Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 16, 2015 · 34 comments

Bike for sale!

  1. I ran errands on foot yesterday. I dropped off plastics recycling, picked up a free RedBox movie (Insurgent, it was completely dreadful!) and intended to pick up hamburger buns at Fred Meyer, but spaced it out. Instead I used the two buns we had on hand, and then cut circles from regular bread which I then lightly toasted. Dinner was black bean burgers from beans I’d prepared in the slow cooker.
  2. I hung two loads of laundry on the clothesline, one of which stayed out overnight as there was no forecast of rain.
  3. I completely reorganized my kitchen, as certain counters had become overcrowded and difficult to keep clean. (No reason to have two bottles of Asian fish sauce at arm’s reach at all times!) The kitchen now looks spacious and massively less cluttered. A deliberately arranged and decluttered living room looks magazine ready, which turns out to be true in the kitchen as well.
  4. I hit the drop-in financial aid booth not once but twice during my son’s college orientation. The poor financial aid officer probably needed a nap after I was done picking her brain, but we were able to figure out some great ideas of how to cash flow his freshman year of college. For example, it only costs $15 extra per quarter to pay in three installments instead of forking over the entirety of tuition, plus room and board on October 9th. This will allow us to earn tuition money as the year progresses. I also took full advantage of opportunities to talk to the directors of different departments such as career services and housing. I also picked the brain of the housing director about how my son can increase his chances of being chosen as a resident assistant.
  5. The bike I’d bought to resell on Craigslist has generated no interest, so I decided to lock it up in front of the house with a “For Sale” sign, which should help as it’s a darling, yet high quality bicycle. I also reposted all my other Craigslist listings.

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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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly August 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

Would love to hear what the housing director had to say about increasing the chances on becoming a dorm resident assistant. My son is also a college freshman this year (move-in day was yesterday) & I want to encourage him to apply for a position. Thanks for any insight you can pass along!


Isabelle August 16, 2015 at 11:47 am

* We got invited to a boat ride today. Borrowed life jackets instead of buying new ones.
* Took a walk outside with my 5 year old. She picked 5 apples of the ground (under a tree).
* Went to the used store and got a nightgown, 2 pairs of pants, a fleece jacket, a shirt, a t-shirt, a tank top and 7 children’s books (for gifts) for 27$.
* We decided to eat in for our anniversary and were thinking of a racquelette (expensive!). Instead we made a gigantic pad thai for like 8$, and there’s leftovers for tonight.
* I borrow my book club mendatory reads from the library instead of buying them

Have a great frugal day!


Bettypants August 16, 2015 at 11:50 am

1. Bought a dressmaker’s dummy last week for $15, which I thought was a fantastic deal. Duel purpose: to modify clothing I already own to fit better and to use as a mannequin for listing clothing on ebay/FB sale sites.
2. Finally, finally cut up a linen tablecloth to make a simple valence for my kitchen window. There had been a clunky horizontal blind there, which I thought was too heavy looking for the space.
3. Sold a landscaping rake for $8. It had come with our house and we’ve never used it a single time (nor did we know what it was).
4. Bought the neatest piece of wall art from my friend – a piece of colored, curved glass. Realized when I got home that it would cover the weird little wooden grate cover that is over our stove that I have always hated. Heading to the dollar store tomorrow to see if I can buy LED battery lights to light it up.
5. CL fail: someone came to look at the stroller/bike trailer I have listed. Offered $125 and I held out for $150 as someone else was interested. He passed and I never heard from second person. I should have taken the lesser amount and had it sold.


Beth August 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm

1. Thanks to another NCA I downloaded the Good and Cheap cookbook and spent sometime perusing it, I am now super hungry but inspired to keep on making healthy, tasty meals. 😉

2. Put out one load of laundry to dry in the sun which is mostly dry now and working on the second load. Darn tri-pod dryer has blown over twice today, guess I will put bricks on it to anchor it.

