Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 11, 2015 · 92 comments

Free rocking chair

  1. My son had his weekly 7 A.M. work meeting this morning. Instead of driving home during the 2 hour span, (it’s twenty minutes each way) I brought a stack of magazines that had been accumulating in my living room. I was able to skim through them enough, so I’ll feel no guilt when I drop them at a Little Free Library later on today.
  2. I subscribe to four magazines, (Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Simple Living and Sports Illustrated) all of which I get for free either from doing online surveys or by cashing in random frequent flyer miles. I’ll never accumulate enough miles to earn a airline ticket, so I might as well get something from them. However, lately I’ve noticed myself having zero interest in reading the magazines, so I won’t be resubscribing, free or otherwise.
  3. I gave away a few things. (Sometimes frugality means making inexpensive or free things available for others.) I contacted the person who’d bought our unused Sonicare toothbrush heads to see if she’d like the chargers. (She would.) I gave a jar of Borax to someone in a local buying-nothing-group who was having an ant problem, and I put a fixer-upper antique rocking chair out for free, as I’d had it for three months or so without working on it. It was gone within a half-hour, and I’m happy to be free from the guilt of yet another unfinished project. I’m also donating a bin of stuff to Goodwill today.
  4. My older son and I are driving five hours tomorrow for a two-day university orientation. He’ll bunk for free in the dorm while I’ll stay a hotel. (I used eBates and Priceline to book the room.) We’ll bring our own food, and just grab pizza slices and go to the grocery store. He needs to bring a graphing calculator to take a math placement test, which I’m borrowing from a friend. Hopefully I can drive my Prius to minimize gas usage, but it’s in the shop today for a new water pump. (It’s a repair we knew about when we bought the car.)
  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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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah August 11, 2015 at 10:35 am

1: Yesterday I counted out pennies to buy a single lemon at the grocery store.
2: I resisted the lure of the BOGO cookies sale.
3: I “rescued” some red potatoes that my mother was throwing away because there were two rotten ones in the bag. (The rest of the potatoes were fine except for one, which was just starting to soften on one side. I cut off the soft side and used the rest of it.)
4: I ride to and from work with my windows down to keep cool to save the energy the AC would use. Since I stay on slow surface streets in my commute, this is gas efficient. (I can’t do it with my 17-month-old daughter in the car though, as Georgia-in-August eat is not exactly healthy for toddlers. My grown tail can handle it, though!)
5: I didn’t buy a Lear jet. ^_~


Isabelle August 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Do we have the same mom? Mine throws food all the time, for silly reason (“I got tired of it”, “it was too much”, etc)….


Betty Winslow August 11, 2015 at 10:36 am

1. Started using Saving Star and shopped for some of the stuff they were offering sales on, at local stores already offering the items on sale. Need to enter another receipt; so far, made 24 cents. Not much, but it’ll add up.
2. Retrieved a nickle from the library parking lot, which will be added to the crisis pregnancy center fund-raiser bottle.
3. Stirred the last little bit of a jar of local honey which had crystallized into the last little bit of a jar of natural peanut butter, which had hardened due to oil separation and hubby’s lack of stirring it in each time, to make the perfect snack.
4. Bought 2 cake mixes for $1.00 each, to reserve for use in making potluck desserts the coming fall.
5. Ate lasagna and some kale salad for lunch, both left over from meals friends delivered to us the past hew days as I recover from surgery.

Bonus: Have been suggesting for a while that my editor allow me a bit more space for my column, and some additional pay. Last night, he finally agreed. I’ll be writing a little bit more, on the same books I would already be reviewing, and will be getting paid double what I’ve made the last few yrs!! Score!!


Cee August 11, 2015 at 10:47 am

Someone bought your used toothbrush heads?!


Katy August 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

That’s too funny, I meant to type “unused!” Thank you for being my copy editor!


Cee August 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

Whew! 🙂 I aspire to your level of frugality, but that was taking things a little too far for comfort!


Bettypants August 11, 2015 at 10:51 am

1. I bought two stunning upholstered chairs from an estate sale with dark stains on the seats. Worked on them over the weekend and the stains are 80% gone. Still work to do, but I am optimistic.
2. Found a quarter in the cart corral at Aldi.
3. Sweet corn is on sale at Kroger (local corn) for $2 a dozen. Doesn’t that seem insanely cheap?
4. Tried coconut oil from Aldi ($5) instead of Costco ($25) and am glad I bought the smaller amount, as I don’t think I’m going to be a rabid fan.
5. Weeded out one of my perennials beds, made a border from leftover bricks, and planted the geraniums and sedum my friend gave me.


Lesley August 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Bettypants: I bought the same CO from Aldi and now it languishes in my cabinet because I don’t like it either. Anyone know what I should use it for instead of consuming it?


Betsey August 11, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Use it as a skin softener or conditioner.


