Five Frugal Things — Cheap Gas, Hemmed Pants & Free Cookies

by Katy on March 5, 2014 · 17 comments

Vintage Ball canning jar

  1. I drove to Costco yesterday to cash my annual American Express Costco rebate. I was handed $322.23, and walked out with a jug of honey and a 42-pound bag of cat litter. I also topped up the gas tank, even though it only needed five gallons. The price of gas is always cheaper at Costco, so even a few gallons of gas is worth it. Needless to say, I partook of the free food samples and then walked past the food court.
  2. I stopped at a few thrift shops on the drive home and picked up a couple of items. I bought a 29¢ antique Ball canning jar and a cheap stack of Noritake Marguerite plates, which I will resell on eBay. How did I know to buy these bargain plates? I did a Completed Listings search on eBay through my iPhone.
  3. I took a pair of hand-me-down Lucky Brand pants that were too long for my son and hemmed them. My older son does not like jeans or anything tight, so finding him pants is a never ending struggle. He now has a free brand new looking pair of pants that he’s willing to wear, and they’re even custom tailored!
  4. I snuggled up with son the other day to watch a library DVD of Argo. The movie was fantastic, (although I may have added a few extra grey hairs from the dramatic tension.) I love that my sons are now old enough to watch adult movies. I can’t get enough of all those free library movies!
  5. I picked up a free tub of chocolate chip cookie dough from Papa Murphy’s while walking home from the grocery store. We have a fat stack of these free coupons which we use infrequently enough to keep it as a treat. (They give them out at Timbers games, and my husband’s vegan friends always give us theirs.) We baked a dozen last night as a treat, and the second dozen for today’s school lunches.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been doing?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne T. March 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

Still working on a knitted lemur toy for a friend’s son’s birthday.

My son wore a pair of pants I’d hemmed for him back in November and he’s already grown enough that I need to take the hem out and re-hem. Happily I try to leave enough material folded up so that I can do that.

Learned how to make chocolate mousse myself (actually have known for a long time but just stumbled upon a non-gelatin recipe last week and am now making a second batch.

Pretty much decided not to take my sewing machine in for service as long as I can fix it myself, and I think I can–I think it just needs oiling.

I’m sure there were two others but I’m having trouble thinking of them. Oh, yeah, I found one of my favorite books on audio at the Friends of the Library store. It’s an old book-on-tape, and former library copy, so there are dropouts from time to time. But since I have this book pretty close to memorized, it’s no problem to fill in a word here or there.

Also I donated a big bag of clothes (outgrown and extras) to the thrift store.

and cut up a stained t-shirt for rags.


Jane in Seattle March 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

Frugal things.
I made a pumpkin bread from a mix I got at grocery outlet for a dollar a loaf instead of costco’s two dollars a loaf price. Cheaper than making it from scratch with the cost of pumpkin.
I hung some of our clothes to dry. My husband made me a rod that hangs from the ceiling over the washer and dryer and deep sink. Now I can drip dry things if I want to.
I oven roasted veggies hanging around in the vegetable bin to use up the last of the veggies until I shop again. I pretty much skipped grocery shopping last week, picking up a couple of things for really good prices with coupons at the drug stores.
I got another tube of toothpaste for almost free at Walgreens. Added to my stash, I have 12 tubes for the women’s shelter.


Megyn March 5, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Question: How do you feel about the trash produced by the samples at places like Costco? I love that I can practically make a meal out of samples for my boys, but then I get a bit upset about the amount of trash those little samples create. Thoughts?

As for my frugal happenings, I have been planning some meals for when my in-laws come this weekend. They tend to be frugal too, so I hope they enjoy some home cooked meals over eating out every day. The boys had the stomach flu, so I made my own electrolyte pops out of powdered Gatorade, water, and silicone popsicle molds. Far, far cheaper than the Pedialyte alternative! I’ve also been spending more time working rather than perusing the thrift stores. It’s nice to have money coming in rather than begging to come out!


