Five Frugal Things — Free Cheese-its, eBay Switcheroo & Powell’s Books

by Katy on December 4, 2013 · 23 comments

Turkey stock

  1. I brought home a half box of Cheese-it snack mix from one of my mother’s guest cottages last night. My kids were ecstatic, as I never buy this kind of thing. They now each have a nice big baggie in their school lunches for today.
  2. I relisted all my Etsy items on eBay last night. I’m not sure if it’s a new pricing system, or just a special current deal, but the listing fees for everything was $0.00.
  3. I boiled up the last of the turkey meat and carcass last night and gleaned enough meat for a pan of enchiladas, plus five big jars of turkey stock for the freezer. I was able to free up enough thrifted glass jars to store everything, and not a one of them cracked in the process! Whew . . .
  4. I am arranging to be able to complete some work related online education at the hospital that is walking distance from my house, rather than where I work, which is ten miles away. Not only will I save money on gasoline, but I’ll be able to chip away at it in small chunks which is much more realistic.
  5. I asked my sister to think of any books her kids would want for Christmas. This way I can use Powell’s Bookstore store credit from selling books from home.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to lately?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

tna December 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

I’ve recently been thinking about a conversation I had a few years ago with a woman well into her 90s. She was telling me how they used to survive the winters on her family’s small, poor dirt farm when she was a kid. They basically ate the black eyed peas and corn they had grown that summer and dried. I guess they ground the corn to meal or bought a big sack of it for cornbread. The chickens didn’t give many eggs in the cold and the cow not a lot of milk…but she said corn meal mush and buttermilk was a treat. The fruit they had wrapped in old newspaper and put in a dry cellar didn’t make it past Christmas and a nice cobbler or fruit pie. She said by the time spring brought a little color to the countryside they were out searching the pastures and yard for fresh greenery…dandelion, purslane and cress from the creek. Made me think even when we are in a tight spot in today’s economy it is nothing compared to the Great Depression and before. I am curious how long I could function on a bag of beans and a sack of cornmeal. Is it time for one of your food challenges Katy?


Trish December 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I love stories like this! thanks for sharing it.


kris December 6, 2013 at 5:47 am

The scary thing is that if times got that tough (nowadays), people aren’t going to know how to survive. We (as a people) are so use to going somewhere and our food is provided for us…laid out in a basket, on a shelf or table for our taking. If people had to go outdoors and finding something to feed their family with, a lot of people would starve. We need to get back to teaching others how to live off the land and how it benefits us instead of allowing others (and by others (these days) mean factories that genetically modify/manufacture) to do all the work for us.


Jane in Seattle December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

Five frugal things.
1) taking care of sick grand a y so we don’t have to pay the baby nurse so daughter can work. 2) taught a card class yesterday. 3) had bean and rice burritos for dinner last night. 4) wrote a blog on the sales ads for food, 5) gathered more things for the homeless family’s home.
6) making Santa book for grandbaby for Christmas.


Juhli December 4, 2013 at 11:35 am

I just came inside after raking up very wet leaves and filled 7 barrels. That may not seem frugal to most people but 75% – 90% of the households in my neighborhood hire all of their yard work out and these are not elderly or infirm people. As much as I get tired of doing it, I think of all the money we have saved over the decades and all the exercise I am getting. I recently tried buying a discount CVS gift card online and was delighted that it worked smoothly and saved me 11.5% on my purchase of OTC medication. I’ll be shopping for a variety of these cards after the holidays.


jill December 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

1. Sold a bag of old video games to our local used bookstore for store credit which my youngest daughter will use to buy vinyls for her and her boyfriend for Christmas.
2. Found a book in the free bin by an author my mom loves so picked that up for her.
3. Used a gift card from last Christmas to buy lunch while running my errands.
4. Put word out on social media and asked among friends that we are looking for a cat sitter for the holidays. I looked into a kennel and professional pet sitter but the fees are very high – I will pay a fair rate hopefully to a local teen who needs some Christmas money.
5.Stopped to buy a roll of forever stamps before the price goes up in January.

Good for you Katy on using up all your leftovers. We didn’t host Thanksgiving for the first time in several years so no leftovers. Very strange not to have any.


K D December 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

1. Yesterday I went to Walgeens for their monthly Senior Day (now that I am 55 I go on the first Tuesday of the month, their brand is 20% off and everything else is 15% off). I stocked up on razor blades for my husband – sale plus coupons plus senior savings plus Balance Rewards plus Jingle Cash made for a good deal. I also picked up some supplies for my MIL and a few other good deals. They had some deodorant that was free with coupons I printed, I’ll pass them along to a group that collects such things for under-privileged groups.

2. I stopped at Safeway to stock up on items using my save $25 on a $50 purchase coupon that I earned by buying gift cards for places we would spend money anyway. That is the third one of those I have used and I earned one more to use in the coming week.

3. I made Chicago style pizza for dinner last night. It is so much cheaper (and healthier) than going to UNO. There are plenty of leftovers for packed lunches (some I froze for next week). I have been using the same deep dish pizza pan for over twenty years.

4. Next week I will start taking a yoga class with some friends that will be much cheaper than the place I currently attend yoga classes (but I will have to drive whereas I can walk to the current studio).

