Five Frugal Things — Vacation Edition!

by Katy on June 12, 2016 · 83 comments


My family just now got back from picking my old son up from college, and since his college is located in the picturesque town of Ashland, Oregon, we turned it into a mini-vacation. Of course, no vacation, mini or otherwise is complete without some frugal maneuvers.

  1. The only shopping I did was at Goodwill and their local Friends of The Library sale. I bought a vintage Sasha doll for $3.99, which I’ll fix up to sell and will likely pay for the entire motel bill.
  2. We ate two meals at the University’s cafeteria, as my son son still had multiple guest passes left on his meal plan. We paid a pretty penny for that plan, so there was no freaking way I would let them go to waste! Luckily, our motel was across the street from the campus, so this was super convenient.
  3. Instead of shelling out big bucks to see one of the amazing Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays, we arranged one day to be able to watch one of the free performances on their outdoor green stage, which are daily at 6:45 P.M.
  4. I took a few minutes to peruse the dumpster adjacent to the dorms and was rewarded with a new looking Ikea bath mat. (It was actually hanging off the dumpster, not actually in it.) My sister has this mat, and I’m always tempted to pick one up for myself, but have never been willing to pull the trigger for this $9.99 item. Also . . . I follow The Compact and try not to buy anything new. So yeah, free bathmat! Or, if you prefer . . . $23,000 bath mat!
  5. Although we splurged on a delicious brunch at the Morning Glory Cafe, we made one last stop at the school’s cafeteria to get food for our 5-1/2 hour drive home. Because yes, my son still had additional guest passes left on his meal plan account. I brought in my tiffins and filled them up with cut fruit, cookies and ravioli. This action saved us between $20 and $40 depending on where we might have stopped for a meal.

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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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Krystal June 12, 2016 at 10:38 pm

1. We invited friends over and made homemade pizza, always a frugal and popular choice, and cheaper than going out. Made homemade brownies for dessert.
2. We have a bit of a slug problem in our strawberries, so we did what any frugal beer loving organic gardener would do, set our almost empty beer cans in the garden to trap them. No need to find expensive or harmful treatments at the home store, and we always have beer around…I hope it works!
3. Ate raspberries, strawberries and cherries for free all weekend. Another garden abundance! Added some garden spinach to the pizzas too.
4. Used my free drink promo at Starbucks at Safeway during my last shopping trip for a quick treat.
5. Stocking up on library books before our vacation, so as not to be tempted by those disposable, expensive magazines at the airport on layovers!


Bee June 13, 2016 at 3:19 am

I used to have a slug problem until I began trapping them using beer for bait. Works like a dream.


Kym Hopkins June 13, 2016 at 5:15 am

Curious; you set almost empty beer in the garden? Do the slugs crawl in? I’m about to commit some type of rage on the slugs that r eating my plants: but would prefer a non-violent method, lol. Any help??


Bee June 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

You dig a shallow hole the length of the beer can and lay the can on its side. The drinking hole should be even with the ground. I cover the sharp edge nearest the dirt. I usually widen the hole slightly. A nicer option is to place the beer in a shallow saucer-style plate setting the rim even with the ground. If you are not a beer drinker, the cheapest beer you can find will work just fine. The slugs are attracted to it and drown in the beer. My husband and I figure there is a lesson in that somewhere.


Kristin June 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

My grandpa poured the beer in a pie plate. He claimed the cheaper the beer, the better the bait.


Mand01 June 13, 2016 at 1:02 am

Can I first say how sorry I am about the national tragedy in your country right now.
It was a long weekend here. We had family & friend related events, but still found time for some frugal activities:
1. I baked bread, muffins and pizza scrolls for lunchboxes. I made potato and fennel soup, for work lunches.
2. I rendered pork fat from last weeks roast. First time I have done that. I’m going to use the lard for pastry – in particular, croissants.
3. We babysat our niece and nephew, and made them pancakes, than took them to the park. Happy gorgeous kids, no money spent.
4. We have our fireplace going, and I’m drying washing on the balustrade as well as on our indoor hangers.
5. We have a hard waste collection tomorrow and have emptied out one of our sheds of junk, much of which belongs to the last owner of our house. We are going to turn the shed into a teenage retreat.


Katie June 13, 2016 at 4:40 am

I am heartbroken for the families in Orlando. It’s all so senseless.


Karen June 13, 2016 at 4:40 pm

It’s becoming the norm here with so many shootings. It’s as if we dare not even try to lessen the gun count. I volunteer for a sensible gun control group locally, and will keep doing so, but today is so sad.


LL June 13, 2016 at 1:31 am

1. Made a loaf of banana bread out of past it bananas and ingredients on hand.
2. I was shouted a Chinese meal out by family, just paid $8 for drinks.
3. Picked up some extra work painting wood panelling at work. $60 for the savings fund.
4. Our cinema changed companies and I signed up as a member to get good discounts. They sent me 2x $10 vouchers.
5. I took my daughter to a free trial dance class before we sign up for a membership. She loved it so I will split the cost of it with her dad.