3. Earning swagbucks, I want to break 2,000 SB by the end of the weekend as the week is so busy for me and I am limited on what I can earn, no time. Talked to daughter about her doing it during the day while I am gone (she is now off for 3 weeks, no day camp until school starts) and sharing the money or putting it towards school clothes- that should inspire her. 😉

4. Not frugal – I turned on the air but am hoping not using the dryer will help me break even and not increase my electricity bill by much. All the blinds are closed and I have it set high to limit the use.

5. Batching my errands later and am only going to buy fruit and veg we need on sale, go to the dollar store for the cream rinse my daughter needs and hopefully pick up the free USB flash drive from our Micro Center.

6. Facing paying for a crown and decided to do the credit card offer I have for no interest for 16 months. Will make monthly payments until it is paid off as I have done before. May have to see if I can make another transfer later to help pay for braces for daughter, grimace.

7. Enjoying a quit day as daughter is with her Dad, puttering around the house listening to the sound of the air – ahhhhhhh! Gearing up for next weeks bustle and going to work early. Did make hard boiled eggs s for quick breakfasts next week and zucchini muffins.

8. Neighbor across the street had a broken water main and contemplated how I could save the water pooring down the street to water with! City was out fixing it on a Sunday.


Krystal August 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

*Stayed in last night instead of giving into temptation to go for dinner and drinks with friends, which would gone over our budget category for the month. Watched one of our Netflix movies that had been waiting for us at home, Up in the Air, and it was fantastic.
*Shopped at our co-op on one of our member discount days %5 off total bill, the 2nd biggest of the month. We’ll save our monthly 10% off coupon for our most expensive trip. And we stuck to the list!
*The laundry is out on the line–no rain in sight after last week’s massive storm (which was quite welcome here).
*Snagged a great deal on yoga classes for my husband at our local studio. I have an unlimited membership that generally costs me $10 or less per class per month, and this deal will do the same price for him even though he attends more infrequently.
*Sold my old phone on eBay, printed out my shipping label at home to save money from the prices at the post office.


Jamie August 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

1. Used ibotta and the weekly circular to get a week’s worth of groceries for $25 – I’m going out with friends that flew in from ND tonight but then I’m not eating out until VEGAS
2. Took up a sidegig again for extra cash – something I definitely need!
3. I’ve been running Swagbucks apps anytime I’m on wifi and have been spending my nights hermiting in trying to answer surveys and watching videos. I’ve earned $43 this month!
4. Rabbit ears are considerably cheaper than cable!
5. I got to stay at a hotel for FREE last night because our hotel was oversold and they needed to send us to one 5 miles away. I got some toiletries and candy and sugar packets and didn’t have to spend money on a hotel!


Betty Winslow August 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm

1. Spent Friday night at a church event for the end of summer, with our adopted daughter/granddaughter; pizza and sides for dinner, balloon animals for the GD, and a chance to visit, all free.
2. Enjoying produce that hubby grew at work in his garden plot, plus some picked from the community garden and our herb patch, and tomatoes and corn from the farmer’s market.
3. Received a delicious 1/2 loaf of lemon bread from a friend in thanks for fixing her charm bracelet.
4. Made $1.75 at Star Savings so far.
5. Bought a dozen mini canning jars (incl. lids and rings) at discount and will use them to can jam.
6. Stopped at a garage sale and bought a book my husband and I have been wanting to read and a stainless steel spatula, for 50 cents total; bought 4 bks at library for 40 cents total (2 for me, 1 for a friend, and 1 for my younger son), and picked up a book for the glove compartment (to read when I’m waiting for husband after work) and 7 magazines (3 for daughter, 1 for friend, 2 for younger son, 1 for me) at the bakery free book/magazine display.
7. Finished reading The Scavengers’ Manifesto (which our OH library borrowed for me from a library in AZ!) – enjoyed it, although I didn’t agree with all of the philosophy. I need to suggest it to my son.


Mel August 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm

I love the idea of a glove compartment book!


Mariana Cisowska @ BrooklynBasedGirlfriend August 16, 2015 at 2:28 pm

1. Got a refund for a deodorant. It irritated my skin really badly so I decided to take it back. Returned for all amount, no questions asked.