Jill August 11, 2015 at 1:04 pm

I second the conditioner idea. I put enough CO in my hair after shampooing to just work it through, then let it sit for half an hour or so. My best friend lets it sit all day, but whatever works for you. It does require lots of rinsing or a quick shampoo to get the greasiness out, but it makes my hair super soft. I do this a few times a month.


Lesley August 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Thank you, ladies!


Bettypants August 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I tried it as a conditioner last night and hated it. I washed my hair twice afterwards and it still feels yucky. I think lank is probably a kind description of my hair today.

I also tried it on my face as a moisturizer. Not for me.

Planning to make popcorn with it tonight. Hoping it tastes better than it feels.

Mary C. August 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

Use it to make granola — it adds healthy fat and subtle flavor; Katy uses the Prudent Homemaker’s recipe, which I’m sure you would like; I love the coconut oil granola recipe at Pinch of Yum. Or combine it with sugar and lemon zest for a sugar scrub (makes a great gift); One Good Thing has some great ideas for homemade scrubs as gifts.


Becky @ Becky's Place August 13, 2015 at 6:15 am

My sister uses coconut oil for her rosacea .

I use it for cooking. If you have one that you can taste the coconut in, it works great for stir-frying as that flavor works great with ginger and garlic… yum. Last night I used it to saute onions to top our steaks (the brand I have doesn’t taste like coconut). One of my coworkers recently mentioned that she and her hubs use it for a lubricant, too. I’d have never thought of that, ha ha! I have tried it as a conditioner for my hair. But I have fine, thinning hair and it just makes it “lank” as another poster experiences. I think it’s likely great for someone with thick, curly hair.

Katy, my sister has the same chair. But hers is not a rocker. It appears to be in the same condition, too. I was hoping you were going to say that it was a new project you were starting so that I could get some ideas from your experiences. Rats.


Isabelle August 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm

You can use it as personal lubricant (instead of “k-y type of gel). Never tried it, but it’s one of the many use it seems!


Diane C August 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

You beat me to it, Isabelle. I used to have recurring problems with UTI’s. We switched to coconut oil after I impulsively grabbed a tub at Costco and I haven’t had one since. I like the fact that it’s natural (and organic) and that I’m not having to take antibiotics every six weeks or so. Worth every penny. We even have a small jar for travel ;-}

Since I own the Costco size jar, I am also trying other things. Once a month I rub it into my entire scalp and let it sit as long as I can stand, which is pretty long because it smells good and isn’t as greasy as you would expect. Then I wash it out with Honest Shampoo (on sale at Costco) and rinse with cheap apple cider vinegar. I have always had oily wash-every-other-day kind of hair and I was surprised that this method worked. My hair looks great for almost nothing.

It also makes a great facial scrub whilst doing the hair thing. Slather C. Oil onto face and grab a generous pinch of sugar . Gently rub in small circles all over your face. Rinse off sugar with warm water and allow a little C. Oil to remain on your face. Your face will feel wonderful. I have rosacea and this surprisingly has not caused any breakouts. Be careful not to scrub too hard, though.

Lastly, it’s great for dry cuticles.
Hope this helps!


meg August 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Aldi has a good satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like it, take it back! They should give you your money back. That is if it’s convenient, it might not be “worth the trip”.


Marianne August 12, 2015 at 11:46 am

My hubby is diabetic and uses it for skin lotion and it works well. You can also give it to your pets orally or use on their skin, I put it on my dogs backs when they get the summer itchy skin, it takes their itch right away.


Ellie August 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm

I use it for home made deodorant – I use the recipe from “An Oregon Cottage” blog.


Shelly August 12, 2015 at 10:39 am

Totally use coconut oil to put on popcorn!!! I love it much more than butter.


DD August 13, 2015 at 9:46 am

I’ve successfully used coconut oil as a hair conditioner for my fine-textured hair, BUT I usually put it on my hair BEFORE washing and then I let it sit on there are a bit (for at least half an hour). Then I just wash as usual. You can also put the coconut oil on your hair, cover with a shower cap, then aim a hair dryer at it for about 15 minutes for a deeper hot oil-style hair treatment. Then you just wash it afterward.


Chris August 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

1. We volunteered at our church’s picnic on Sunday and came home with 6 leftover brats and 12 buns.
2. Worked up a plan to pay off 2 student loans and 2 HELOC using some stocks, savings and money market $$ so that when my husband retires in one year, we will have no debt. Now I just have to get all the paper work ready to go!
3. Watering for a friend while she is out of town – her green beans and tomatoes are coming in so they are mine for the picking.
4. We are starting to leave the dog home alone (uncrated) for longer times to test not using dog day care as much – he is definitely settling in so we will see how it goes.
5. Found my favorite “yellow rice” (Vigo brand) at the dollar store – same thing for $1.79 at the traditional grocery. Bought a few bags.


Delorise August 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Lesley and Bettypants, regarding how to use the coconut oil- have you tried it as a moisturizer? I recently saw a program where the lady spoke of applying it as a face and hand moisturizer. She also applied it to her body when she got out of the shower. Just remember a little goes a long way. Haven’t tried yet- but plan to ( a lot more natural than store moisturizers) . I love the smell of coconut- reminds me of beach days.