IsabelI June 13, 2016 at 2:12 am

L. Went for a lovely walk and came home with a metal bird under my arm which has taken up residence in my garden! I have put out unused things on the verge for this rare collection! Also put my neighbours child’s bycycle on their verandah as there had been lots of cars looking over things thrown out and the bike was too close!
2. Went shopping and spent much less than last week. Seemed to be so many bargains previously that I went a little mad!
3. Have made a savings towards my taxation!
4. Gave my friend advice on saving and freezing vegetables whether she wanted it or not. She briefly looked impressed! I do this even with people I don’t know! I google things!
5. Have made a good flexible budget! Has taken a fair while to perfect!


Betty Winslow June 13, 2016 at 6:05 am

Good job on the bike move – our eldest had her tricycle taken back in the day because she left it on the sidewalk near a pile of freebies on a heavy pick-up day. Much crying and wailing ensued…..


Bellen June 13, 2016 at 2:46 am

Loved that you checked the dumpster at your son’s college.

Many, many years ago when I graduated from college, I stayed in the dorm for the 4 days between end of classes and graduation. I made it a point to visit each room (60) to see if anything was left. Everything left was tossed out no matter what the value or who it belonged to – a student or the dorm. I had checked with the dorm resident advisor before hand.

I ended up with sheets, towels, t-shirts, mugs, a complete set of dishes for 4, pens, notebooks, a few texts – about the same amount of stuff I was taking home.

From the dumpster I found a lamp, a radio, 2 pieces of luggage, and I’m sure more stuff that I don’t remember.

Aside from the texts, that I sold, the rest of the stuff helped my husband and I thru those first few years of very little income marriage.

I’m still amazed at the amount of perfectly useful stuff that is tossed when people move, clean out. A good website/blog to check is – he’s from Canada and apparently makes about $20,000 yearly from his finds.

From the dumpster


Susie's Daughter June 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

My parents still have a lovely potted tree rescued from the dumpster by my brother when he moved out of college 25 years ago…


Gina in Ky June 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm

I love that blog! I am so amazed at the items he finds and the amounts he gets for them.


Nancy June 16, 2016 at 12:31 am

Which blog is that??


Nancy June 16, 2016 at 12:33 am

Ooops, never mind…i didn’t read it properly!


Linda in Mass June 13, 2016 at 3:24 am

Every time we went to my daughters’ schools, I would pick up a meal at their cafe. We pay dearly for those meal plans, so I wanted to get our money’s worth!


Kristen June 13, 2016 at 3:40 am

I like that you referred to your “old” son. Heh.


Katy June 13, 2016 at 10:14 am

Funny. That’s actually a typo, but I’m going to keep it!


Kristen June 13, 2016 at 11:52 am

I figured it was, but I thought it was hilarious.

When I first read it, I thought of it like old as in “former”. Like, “my old neighbor”. That made it even funnier.


Bee June 13, 2016 at 4:26 am

I have always wanted to attend the Shakesphere Festival. It has been years since I have seen Shakesphere on stage.
My FFT include:
1) My farm share reflects the abundance of the summer season — lots of fruit, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I made vinegar-pepper sauce, a GF fruit cobbler, and infused water with cucumber and lemon.
2) I bought a painting at auction for $10. The frame was a dark brown and did nothing for the image. So I popped out the painting, and I painted the frame. Much better minimal cost.
3) I attacked my mending pile. As I was doing this, I realized that I was out of white thread and getting low on buttons. I put several pieces aside until I could drive into a nearby city or order sewing supplies. (There is not a sewing or craft store near me). Later that same day as I was running errands, I stopped at an estate sale where I was able to buy a large box of thread (30+ spools) and a box of buttons for $2. Ask and it shall be given.
4) I sold several boxes of books to the nearby secondhand bookstore. I was happy to have less on my shelves and money in my pocket. However, the draw of the stacks, the smell of the books, and the coolness of store overwhelmed me. I did not get out without purchasing a few new-to-me books. It was simply irresistible.
5) I had a garage sale last week. I made a little money, had some fun, cleaned out the spare bedroom and donated quite a bit to charity. A great day all around.


Bee June 13, 2016 at 6:42 am

I also wanted to thank the NCA reader who mentioned GoodRx. I was able to save $70 on my son’s medication this month. CVS also honored the GoodRx price on a previous refill and refunded the $70 difference. It was a big help. Thank you for sharing!


Jennifer June 13, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Bee, I have mentioned GoodRx on here a couple times but I think some others have as well. It has saved me and others A LOT of money. Some meds it won’t help much on but if you happen to be on one of those that it makes a huge difference in price, it can be life changing. I just think we shop around and do price comparisons for all other things we buy so why not do it with medications? So glad for you!!


PaperCraneFarm June 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm

What is vinegar-pepper sauce and do you use it for? Recipe please!


Bee June 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

It is extremely simple. Place fresh peppers in a sterile jar. Small jalapeños or Serranos work best. Cover them with white vinegar and let them sit in the refrigerator for about a week. The vinegar becomes flavorful and depending on the peppers quite hot. You sprinkle it on greens, beans and rice, or in gumbo for an extra bit of flavor. It is similar to the brand called Texas Pete.