2. I got $5 in Staples money

3. Sold Ray-ban sunglasses on EBay, netting $65 🙂
My husband found them almost brand new last year.

4. Cooked at home, all but one meal

5. Did the usual meaning: getting free kindle and library books, shopped grocery sales, cooked from my fridge & pantry first.

It was a very frugal week


Pattilou August 16, 2015 at 3:04 pm

1. I was treated to a mini vacation this week. I got to stay in my brother’s summer place in the Hudson River Valley with a great view of the river. It was also a great place to watch the meteor show.
2. My mother paid for the gas for the trip and treated us to lunch as a thank you gift. I did leave the tip.
3. My brother treated us to dinner one night and cooked another and provided breakfast food.
4. He also treated us to a fantastic boat trip on the Hudson River. It was beautiful and relaxing. I took photos which I plan on making into a calendar for him for Christmas.
5. I helped my brother pack up the place at the end of our stay and came home with containers of hand soap, dish soap and some paper towels he was planning on throwing away.
6. Found 25 cents
7.watching a free Red Box movie tonight


Ruby August 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

This has not been a frugal weekend. We had a guest visiting and have eaten out twice, although I did bring home three plates of leftovers. So my five frugal things are:
1. Leftovers (see above).
2. Spent some time this afternoon cutting up dog treats into bite-sized portions for our little dogs. This way they’re not overfed and the treats last a lot longer.
3. Decluttered the under-sink vanity in our bathroom and found five bottles of shampoo gotten for free after coupons. Moved them to our son’s bathroom and now I can see what’s in that little space. And not bother chasing down any more shampoo for a while.
4. Used coupons for apples and celery at the grocery store, saved $2 doing so.
5. Downloaded two free e-books.


Rachel H August 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

My father brought over some peas from his garden Thursday. I shelled them and got two quarts for the freezer. He also brought me some armor all, since I mentioned needing some. He had been given a large amount.

Went with the girls from our youth department at church on a shopping trip in another town. Bought a dress at Plato’s closet, still not sure about it, a book for my son-in-law and some note cards at Barnes and Noble, both for $6. They were in the 75 percent off bin. Had lunch at Cracker Barrel and decided to go with the $5.99 soup and salad and drink water. Did buy a .79 coke for the ride home.

Spent the night with my niece Friday and chose to eat a frozen meal from their freezer instead of going out or ordering pizza. Did have to go to McDonald’s Saturday morning for coffee, so I got my niece and I each a biscuit.

Eating from the pantry and freezer this upcoming week.


Linda in Mass August 16, 2015 at 4:40 pm

-Hanged out laundry every nice day this week.
-Volunteered at a fair at the Library booth. Got 1/2 off my books. One reference book for a friend (Carla Emery’s Recipe Book) and kids books for my nephews for Christmas. I spent about $2 for all the books I bought.
-Got free quahogs from my father in law. He went shell fishing and brought me a huge bowl of them. I will cook them up this week and freeze the remainder for chowder.
-My daughter went fishing with her grandfather and brought home 2 whole cleaned bass and 4 flounder filets. She also brought home zucchini.
-My peach tree is very full this year. I have been eating free peaches and homemade peach pie.


Terri W. August 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

This has been the week that my garden produce has all been ready at one time!
1. Canned 10 qts. of spicy tomato juice. It has onions, peppers, celery and spices added to the tomatoes. Everything came from the garden except the celery, which I bought on sale.
2. DH and I dug our 4 rows of potatoes. We got 12 5-gallon buckets full. I went through them and took out the small ones and the ones cut by the plow, scrubbed their skins off, and canned them. Got 21 qts.
3. Picked blue lake green beans and then pulled the plants. Canned the last 7 qts. of them.
4. Pulled the horticulture bean plants and picked off all the beans and shelled them. DH helped, thank goodness! I then put the shelled beans in the dehydrator and ended up with 8 pounds of dried beans!
5. Picked a bucket of green tomatoes and sliced and canned 7 qts. of them. Nothing beats a plate of fried green tomatoes in the middle of January!
So besides finishing up more tomato juice this week and pickling beets, the garden is almost finished! Praise God! We did put out turnip seeds where the potatoes had been, but I just pull them to eat whenever we want some. So does everyone in the community! It has been a blessing this year. Lots of rain flooded out a lot of people’s gardens.