Kate March 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

My daily attempt at frugality involved a library book and saving gas. I had to do a good bit of shuttling children around today, so after dropping my daughter off at softball practice, instead of driving back home again only to drive back to town an hour later, I drove straight to my next commitment. That left me with an hour to kill before church handbell practice, so I sat there reading a library book in perfect silence. It’s good to have a key to the church. 🙂


Vivian March 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Awesome scoop on that Jar. I saw 6 reproduction Bell Jars at Micheals for $16. Not going to buy them. I’ll just keep looking for one in the second hand places.


Megg March 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I’ve been drying my clothes on the clothes rack. I throw them in the dryer for 15 minutes to get them started then take them out immediately and they dry quickly even in our 63* house! I still use the dryer for underpants and jeans and towels but I figure I’m still saving by not drying every single load.

I made an adorable cape from fleece I bought on sale for my nephew’s birthday in October! No sew and took me about 30 min to make and cost less than $6. I even have enough to make another one for future nephews or sons!

I wish we had the discipline to use the Costco Amex, but we are just not that good about paying it off every month. At least we know this about ourselves though. We’ve switched to using cash about 90% of the time and that’s helped our budget a lot.


tna March 6, 2014 at 1:43 am

I watched “Fiddler on the Roof” and was tickled to see how excited they were over a treadle sewing machine…no more hand made clothes. I tried to put it into perspective, my trip to Goodwill buying $1.25 soft name brand cotton t- shirts and $2 J Jill yoga pants. And I played Skyrim and noticed the barrels of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, apples, and onions…staples that stored well and kept them nourished and thought of modern grocery stores. It’s so possible to live well at such little expense and effort in our modern world that the biggest problem isn’t need but excess. And we need instruction and help on how to keep it simple because we got no clue. Pretty weird world we live in.


K D March 6, 2014 at 6:42 am

I made a big pot of Robins Super-Healthy Lentil Soup before heading out fror the day. Since I didn’t have celery I added extra carrots and Old Bay seasoning (celery salt is the primary ingredienbt). I added a bag of soon to expire spinach to use that up. It was delicious for dinner, with the last slice of homemade bread.

I ate salad for breakfast because it needed to be eaten, I have a new breakfast favorite.

I went to Walgreens for their senior day. With the discount, a sale, and coupons (store and manufacturer) I was able to buy bags of Easter candy (Hershey’s) for about $1 each.

I am going to bake chocolate chip pumplin bars, using ingredients I picked up at a great price. They are healthier and cheaper than store bought and no packaging.

I stopped at Aldi for produce bargains: $.59 avocados, $1.39 pineapples, $1.19 four packs of Anjou pears.


Vickie March 6, 2014 at 8:15 am

Katy – In regards to pants for teenagers – we’ve bought inexpensive Magellan cargo pants at Academy Sports & Outdoors for my grandson. They are a looser fit and the bottoms can be rolled up and snapped to change them into shorts. My grandson had to have khakis for school, so these were the most inexpensive pants we could find. He’s a hard fit, because he’s tall and lanky and those pants are so versatile. I think they cost $25 new. If you can find them at the thrift store, it would be an even better score cost wise.

I buy large bags of blueberries, walnuts, sliced almonds and cranberries at Sam’s Club to make a morning breakfast mix. Those large bags will last me 2-3 months. I pour almond milk over the mix, like cereal, and it allows me to have a healthy breakfast and eliminates gluten and lowers the carbs for my morning meal. I’m trying to eat healthy, control weight gain and save money.

I LOVE library movies too! I also check-out their books on CD and listen to those during my work commute. I’m a much more relaxed person during my drive.


Suzanne P. March 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

1. I got to the Dollar Tree just as the bread delivery guy got there and picked up 9 loaves of my favorite sourdough bread for $9 (and stuck 8 in the freezer).

2. I took some unwanted/unused clothes and toys to a consignment shop and used the credit to buy my baby a toy that we’ve been wanting for a few months and a Express skirt (new with tags) that was originally $44.5o but that I got for $6.99.

3. I picked up some almost expired Pumpkin Spice creamer from Grocery outlet for $1.99 (coffee creamer is one of my few remaining indulgences and I love when I can get a good deal on it).