Lesley August 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Agreed, thanks so much.


Bettypants August 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

It felt way too greasy on my face. I do like the smell. Our dog spent several minutes hanging around, sniffing my face. He’s a fan.


melanie August 11, 2015 at 7:53 pm

lol! My dog won’t stop trying to lick me when use it as moisturiser – arms, legs, anywhere it is … pet rats love it too!


cathy August 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

I have a pair of natural leather shoes (un-dyed, un-polished) and I use coconut oil to lubricate the leather. I’d think you could use the oil for other natural leather items.


Rachel T. August 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

1) I donated a trunkload of items to goodwill today.
2) I arranged for Catholic Charities to pick up a dresser we don’t need on Friday.
3)We are eating from the pantry/freezer this week and next since my sister and I are moving in 10 days!!!
4)My sister is donating her air conditioner to a woman in the next town over—one less thing to pack in the moving truck. She has to drive there for an errand on Thursday, anyway.
5) Didn’t buy a Lear jet .


Lesley August 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Regarding #3: I often employ this tactic (imagining I am about to move or at least be away for weeks) in order to use up what we have, clean the fridge, feel better about food waste, etc. I prefer an emptier fridge/pantry so that I can see what I have to work with. Good luck!


Betsey August 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm

1. I went through my fall décor items and refreshed them instead of buying new. Actually, a friend of mine who owns a thrift store tells me she never decorates seasonally any more. She sees how much people pay for stuff and then how much they can get for them. Big difference!
2. Since I live in tees and jeans all summer, I found good quality tees marked 3 for $10. I bought 6.
3. I fed 6 ladies lunch yesterday for under $10. Chicken casserole with chicken I bought for 99cents a pound on sale, fresh sweet corn from a friend, and a dessert that cost me $2 from scratch.
4. I had been salivating over seagrass storage cubicle squares that had been marked for $29 a piece (I needed 4). When I went to the lumberyard today, I saw the same squares marked $7 each, the same ones!!!! Yes, I bought them, and now the storage piece looks gorgeous in my entry way.
5. My friend and I won a free trip to Tennessee this fall! All we need to pay for is food and entertainment. Since we are both frugal, we figure our vacation will cost about what we would normally spend for 2 weeks.


LatteLaura August 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm

I use coconut oil from Aldi for oil-pulling. Since I have been doing this my gum and teeth health has been the best it’s ever been. The dental hygienist hardly has anything to scrape away which is awesome!


cathy August 12, 2015 at 1:41 am

please, what is oil pulling?


LatteLaura August 12, 2015 at 4:49 am

You put about a Tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. Then spit it out in the trash can and rinse your mouth.

I almost gave up when I first started doing this b/c I thought it was so gross, but after a few time I was able to go longer and now can do 20 min. no problem. At first I could only tolerate 5 min, then 10 etc.

Four years ago my gums were so sensitive and I had lots of plaque that the hygienist wanted me to come in every 3 months. Now I get compliments on how great my teeth and gums are!


Sharon August 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm

1. Went to store #1 and picked up my free with coupon artichoke and cake mix and bought with coupon n frosting to go with said cake mix.
2. Went to store #2 and picked up the free Friday download item and free with coupon bag of chips!
3. Came home and filled out the surveys for both stores for fuel points and chances to win gift cards.
4. The vet upped my dogs medicine dosage which actually saved me $50!!
5. I wanted to stop and get a fast food burger while out today, but resisted and came home to have lunch.


Erin August 11, 2015 at 1:19 pm

1. I canned 2 jars of homemade green tomato relish made from green tomatoes that had fallen off our tomato plants and 4 jars of salsa made from perfectly good tomatoes I rescued from the dumpster.
2. I hung a load of laundry on the clothesline
3. I made spinach stuffed shells for dinner using fresh spinach from dumpster, shells bought for 49 cents at salvage grocery and marinara sauce also bought from salvage, served with a salad made from a still very good head of lettuce from dumpster and tomatoes also from (you guessed it) dumpster! Made homemade garlic bread from day old baguette from dumpster!
4. I cloth diapered our 2 and 5 month old
5. I breastfed our 5 month old


cathy August 11, 2015 at 8:39 pm

When I was in college (in Portland), a couple students who worked at a small natural foods store used to put the produce headed for the dumpster NEXT to the dumpster for all their dumpster-diving friends. Most of the produce and other food was excellent, just not “perfect.” It’s amazing what gets thrown out in the name of perfection.


LatteLaura August 12, 2015 at 5:05 am

Have you seen this about the grocery store in Canada selling “ugly” produce at a discount?


Karen August 12, 2015 at 7:44 am

Yes! I shop there. It’s cross country now, but still apples and potatoes. The photo in the link is a pretty accurate depiction of how “ugly” the produce is. Not very. Mostly just slightly odd shapes and sizes. They started doing this in France a few years ago, too. I think it’s a great idea, and hope they expand the line. as I already have almost free sources of apples and potatoes.


