Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 11, 2015 · 61 comments


  1. I took a handful of vintage glass mason jar lids over to my local terrarium shop. I’d pulled them from a free pile and was able to sell them for a buck apiece. I now have an extra $8 in my son’s college fund, and the lids can be put to use instead of sitting in my kitchen drawer. (By the way, the shop is only a few blocks from the house. So this errand took almost no time.)
  2. My father took me to lunch at locally owned ¿Porqué No? yesterday. I ordered water to drink, as I have a policy to never up spend in restaurants just because someone else is paying. I did make sure my frequent buyer card got punched.
  3. Dinner last night was burritos that featured pinto beans cooked in the crock pot, shredded cheese that I paid $1/bag for (bought extra for the freezer), a large 20¢ tomato, Sriracha instead of salsa and hand chopped lettuce. (No bag of salad for us!) Delicious, nutritious and made us feel ambitious! Well . . . frugally ambitious.
  4. I stocked up on 25¢ Greek yogurts, wore thrifted clothes, enjoyed the fuchsias that wintered over from last year, used a menstrual cup instead of wasteful tampons, listened to Dave Ramsey podcasts, renewed my Craigslist listings and scrubbed down my thrifted sneakers to make them look new. (The secret to getting the soles white again is to scrub them with toothpaste and an old toothbrush.)
  5. I didn’t buy anything beyond food.

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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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Ella September 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

1) Going to a show tomorrow night and chose the cheap but time consuming $7 lot with shuttle as opposed to the convenient but $30(!) lot
2) Planning a Target trip for essentials and combining cartwheels with coupons, my Red Card, and a 5% off pharmacy rewards certificate
3) Trying to survive a 90 degree SoCal day without AC; right now I’m using fans, and I’m going to Target during the hottest part of the day. It’s also a Save Power day, so I’m hoping that by being gone I’ll get a bit of a bill credit
4) Going through my toiletries and using up all the partially-filled containers instead of buying new things now
5) Working on adding inventory to my Etsy shop!


K D September 11, 2015 at 10:43 am

1. A friend is going to bring me pawpaws from her brother’s tree. They are not delicious eaten plain but frozen they are a great addition to smoothies.

2. The only spending I have done this week is the little bit I have spent on groceries (except see below).

3. I picked up a $.01 ream of paper at Staples yesterday, as I was driving right past the store.

4. I gave away several items on While not frugal for us it is frugal for those that picked up our no longer loved items and it kept them out of the landfill.

5. I am wearing clothes/shoes that I have had for a while. I find having a smallish wardrobe makes it easier to get dressed.


A. Marie September 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Applause for several of K D’s things:

Re: your 1: Interesting note about the pawpaws, as it seems there’s a revival of interest in them. Chelsea Green Publishing has a new book out about them, if you or your friend or her brother might be interested. URL on request.

Re: your 3: DH and I also use Staples coupons/deals a lot.

Re: your 5: What you said!

Now, my other 2 frugal things:

(a) My computer quit on me in the middle of my work day, and for a bad few minutes I thought the jig was up. Fortunately, DH was able to diagnose the problem in another few minutes and purchase the necessary fix (relatively inexpensively) within the hour. Savings in psychologcal stress: Priceless. (DH himself is also priceless. Sorry, ladies, he’s taken!)

(b) About to go out to garden and assemble veggies for yet another frugal frittata (which is my fallback option, just as beans + cheese combos seem to be Katy’s). It’s a rotten job, but someone has to do it. 🙂


Mary G September 11, 2015 at 11:25 am

1. Making vegetable broth in my slow cooker today using vegetable scraps I keep in a freezer bag
2. For my son’s birthday dinner last night I made pasta with homemade pesto from garden basil
3. I cashed in my BeFrugal rewards, which was mostly from some online gift shopping and things like my son’s sports shoes (not likely to find used track spikes in good condition in his size, and the boy sprints two seasons during the year) purchased over the last year
4. My local Goodwill was closing its location while a new one is being built nearby (bigger and better, they say), so last weekend I bought two pair of Eddie Bauer shorts in excellent condition for $4 each. This gave me the chance to cast off a few pair of my old shorts, which in some cases were more than 15 years old
5. Collected some found change, which will be deposited into my son’s college fund


Revanche September 11, 2015 at 11:40 am

We’re hosting a friend and cooked up a fantastic and frugal dinner for her yesterday. I have another crockpot meal in mind for Sunday dinner and we’ll be doing free except for gas sightseeing this weekend. Doing my best to earn at least 10x more than I spend, on myself at least.

