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

RE: I love you, Judy Blume!

Nancy Pearl’s interview with Judy Blume in June:
(Seattle Arts & Lectures “An Evening With…” Series)


Heidi July 30, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Yesterday you commented about missing paper towels when you season your cast iron. I save my butter wrappers (in the fridge) to use to grease bakeware and to season my pans. I use the wrappers that have very little butter on my cast iron, along with a bit of oil.

My frugal things:
I gave our basil patch a pruning and made a large batch of pesto. I make it with a little lemon juice so that it will keep it’s colour when I freeze it. I freeze it in ice cube trays then store the cubes in freezer bags for easy dinners.

Dinner tonight is chicken thighs from the freezer and pasta with pesto.

We are off to watch our godson’s baseball game after dinner. Free entertainment and the company of friends.

Our niece and nephews (all under 6) are coming to stay for the weekend so we have plans to go to the lake for some swimming (5 mins away), lots of rides on our ponies and maybe a kiddie netflix movie for entertainment.

Our early apple tree is so full of apples that the branches are dragging on the ground. We’ll be making some apple crisp and apple sauce this weekend.


Marcia July 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Today was my grocery shopping and do errands day. Went to the bank for cash spending allowance, filled car with gas at cheapest place, bought $48 worth of groceries after coupons and bonus card, saving 34% off original prices. Was lazy and read most of the afternoon, but that didn’t cost anything! Made polish sausage on buns, corn on the cob, and deviled eggs for dinner—one of our favorite menus!! Will have the last piece of cheesecake my sister gave me later this evening. Free dessert! Polish sausage was buy 2, get 3 free when I bought it.


Beth July 30, 2015 at 4:06 pm

1. I batched my after work errands. Returned a free library book that was due today to avoid a library fee. Stopped at the grocery store who had 4 lbs. of Domino sugar for $1.49 – bought one bag, walked by the expensive fruit and bought a few other things we needed for less than $10 (Okay I confess I did succumb to the ice cream on sale). Dropped my mom a birthday card off at the post office which was free thanks to the American Red Cross with a Christmas stamp, yup still using up holiday stamps.

2. I turned off the air conditioning this morning as weather said it was to be in the low 80’s the rest of this week. It was 88 today but still doable because the humidity is gone! (Hallelujah!) I opened windows, closed blinds and only turn fans on when I am in the room or at night to bring the cool air in suck the hot out.

3. Packed a last minute lunch and was glad I bought a few less than a $1 frozen dinners for emergency lunches.

4. Had the MEGA yawns at work but I resisted buying a pop/soda for the caffeine and stuck to the huge container of water I brought from home.

5. While driving around doing errands after work with the car windows down resisted buying dinner out even though my daughter and I caught lots of delicious smells downtown wafting from various restaurants.

6. Didn’t turn the oven on and made homemade guac and my version of re-fried been dip with chips for dinner. Used the rest of the re-fried beans to make up burritos using up leftover tortillas and cheese and froze them to have for quick lunches.

7. Spent two hours calling doctors offices and my medical insurance to schedule dr., eye, dentist appointments and get some medical equipment under my insurance before it runs out, some days seems like a waste of time because I didn’t get through to anyone and only one had called me back by the end of the day. The good news is I accepted a new full-time job thus the insurance change.

8. Didn’t buy a yacht and sail away.


marleen July 30, 2015 at 4:35 pm

1. just ordered another ebook from the local library on my Overdrive app on my tablet since I’ve been working long hours and haven’t had the chance to get to the actual library during their summer hours.
2. made a white bean hummus after realizing I forgot to buy garbanzos on my grocery trip but I had great northern beans in the cupboard. Really good!
3. picked three tomatoes and some rhubarb from our little garden patch near our front porch.
4. bought a whole boneless pork loin at 40-cents less a pound than the pork chops I intended to buy, and will cut it up into several meals.
5. gladly brought home some hamburger buns and potato salad from a co-worker’s graduation party leftovers that she was offering to anyone that wanted them.


Isabelle July 30, 2015 at 4:48 pm

* My husband treated me to a Thai lunch. We both got the special, which includes a tea or coffee. It was not offered by the waitress and I remembered only once I was at the cash register, so I asked for the 2 jasmin tea paquet to go. She gave me the “you’re wird” look, but whatever!
* Got 10 packs of cheese at 3.99$/pound, and kiwis big as my fist for 0.50$/each, which are good prices around here.
* Rescued half a loaf of raisins bread and a 24 cheese slices pack from my mom’s “soon garbage”. They were slightly passed peremption date. I froze the bread. Cheese slices are so processed that it last forever!
* Got 20 BIC ball-pens and ten 80 pages note-books at the total cost of 1$. Got to love the going back to school specials.
* Was very tempted to load on clearance shoes and clothes, but since they are both on my shopping-ban list I refrained. I did get a 2-pieces (shirt and pants) for my daughter for half-price (7$) and put it in the Christmas gifts pile.