LatteLaura August 12, 2015 at 8:55 am

That’s so cool that you shop there! How do you get almost free apples and potatoes?

Isabelle August 12, 2015 at 9:51 am

It’s not an entire store, it’s just bags of apples and potatoes (i think). At my store, this bag of imperfect apples is still close to 5$, so far from free

Karen August 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

Isabelle is right, it is just bagged potatoes and apples that a big box chain sells at a slight discount in the produce department. It’s not huge, because the imperfections are really minor.

I get potatoes for the cost of seed potatoes because my father grows them and we live in orchard country so know several people who grow them commercially, or have a backyard tree, so it’s just the cost of gas to pick them up.

I still think the Ugly Produce at discount is a fabulous idea and would like to see the line expanded.

Joy August 22, 2015 at 7:20 am

I have been trying to talk the local farmer to have a “Perfectly Imperfect” corner at his produce stand. It hasn’t worked yet, but I haven’t given up! I will say though, each time I go there to purchase yummies, I always leave with extra cukes, tomatoes, or other produce that has a bad spot, etc that he just sticks in my bags 🙂

Kale August 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

1. Yesterday’s lunch was a mish mash of leftovers. I didn’t love it but am happy they are gone and I didn’t have to buy my lunch
2. Most of my clothes are really old and I’ve been slowly growing out of them. I “needed” some new stuff but I stuck to thrift stores, consignment stores and a wholesale store that was having a 40% sale. Woo!
3. Went to the farmer’s market on Sunday and planned on eating at a food truck. The truck wasn’t there so we were tempted by a restaurant but decided to go home and cook with what we just bought…duh
4. Had to take our dog to the vet. Turns out my husband knew the vet and we got a small discount.
5. Avoiding transit fare every day by biking to work.


monique August 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I’m with you on the magazines! I was so excited when I realized that I could get most magazines that I like to read onto my tablet for free from Zinio through my library. The first six months I would spend half an hour a week updating my tablet, adding new ones, erasing the old ones. It was handy to have them on my tablet for waiting rooms (which for the most part no longer keep them), but eventually I realized that I was skimming through them so quickly that it was almost not worth the download time! I do still stop and pick up copies of People at the library from time to time, but it has been months since the urge to fill up on magazines. After a while, I felt that it was mostly advertising, or just more stuff/ideas that I wasn’t willing to spend time/money on!


Isabelle August 11, 2015 at 4:25 pm

I am right there with you. I received magazine subscriptions last Christmas, at my request, and I am getting more and more bored and annoyed with them. Filled with perfect people in perfect situations, with perfect everything and adds to push unnecessary buys… I am done with magazines.


Sharon August 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Here’s my frugal 5:
1) We were invited to friends’ homes for dinner on Sat. & Sun. so no meals planned for those nights (we’ll reciprocate soon, but reduced grocery purchases this week!).
2) One of the friends sent me home with 4 homegrown squash, a jar of honey from their own bees and a great tasting new recipe!
3) Told the college freshman that a $139 pair of Sorel shoe/boots were not a college necessity and crossed them off her list as we were dorm shopping.
4) Told the same freshman, “no, I won’t even go half-sies with you either!”
5) Got most of the beer and all of the ice cream donated for a summer event I’m planning at work!


Katy August 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm

My son is paying his own expenses, so there are no boot requests for far.


Marilyn August 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm

1. On my morning walk this weekend, came across a big yard sale. Bought a nice Craftsman rake for $1.
2. At same sale, saw rug which I thought would be perfect for my enclosed porch/sunroom. The asking price was $30 which is a little steep for a yard sale rug. Offered $25, but they turned me down. However, when I went back at the end of the day, they were willing to accept my offer of $20. This was not a freebie, but it does look great and did not need to be cleaned or repaired, so it seemed like a fairly good deal to me. I have always wanted a rug for that room and I’m happy I found this one.
3. My neighbor who is moving this week has given me 2 potted plants which I have placed in the porch/sunroom. This room is getting all of the attention lately!
4. Found “The Theory of Everything” DVD at the library which we watched last night and enjoyed very much.
5. Went out to breakfast with 4 friends. Just had a yogurt parfait. Spent almost $4 for the yogurt – not a bargain – but I did get 2 hours of fun conversation with this group of friends, so it was worth it.


Katy August 11, 2015 at 6:49 pm

Yes, that’s a great movie!


HeatherS August 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm

1. “Shopped” the uniform closet at my daughters school when I dropped her off for volleyball practice. Dropped off all the clothes she can no longer wear after a huge summer growth spurt and picked some up I hope will fit.
2. Made dinner at home last night even though I was totally exhausted and really, really didn’t want to make dinner. Saved us going out.
3. Was treated to lunch out by my parents. Yay!
4. Am beginning to stock my freezer with easy weeknight meals so that when school and work start next week, I will not be tempted to eat out.
5. On the not frugal front – my son needs a medication for the next 6 months that will probably cost us $400/mo! No idea how we will pay for this. Darn, high deductible insurance!