But I will be donating to the Syrian refugees this weekend because that situation is heartbreaking and every little bit helps. Spending to help people who are far worse off, simply trying to find a place to survive? That’s worth spending on. I remember that my parents were helped as refugees once upon a long time ago, and because of that I became a productive taxpayer who gives back to this country in spades for the help they once received. Aside from being good humans, I think the math works on this.


Lynn D. September 11, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Good for you. Can you recommend any places to donate. The pictures and stories break my heart.


Mariana Cisowska September 11, 2015 at 11:58 am

1. Did not buy anything beyond food (and 2 lunches out) this week.
2. Received a gift bag (with the nicest part of the bag was the ‘bag’ itself. Nice canvas bag that I can use for grocery shopping
3. Received 2 free, simple, ethnic, handmade bracelets (DH. likes them and was very happy when I re-gifted them to him.
4. AC is out for this year
5. Free dinners at work.


Johanna September 11, 2015 at 12:26 pm

1. Made taco salad for lunch today from leftover tacos last night, instead of going out for lunch-as we used to go once a week.

2. Wore my free jacket I received from my employer, it cost way more than I would EVER spend on a jacket. lol

3. Picked several more tomatoes from our plants (they were planted late, and I glad. My parents shared many of there tomatoes with us early, now we can reciprocate.)

4. Sorted apples from our trees, and gifted the ones we could not use, so as to not waste.

5. At work, snacked on fruit and vegetables brought from home, instead of buying snacks from the vending machine.


auntiali September 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

1. Hyper milled my way to the lab to have blood drawn. Could not hyper mill behind the person who was doing 30 mph in a 50 mph zone where most people do 60+. I hope that person didn’t get hit.
2. Blood work drawn and mostly paid by insurance. Good to keep an eye on my diabetes.
3. On my way to the lab was able to see the new One World Trade building and blew a kiss and said a prayer. I live 30 miles from NYC and on this one hill on a clear day you can see the tower. Able to observe without the hassle and cost of going into NYC.
4. Dug through the freezer to find something for supper. Forgot about the quiche I want to do.
5. Turned the AC down as it’s much less humid and hot after the storms yesterday.
6. Had a giggle at the lab. Do You Want to be a Millionaire game show was on and one guy from Long Island NY was doing the final $1000 challenge. The host asked him what he would do with his $1000 if he won. He said it would pay the tolls back to Long Island! LOL and sooo true around this tri state area.


Betty Winslow September 11, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Our younger son is visiting for the weekend (staying with his little sister), so we are taking him and both daughters out to dinner in a little while. (He’s already stopped here for a sandwich, a glass of milk, and a hug on his way to her place.)

It’s the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend, so it will not be a NCA time: meeting a couple who were friends with my late dad for lunch tomorrow, dinner at the festival, probably buying a small piece of art (my yearly tradition, a way to help support the festival and add to my art collection) and taking the son out for some groceries to take back to feed him and his older brother, who are both a bit skint at the moment….. but that’s why we’re frugal most of the time, right? So we can spend it on things that are important to us.


Katy September 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I just adore the generosity and love you’re showing onto your family and friends.


Carol M. September 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm

1.I brought an apple to work today that was leftover from unwanted kids’ breakfasts at my fiance’s school. On the same note, ate an unwanted container of cereal yesterday.
2. I found a new cactus plant fruiting down a block I have never been down before. Public space=free fruit! Just don’t get the tiny thorns in your fingers.
3. In between teaching and tutoring I went to a library to kill time…instead of a Starbucks. This has the added benefit of not keeping me up at night. Like most of America, I am tempted to get an afternoon fix. Then I remember how happy I am when I sleep well. Caffeine in morning only most days.
4. I’m not entirely psyched to be driving again, but it’s a necessity for work. I drove past the obvious gas station to the one down the block, to save 4 cents/gallon, and then I also got 20 cents off with my Vons card.
5. I drove through Vegas without even stopping on my car trip from Colorado to L.A. One day, I will do a real Vegas trip, but to stop on a road trip by myself? Eh.


Betsey September 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

1. I accompanied a friend who decided she wanted a new car.
She has two perfectly good autos but decided to roll back to one only. She is getting $7,000 on her two vehicles for trade in, and will have to finance $20,000. It’s fine for her, but I am satisfied with my 2 year old, well-running paid-off car.
2. I take $10 a week extra and provide food for the food bank. This week I was able to buy canned spaghetti sauce, pasta, and parmesan cheese to feed a family of 4 for 5+ dinners. A small thing, but every little bit helps. It helped a lot when I told the manager what I was doing since there was a limit of 2 cans per customer. He allowed me to buy more.
3. I too want to help refugees but I am not sure where to send the money. Any suggestions?
4. I found 5 summer tops at GW for $4 each. According to the label, I have seen the same things in stores for $40 each.
5. Refer to #1. I did not buy a new car.