Have a great frugal day!


Lindsey July 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm

I used Craigslist for the first time and sold a bunch of old tools for $500! It took about two weeks but I got my full asking price for some things I had thought about just taking to the exchange platform we have at our dump sites—you leave things that are useable and folks can take what they find for free. Now I feel driven to look around and see what else I can list!


Katy July 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

This makes me want to scour our basement!


Canadian Lilly July 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm

-It has been a very hot and humid week here but I’m trying to keep windows closed, blinds drawn and fans going instead of the AC.
-The used book store called today-I have a $47.00 credit from a box of books I dropped off last week.
-Used up all the bread ends and buns from the freezer and made delicious bread crumbs.
-Enjoyed a free staycation day today–walked a local labyrinth, visited a healing garden and a meditation area at a local church then went out for a beautiful dinner (used a gift certificate) and finished off at a local park for a classic car show and listened to some great live music.
-My wife and I are hart broken about a recent news story and have decided due to our love of animals we will eat vegetarian for one week and if all goes well we will continue.

Have a fantastic and frugal day!


Monica July 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm

1. Put $12.68 into back-to-school savings account & $12.67 toward saving up for a professional clothing steamer. Money was earned from surveys.

2. Stocked up on cat litter that was on sale for 50% off. This price is the lowest I’ve ever seen it.

3. Got salmon at a better price per pound buying it whole & having the seafood dept. fileting it for free. I also got the other fish parts for future fish stock for chowder.

4. Used in-store credit from a consignment store toward an 80s costume for a friends’ birthday party. Part of it will be re-sold or consigned after the party.

5. Used another side of a piece of paper to write a to-do list.


Jessica July 30, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Hi Katy! I have been following your blog for years. I enjoy the content and also like reading the comments because they give me insight into how others live. If I could just ask one thing, could you please stop mentioning Lear Jets? I chuckled the first couple of times but honestly now I’d rather read a post with 4 frugal things rather than the same 5th thing nearly every time. Please take this as constructive criticism/feedback and not an insult or negativity. I have learned a lot from you and I hope you can take my suggestion into consideration. 🙂


Anne July 31, 2015 at 7:10 am

Yeah, I’m with you on the Lear Jet thing.


Katy July 31, 2015 at 8:27 am

Funny, you wrote this comment at the exact same time that a random comment came in on the Facebook group about never to stop the Lear Jet thing. Everyone is different!


Chrissy July 31, 2015 at 9:47 am

I personally think it’s hilarious and of you mentioned many many things in comment four so really it was way more than 5 frugal things. Long live the Lear jet temptation.

(Maybe I think it’s funny because others get their knickers in a knot over it)


Katy July 31, 2015 at 11:01 am

Lear Jet.


Betty Winslow July 31, 2015 at 3:58 am

Katy, that jet is a constant temptation, huh? 🙂

1. Last night’s dinner included a side of veggies picked fresh from the community garden, my husband’s work garden, and our herb patch.
2. Mailed a bag of kids’ clothes to ThredUP, in hopes of getting more money than they cost me. We’ll see….
3. Sold another pair of earrings in my Etsy store and several books in my store.
4. Bumped several items listed on FB, so they moved to the top of the lis for today.
5. Finally got a check for my dad’s Masonic watches and a fez with jeweled device and can now split the last bit of estate money with my brothers. Anything that sells now is mine to keep.


LatteLaura July 31, 2015 at 6:22 am

1. Only filled up the gas tank for my minivan once in July.

2.Prepared a budget for August using

3. Decided against buying a pricey home school curriculum in favor of getting the books from the library.

4. Cashed out for $5 from Bing Rewards.

5. Bought a food dehydrator from Amazon that retails for over $100 on sale for $56.00 using gift cards I earned on Swagbucks.

Unfortunately I broke the crown on my tooth yesterday and it is going to cost $600 to get a new one. So I’m glad I have these other ways of saving!