Monica August 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

1. Decluttered the basement. Found a dime, much needed space and gave 5 storage bins to one niece and a box of garage sale wide-mouth mason jars for another niece.

2. Checked on survey accounts to see what I could redeem: $10 Amazon gcs, $20 check and $52.50 Paypal

3. DH wanted a breakfast sandwich for $2.50 from a local eatery when I went to run errands but couldn’t find his cash. Before I left, I pulled out frozen English muffins and Canadian bacon from the freezer. He was happy and so was I.

4. Found an unopened box of furniture cleaners and spot removers that came with our new couch we bought 8 years ago. Had I found the box last year and left it unopened, I could have gotten the dollar value of the extended warranty back. But now I have cleaning products I didn’t know I had. 😉

5. Stopped by the internet/cable company’s local office after our bill went up $15 for the month recently (previous special had ended) to see if they had specials for existing customers. My bill was reduced to the amount it had been and I got more channels for a year. We don’t watch a lot of TV. I talked with another company that offers TV service in the area but not internet. He crunched numbers for me, adding stuff and removing stuff, and came up with the price per month I just got. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of options in my area and pricing is better to bundle everything instead of just having one service. I will keep looking though.


meg August 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

1. Got a practically new candyland game for $1.25. Great fun with my three year old!
2. Ate leftovers for Lunch instead of the usual stop at the sandwich shop after church.
3/ packed good healthy lunches for all tomorrow. First day of work/ childcare for all. Will do my best to not go out for lunch with coworkers despite not seeing them for several months (been out on leave)


meg August 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Oops, posted too soon..
4. Have frugal, convenient and satisfying breakfast options on hand for the busy mornings.
5. Have meal planned and have several freezer meals ready to go as my family readjusts to mom working again, so we won’t be tempted by take out.
6. Bonus…convinced in-laws and others to eat in at our house for our good bye meal instead of going out. Everything was from Aldi or the local farm stand. Also gave us the motivation to clean our house well.


Michelle duke August 16, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Have you considered borrowing textbooks from the university library? I did this all the time. Although not all books were available, I usually borrowed 50% of my textbooks for my classes (free!). We (ohio universities) use OhioLinks which links the majority of Ohio university and college libraries. I could borrow a book from another university in Ohio through my university library.


marie August 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Eating from the freezer this month other than the fresh oysters we bought at the coast on the way to go camping. So dinner tonite was frozen salmon, grilled zucchini, boiled new potatoes from the garden, and fresh tomatoes.
Hung 3 loads of laundry out today
Been going thru all the leftover paint, and using it all up. Too many dribs and drabs hanging around.
Planted fall peas, and carrots with the seeds my daughter got me last fall. They were 10\$1.00.
Did late summer cleaning over the weekend. Didn’t intent to, but somebody (new puppy) peed on the living room carpet, and the curtains that kinda hang on the floor. So pulled out the bissell, and cleaned 2 bedroom, hallway, and living room carpet. Oh, and washed the living room curtains While putting everything back, I realized that our long hot dry dusty summer had made everything dusty inside. We live at the far end of a gravel road, so the dust has been incredible.
Now i’m tired.


Sharon August 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm

1. I worked an extra shift on Saturday the was invited to “Free friends and family” night at a new fast food place in town. So, I earned money and dinner was free!
2. Prepped enchiladas and tostada toppings for dinners this week. No need to hit a restaurant.
3. Was able to combine my two half loads of laundry into one saving time, energy and detergent. The colors don’t run as everything has been washed a lot.
4. Finished off last weeks dinner options for lunch today to start the week fresh.
5. Turned on the a/c today, but only for an hour to bring the temp down to a comfortable level.mits been off for the past week, at least…


isabelle August 17, 2015 at 5:02 am

I mix it all in the washing machine (reds, white, blacks, towels, jeans, etc), it drives my husband crazy!! Never had any problem with colors bleeding.