Lynn D. September 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm

I work for the food bank in my state and I think if you give them the money directly thay can buy more with it.


Bonnie September 12, 2015 at 4:33 am

If she’s only getting $7000 for 2 cars, it’s probably time for a new car!


Amanda Steyer September 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

1. Spent $4.07 per person for our family of seven on a movie (in a movie theater), including four large popcorns and 4 large sodas. Got free refills on popcorn, brought it home, and bagged it up for later.
2. We have a large family reunion type gathering tomorrow. My 13 year old made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and my 15 year old made gluten-free sugar cookies from ingredients we had on hand. I’ll cut up the two organic CSA sunshine watermelons (they’re yellow, not red, on the inside!) that are in the fridge to bring as our food contribution along with the cookies, and probably make some sort of garbanzo bean side dish made with 10 cent cans of garbanzo beans I stocked up on a couple months ago.
3. We’re supposed to bring soda, but instead I’m going to ask my husband to make iced tea. We have a couple gallon jugs to put it in.
4. While picking up my double share at our CSA, I realized that I was going to have way too much of some veggies (the ones only I eat!), and there were a couple things my family just won’t eat, so I made up a bag of organic goodies and dropped it off to a friend of mine who I know will put the four pounds of eggplant and the rest of the stuff to good use. When I dropped it off, she was amazed – she was just about to walk out the door to buy eggplant to make eggplant parmesan for a friend who is having a health crisis.
5. I went to the thrift shop to look for a few certain items. There was a gorgeous skirt that I absolutely loved, so I put it in my cart, wheeled it around for a while, realized I didn’t own a top to go with it (not to mention, I have plenty of skirts already), and put it back. The only thing I bought that I hadn’t gone there specifically to get was a metal box that will be used as a Minecraft chest for my son’s birthday party. It will be filled with treasure and buried in the woods. Most of the treasure is going to be small boxes decorated to be Minecraft blocks, organic lollipops and spider gummies, and finger lights that I got for a dollar that the kids will LOVE.


Patience September 11, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Speaking of garbanzo beans/chickpeas (.10 cents a can? Wow, what a deal) I ran into this very quick and easy-looking recipe just the other day that I intend to try soon….:


Amanda Steyer September 12, 2015 at 5:34 am

We love those! We use different combinations of spices, depending on our mood. So good!


Patti September 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm

1. I opened one of those envelopes full of coupons (which I rarely do since they have always been for restaurants and stuff we don’t use). There were 3 coupons we could use for once!!! And I discovered a grocery outlet store has been opened here so I am looking forward to checking that out after reading all of Katy’s posts.
2. I posted some items on eBay this week and one already has a bid with others having watchers. Hope to do a few items every week to bring in some extra $$.
3. Went to visit my parents out of state, taking my own snacks for the car trip there and back. I was careful to buy the gas I needed here since it is $1.00 cheaper in SC (we have no gasoline tax).
4. Went online to find the manual to see if I could clean my vacuum somehow to get better suction. Discovered two filters inside it that I never knew I could wash and replace. Thought the only one was on the front of the machine.
5. Am using (leftover) spray paint to liven up my kitchen step stool. I also found some fabric to replace the vinyl cushion that has ripped. Looking for something to replace the rubber treads, too. Anyone with suggestions, please chime in!


Katy September 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I hope it lives up to your expectations!


Marcia September 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

New rubber treads are available–at some old fashioned hardware stores, probably. We refurbished our old step stool a few years back. Small towns are great for finding these kinds of things. Husband isn’t here now so I can’t ask him where he found them.


Juhli September 12, 2015 at 4:45 am

I have founded the most unusual parts for repairs by searching online. Sometimes they will let you search for stores near you that carry the product or you can order online.


Bettypants September 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

1. I had bought an antique wooden box at an estate sale that was filled with antique pharmacy bottles. I sold four of them today for $15. I’m going to list the rest of them on ebay.
2. Stopped at the grocery store on my way home tonight and only bought milk and cream cheese – to make big cream cheese frosted cinnamon rolls for the weekend.
3. Took in some of my nicest homegrown tomatoes to my coworker, who was super appreciative.
4. My neighbor with the apple orchard gave me a very large bag of apples. I have of pot of them simmering on the stove now for applesauce. My mom always made applesauce when we were growing up. I was so surprised to taste store bought when I was grown up.
5. Listed three more items on ebay today, all with reasonable buy it now prices. Fingers crossed.