Katy July 31, 2015 at 9:09 am

Sorry about your crown, that’s a huge bummer. I have a crown and I am *very* careful about not eating chewy candy, as it came off once and the dentist fixed it for free but told me that was a one-off.


LatteLaura August 1, 2015 at 5:59 am

That’s awesome that your dentist fixed it for free! I was trying to be frugal when I broke it by eating peach cobbler I had made with Aldi frozen peaches that had been sitting in the freezer for a few months, instead of going to a coffee shop for a pastry. I think one of the peaches must have still had some pit attached. 🙁 So it ended up being a $600 dollar serving of peach cobbler!


tonya July 31, 2015 at 8:47 am

-used the free redbox code to watch a fun movie with my teens
-made quesadillas for last night’s dinner, really inexpensive and filling
-going out with my sister and her family tonight, but going to Wendy’s, where we have coupons for bogo sandwiches
-got a free well woman check today, and had a lovely visit with my provider. She’s a PA and gives so much personal attention.
– treated myself to Starbucks after fasting blood work, but used a mug instead of disposable. Not more frugal for me, but less waste is always a win!


Donna July 31, 2015 at 11:25 am

1. BFF came from out of town for sleepover.
2. Went to Library, they had The Girl On The Train” on the Lucky Day self.
3. Went to garage sales with above BFF. Found bottle of unused nail polish for .25 cents, came home had drinks in our gazebo while doing mani-pedis. .12 1/2 cents for mani-pedis? Frugal score, hours spent with dear friend who just passed her five year post-cancer mammo with flying colors? Priceless!
4. Ghost & Mrs. Muir on VHS with tea before bed.
5. Left the Lear Jet at the yard sale


Katy July 31, 2015 at 11:28 am

Ooh . . . “Girl on The Train” is very gripping. Make sure you don’t start it until you’ve completed anything you thought you’d accomplish that day.


Isabelle July 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm

They are going to make a movie of it, did you know?


Donna August 1, 2015 at 3:56 am

Thanks for the heads up, Isabelle. In my minds eye Rachel is Maggie Gyllenhaal 😉


Isabelle August 1, 2015 at 7:08 am

It will be Emily Blunt starring

Donna August 1, 2015 at 3:48 am

I started book around 1:00 p.m. and read straight through! Gripping to say the least. Really looking forward to the movie.


Carol August 2, 2015 at 10:06 am

If you haven’t read it, may I suggest the audio version. Three different women voicing the individual narratives, perfectly. Such a gripping story.


Betty Winslow July 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Best NCA score this month!! Had to get an antibiotic for an infection, but the one the readycare doc chose was $85!! So, no. Called the office back and asked them for plan B. Plan B was $35. Better. But when I picked it up, the pharmacist woman offered to run it through again with the store discount card. It was higher. But that reminded me, I had an RX deal through my Golden Buckeye senior card, so I asked her to run it again. $8.34!! Boy, I’m gonna try that with all of my drugs in the future!!


Katy July 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Wow, I’m super impressed that you thought to question your prescription and what a great discount you were able to get!


Betty Winslow July 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm

I’ve questioned several new fancy ones that were uber-expensive. Why pay that when something a bit older (and cheaper) will probably do the job? But I must admit, although I’ve contacted drug companies for available discounts on expensive drugs I *did* need, it’s the first time I tried my GB card!


Nathalie July 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for mentioning the Golden Buckeye card. My elderly in-laws will be moving to OH in the next fews months and I’m not sure they knew about that. We’ll have them check into it.


Mariana Cisowska July 31, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Frugal as ever. July has been good to me I have to say:

1. I am on a roll and getting produce super cheaply at a local grocer, box of fresh raspberries (all in amazing shape) for 99 cents. I got 5

2. Free wine. One of the company’s partners sent wine to our office. It came under company’s name (not an individual name). Noone claimed it so after 3 days, it found a new home 😉

3. Free samples from CVS. And a whole lot of it too.

4. Did the usual cooking, recycling, redoing and reusing. I lasted the entire week until today when I caved and got lunch out.

5. Fixed DH’s pants using my sewing machine.


Kristen July 31, 2015 at 8:25 pm

1. Instead of spending money on takeout donuts, I spent 10c at Safeway and got a half dozen muffins and donuts from the half price rack and gas bucks.

2. I used up carrots from a veggie tray by shredding them and adding them to a carrot cake mix with a small jar of baby food carrots.

3. Got a shirt at a garage sale for 25c and pulled off all the beads to up cycle into a necklace for a Xmas gift

4. Took some stuff to the dump and hit the jackpot! Found a $5 voucher for a movie site as well as three hockey sticks that I will use in some decor for my sons new hockey bedroom renovation.