Gina in Ky June 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

It sounds a lot like what they call Pique in Puerto Rico! I wondered how it was made. There, they will often add citrus or tamarind and it is so good on rice. It’s now on the to-do list! Thanks!


Lide June 13, 2016 at 4:43 am

1. Went to a family reunion Saturday – took 2 dishes to share – everything from pantry – didn’t have to buy anything.
2. Eating meals out of freezer & pantry as usual.
3. Found a great deal on bath sheets on Amazon – younger daughter needed new towels – she wanted them as her birthday gift.
4. My Mom has arthritis in her spine – as does our oldest daughter – found sports tape to help support her lower spine for a really good price online.
5. Weather is in the high 90’s this week – got the a/c in our car recharged – hubby traded labor with a friend who’s also our mechanic – still had to pay for the freon but no labor charges!


PaperCraneFarm June 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm

We have a family reunion on Saturday as well and we’re in charge of dessert for 40 people (kids and adults). I think I’m just going to make a lot of different things, recognizing that everyone won’t eat the same thing. Or maybe I’ll cheat and just make lots of brownies and ignore those few people I know who don’t like chocolate.


Katie June 13, 2016 at 4:50 am

Here’s my FFT:
1. Purchased a family pass to the city pool. Not cheap but provides hours of entertainment and exercise. The kids and I enjoy it every year and they have become such strong swimmers that I will never regret forking over the moolah.
2. Pulled out the thrifted bread machine for cinnamon roll dough. This will be breakfast for the week.
3. Cooked a batch of pintos in the slow cooker. This will be at least three dinners this week.
4. Was given some shabby tomato plants for the garden. We are slowly nursing them back to health.
5. Took the children to a magic show at the library. We love the summer reading program and all the fun/free activities the library has to offer.


Beth Anne June 13, 2016 at 5:03 am

1. Started a new job working from home working on marketing and scheduling – worked 11 hours this weekend! This is wonderful because I lost a every Friday night dog sit as the owners are up going to their cottage for the summer.

2. Made do with food we had at home for meals this weekend. Nothing gourmet or elaborate (one involved boxed macaroni with frozen veggies added to the mac cooking water/one pot wonder!) but it was filling and had some nourishment.

3. Turned in my medical receipts for reimbursement from my medical flex account and banking the money for bills this summer as my Wed./Thurs. night clerk job is ending end of June until September.

4. Volunteered for the library at the local arts festival. It was over 90 degrees out but I made do with the free water for volunteers and did not buy any art. Great opportunity to give back to the library since we utilize it so much.

5. Still doing lots of cost saving measures to save on electricity (unplugging, turning off lights/fans when leaving a room, etc.). Using the air conditioning with the reasoning if I didn’t I would have to 1) buy a new dehumidifier and 2) run it in the basement all the time which pulls a lot of power as well. Did open the windows last night as it got down to 54 this morning, love it over the heat.

6. Picked lavender to use for gifts this winter i.e. sugar scrubs.

7. Bought tickets through a Groupon deal ($25 each) to take my daughter to her first concert with a friend “Five Seconds of Summer” tour in July.


Lindsay June 13, 2016 at 5:18 am

1. My dog did a little bit of damage to the woodwork in our apartment. I’m getting wood filler from the local Buy Nothing Group to repair the damage.
2. I got free moving boxes from my mom’s neighbor for our upcoming move.
3. For Father’s Day, I baked my dad banana bread (made with bananas and chocolate chips I wanted to use up) and put it in a gift bag I got from the Buy Nothing Group.
4. Reading free books on my hand-me-down Kindle for entertainment.
5. Finally was able to watch Mockingjay Pt. 2 because it was my turn on the library wait list.


K D June 13, 2016 at 5:23 am

1. Very little grocery shopping the past few weeks. Mostly just buying fruits and vegetables and using items we already have.

2. I went out for lunch with a friend and her mother. I ordered a bowl of chili, as nothing else sounded that good and this was so much cheaper. It was served garnished with tomatoes, onion and cheese and came with a bunch of tortilla chips. It was more than enough for a meal.

3. I’m keeping up with my PT exercises (from 16 months ago) and attending yoga classes regularly. Yoga is a fixed monthly fee so the more I attend the cheaper the cost per class. Being physically fit helps with my health, which saves money in the long run.

4. I just finished an ebook from the library. I love the library.

5. I’m still using my Samsung Galaxy SII. My husband and daughter think I should get a new phone but I don’t want to:
– spend the money
– have to decide what to get
– figure out what to do with an old phone


Bee June 13, 2016 at 5:52 am

In reference to #5, I have an iPhone 4 that I purchased in 2011. It works very well, but I have noticed that I can no longer use some of the apps. However, I am not ready to replace it. Use it up!