Isabelle September 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm

* Date night in with hubby. Will make sushi at home. While still expensive, it’s cheaper than restaurant bought. And we will watch a movie on Netflix.
* Got many books from a free pile, for myself and other people.
* Picked 0.25$ off the ground and a small reusable plastic container for snacks that was left behind in the employees room
* A coworker gave me a coupon for a free coffee at McDonald’s. Thinking ahead, I am saving it for a snowy day when we are stuck inside and the kids are going crazy. Coffee for me while the kids spend energy in the play area will give us all a break (been there, done that!).
* School is closed next Friday. Instead of sending her to the school daycare, my husband will work from home. I am off work at noon, so I’ll bring her to the free city pool in the pm. Saving 13$. Every dollar counts! We will try to do this every time the school is closed.
* Received a 5$ gift card for gas. The catch is that it’s only good until mid-october and need to be used 4 different times to get the full 5$ (2$+0.75$+1.25$+1$). Minimum of 25 litters per transactions. So I am putting 25 litters only, ×4. I usually put gas somewhere else that gives me points for gas gift cards, and will go back there after.

Have a great frugal day!


Marcia September 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm

1. Husband had time to weed veggie garden today and picked another 8 or so tomatoes. I ate two for supper. He won’t eat them plain but will eat in salads. He will get salads this week, just not tonight.

2. Made bread today. Nothing unusual about that, but it’s frugal!

X. Frugal fail—had to make a special trip to pharmacy today (even though I was just there yesterday) because I forgot one prescription and needed it by Sunday. It was a new script–I picked up two refills yesterday.

3. Invented a new dish for dinner—sort of ! I had TOO MUCH pork this week so took out ground beef this morning. Then I couldn’t decide what to do with it.
DH suggested hamburger helper (the ONE kind we like) but when I went to look for some, we were out. So I used a box of Rice-A-Roni, mixed in the cooked hamburger, and grated about 3 oz. of extra sharp cheddar on top of it until it melted. Close enough. It tasted fine, and I made carrots with it, plus I had tomatoes as well.

4. Went to the farm stand and got another 4 qts of peaches. Wanting to freeze a pie filling for later in the year, and DH ate the peaches too fast this week. I need to get this done, because it looks like the peaches are almost finished for this season. The last couple baskets have been smaller peaches, but just as tasty. Last year I made him a peach pie on his birthday in April. He had one earlier this week, too. He doesn’t get many peach pies and he loves them with fresh peaches. Canned just are not the same.

5. I’m getting a box of fabric I no longer need ready to mail to a friend who can use it. I was looking for one fabric in particular, which of course I could not find. I will send something else in it’s place, thus reducing my “STUFF” collection by a bit and sharing something she wants and needs. I used to sew a lot and no longer do much except mending.


Ruby September 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

1. Stayed home the past two days to work on decluttering/cleaning projects. No money spent, and the house is looking so much better.
2. My husband needed supplies to fix one of the windows, so he went to Ace Hardware with a $5 off anything coupon.
3. Made homemade desserts and iced tea for our house guest, using things we already had in the pantry, so no money spent.
4. Shopped around for the best price on flu shots.
5. Downloaded Open Office — free! — to use on my laptop instead of spending $139 for MS Office. It’s working great.


Lucy September 12, 2015 at 4:35 am

I am having an issue with the line spacing on documents I moved to Open Office and was wondering if you do too, and if anyone has a solution. The documents in question are promotional materials for our farm-based business and looks count!


Ruby September 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

Mine so far have all looked fine when opened in Open Office. But they’re all former Word documents. If your documents were done in Publisher, then there might be some oddities popping up.


Lucy September 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Thanx for the reply. Shoot, mine were in Word also. Maybe I will find time to retype.


karen September 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Someone above asked where to donate in aid of the Syrian refugees. World Vision is an excellent organization. Donations can be made on their website. They have a good record of keeping their own overheads low so that the highest percentage of every dollar donated can be used for those in need.