Lindsey August 11, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Try contacting the manufacturer to see if they have a free program. I have to be on a drug for three months that costs $3,000.00 a month and my insurance refuses to cover it. I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me a three month supply for free. All I had to do was provide proof that my insurance would not cover it…I did not have to provide proof of income or anything else.


Marilyn August 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Also, you might try checking on-line for coupons. My husband found an on-line coupon which paid for half of a medication he needed. And ask the pharmacist if they know of any discounts you cN get.


Jill A August 12, 2015 at 4:04 am

Try GoodRX website. I have saved alot. The last time I saved $100 -150 off retail price on one expensive prescription and I save $50 – $60 off the insurance discounted price of another ( don’t know the retail price of that prescription0. I have insurance, but I only get their
discount. I have to pay for prescriptions. Good Rx saved me more then the insurance discount. Just go to the website, put your zip code and the medication name. It will tell you which stores have the cheapest price w/ coupon. Then just print out your coupon. For my area it is usually walgreens or rite aid that accepts the coupon. I’ve done this three times now.


Diane C August 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

After you’ve taken the great advice above, don’t forget to check Costco’s prices. They usually knock the socks off drug store/pharmacy prices.


lori August 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm

I finally have had some frugal success:
At the grocery store my pretzel crisps rang in at a higher price so they were free (i saved almost $5).
We took care of our neighbors cat for a couple of weeks so we were invited for dinner, which was frugal and nice.
Made muffins out of pantry ingredients for breakfasts this week.
Got a bag of kids clothes and toys ready to take to consignment, double win clears clutter and makes money.
Didn’t buy the yacht I saw for sale at the lake, that saved a fortune!


Katy August 11, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Wow, impressive self control to not buy the yacht. Good job!


Alison August 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Not feeling very frugal today as I leave in a few hours for a two week
trip to Australia, to see my daughter who is living there for 7 months.
One thing I did that was frugal I guess: I didn’t buy the upgrade to Business Class, which would have added $2600.00 to the price of my ticket. Still hoping for an upgrade when I get to the airport, but I think it’s unlikely.


Rachel H August 12, 2015 at 11:54 am

Alison, that is wonderful that you are going to Australia! Enjoy the trip!


K D August 11, 2015 at 3:29 pm


I hear you on the magazines. Even when I pay $4/year for a magazine (during a good sale) I find I still don’t get excited about receiving issues in the mail.

Five frugal things:

1. My husband took a couple days of vacation and we have been working on painting the house since Saturday (much cheaper than hiring it done).

2. I listed and gave away more stuff on freecycle. Today someone that teaches art in city schools picked up some stuff. She’ll take all kinds of stuff so I feel like I scored making that contact (as we have things left to declutter) and she lives in the neighborhood (she walked to pick up stuff).

3. I walked to the grocery to buy a few bananas and the Saving Star freebie.

4. Staples had reams of paper for $.01 after rebate on Sunday/Monday. I picked up the 4 allowed. My husband and daughter bring it to work, I donate it to an art teacher I know (a friend, not the neighbor).

5. I didn’t buy a Lear jet.


DD August 13, 2015 at 9:56 am

Isn’t Freecycle just the BEST!! I absolutely love that feeling of decluttering (or helping someone else declutter by picking something up) but also knowing that an item will go to someone who can truly use it. I just got a bunch of notebooks that someone had lying around and I donated them to a local school supplies drive. The person I got them from lives nearby and has picked up Freecycle items from me before, so she was even happy to deliver the notebooks to me herself while she was out running errands!


Jamie August 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm

1. I brought my lunch and a jar of “iced” coffee for that 3pm slump!

2. Dinner is a mixture of things from the fridge that I whipped up with extra pasta and will eat tonight and tomorrow – thus saving what I had planned to make for dinner tonight (chicken fried rice) I’m trying to not hit the grocery store at all this week and only eat out of the home.

3. I found a penny while walking my dog today!

4. I haven’t eaten out or really been out since last Thursday…which is really good for me. Trying to go for a week because I’m going to have an insane weekend.