K D June 13, 2016 at 11:11 am

I can no longer use the American Airlines app (not a big deal) and I did not have group texting until my daughter set me up with the GroupMe app. I tend not to use a lot of apps because I am resistant to the invasion of privacy that most of them require.


janine June 13, 2016 at 5:28 am

1. Had an accident prone weekend but salvaged a few things. Defrosted sale chicken which leaked(despite double bagging) all over the refrigerator necessitating cleanup; (will need a deep cleaning this week) then set oven at “broil” instead of “bake”. Burned chicken, but salvaged good parts.
2. Due to 90+ degree temperatures, we treated ourselves to a one meal out. Otherwise we ate at home including “free soup” made from leftovers.
3. Husband cleaned and installed window fans – and the temperature promptly dropped to a reasonable level.
4. Forced to buy new chain saw because neither Sears nor local hardware store had needed part – got a few $$ off on purchase but still expensive.
5. No Lear jet, but plan to attend a couple of fundraisers this month plus a possible trip to another city to attend their local opera. Not purchasing a Lear jet makes this possible!


Jennifer June 13, 2016 at 5:30 am

1. Stayed out of stores mostly for the past for weeks saving whatever I would have spent there. My mom brought me a bag of produce from a friend’s garden so maybe I can skip another week of grocery shopping.
2. Made oven fried pork chops using a breading of ground up potato chips, hotdog buns, herbs, and spices. I also ran out of milk to add to the egg for dredging so I just used a little water mixed with egg and a little mayo. It was delicious paired with fresh squash. I got a whole box of squash for $5 at a farmstand that was closing up for the day.
3. Took my kids to the local splash pad for free entertainment and brought water from home to rehydrate.
4. The fringe was coming off my daughter’s bikini bottom so I simply cut off all the fringe and her bottom is now just plain, yet still cute.
5. My kids and I are all going without haircuts this summer so we are being creative with ponytails, braids, and messy buns.


jennifer June 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

I forgot one thing..My under wire broke in one of my bras( unfortunately, they have a big job to do). I realized this has happened a few times over the years so I dug around in the drawer and found another bra with a broken under wire. I cut the intact wire out to put it in the place of the one that just broke. Now I have a practically like new bra! Which is great because they are pricey.


Emily June 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

mole skin also works well for fixing bras if the wire pops out!


Jennifer June 14, 2016 at 4:59 am

I have heard about mole skin on here. I was trying to not have to buy anything to do the repair. I have also had good look with opening the place where the wire is sticking out and filling it with hot glue, sliding the wire back in, then kinda smashing it so that the glue is sorta flat inside the bra to prevent any hard edges and that works pretty well too.


Dale Emanuel June 13, 2016 at 5:39 am

Thanks for supporting us Katy! I hope the resale puts a bunch of dough in the Next Vacation Jar.


Jennifer June 13, 2016 at 6:04 am


1. One of my best friends and I went to see our other best friend perform in The Glass Menagerie. We had comp tickets and my mom babysat (for free, of course!) It was a lovely evening out and the performance was wonderful!

2. Another friend visited from NYC and rented a home from AirBnB. We went to visit Saturday morning and came home with lots of leftover food they weren’t going to be able to eat before their flight home. (I admit, I felt a bit like Katy that day!)

3. We did go out for lunch that day, but I made sure to suggest a local place that has high-quality food at reasonable prices without the added cost of tipping, so I was able to save money that way. $25 for my boys and I to spend some extra time with a great friend who I may see twice a year is totally worth it.

4. Other than the one lunch out, all of our food was prepared at home this weekend. It may not have been fancy, but we all ate.

5. It was a really hot weekend, so rather than retreat to the air conditioned oasis of the stores, I stayed home in my own air conditioned oasis and began prepping the walls in our bedroom to be painted (all of the necessary materials we had on hand.) We have old walls; the prep is no small task!


Betty Winslow June 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

1. I need to make something for the cookbook club I belong to (the theme this month is Food Network recipes), so went through a couple of FN magazines I have and found a great recipe for corn pudding for which I have all the ingredients!
2. Made another pitcher of iced tea – I drink it a lot in the summer and take an insulted cup of it everywhere I go, to help me resist the temptation to buy a cold drink.
3. Went to a bakery near my house that has a large book & magazine sharing area, where I scored 4 Garfield books for our school library. The kids will be THRILLED!
4. As our teachers packed up their rooms so their rooms could be painted this summer, they were giving away a ton of stuff. Scored a stack of educational CD-ROMs for the library, a Dr. Seuss hat, a stack of books which will go to the used book store for credit, and a box of magnetic letters/numbers for the granddaughter, among other things.
5. Made an inventory of my canned goods, so I don’t buy any more canned tomatoes. Or pumpkin. *What* was I thinking?? Now, to use up what we have…..


Ellie June 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm

#2 – Love the “insulted” cup! Probably a typo, but gave me a smile for the day.