5. I bumped the themostat down from the regular daytime setting and added a layer to save on heating costs.


Loretta December 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Ha! Love your first point. I don’t stock junk food in the house, so Christmas is the time the kids get to have it in their Christmas stockings – this year it’s a jar of Nutella each, a pack of Skittles, and for my gourmand son a jar of marinated goat’s cheese for his very own(which isn’t junk, just a VERY expensive snack!)
Thursday is my ‘day in town’ where I do yoga, run errands and take my daughter to art class after school. I’ve packed my basket with homemade couscous salad for lunch, my water bottle, and some fruit. I probably will treat myself to a coffee in a nice cafe; it’s MEANT to be summer here but it’s only 8C!


Linda in Mass December 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I made turkey stock also ans threw it in the freezer. We have been eating up all our thanksgiving leftovers instead of letting it go to waste. Browned bagging my husband and my daughter’s lunches this week (as always) and also packing dinner for my daughter because she needs to stay at school until 10:00 pm each night for drama.

I am doing Christmas shopping but using $10 off gift cards for $10 purchases. Giving my nephew over $300 worth of cookware that I got free for just doing my job…gotta love that! He is getting married and their shower is this weekend.

Also doing the normal stuff…hanging out laundry on good days, cooking from scratch, organizing my house so I can find items and not have to buy them, etc.


Megyn December 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Let’s see…

I picked up some side work pet-sitting and organizing/decluttering. The money I’m making should cover all of our holiday gifts.

We’re trying to sell my husband’s wedding ring. It’s far too big and can’t be re-sized. He’s been hanging onto it from guilt, and since I lost mine about a year ago, we decided they don’t really matter. We’ll use the money we make for his crazy expensive fire turnout boots he needs.

I’m helping organize a toy exchange set for this Saturday. It will allow us to get “new” toys for our boys for practically nothing.


kathleen December 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Please give us more details on the toy exchange. I think it is a great idea. Is it among friends or for the community?


Katy December 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

Great idea! Let me know how it goes, and please take pictures. 😀



Rebecca December 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Ebay gives everyone 50 free auctions or fixed price listings each month.


Mary December 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

1. I dehydrated slices of an orange and a lemon that have been rattling around the fridge. I pierced them and threaded strips of cotton homespun fabric that I had from another project and will string these on our tree. Our two kittens are insisting that the tree is there for their enjoyment, so we will only use natural decorations this year.
2. I darned two pairs of socks instead of buying new ones.
3. I will deliver Final Exam Care Packages myself, rather than mailing, to our two daughters in local universities, after shopping for goodies at the discount grocery. All this rather that purchasing expensive care packages promoted by the universities.
4. I am making sure I actually use coupons from retailers for free merchandise; I have received two coupons from JC Penney for $10 each so far…that rocks!
5. I have been looking at various websites for Christmas decorating ideas, using things I already have. I have spent nothing on decorations and our house is very festive and cozy.


chrissy December 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I just saw on Ebay that list fixed price is free until Dec. 5th. I just might have to list some things on ebay for free. I have had success in listing on online garage sales and the like.

Frugal Things
1. Researching savings bonds to buy with the Christmas $ that has already been rolling in for my 9 month old. (I am sure she is going to get plenty of toys and clothes for Christmas from grandparents)
2.Washed a load of cloth diapers today, more like everyday for the last 9 months.
3. Batched errands Costco, visiting husband at work and meeting a co-worker.
4. Made homemade wonky sushi for dinner.
5. Offered to rent my nephew a redbox tonight, he turned me down and instead we made hot cocoa from scratch and hung out.


Katy December 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

I love that you called it “Wonky sushi.” Ours is always not so pretty, yet it’s always oh so yummy!



Maureen December 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Just got back from the store where I work part time. They have a friends and family event that I can bring my friends and family to and they can use my discount. And they add 10% on top of the 35% discount I already receive. So all my friends had their totals almost slashed in half for their purchases. They were all very happy about that and I was glad to help.

On a happy note and not a frugal one, I was nominated for a big award through my full time job and got 2 congratulations for customer service from my part time job from 2 regional managers. I didn’t win any awards, but just be nominated and thanked means a lot. I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately, so maybe this will perk me up and help me move forward. Oh and reading any of Katy’s work also helps to perk me up!


Katy December 5, 2013 at 8:16 am

Yay, congratulations! Accolades like that usually mean extra job security, so it is related. 😉



Jo@simplybeingmum December 5, 2013 at 2:01 am

‘education’ not ‘eviction’ – I can sleep easy now! 😉


Tonya December 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

We ate leftover turkey soup again last night (made from the turkey carcass, of course).

I packed 3 lunches today.

I cancelled Hulu Plus since our laptop is messed up and doesn’t pick up the internet when not plugged in. If I can’t watch TV cozy on the couch, it’s not worth watching! Will look for Breaking Bad at the library instead.


Kailey December 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

Made a last minute work lunch last night from left over roasted chicken, pasta that was buy one get one free, frozen homemade kale pesto from our CSA box and frozen shredded zucchinni also from our CSA box.

Yesterday got a free lunch for my partner and myself in an upscale neighbourhood thanks to being a secret shopper.

Last night we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for their annual Canyon Lights show for free (over $30 admission for ONE!) bc they gave the centre I volunteer at free passes for all their volunteers.

Dinner tonight will be yellow thai curry from the left over roast chicken, CSA potatos and frozen CSA peas.


Diane December 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Katy, please let us know how quickly your items sell on ebay.


Katy December 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Try and stop me!



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