Five Frugal Things — Digital Audiobooks, Fuchsias & Mending

by Katy on April 13, 2014 · 18 comments

  1. Yesterday was Fred Meyer’s annual Fuchsia Day, so my neighbor and I filled our hanging baskets with new plants and free potting soil. I spent $9 for fifteen fuchsia starts, which is pretty much my annual gardening budget. And yes, I placed paper coffee filters on the bottom of each planter to cover the holes. I love it when I can figure out ways to make my stuff last one more year!
  2. My husband and younger son went to last night’s Portland Timbers soccer game, which left my older son and I at loose ends. I briefly considered taking him out to dinner, but decided instead to eat at home. I prepared spaghetti with alfredo sauce and clams, which is his favorite. (Note that I wrote “prepared” instead of “cooked” as this meal is a matter of dumping the sauce and clams from containers.) We watched a movie called “Mr. Nobody” on Netflix and it was perfect.
  3. I took advantage of the recent sunny weather to wash the bedding and dry everything on the clothesline. This included our duvet cover which was somehow covered in cat fur. (I think the cats did nothing but sleep on our bed for the full ten days we were out of town.) I also got out my sewing kit to mend a couple of small rips in the fabric, which were also compliments of the cats. I know that many people would look to replace a ripped duvet cover, but since it’s fabric it should be almost endlessly mendable.
  4. I brought my iPhone to the library’s information desk the other day and had the librarian walk me through how to put digital audio books on hold, so I could start listing them on my hand-me-down phone rather than my CD Walkman. Luckily, there was no one in line since it took un-tech-unsavvy me at least fifteen minutes to figure it all out. I’m now looking forward to being able to instantly download audiobooks. Very excited!
  5. It appears that I’m actually going to be working enough in the month of May. (Two days per week is perfect for me.) Although this may seem to not fit under the category of frugal, I’m going to include it as my life requires both frugality and income! I’ve been working less since late last summer and it’s been a real struggle. Frugality helps, but it’s only part of the big picture.

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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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen April 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I have been weeding out my closet. There has been so little rain here over the winter that this is the extent of my gardening. Seriously!

No one should give you grief over the methods used to create a meal at home. This past week I prepared spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs. The meatballs came from the meat market, were on ad, and cost me less than making them myself. The sauce I bought on ad a few weeks ago.

Until I killed 2 mp3 players within a 9-month span, I downloaded books through Overdrive Console Media from the local library. I miss the books, but I am not willing to risk the money on ruining another player.

Great news on your increase in hours. Know you will still be living as thought it were less, though.


Katy April 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm

No ones gives me grief, but I wanted to not take take credit for cooking, when all I did was open a can and a jar. 🙂



Jennifer April 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

So glad to hear you got more shifts this month! I know you’ve been concerned about that one.

I don’t have many frugal things that I can think of, but I did make it a round at our local thrift shops and found some paper lanterns for my son’s first birthday decorations and a large basket (which I’ve been searching for for weeks) to contain shoes at our front door. I also found some things to resell on eBay, but that’s only frugal if I’m able to sell them, so only time will tell.


jill April 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I find your posts so inspiring Katy! Congrats on more work hours!


Katy April 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Thank you! We’ll see if they’re actually approved when the final schedule comes out net week. Sigh . . .



Carolyn April 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

I so need to do your #4 above. Maybe one day when I do not have my squirmy young children in tow. Sadly, I rarely make it to the grown-up section of our beautiful public library and just put items on hold on-line.


Donna April 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I find your posts helpful. Also, to know that there are other people out there that appreciate frugality and thrift shops as much as me!
Yesterday I helped some others to set up and take down for a big meeting at my church. In return (besides getting to chat with some really nice people) I was able to take some bagels home leftover from the breakfast, ate lunch from a local Italian place for free, and was given two nice ivy plants that were table décor. Yipeee!!!


Becky April 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Typical frugal doings around here… Turning off power strips/unplugging rarely used electronics/turning lights off, etc. I did just make a batch of homemade bbq sauce – out of rhubarb! It’s actually darn good! I love this new use that doesn’t include soaking it in sugar to make it palatable. Let’s see, what else… Although we’ve got a new dryer, I continue to hang many items; shirts, jeans, towels. And while this one involves spending money, it’s still worth mentioning! I picked up a Hormel Cure 81 sliced half-ham with a b1g1 coupon in store, then saved another $2 on each with coupons printed from Hormel’s site. I was thrilled that my store let me do that!