Bobbi September 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

1. Thanks to Katy mentioning hypermiling, I’ve read more about it and made several small but significant changes in my driving. I have a Prius, and by watching the dashboard feedback and going easier on accelerating at certain times, I have noticed a big improvement in my gas mileage. I haven’t been keeping track of the exact mpg figures, but I think I will now just for the heck of it. Thanks, Katy!
2. I haven’t spent any money in days except for groceries and dog food. I can’t even remember what I last bought! (I’m not counting gasoline and paying monthly bills.) There was a time that this would have made me feel like I earned a shopping trip for something fun that I didn’t need (new shoes or clothes, most likely), but now it just makes me happy that I have more money to save for experiences instead of things.
3. I got to the office today and realized I forgot my leftovers at home. I was tempted to get take-out for lunch, but instead I drove home and got my leftovers. It was about the same distance I would have driven to the restaurant, but with free food!
4. I filled up my tank with the current best price on gasoline near me (Fred Meyer). I didn’t have any fuel points to use, but you still get $.30 off the transaction for scanning your store card, and I was right by the store/gas station doing errands. Let’s see how far this tank can take me!
5. I’ve never paid full-price for clothes or shoes (hello, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, etc!), but lately I’ve been trying to take things one step further by buying used as much as possible. It’s not just a frugal thing, but environmental in terms of reusing clothes instead of creating demand for new ones. Today, I’m wearing a thrifted blouse from Goodwill and deeply marked down trousers and flats from Nordstrom Rack. The blouse is a Nordstrom brand that I thrifted for about six dollars (I’ve had it a while, I don’t totally remember the price). I checked on the Nordstrom website, and this brand of blouse in this style sells for $48. I would personally never spend $48 on one blouse. I’m not even broke like back in my grad school days, but for me it is much more fun to hunt for bargains. I have to dress professionally for work, and it’s totally doable without allocating much money to my wardrobe.


Jennifer September 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

1. My mother-in-law gave me two coupons for free drinks from a local organic coffee shop, so I used one this week for a fancy latte and only spent 25 cents as a tip for the barista.

2. I needed a box for my son’s Duplo collection and instead of getting a new one I found a perfect box for $7 which was actually made to hold Duplo at Value Village. Bonus: it came half full of more Duplo pieces for his collection.

3. While at Value Village I found a perfect winter coat for my son from a high quality brand. They cost $70 new and this was $10.

4. Harvesting so many vegetables from the garden that I hardly need to get anything from the grocery store.

5. Everyone in our family is currently reading books from the local library.


Patience September 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm

1.) Gave a little personal DIY kitchen Kombucha “lesson” today to a friend. Being as that she was buying the commercial stuff regularly this will save her so much $. During the lesson I bottled up some for my own use, using small local pears from a friend’s tree that were getting on the soft side (Kombucha being a great way to use up over-ripe fruit). At the end of the lesson, my friend gave me a whole box of unopened tea she’d picked up in error (not the right kind for Kombucha) and wasn’t going to drink/use otherwise.

2.) Trimmed and blanched a mess of green beans, picked from a generous friend’s garden, for freezing for future winter veggie soups, casseroles, stews….

3.) Made up a half-gallon batch of DIY lacto-fermented sauerkraut from cabbage picked from the same garden…

4.) Grated another large garden zucchini, for freezing in one and two cup quantities (the amount generally called for in most recipes)….

5.) Made up more bread dough today using the ‘Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day’ method, into which I added TONS of grated zucchini, to be made into focaccia for tonight’s dinner — topped with additional garden zucchini slices (trying my best to keep up with the bounty), homemade Kale Pesto (made from garden kale and basil), plus homemade tomato sauce (from garden tomatoes)….


cindy@lifeascindy September 13, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I do use that bread recipe and love it. I had never thought about adding zucchini. Good idea.


marleen September 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm

1. I picked a tomato and some rhubarb from my little garden by my front steps.
2. I hung two loads of clothes on the line.
3. I used the cooled-down water from my vegetable steamer to water my hanging plants on my front porch.
4. Made a special dinner for my husband’s birthday rather than going out to eat. He was okay with that since we have a special trip to see the grandkids coming up and we’re saving for that.
5. Packed my lunches for work all week, using up leftovers from the fridge.


Beth September 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

1. Bought a $5 Little Caesar pizza and made do instead of the more expensive pizzas we enjoy more.
2. Drank pop from a 2 liter I bought on sale and with coupons and discounts cost 40 cents.
3. Instead of buying sauce for the crazy bread I opened a $1 can of spagetti sauce and used that for dipping sauce.
4. Hung my load of towels up in the basement to dry.
5. Did two cat sits and one dog walk this week in addition to my day job and signed up to work some school sporting events which also will bring in extra cash. Instead of saving for college I am going to use the extra job money to pay for my daughters braces.
6. Letting my daughter walk home from school (her choice) and staying home alone until I get home (about an hour) and not paying for the after school care/bus pick-up I wanted her to do. So far she has been very mature working on homework and doing the chores I have asked her to do.
7. Had to take my 12 year old daughter bra shopping for school (oi vey!) The prices are crazy (especially sports bras!) but luckily I was able to get them on sale or clearance and earned some Kohl’s bucks.