Susie's Daughter June 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Re #5 – I found a great recipe for Pumpkin Muffins last week from Taste of Home website. They would be even better with actual pumpkin – the container of peach puree was masquerading as pumpkin in my freezer, but it still worked. 🙂


Bettypants June 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

1. I stopped at the church rummage barn near my house. It’s dirty and disorganized, but I always think there is the possibility of finding a gem. Paid $2.25 for a complete Cranium Cariboo game, and two vintage unopened rug hook kits. Listed all three on ebay, and the game sold yesterday for $25.
2. Moved around several plants in my garden and dug out some overgrown hostas and irises to sell. Have meets scheduled today for everything I dug, for a total of $26.
3. My car battery was unexpectedly dead this morning, and husband out of town. Realized we own a car battery charger, so I googled how to use it and charged my own battery. Over an hour late to work, but sure beats missing the whole day.
4. Stopped at a yard sale on Friday and bought an antique twin sized bed, a black cardigan for work (which I have been looking for), and a Fenton glass dish. Paid $8.25 for all, and am selling the dish tomorrow for $10. The bed will also be sold after I get it fixed up.
5. Decided to try to build a couple birdhouses from the junky scrap wood in our garage. Got the first one put together yesterday. I just need to finish painting it and attach the roof.


PaperCraneFarm June 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Wow! You’re great at finding stuff for resale! I don’t have that eye (yet).


Katy June 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm

It’s feast or famine, that’s for sure!


Bettypants June 14, 2016 at 6:40 am

Well, thank you for the compliment! Although I like the money, I most enjoy the game of finding things that have good resale value. It’s fun to pick out what I think are the best items and see how I come out.


Marie-Josée June 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

Sounds like a wonderful frugal mini-vacation, Katy!


Vickie June 13, 2016 at 8:30 am

Wow, good job with all the food from his school meal plans!
1) We ate heartily at my family reunion on Saturday. I had 2 boxes of pasta salad mix and I added grated cheese and some canned turkey to it. Mmmm good! We had some leftover, so I ate that for dinner late Saturday evening.
2) We had dinner with friends last night, that we hadn’t seen in awhile. It was a lot of fun. They fixed some yummy steaks on the grill with veggies and salad. They are going on vacation at the end of the month, so I’m going by to feed and water their animals. It’s on my drive home from work, so easily done.
3) I resupplied my breakfast mix I keep here at work. I do a lot better with eating healthy, if I keep stuff here. I even avoided eating a donut last week, yay for me!
4) I bought my daughter a Sam’s Club card on Friday. It doesn’t sound frugal, but it will save me a trip into town when she needs items from there and they have a brand new one less than a mile from her house. So, it is a savings in gas and time.
5) I’ve been saving the envelopes my bills come in and using them as scrap paper for grocery lists, notes and lists of errands I make to myself. Cheaper than using a notepads.


Florencia June 13, 2016 at 11:51 pm

I agree with your #3. Today I got up late and didn’t have any breakfast by the time I got to work. I also forgot to take out my lunch from the work freezer in time. I had brought milk kefir, chia seeds, cereal, an English muffin, jam and cashew butter previously. I paired that with fresh strawberries I remembered to take and had a great breakfast for lunch. 😀


Vickie June 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

Yum!! I haven’t tried cashew butter yet, but I’ve heard it is good.


Lesley June 13, 2016 at 9:49 am

*My university town held its annual Arts Festival, with brilliant weather making for an amazing weekend. Instead of shopping, I volunteered to work the info booth and enjoy the people watching with my grown daughter (a treat!).

*Walked downtown to said arts festival.

*Frugal WIN: found a $5 bill on the ground walking home from the local library.

*Made $42 at my local consignment shop.

*Ate leftovers and binge-watched Bloodline on Netflix (please o please bring a season 3!!!)


A. Marie June 13, 2016 at 11:35 am

FFT, Family Funeral Update Edition–and thanks to all the folks who posted supportive comments on the earlier edition:

(1) The funeral services themselves (private family graveside rites the first day, public memorial service the second) were lovely and entirely appropriate for the person my late BIL was. I’ve always admired this particular branch of the family, but my admiration for my SIL and their two daughters has risen greatly.

(2) My original #5 intention (about checking my ego at the door and steering clear of discussions about differences of political/religious opinion with other relatives) went really well in all but one case. Almost everyone else seemed disposed to keep the peace too. The one time the general subject of politics reared its head, I just said that I was so fed up with the entire situation I would prefer not to discuss it (which is perfectly true, BTW). Worked like a charm.

(3) The one exception to #2 was another SIL–(a) who is apparently Martha Stewart’s separated-at-birth first cousin, and (b) whose lifetime motto has apparently been “My way or the highway” (on everything). And, unfortunately, DH and I were the ones entrusted with driving her to and from the funeral in another state. I did not actually invite her to get out and walk at any time during the drive, but the temptation was tremendous–and, unfortunately, we did exchange sharp words at more than one point during the weekend. I never said I was perfect.

(4) DH’s too-large formal suit did OK (his pants didn’t fall down, which was the main worry), and my thrifted duds blended right in with the crowd. (I think it was Amy Dacyczyn who once said something like “Look into my closet and guess which items I bought at a thrift shop.” In my case, the answer would be “Most of them.”)