Bobbi August 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

1. Cooked and ate at home this weekend, except for one non-frugal dinner out to celebrate a special family occasion. Worth it!
2. Shopped at Grocery Outlet yesterday, where I found 50-cent Lara Bars, $1.89 Bear Naked Granola, and $.99 organic canned beans. Also, they have expanded their organic produce section and I found some nice romaine, carrots and celery.
3. Worked out at home with an exercise DVD today.
4. Did some prep work in the kitchen, to make it easier to bring lunch to work and have dinners at home this week.
5. Watched some TV on Netflix and did some crafty DIY stuff at home for free/cheap entertainment and some welcome alone time.


Sherri August 17, 2015 at 4:16 am

I had a no spend week only purchased groceries and gas.
Friends and family stopped by to visit
Cleaned out fridge and freezer
Decluttered by giving things no longer in use to friends and family


Martha August 17, 2015 at 6:18 am

I second the borrowing text books from the university library. Many students do that at the university that I work at. I worked in Residence Life for 8 years and was an RA while in school. It is a great job!!! My recommendation is when you go to the interview, look like you care – wear your Sunday clothes and make sure they are pressed. I know work for the student paper as the office manager – don’t overlook other opportunities on campus liek the student paper. All of my student graduate with real world experience and most can write their own ticket. Good luck!!!


AshleyAshley August 17, 2015 at 6:39 am

I was an RA for three years in college. There was a course available the second half of the year in Spring semester to take to prepare for being an RA. Freshmen students were not allowed to be RA’s, but upper class men who had taken the course were. It was a wonderful way to cut some of the fat when it came to my college expenses. I also had my own room which I didn’t have to share….small, but my own =)


Monica August 17, 2015 at 8:38 am

1) Went back to school shopping with my 8 yr old daughter (sales tax free in CT this week). This means consignment store for us. Bought a little used London Fog winter down coat for her for $20. Fits her perfectly! Also bought 8 pairs of jeans/pants for her — most still had the original tags on them–never worn! Also got her a new pair of winter boots and a dressy blouse. Set me back $85. The pants are all a little big for her, so by Christmas they will all fit better. Who are these people who buy clothes and never wear them, then donate them? Didn’t see any tops or sweaters we liked at the consignment store so we hit Walmart for clearance table t-shirts. I am happy with the quality of the t-shirts I get her there, and since their prices for t’s are the same as the consignment store, I would rather have new if given the choice.
2) Met Mom for a mile walk at the local mall, indoors in the AC! and then mooched breakfast off her, but it was a two for one deal, so inexpensive for her.
3) Filled the tank today as gas prices are very low in CT recently.
4) Brought lunch from home
5) Took advantage of credit card points to get the new Alice Hoffman novel on Amazon for free. I’ll start reading it tonight!


Amanda August 17, 2015 at 8:39 am

1. The sandwich I am currently enjoying was made with bread left by our renters and goat cheese my mom was gifted but didn’t want to use. The addition of a $1 worth of roasted zucchini and red peppers makes a gourmet lunch.
2. I used the debit card we received as a rebate on the dog’s medicine to buy the few things I couldn’t find at Aldi.
3. I ordered the books for one of my classes from Amazon. I signed up for the discounted student version of Amazon prime, which will pay for itself in saving on shipping for the fifty or so books I will buy this school year. I paid for the books themselves with money left over from my tax refund. On turbo tax if you chose to get some of your refund in Amazon gift cards, you got an extra 10%. It is nice to know my fall books are paid for, I got a 10% discount, and the shipping will be fast.
4. I almost had a heart attack when I received the EOB showing that my husband’s routine annual blood work wasn’t covered and would cost us $500. Then I noticed it was because the doctors office submitted the claim to our old insurance! Always check and double check medical before you pay it!
5. Now that we are back from vacay I can officially start planning our home exchange next year to Iceland! I will put the guidebook on my Christmas list and check it out from the library in the meantime. I’ll spend the next 11 months strategizing how to explore and appreciate Iceland on the cheap.