Sharon September 11, 2015 at 6:32 pm

1) I waited to get gas until I was in the next town on my way to work to save 4 cents per gallon
2) I also saved 10 cents per gallon using my fuel points… Total savings 14 cents per gallon x 17 gallons = $2.40 saved
3) I was able to pick up my dogs prescription on my way to work = no extra fuel spent
4) made all lunches to bring to work
5) ate all dinners at home with foods on hand


Katy September 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I love the cheap gas as well. The gas gauge on my Prius started blinking as I was on my way to Costco the other day. But their gas is around 40¢-per-gallon less than everywhere else, so I gas up there whenever it’s convenient.


Isabelle September 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

Gas seems very cheap in the US, compared to Canada.
Here we buy in liters and it’s around 1.25$/liter, so about 4,75$/gallon. How much for you guys???


Carol M. September 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

I think U.S. average right now is around $3.40 or $3.50.


K D September 13, 2015 at 8:08 am

In Maryland, at SAM’S Club this morning, it was just under $2.10/gallon this morning.


Kathy M September 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Paid $2.02/gallon yesterday, saw it for under $2.00 today


Diane September 12, 2015 at 4:17 am

Just curious what the terrarium shop does with the mason jar lids? You’ve peaked my curiosity.

I offered to make Christmas ornaments for 75 patients at a local hospice and I plan to do it without spending. So far I have 10 fabric Santas and 10 quilted stars and no money spent. Today I am experimenting with making twig snowflakes.

Only money I am spending is on groceries and gas.


Katy September 12, 2015 at 9:23 am

Uses them for the tops of small canning jar terrariums.


Diane September 12, 2015 at 2:04 pm



Sheila September 12, 2015 at 8:54 am

I have learned so much about frugality from you, Katy. And while I haven’t jumped in totally {yet!} here’s what I’ve been doing to save, especially important now that I was laid off at the beginning of the summer.
1. Our younger son is going off to college in a week *sniff* and I have been buying the things he needs (like the XL twin sheet sets) at places like Marshalls using mostly gift cards or credits from things I returned. Or at Target on sale with my red card so I save 5%.
2. While I may have purchased more than he might need for college, I’ve been patting myself on the back since I’ve been scouring sales, thrift stores, and the house for what he needs. I’ve also shopped a little each week, spreading out the spending so that it wasn’t so financially overwhelming.
3. My older son just got a job at a law firm and needed some good work clothes. When his GF took him shopping and he spent $200, I didn’t say a word. Then later he mentioned he might take some of the clothes back since what she suggested was both too expensive and not professional enough. I found 2 dress shirts at thrift stores, one of which is a fancy French brand that sells for $100+ and he was so thankful. Right now he only has one pair of “dress” pants we bought for a wedding a few years ago, but with a few shirts and a couple of ties he’s all set. And I’m so proud that he has his first real job and is going to school too.
4. Since it has been incredibly hot lately here in San Diego, we splurged on a movie out – splurged with a gift card, popcorn and drinks from home, and only bought one movie ticket. Now that he’s leaving in a week, I wanted some good memories of good times together.
5. Being home has been quite a gift, really. While I’ve had to tighten my purse strings, I’ve been able to visit my brother who suffered a traumatic brain injury and lives 1.5 hrs away. My sister has opened her home to him and he is so thankful, but TBI is rough, so I feel so thankful that I can help out a little. And being able to be home with my 18 and 21 year old sons this summer has been priceless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Cindy September 12, 2015 at 9:15 am

1. wrapping up painting a mudroom/ hallway myself. I’m really improving my painting skills which is good because I have the whole rest of the house to go. I stained and sealed planks of wood and screwed in hooks, my husband is going to bring home the good drill from work so we can hang these from studs. I wanted to get this project done before school and the fall weather hit so the jackets, boots and backpacks wouldn’t get left all over the house.
2. I’ve been hauling garbage cans of good (free!) mulch from my parent’s house to use in our garden beds and adding in my own compost from kitchen scraps- hoping our perrenials I started this year will make it through the winter.
3. Used leftover pavers to build a little landscaping bed in the back of the house. Dug up some pachysandra from the woods and planted it in my new beds- I think it’s the only thing that will thrive there because its nearly full shade.
4. Just changed the UV light in the water filter myself.
5. Stacking firewood split up from a downed tree in our yard in a new wood rack my husband and I built.