5. I’ve started a crochet project out of yarn we already had around the house!


Amanda August 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm

We’re on a home exchange in Bali, a decidedly not so frugal endeavor, but we’ve worked hard to fit the trip into our budget. To squeeze every dollar we have:
1. As this is a home exchange accommodations are completely free!
2. Our hosts usually rent this villa out to those who like “affordable luxury” so I have had to carefully sidestep their usual recommendations. For example, we sent out three days of laundry for our group of five and it was $9! (Laundry here is done by hand and line-dried.) I found a place right down the street the next time that did the same amount of laundry for half the price. Laundry mats aren’t really a thing here.
3. Because a breakfast usually comes with the house rental, the staff were giving us the same treatment. It took a week in for me to find out we were being charged $8/day for it! An $8 breakfast is obscene in super-cheap Bali, so we are buying our own eggs. (Partly out of the principle of the thing–our hosts could have let us in on this fact!)
4. The house comes with staff free of charge (labor is dirt cheap here). Instead of going out to eat we give grocery money to the housekeeper and she buys ingredients and makes meals. We discovered that even though she makes a fantastic spaghetti bolognese, cheese and pasta are expensive here, so I’ve been steering my American-food-loving family more toward the Indonesian options, which feed three adults and two children for less than $10. And in my opinion tastes heavenly. Plus, when in Rome.
5. I bought a small painting at a gallery to support the artist and have a beautiful momento on our wall. I also couldn’t resist a little dress for a $1 for our little girl who is coming in three months. Otherwise I have avoided all the sun dresses I would never wear when I got home and other tourist kitsch that looks cool now but would become clutter at some point in our lives.


Katy August 11, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Such a great experience!


Isabelle August 11, 2015 at 4:12 pm

* I found 1.25$ on the ground, picked flowers outside to give to my daughter, and bought used kids clothes at a yard sale (17$ for two extravagant Christmas dresses, 2 regular dresses, 2 long sleeves shirt, 1 nightgown, 1 pair of sweatpants). All while taking a walk outside.
* We bought new running shoes for my 3 year old, and I tought they got ruined the 1st day, playing outside (mud+rain), and that we would have to buy another presentable pair for daycare. Turns out they are ok, after washing them.
* Went to the restaurant tonight (we go once a month as a family) and got the kids meals for 2$ and a free appetizer (with a coupon I brought), total of 47$ -taxes and tip in – or us 4. And enough leftovers for my lunch tommorow, yay!
* Did not buy anything on my shopping-ban list in the last month, except for take-out 3 times (my biggest weakness…)
* Talking with hubby about upcoming Christmas gifts (we start early!), and not wanting too much “stuff” for ourselves or the kids. I really do plan on keeping it simple and not (too) expensive. We have way too much toys around anyways, and I much prefer experiences over material. Now we have to get grandma on board…

Have a great frugal day!


Ruby August 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

1. Repaired a long crack in the ceramic tiles that form a “baseboard” outside of the shower door. Cost was $4 for some oil-based enamel paint to fill the crack. Our bathroom has the original 1952 pink and blue tile, so there’s no way to match it with new tiles, even if we could afford to have the tile replaced. It’s not perfect, but you’d really have to be looking for it to see it now.

2. I love the canine dentist who takes care of our littlest rescue dog’s malformed teeth. They gave me the “$100 off any procedure in August” discount and stacked the senior citizen discount of $25 on top of that. So instead of $423, I spent $298 for her cleaning, x-rays, sealant, one extraction, three prescriptions, and a follow-up visit.

3. Mended a pair of my husband’s gym pants for him. He had worn a little hole in the knee. Took me about five minutes to stitch it up.

4. Bought toilet paper at Aldi for 59 cents for a four-pack. It’s actually good stuff and I hope this is not some fluke and it continues to be in stock.

5. Did some ultra-frugal decorating by just moving some things around that we already had.


Sharon H. August 11, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Went to several thrift stores looking for items for my son’s college dorm room. We’re going to need to buy some things new, but I wanted to get as much as I could second-hand first.

I found an iron, some flip flops to wear to the shower, a soap dispenser, and an under-bed storage bin, to add to the growing pile of stuff in our ‘staging area.’ A friend gave us a nice fabric laundry hamper. My husband is giving him a desk lamp from his office.

Son #1 also found a local woman who sold him two textbooks he’ll need for his first semester for $35. Score!


Trish August 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Katy – just curious about the rocker. why didn’t u try to take it to a consignment shop? It reminds me a bit of a rocker my grandfather had that I now have. It looks lovely solid wood, etc. I am guessing that these are very common rockers and really don’t have a great market?


Katy August 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm

It had a wobbly arm.


AFS August 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Does your library have magazines? None of the magazines I like are time sensitive so it never bothers me to read back issues from the library for FREE. No subscription necessary.


Monica August 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm

1. My mom is in a decluttering mission and she offered us a brand new queen size quilt & shams, 2 outdoor folding chairs and a cast iron skillet.

2. I reorganized some resale items & emptied a large storage bin. This bin is being added to the others I’ve been putting aside for my niece who needs them.

3. Earned a $5 Amazon gc from a survey panel and 20 cents on I Botta for buying bananas.

4. Sold something on eBay.

5. Reused a holey, felted cashmere sweater for a cat blanket in a cardboard box. My old kitty loves it.


Bellen August 12, 2015 at 2:27 am

1. Used Zinio, a free digital magazine site, offered thru our local library. 30 mags currently on line
2. Sold vintage glassware & Christmas ornaments to a local shop for $75. Had tried to sell at yard sale and on Craig’s list with no takers
3. Am starting Purslane and hot peppers from saved seed – it’s the start of our growing season in SW FL
4. Bought 99cent flip flops to replace 5 year old $18. falling apart can’t fix anymore sandals to wear in the house – since they’re off more than they’re on they should easily last at least 2 years
5.One 10 min phone call and reduced our Comcast bill by $10 a month – every penny counts


Becky @ Becky's Place August 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

Lord, have mercy. We have been ripping purslane from our garden all summer. In case you haven’t been warned, it spreads like mad.