4. Turned off lights I wasn’t using and turned down the heater a bit

5. Went through 4 garbage bags of hand-me-downs my sister gave me for my daughter. Washed and kept about 1/4 of it and gave the rest to the thrift store.


Diane C March 6, 2014 at 11:47 am

A frugal hack regarding those lovely Costco rebates: Do not use them to buy stuff at Costco! Cash those lovely slips of paper at the store and charge your purchase as usual, so it qualifies for your next rebate. Your check can often be cashed right at the checkstand. Otherwise, Member Service will do it for you without batting an eyelash. If you’re really savvy (and you’re here, so you know you are), you will take that lovely cash straight to the bank. This trick applies to both the Costco and the Amex rebates, and I promise you, no one will hassle you about cashing the check.


amber March 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

1. We have been clearing out our freezer this week. Everyday I try to use up one item that has been hanging out in there. The other day I made french toast from a clearance 60 cents loaf of french bread.
2. Went to the library today where my children and I checked out enough books to last three weeks. (That is when they are due back.)
3. I made a goodreads account. I love being able to keep up with what I read this way. It is free.
4. I have been trying to use the crock pot a few times each week to save a little money.
5. I have been getting rid of clutter around the house. This week I cleaned out the kids toy box.
6. I have lots of items I need to take to Once Upon a Child and a box of books I need to take to Half Priced Books.
7. I ordered two books off of Paper Back Swap. These books I will need for home school next year. The total for these two books new would have been $26 not counting shipping. I was able to get them for $3 each this way.


rosarugosa March 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Wow Katie, how do you manage such a large Costco rebate check? We got one for @22.00 after DH was persuaded to upgrade to Executive membership last year, and I’ve just downgraded us back to regular. Please tell us your Costco secrets!


Katy March 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm

My husband puts all soccer expenses on the card (he gets reimbursed for all that.) also, we put all gasoline on the Amex.


Christy March 7, 2014 at 7:58 am

We have friends who moved out of the country, and guess who was there to help with packing, clearing out the pantry, fridge & freezer, and what not?!? Except for some fresh veg and milk, we won’t need anything for a while. We ran out of olive oil but had 2 back-ups from them. It’s amazing what we keep on-hand. Since we received so much, I’m trying to use up what we have from them and our own to try to reduce the amount we have “just in case”.
I keep thinking, “if I had the opportunity of a lifetime to move internationally within a month (like our friends), what would I take with me and what would I leave behind?” Since I hate waste, I don’t want so much on-hand that would be left behind!


Robin March 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Groomed my labradoodles myself (getting better at it and since the groomers cost $75/dog it’s totally worth it to train myself how to do it) .

Trimmed my son’s hair (his cuts only cost $20 but I’m enjoying learning how to cut his hair).

Froze a few stale slices of sourdough bread to use with some frozen homemade minestrone to make ribollita. Yum!


Jill January 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

I did some laundry yesterday and hung it on the line to dry since the weather was so nice. I also made a giant crockpot full of pinto bean with kielbasa, which we had for dinner last night, and which I will take for lunch all week. There are enough beans that we will be able to mush some up tonight for use in the quesadillas that I am planning to make.

Yesterday, I noticed that my husband had put a practically new cat bed in the garbage. It had belonged to one of our kitties that passed away a few years ago. He had found it in the attic, where I suspect we had hidden it, after little Alli left us. I pulled it out of the trash, washed it on the sanitary cycle in our washer, and hung it on the line to dry in the fresh air and sunshine. I noticed when I hung it up that it had a place where the seams had come apart. I thought I would mend it and we could at least donate to the animal shelter, but before I had even finished mending it, our kitty Bridget and hopped into it and fell asleep. I had to be careful to not stick her as a stitched around her! She and Alli were close – I wonder if she remembers that this was his little bed? Anyway, now it’s hers, and I love seeing her use it – Alli would have liked that – so OF COURSE we are keeping it! And told my husband with a smile, pointing to sleeping content kitty, “And you were going to just throw it away!”


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