(5) Finally, the herbal posy I brought was graciously received. After getting both BIL’s family’s and the funeral director’s OK, I laid it on BIL’s casket at the graveside service and explained the meanings of the herbs. This worked well, since other family members were also making brief remarks.


janine June 16, 2016 at 4:27 am

Bravo for your self control. Sorry about being saddled with SIL in close quarters (car)!


amanda June 13, 2016 at 11:56 am

1. I made banana muffins from old bananas that I had stored in the freezer. Hubby actually threw away a banana that I had saved specifically for that purpose, but luckily, it was still on top and in it’s ‘wrapper’. I used tallow that I rendered from my friend’s steer instead of shortening.
2. I found a quarter on the ground.
3. Dinners for 3 nights were leftovers from eating out and cobbled together to make ‘new’ meals.
4. Brought leftovers for lunch and my ever-present quart jar of tea for nourishment at work today.
5. This week at work is “safety week”, having visitors the rest of the week, so that means free food: pizza, donuts, and cake are on the menu, just for tomorrow! My exercise bike will get extra workouts this week.


Mrs. Picky Pincher June 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Bravo for not falling for pricey spending traps that mini vacays can bring!

1. Mr. Picky Pincher made veggie and chicken stock from food scraps. We made a chicken tortilla soup out of these stocks that is out of this world!

2. We started house hunting. This is pretty disruptive to our meal plan, so we opted for more casual, quick meals this week. That means no eating out, so we’re saving at least $100 by planning ahead.

3. This weekend we’re making the five hour drive to visit my dad. Instead of taking the luxurious and empty toll roads, which cost $25 roundtrip, we’ll be taking the freeway to save the cash.

4. I took my surplus fabric from Goodwill and it to practice making a shirt. We’ll see how it ends up looking!

5. I made a batch of homemade yogurt. I gave small samples to Mr. Picky Pincher’s friends and a coworker of mine. I might need to start making one batch every week to keep up with demand!


Teri June 13, 2016 at 2:47 pm

1. Enjoying free floral arrangements given to us by the wedding party held in our backyard.
2. Found discounted items to use in gift baskets for our silent auction to defray cost of reunion.
3. Using ribbon bought at Goodwill for 50cents a large spool to decorate above bags.
4. Headed to theater to watch free movie tonight.
5. Planning meals according to sales/pantry stock keeps me in my budget.


Emily June 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

1. returned a candle to target that ended up in my cart after a 4 year old I was sitting put it in there lol, 3.05 back in my pocket! And I was going there anyway.

2. deposited a check from a class action lawsuit against Tom’s… 30 dollars!

3. Trying to keep up with swagbucks (p.s. do you really get those big bonuses when you hit your daily goal for 7, 14, 30 days?) as well as shopkick, receipt hog and all those things. Having summer off work is nice but no steady income is scary, so every little bit counts.

4. Bought 2 organic steaks at Target today, they both had 4 dollar off stickers for a quick sale. 2 steaks for around 6 dollars. Fancy dinner at home for cheap!

5. Listed some things on varage sale, mercari, and facebook groups. Hoping to make some quick cash to put towards the 1,500 dollar ER bill I just received *womp womp womp*

Frugal fail: I unexpectedly went home to Pittsburgh 2x lately to watch some hockey playoff games (STANLEY CUP CHAMPS 2016 WOOO) and in the meantime a lot of food waste occurred since the boyfriend is getting killed with summer classes and didn’t really pay attention.


PaperCraneFarm June 13, 2016 at 4:28 pm

What’s shopkick? I was wait listed on receipt hog and found swag bucks…tiring to use.


Lauren June 13, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Shopkick gives you points for just walking into certain stores, also points for scanning barcodes of certain items in stores – for those you don’t need to buy anything. They’ve also added now extra points to scan receipts showing purchases that include featured products and some stores also give you x amount of points per dollar if you connect your credit card to the app and use that card to pay.


Emily June 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Love that shopkick added points for purchases, it has definitely expedited my earnings!


Jennifer C June 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Swagbucks does give you those bonuses. Just make sure you the following month you click to confirm your points or you will not get them. I think they give you 14 days to click to claim them.


Bettypants June 15, 2016 at 6:34 am

I also got a check from the Tom’s class action! Mine was only $14.37, but since I only expected about $3, I was quite pleased.


Florencia June 15, 2016 at 10:02 am

What’s that class actio lawsuit about? Is it Tom’s of Maine?


PaperCraneFarm June 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

1. We got a flat tire and I went to the tire store to get it fixed. They said it needed to get replaced but that the tire wasn’t available in that store and they would have to drive to/from another store to get it. I complained about the wait and the fact that I had already driven to that other store as their website had said the other store was open on Sundays, but it apparently wasn’t. They rustled up a discount for me.

2. We’ve been trying to bake more with the toddlers as it is good practice for them in measuring and mixing and good practice for us in having patience! We start every time by looking in the pantry to see what needs to be used up. We used almond paste to make chocolate almond macrons. They were good but not chocolaty enough. We made a note to either add chocolate chips next time or try another recipe.

3. We made a batch of fried up veggies and veggie meat which we added to a tomato sauce a few weeks ago and served over pasta. There was leftover sauce so I froze that. We pulled the sauce out this weekend and stretched it to serve a friend who was over for dinner by emptying the fridge into it — the caramelized onions, pesto, and roasted tomatoes rounded out the sauce. But there was leftover sauce again without any leftover pasta. I gave up and made english muffin pizzas which we hadn’t done in forever. They were an unexpected hit even though the english muffins had been in the freezer for…ummm…ever.