Diane C August 14, 2015 at 10:45 am

If you really want to grow it, plant it in a thick walled pot and raise it off the ground. Best is on a box/table/blocks/stepping stones in a place where it will not easily drop seeds onto your soil, such as a patio, porch or stoop. Watch for sprouts or runners and keep them trimmed. Same advice goes for mint. Oy vey, what a PITA if they get out of control and both will try mightily.


Elizabeth B August 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Some jackass planted mint in the ground at my parents’ house before we moved in. It took decades for Mom to eradicate that stuff. She cursed that person’s name more than once.


Juhli Newkirk August 12, 2015 at 3:19 am

1. Switched sources of coffee beans after the price went up so significantly at the small business we had been supporting for 18 years. I still love them but we drink a lot of coffee and this will save a lot of money.
2. As a long term payoff item, ruthlessly decluttered paper stored in files. We are moving across country in about 2 years and this will save shipping costs as paper weighs a lot.
3. Found a winter weight pullover for myself at a consignment store. Was on my list so very happy.
4. Only borrowed books from the library or downloaded free ones from Amazon. I put every one I can on reserve at the library as I read a lot.
5. Found a quarter. Last week it was a penny so I am hoping this upward trend continues!


Jill A August 12, 2015 at 4:23 am

1. Washing my laundry in cold water and hanging it to dry on racks. Sorry, no clothesline and no smart phone, so no selfie.
2. Eating leftovers.
3. Took my daughter to some garage sales last Friday. Found an unopened vintage croquet set to sell on ebay. Payed $5. Hope to get at least $75 for it. Next spring I’ll list it.
4. Took my daughter to a thrift store at the same time. She found a new pair of shoes that were exactly what she was looking for. They were $10 versus $35. They still had the tags on them.
5. Saved some vintage 90’s Polly Pockets from my garage sale last month to sell on ebay. Glad I did. I’ve made over $500 on them and I’m not even done yet.


LatteLaura August 12, 2015 at 5:51 am

That is so cool about the Polly Pockets!


Karen August 12, 2015 at 5:46 am

I used a little bit of salt and some hot water to make a texturizing salt spray for my thinning hair. The commercial product I have uses lots of chemicals, plus it is very hard to remove with the next shampoo. It cost next to nothing, and I am very pleased with the results. PS, I put it in a small spray bottle that I already had around the house.


LatteLaura August 12, 2015 at 5:50 am

1. Listed 2 items on eBay and am hoping to make at least $75 dollars after fees.

2. Claimed $15 in quarters while decluttering and deciding to get rid of a partially started state quarter collection from 15 years ago.

3. Ate at home for dinner. It was Taco Tuesday which meant chicken tacos with Costco Rotisserie chicken meat.

4. Made an “easy pay” payment for my Tracfone smart phone I purchased from QVC. Phone, case, one year of service all for only $99.

5. Paid some bills over the phone instead of mailing them and using stamps.


MW August 12, 2015 at 6:16 am

– “Shopped” a free pile in the neighborhood and replaced some kitchen ware that was older than me, and showing its age.
– Visited the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for free on Saturday (there were several weddings, so some areas were off-limit).
– Visited the zoo with some out of town family, we have a gift membership and I brought a tasty lunch. I ignored my pre-schooler’s plea for ice cream and gave him a packed cookie instead.
– The year’s influx of tomatoes have started, and I’m slowly filling the freezer with roasted tomato sauce.
– A paycheck came in, so I’m looking forward to mixing up the rice-and-beans-and-tomatoes diet.


Jill August 12, 2015 at 11:07 am

Bought a microwave at Goodwill after our daughter blew up the other microwave that we got from Goodwill, which was to replace to the first one she blew up. The display is wonky on the “new” one and the zero button doesn’t work, but I don’t care. So rather than 2:00 minutes to heat, it will have to be 2:01.

I told my daughter she was buying the next one if she blows this one up.


auntiali August 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

I use the GoodRX website and got a great coupon for a $200 prescription that my insurance will not pay for anymore.

Back from a mini vacation at Atlantic City. My daughter is 21 and has never been but she wasn’t interested in gambling. Ways I made it frugal:
1. brought bagels and cream cheese from home – in our little cooler
2. brought water bottles
3. brought my soda with me
4. granola bars

DD paid for her own entertainment on the boardwalk.
5. dh and I each got our own player’s card with one account. We earned $59 on it and we used that to put towards dinner at an expensive steak house that wasn’t just that good. Service stunk.
6. Slot machines were loose so I wasn’t losing any money. I enjoyed playing the machines.
7. the beach is free in Atlantic City, unlike the rest of the beaches at the Jersey Shore so dd and dh enjoyed a day and a half in the water.
8. Went to the Atlantic City museum which is free. I made a $5 donation as did dd.
9. brought home lots of shampoo and soap from the hotel room for my friend who picked up my mail.