5. Received free cucumber from my mother in laws garden.


Bobbi July 31, 2015 at 9:11 pm

1. Frugal food day! Had breakfast and coffee at home, packed my lunch and snacks for a long work day, then came home and made dinner. I didn’t eat all of the raw veggies I had packed for my lunch, so I chopped them up and added them to my dinner salad.
2. I realized once I was at work that my whole outfit had come from Goodwill during different shopping trips. A navy dress, a white tank-top underneath the dress (the dress is sort of low-cut), and a pair of flats. Love it!
3. Using fans instead of air conditioning at home, since I was at the air-conditioned office for the worst of the heat today.
4. Reserved a couple of books on my library’s website, I’ll pick them up next time I’m out doing errands.
5. Not frugal, but possible due to living frugally: in the spirit of valuing experiences over things, yesterday I sent my teenage daughter off for a week-long piano camp/festival at a conservatory that is her current top-choice for college. I flew there with her to make sure she got there safely, and flew back home. I’ll fly there again next week to hear the week-end performance, and we’ll fly home together. The camp tuition and all the plane tickets ended up costing a pretty penny, but it’s worth it to me. She is a talented pianist and very passionate about it, and I want to support that!


Amanda July 31, 2015 at 9:45 pm

1. Made it through 24 hours of flight only spending $4 the whole time. That was for chicken strips and fries for the boys. I felt like they needed something heavier than the granola bars we brought.
2. While we are on vacation and spending “vacation money” for whatever we need we aren’t buying gas and groceries back home, which means this month will actually be kinda cheap.
3. After discovering that I overpaid on a hospital bill from April because the hospital mistakingly never submitted a bill to our insurance, I was afraid that the claim would be denied because it was a week after their claim period. Happily, they paid it, so now the hospital owes us $300!
4. Instead of getting a cab to the airport or paying for parking for 2.5 weeks, a friend agreed to drive us to and pick us up from the airport in our own car. She didn’t use a drop of her own gas and we’ll bring her back something cool (that costs way less than the $60 we would have spent on cabs).
5. My husband has a cavity that needs filling. I compared the price of having the cavity filled plus his next year’s cleanings with the price of buying dental insurance. Just paying the bill will be cheaper, so it paid to compare. I would have assumed the insurance would have made it cheaper.


LisaC August 1, 2015 at 5:33 am

I like the lear jet comment, it makes me smile.


LisaC August 1, 2015 at 5:36 am

We have had a lot of summer company, which we enjoyed, but our utility bills were pretty high, with more laundry and A/C, plus the grocery cost (some of the company did help with that). So when we don’t have company this year, our weekends are spent just enjoying the peace and quiet. No vacation trip for us is necessary, the peace is vacation enough!


Isabelle August 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

I’m finally painting the old house this weekend, hopefully it will help for the selling!! Would be more than frugal to get rid of it!!!!


Mrs. LC@LooseChangeLiving August 1, 2015 at 8:51 am

Five frugal things from serving on jury duty yesterday:

1. Packed a protein bar so didn’t have to purchase lunch
2. Drank water during the breaks instead of purchasing soda from the machines
3. Did not go shopping across the street at the mall during our lunch period
4. Ate free pizza the court provided when deliberation went late into the evening (on a summer Friday night!!)
5. Drove the speed limit on the way home so avoided a ticket and the expense of going to court


Diane C August 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

Apologies if this has been discussed, but I always wonder if you and/or your men look for discarded tickets at Timbers games? I’m sure people drop them without even noticing the coupons. You’d be doing a public service by picking up litter. Win-win.
Yesterday, I used Coinstar to count the Friends of the Library’s monthly coin intake. For the first time, there was money in the machine. An extra thirty four cents was deposited into the Friends account this month. Hooray!


jiiill August 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

1. Used a bunch of coupons to get free things from CVS. My grandma added her item to my order and only paid half because of my coupons! Yay Grandma
2. Drove to a soccer tournament and back. Same tomorrow. Only frugal because gas is cheaper than a hotel. (1 1/2 hrs. away)
3. Enjoyed a picnic in the park with the team instead of getting fast food. Ate the free grapes that came off my friend’s vine.
4. Hubby spotted a ten-dollar bill on the ground!
5. Free chuckles over the many times Katy has passed on buying that tempting Lear Jet.


Katy August 1, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Way to go, hubby!


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