Katy September 12, 2015 at 9:19 am

Wow, you are being uber-productive. Very impressive!


Cindy September 12, 2015 at 9:28 am

Thanks! I think my whole motivation for all these projects is that so once the cold weather hits I can just park my butt in front of the wood stove for the entire winter!


Gwen September 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm

1 – Finally joined Facebook to participate in my town’s Buy Nothing group.

2 – Made chicken stock from bones and veggie scraps.

3 – Got up early to walk down to the farmers’ market, which – wonderfully! – is still cheaper than the grocery store in my town.

4 – Continued to pool resources by using my parents’ Netflix and letting them use my Amazon Prime.

5 – Cooked all meals from scratch!


Michele September 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Katy, you confirm my motto of ‘When you’re frugal, you pay with effort and time instead of money!” I LOVE it! Doesn’t it make you feel great to make all of those efforts and see it all come together to pay off (literally, at times, lol)?!?!
What frugal things I have been up to are: roasting my own coffee beans…adding more to my essential oil repertoire (a drop of clove and a drop of peppermint rubbed on the forehead = headache gone in 30 seconds!)…thrifting for some “new” duds since I got brutally honest with myself and pared down my ‘doesn’t fit’ clothes which left me with a handful of worn out ‘does fit’ clothes that look sad–lol….using an old yellowed writing paper tablet for my 6yo’s writing exercises before buying more. It’s old paper left over from my 19 and 22yo’s days. What’s the difference….it’s still the correct paper. …made deodorant and toothpaste….filled foaming hand soap containers with shampoo/water…. That’s all I can think of now, but I try to ‘think thrifty’ all the time. 🙂


Anne September 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm

1. Caught my shower warm up water and watered outside potted plants.

2. Took the fastest shower I possibly could. (It helps to drink coffee b4 doing this!).

3. Went thrifting today and limited myself to a cookbook I’ve been looking for and a salad dressing cruet.

4. Making a pizza tonight instead of buying one.

5. Broke out The Tightwad Gazette for some inspiration! (Love ya Amy D!)


Monica September 12, 2015 at 8:45 pm

1. Used grocery rebate apps to earn $1.45 for food that I bought.

2. Sold 2 things on eBay.

3. Started a found change jar.

4. Read books from the library.

5. Put off getting gas for the car (tank is 1/4 full) until I can fill up at Costco when I run errands next week.


Theresa September 13, 2015 at 4:21 am

1- picked up a penny off the ground
2- found $5 parking at the free folk festival rather than the $10 parking we thought we’d spend
3- bought 2 packages of local hamburger at the farmer’s market and saved $1.00 because we bought two
4- ate lunch away from the festival where prices were rather high
5- got a free rain jacket from my husband’s work castoffs (my old rain jacket was no longer waterproof despite my attempts to re-waterproof it); it rained at the festival and my new jacket worked great!


Denise September 13, 2015 at 4:30 am

1. Watched Living On One Dollar on Netflix.

2. Ate oatmeal/peanut butter/coffee for breakfast this week…bought on sale and cost about .26/meal.

3. Trimmed two trees and shrubs in front of porch.

4. Groomed my dog.

5. Picked up wood from our back 15 acres. A lot of it washed over onto our place during a recent flood.


cindy@lifeascindy September 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm

1.Made a menu plan (which I blog about).
2. Packed lunches.
3. Brought my own cups to work so the free drinks were actually free.
4. Bought a head of lettuce the size of a small child (18″ across the top) from the farmers market.
5. Looking into replacing the braking system in my car instead of replacing the car.


Amanda September 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm

1. The only money we spent over the weekend was dinner out for a church function. We both got water and our tab was only $20.
2. Supper is a combination of breakfast foods and a delicious pile of grilled meats and veggies my neighbor brought over. She is the sweetest person, and we share our dinner with her sometimes too.
3. Our weekend renters left rice in the fridge, which will become a meal of chicken and brocalli over rice.
4. We’re expecting number 3 in two months. The only piece of gear we need at this point is an infant stroller. I never used a stroller for the other two because I wear them until they walk on their own. This time I am a grad student with no maternity leave. So I’ll be going back to school immediately with a tiny infant in tow. My mom will be watching the baby in an office while I’m in class, so I know she’ll need the stroller. I had planned to find a car seat/base/stroller combo at a thrift shop and had priced it out at $100. But then it occurred to me that I should just buy the stroller base for the seat I already have. Duh! Walmart had the cheapest price at $68, which saves me $32 from my original plan. And I’ll have less gear to store because I can reuse the seat I have.
5. My son’s school has free lunch everyday (the city got a grant), but he has to pack a snack. Instead of succumbing to prepackaged food, I have plans to prepare things from the cupboard. This week will be popcorn each day popped on the stove. Next week I plan to make banana chocolate chip mini muffins from bananas I have in the freezer.