JD August 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

1. Leftovers for lunch, as usual. I pack my lunch every day, with very rare exceptions.
2. Wearing a thrifted shirt that I found for our mini-vacation last month. I realized before we left that I had one decent pair of shorts to wear in public, so I went to Goodwill and found two nice pairs of shorts and shirts. I’m wearing one of the shirts with slacks to work today.
3. Our evening meals have lately featured produce from the garden. We eat peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and did have some late squash, but it seems we have a rabbit which has discovered we have squash. My little terrier is going to have to get on the ball!
4. I found a quarter on the ground in the parking lot and I found an unused stamp in the corner of my billfold.
5. Above mentioned terrier had a rash on his belly, from heat and allergens, and I put coconut oil on it, which helped it a great deal. The biggest problem is keeping him from licking it all off before it sinks in. He loves coconut oil.
Special bonus: I passed on the Bentley we saw for sale. Our Hyundai will have to do.


Vickie August 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm

1) Yesterday was our anniversary. Hubby bought me dinner – free for me, but not for him. Haha!
2) We had an early meeting this morning, so the boss bought us bagels and coffee. I love Panera Bread bagels.
3) Instead of having a big birthday party for my youngest granddaughter, who turns 5 next week, my daughter and I decided to take a birthday cake for her to church this Sabbath and let her share it with the other kids.
4) I’m listening to an audio book by Peter Walsh “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” I love his honesty about physical clutter, emotional clutter and food. Free from the Library with my favorite shopping card!
5) I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a Yacht, but I’m envious of that Prius, Katy!


Tara August 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm

I hung two loads of washing on the line. I listed seven things on ebay. I listed two things on facebook sales. I did a menu plan for
the week and I stuck to it. I handed down some jumpers saved from an older child to a younger. Thanks for all the money saving tips


Em August 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

You might check with your local library to see if they have an e-magazine program. Our library uses something called Zinio and I have read one of Martha Stewart’s magazines and Cook’s illustrated completely for FREE! You would be amazed of all the services libraries offer!


marleen August 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

1. went to Penney’s with a $10 off coupon for my once-a-year undergarment purchases. I asked the salesperson about two different sales prices on one rack and she gave me the lower price just for pointing out the mistake to her.
2. mended three items of clothing.
3. saved a bunch of clean napkins from a restaurant meal – They gave my husband and me about ten each with our pizza. I’ll use these to drain our Sunday bacon.
4. saved a bit of bar soap from the shower that broke into two pieces and attached it/stuck it, to a larger bar at the sink. I learned this from my grandparents years ago.
5. picked up 2 pennies off the floor at work after watching dozens of people just walk on by, thinking they weren’t worth the effort.


Elizabeth August 13, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Did you checkout prices on Airbnb for your accommodation? You can often rent a room in someone’s home for much less than a hotel. I just returned from a trip and met some wonderful people and had home-like accommodations. Not always cheaper that the cheapest hotel, but I was traveling by myself and enjoyed meeting local people.
Your milage may vary depending on the location. You can get $25 credit with my link.
Oh, and now that you’ll have an empty bed with your son going off to college maybe you can host too.


Katy August 13, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I did check out Airbnb, but since my son’s college is in Ashland, Oregon, home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, accommodations are expensive. And having an Airbnb in my house? Two words: One. Bathroom.


Carol M. August 14, 2015 at 8:39 am

1. I’ve found some fruit trees in Los Angeles with free fruit, thanks to Fallen Fruit and my own wits. Haven’t bought fruit in a couple weeks.
2. Speaking of counting out pennies, I bought two cans of mussels with leftover change.
3. I went to Venice Beach twice to sell art on the boardwalk this week. Although I didn’t sell anything, I also didn’t spend anything–water and PB and J from home.
4. I found a farmhouse style chair on the side of the road–I will try to sell it for a few bucks.
5. I didn’t buy a bottle of Premier Cru Burgundy.


Sharyl August 15, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I am new to your site…loving it. I have been on a buy used now for at least 5 years.

The biggest thing we did the past 7 days…we totally emptied our basement! I brought over 36 bags of donations to Goodwill. My friends said you should have had a garage sale…that’s how I ended up with accumulating it.

Anyway…our basement is unfinished…and now…it’s a blank slate. Husband and I are thinking of possibilities to make it a useable part of our home, instead of storage.

He said he was shocked I could part with the stuff! Have a good week.


Katy August 16, 2015 at 12:14 am

Very impressive. Our basement needs a good cleanup, although it’s construction supplies and debris.


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