Carol M. August 17, 2015 at 8:46 am

1. I’ve gone most of the summer without wearing make-up, because my fiance accepts me how I am, and I don’t like sleeping in it.
2. I saved the pulp leftover from juicing carrots and am putting it in a soup.
3. Instead of buying new outfits for the upcoming teaching year, I examined my closet and put together a few worthwhile combinations.
4. We ate our guacamole with stale chips–not great, but certainly survivable when you’re trying to save money.
5. Instead of going to a fancy restaurant last weekend, we went to the local Salvadoran corner restaurant and spent about $20.


K D August 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

After a non-frugal weekend (company visiting and we treated for a big-time birthday, we are back on track today:

1. I packed lunches for my husband and daughter and ate frozen leftovers for lunch.

2. I have a load of laundry in the washing machine and will hang it outside.

3. I cut up a $1.29 cantaloupe and bought another $2.99 watermelon. Both will give us a lot of fruit (bang) for the buck. I also have a very large pineapple I paid $1.99 for the other day. “Have sharp knife, will save money on fresh fruit”.

4. I stopped at Staples for a $.01 ream of their paper (after rebate). Since rebates can be submitted online it is quick and free to submit them. I also discovered I can buy USPS stamps at Staples, using gift cards I receive at a discount, by using Discover points.

5. Even though we paid for events and parking this weekend I did not buy anything while we were out (except the cheapest lunches both days).


marybeth August 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

I am sitting in the airport in your fair city, waiting for my flight to Eugene. I just finished my bit of popcorn I brought, and washed it down with the water I put in my water bottle at the airport in Boise. The icing on the cake is the sliced cucumber I am snacking on now. It is the rest of my “lunch” so I would have to buy anything here, plus it is not rotting on my counter while I am gone because I know my husband would not eat it! I shredded/froze the zucchini that wasn’t going to wait for my return either. I read things about saving money, and think I already do that! You inspire me to look for the “little things that add up” and I do so much more now! Thanks!


Vickie August 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

1) I spent the weekend at home, mostly. I did attend church on the Sabbath. It saves gas to stay home on Sundays though.
2) My daughter and grandkids came out for the night, so I picked up two smoked chickens and a few other snack items for the kids. I’d bought two bags of cheese stuffed tortellini at Big Lots, so I made a garlic-butter sauces, then tossed the tortellini and smoked chicken pieces together for a tasty supper on Saturday.
3) I’d bought a few gifts for the youngest one’s birthday. I paid less than $5 for a Frozen themed paint by number & paints and a Tiara with a small matching clutch, lip gloss and fingernail polish. She loved it. I served pink lemonade frosted mini-cupcakes, instead of cake, stuck candles in 5 of them and let her blow them out while we sang to her. She loved it, thank goodness 5 year olds are easy to please!
4) I headed over to the Library for more audio books today.
5) We’re headed to San Antonio for 3 days in October. I used my reward points to book a room for 2 nights. My daughter’s going to use some of her garage sale money to pay for gas down there.


Mand01 August 18, 2015 at 1:42 am

Not a frugal day at all, but spending in advance of frugal things. We had four trees removed from our front yard, at a cost of $1700. But these were unproductive trees that we will be replacing with fruit trees and a herb garden. So in a couple of years we will have beautiful summer fruits. It will take years of course to recoup the $1700 in fruit, but the improvement to our property will also be high value. They were ugly trees and planted too close to the house for trees that size.


Robert August 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

I fund my cycling hobby by buying, fixing, and reselling bikes otherwise called flipping. Kids bikes along with ladies bikes are notorious for being difficult to sell. That one is very low end – known as a BSO or Bike Shaped Objects. Even new BSOs can be difficult to adjust and ones needing repair are nightmares.

In my area your bike would bring $25 at most because it is in like new condition. Perhaps it will sell soon but I’d suggest listing for $20 – $25 and taking anything that is a profit.


Katy August 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Thanks, I actually had decreased the selling price. Wish me luck!


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