Stephanie September 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

1. I took my lunch to work all week for about the millionth time. Although Friday was an exceptionally uninspired lunch day (really, PBJ?), I also had 2 kinds of fruit and did reusable containers. And the grape jelly was homemade…

2. I massively scored teak deck furniture in an estate sale last weekend, and am starting to revive it this weekend. I don’t think white vinegar does all it is alleged to do, but one cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water worked very well removing filth and mold/mildew.

3. I have not yet given up on our experimental garden, and will plant lettuce seedlings tomorrow. I am not sure where city gardening is going yet, but I do enjoy it.

4. I soaked the last of the awful pinkish beans that take forever to cook and used them in the Joy of Cooking’s recipe “Ohio Farmhouse Chili.” I avoided that recipe most of my life since it just seemed boring, but a couple of years ago I discovered it’s more than the sum of its parts. I never want those beans again.

5. My husband and I spoke to our daughter who is on the other side of the world on FaceTime, plus her husband, for free.


Ellendra September 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

1. I had 2 family reunions this weekend, for different branches of the family. The first one was held at my aunt and uncle’s tree farm. While exploring the woods (I have hyperacusis, and need to take frequent “quiet time” breaks), I noticed that one of the medicinal herbs I’d been hoping to find was growing all over the place! I asked my aunt and uncle, and they said they didn’t even know what it was, and I could dig all I wanted. My aunt even loaned me her shovel and gardening gloves. I dug for about an hour, and got 2 grocery bags so full of poke root that I could hardly carry them! Poke root is one that is easy to find buyers for, plus I needed one root for myself anyway.

The second one was at another relative’s home. To be honest, I’m not sure the exact relation, they’re just family. While looking out their window I noticed their entire hillside was covered in Solomon’s Seal, which is another herb I’d been looking for! I asked, and they said the same thing, that I could dig all I wanted, and here’s a shovel to use. Their soil was a lot more solid, and my bad shoulder was still sore from the day before, so I wasn’t able to dig nearly as long. But, I half-filled a gallon ziplock full of roots, and got a sandwich baggie full of berries so I could plant the seeds!

I’ll weigh the roots after they’re cleaned and dried properly, but if I remember right poke root is worth $1-2 per pound, and solomon’s seal is worth $4. I get free money, and my relatives got to get rid of some weeds 🙂

2. The first reunion left us with most of a cake still, so we rearranged the pieces and took it to the second one.

3. Also this weekend, my flour corn was finally dry enough to grind, so I ground enough for a batch of corn muffins. This is the first chance I’ve had to taste this variety, last year the raccoons destroyed my patch. I ran out of strength after I got it ground, so the actual baking will have to wait. But, it ground up soft and fine, like cornstarch. No grittiness! That’s the advantage of the true flour corns.

4. Tomorrow I’m dropping off my application for a different job. The one I have has gotten to be too much stress. Plus, the one I’m applying for will let me telecommute, which means saving on gas!

5. Picked the first tomatoes from my garden. It’s been slow to get going this year, but it’s getting there. The tomatoes were from seeds I saved, so there was no cost involved other than time.

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Elise @ Simply Scaled Down September 14, 2015 at 4:06 am

I admit the past few days haven’t been too frugal. Do you ever just get tired of being frugal? I do…so I may have drive across town (without batching errands) to buy my favorite ice cream (which is only sold at Whole Foods…eeek) that wasn’t on sale. Then I ate the whole thing in one sitting. It may not have been frugal but it was definitely needed!


Amanda September 15, 2015 at 6:24 pm

1. Picked up unwanted firewood from a neighbor’s curb. We will use it for bonfires and free fun this fall 🙂

2. Hung laundry to dry

3. Been experimenting with meat-less or low-meat meals. Husband is a meat-lover, but for health and budget reasons I’m working on scaling back the quantitites we eat.

4. Trying to go without A/C now that it is September. Unfortunately the temps are jumping back into the 90s this weekend…argh!

5. Made some gifts/decor items ourselves in the last few weeks — picture hangers and shelves out of pallet wood and some bought wood/stain. Very inexpensive, fun, and personal 🙂


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