4. We had to cover the strawberries with bird netting as someone was eating the ripe strawberries before we could get to them. Not sure if it was a fuzzy animal or a winged bird but either way, stay out!

5. Took the toddlers to the farm store this weekend to see the baby chicks and the cats waiting for adoption. Then they chased each other around the store for an hour. We left with two tired kids, no more chicks, and no cats so I’d call it a success.


Lauren June 13, 2016 at 6:59 pm

My money is on a squirrel …. Don’t get me started…


Marcia June 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm

I only remember one semester when my granddaughter didn’t use up all her student dining room meals—it was a spring semester, as they allow you to carry over from fall to spring but not from spring to the next fall. She treated a couple friends to lunch just to use them up–saved them some cash as we had already spent the money.
I actually think she didn’t take the FULL food plan at all after that. She grew tired of their menu during the first year. They also have “campus cash” which means it is fake money that can be used at various places on campus as well as at some places off campus. We did some combination of partial meals in the dining hall and campus cash. She only spent 2 years in the dorms, then got an apartment with friends after that.
I also use envelopes from junk mail for lists, coupon carriers, etc. although we have a very large supply of “free” note pads on hand anyhow. We use those also.
All meals made at home last week except for a dinner at a birthday party and a lunch a friend treated me to. (We’re both old so we only had half a sandwich each, with a side. We’re both on the “heart” diet so we have similar choices anyhow.)
Frugal fail this week: bought three different kinds of mouse traps as we seem to have a problem–looks like we’re going to have to pay an exterminator on top of it, as we have not caught a single mouse! Tired of cleaning up after them besides. Have been in two appliances, one drawer and one kitchen cabinet–fortuately only lost a few dried beans, as it was the cupboard with cans and jars in it mostly! Washed the cabinet and the food and put it back in, threatening anyone who leaves the cabinet door open!! I make the phone call tomorrow, I think. ANNOYED.


PaperCraneFarm June 14, 2016 at 1:22 am

My mom swears by peanut butter on animal crackers as bait for those traps when she’s had mice. Of course she uses Trader Joes’ brand of animal crackers which are shaped like cats -ha ha ha!


Susie's Daughter June 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Oh the mice!! I told them their time was up when they were bold enough to skitter through the kitchen in daylight. Having tried a bunch, we swear by the old snap trap with peanut butter and the occasional fruit gummy or gummy lifesaver. Also some friends are convinced that peppermint oil (not extract) keeps them away. Candy cane smell is a bonus.


MamaMinou June 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Hi Katy! Longtime reader here. If you find yourself driving through Eugene at some future moment in time and would like to meet up for a frugal cup of coffee, please let me know! We have a Morning Glory cafe too, where I sometimes have lunch dates with mother. Anyway, I’d love to meet you in person!


Katy June 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

I’ll be there fairly often starting in the fall when my younger son starts as a freshman at U of O.


MamaMinou June 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Please send me an email then! It would be fun.


MamaMinou June 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm

My son is at a private college in SE Portland, where they have a shockingly expensive meal plan that is unfortunately not all-you-can-eat. It’s almost like restaurant prices. Doesn’t work well for an active 19 year. He ran out of money both semesters! Next year he’ll be able to cook more and I sure hope we save some $$.


Florencia June 13, 2016 at 11:33 pm

1. Stayed home Saturday night, saving money.
2. Worked Saturday at my fast food restaurant job. I worked 6.5 hrs and got free lunch and breakfast. I also brought 2 breakfast sandwiches home from my daily meal allowance.
3. On the way to work I saw a sign for a garage sale at a church. I remember how a few years ago I went and got two bags of clothes and linens for $2 each. I got lucky this was the first year they had it until 4 PM, so I went after getting off at 3. I got 4 bags of clothes (including two pairs of shoes) for $8. I got my dad about 6 pairs of pants and two sweaters, got my best friend 2 pants, got my sister 2 dresses and a bolero sweater, I got myself 3 dress pants, 3 dresses, bolero sweater, yoga pants, 2 skirts, 1 white button down shirt (I won’t need to get a backup in case I work the promo events back-to-back). The 2 pairs of shoes and the remaining clothes I will sell.
4. I organized my room yesterday, put away a lot of stuff and separated some items to sell or give away.
5. Have been eating leftovers or from the freezer or pantry.
6. Sent several emails today for brand promotion work.
7. Will update my resume tomorrow to send out to more brand promo jobs.
8. Filled out a questionnaire for me and my mom to participate in an education survey next week. Pays $100/2 hrs. I hope I qualify. They have two sessions, so I hope I get into the one at which I won’t need to get off work earlier.
9. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow an hour after work, so I will go to the library in between and read half an hour to get a $0.75 fine off my card.
10. Figured out a way to dust without angering my allergies: hand-held vacuum. My best friend has one so I don’t have buy one. He brought his yesterday when he came to visit and it worked wonderfully until the battery gave out.
11. I’ve been trying to lose weight and refused the last pizza slice my mom served me tonight. I also prepared a salad and fruit for tomorrow, to eat with the lunch I left in the work freezer last week. I won’t have to buy new clothes if the ones I have fit well.
12. The guy I’m dating took my mom and I out to eat on Friday night. He also gifted me a really nice Samsonite backpack and a TSA-approved lock for it.
13. My parents got gifted an almost new electrical lawn mower. I almost bought one at the church garage sale on Saturday. Glad I really thought it though and didn’t.