Shuwen Koh April 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I read about using pistachio shells (washed if the nuts were salted) as a bottom layer in flower pots. Think this could work well for larger pots/holes so that the soil can still drain.


Jennifer April 13, 2014 at 6:33 pm

*made homemade bbq sauce today to go withthe pork roast I made yesterday. Pulled pork sandwiches were delicious!
*my sister, my 7 year old son and I took advantage of $5 hockey tickets from my work to enjoy a team we had never seen. Inaugural season. Fun on this rainy Sunday. Even included a hot dog and soda so cheap dinner also!

Tomorrow though, have to go renew car tags. The price makes me gag every year.


K D April 14, 2014 at 5:03 am

1. We spent some time working in the yard yesterday. No cost excpet for the bag to put it in.

2. I hung laundry on my drying racks on the deck over the weekend. It was warm, sunny, and dry so items were dry in a few hours.

3. All meals over the weekend were assembled based on what we already had in the house. I did stock up on produce and milk on Friday.

4. I completed our income tax returns. Since we’d have to pay to file electronically I still send them in (after filling in the forms at the IRS website). We will receive nice refnds from both the federal and state government.

5. We have been having perfect spring weather. I love just walking around the neighborhood, the daffodils are sunny and bright, the trees are full of colorful flowers/buds, the birds are chirping happily, and the light is phenomenal. Cheap entertainment and neighbors are out to visit with (we had a long, cold winter).


Betsey April 14, 2014 at 6:13 am

1. I found canned goods on a terrific sale…44 cents eacg! There was a limit of 6, so I made many trips as the store is within walking distance.
2. I went through my minimalist apartment and found stuff I hadn’t used in years to donate to the church rummage.
3. My mom offered me her china, so I have been looking for a place to put it. I found an old sideboard for free and will spruce it up with a redo.
4. As I am the sponsor for a 35 year old special needs man, I have been finding frugal stuff for us to do. We have been to the library to rent videos, the museum, a Lewis and Clark exhibit in our city, lots of free concerts at the college here, and sometimes just driving around looking at historical parts of the city. We do not spend much and have a good time!
5. I have been cooking all meals at home and I gave up diet soda. It’s amazing how much I save although cooking for one can be boring.


emmer April 14, 2014 at 7:38 am

so, those were already-used coffee filters, right? 🙂 i use folded newspaper in the bottom of my pots–they say the colors have no heavy metals, but i use just the black and white. have you considered reusable muslin coffee filters? they work fine. usually i just rinse them, but occasionally they go thru the washer.


Madeline April 14, 2014 at 7:45 am

Hopefully, with Spring and summer coming up more of the staff RN’s will want vacation time and you’ll get more shifts? I used to work PRN nursing and that’s how it often played out.. Fingers crossed…


carol April 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Katy…i have the library app on my nook. I am saving enormous fines because the books return automatically.


PoppyEcho April 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

1) going to cook beans instead of buying rotisserie chicken
2)going to use swagbucks to get $5 off the movie I’m going to on Friday
3)which I will bike to instead of taking the bus which costs $3…unless it’s pouring rain. I bike in the snow. Rain is so much worse.
4)I made hot chocolate from real cocoa powder I had in my cupboard instead of buying chocolate today. (gotta eat vitamin chocolate every day).
5)not allowed to buy anything at thrift store until I tidy and organise everything in all the living areas.


J. Pario April 15, 2014 at 7:46 am

One for the “Make it do” rather than buy it new category: computer keyboard “repair.” (It was this weekend, actually, but I love how clever my beloved is so I’m posting it anyway!)

Tomorrow: dress from old sweaters.

Thanks for blogging, Katy–your blog is one of the few I check regularly.


Amanda April 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

1. Admired a friend’s boxwood wreath, fell down dead when I saw the price on etsy, and made my own using stuff I had on hand and boxwood from my grandma’s yard. I didn’t preserve it first as instructed by the internet but we’ll see how it goes.
2. My husband was able to get his motorcycle to start by replacing the spark plugs. I was ready to take it to an expensive shop.
3. I’m making my own shower curtain after seeing how much the one I wanted cost.
4. Also in my sewing pile is a stained dress I plan to repurpose into a skirt.
5. My cloth diapers were getting a little threadbare so I saved a couple towels from the rag bag and made inserts I sewed in. Our new “super diapers” bring us a surprising amount of joy.


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