Work in progress:
1. Still haven’t fixed the washer. My dad figured out where the leak is from, so I think he’ll pull it apart tomorrow, and then I’ll take care of looking for the replacement part. Meanwhile, we’ve been using the laundry machines at the apartments my mom cleans, the cheapest machines around.
2. Still haven’t enrolled for summer classes. I’ll look at the schedule to see if I can enroll in at least one class to use my yearly parking pass that I already paid for.


Florencia June 14, 2016 at 12:03 am

Forgot to say, we got a few free groceries as well. My mom cleaned a house and brought home some honey butter, Cheetos, and something else I don’t remember what it was. One of the people she drives to work gifted her a big Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken and a bag with about 6 mangoes. 🙂


Tracy June 14, 2016 at 12:24 am

Just got back from a long weekend in Ashland. My niece graduated from SOU Sat then we helped her pack and clean up her apartment, had a little garage sale and put the leftovers out for students to take.


JD June 14, 2016 at 8:47 am

1. I just returned from going with my husband to his high school reunion, four states away. We drove, but our car was getting 40-42 MPG on the open freeway. Probably we averaged 36-38 MPG over all.
2. I packed snacks, drinks and breakfast foods — win, but not lunch foods — fail. Still, we both looked for the frugal options on all menus and did fairly well. Our evening meal at the reunion was already paid for when we registered last month, a frugal $10 a piece for a surprisingly good meal. The rest of the evening meals were out of our pocket, but again, we were careful and ate frugally.
3. I have watched my daughter’s pets and house many times over the last few years when she travels for work. So she watched our pets and house, watered our plants, collected our mail, dosed the animal needing meds, AND got us a room where we stayed at the halfway point to the reunion for the first night, using her honors points. Not having to board our pets saved us over $100, and the hotel room she bought with points would have been $120. Naturally, I’ll watch her pets and house again whenever needed.
4. I started to go thrifting for a new outfit or two for the trip, then realized these folks hadn’t seen us in 15 years — everything I brought for us would be new to them. I took nothing but what we already owned.
5. Even though we attended an arts and crafts fair while there, I bought not one single thing. There are also no souvenirs; no mugs, tee-shirts, not even a pen from our trip, but we have photos and great memories.
6. Bonus: I took spending cash with us, just in case, using it for lunches, tips and gas, etc. When we got home, our mail had two checks from an insurance company, paying us for wellness tests we took, equaling exactly the amount of cash I had taken on the trip.


rjr June 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

I have had a lot of frugal fails recently but am working on it the last couple of days.
1. Used ground turkey from the freezer, a can of black beans and a jar of salsa from from my pantry to make a tasty chili that I have been eating for a few days.
2. Brought stuff to savers and to an animal shelter for my sister. I did keep a bath mat for myself from her pile.
2. Asked the person buying my condo (through the realtor) if she would like to keep the cans of paint I have left over. I hope she does as I’m not sure how to safely dispose of it otherwise.
3. Everything I bought at the grocery store was on sale.
4. Rehomed a few things to friends-serving bowl and platter ect.
5. Offered to make brunch for father’s day. It’s more relaxed and a lot less $ to make at home.


Gina June 14, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Nice of you to ask before just leaving the paint for the new owners. The previous owner of my house left me with over 30 cans of really old used paint and stain that didn’t even match what was in the house! So rude to leave the new owners with a clean up project. As paint is considered hazardous waste you can’t just pitch it. You need to contact your county hazardous waste department and they will instruct you where to drop it off (it was quite a trip out of my way). Or some cities have home improvement resell stores that will take the paint and remix it and sell for a few dollars.


Jeana June 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

We are creating a garden with perennials. Whenever we go to our local big home improvement store I run over to the ‘dead plant racks’ in the garden center to look for bargains. Last night when we got home I had a mini freak out because I saw on our receipt that our total discount was $52. My husband is retired Army and we get a 10% military discount. For a minute I thought we spent over $500! Then I realized our total spent was $82. So we spent $82 and saved $52. And are several plants and trees closer to the garden we want.


Bee June 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

In reference to the paint, our county has hazardous waste collection centers as well as a spring and fall collection days. They retint the paint into basic colors and it’s available thru the county for $3 a gallon.


Tricia June 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I cannot say that last week was frugal or maybe in a sense it was. I had a graduation party for my son and hosted a lot of family. So here is the best I can make of it.
1. We shopped in advance and hid the supplies in our closet–buying sales.
2. My niece asked me to lower my thermostat and I said –no.
3. My Dad treated us to both lunch and dinner one day.
4. The beach parking was free so we saved $30.
5. I gave my son and his fiancee toilet paper and tissues that I already had on hand for their new place.


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