Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 7, 2017 · 86 comments

  1. I garbage picked a rug, which prompted me to schlep my trusty Craigslist Bissell rug shampooer from the basement. It’s the Ikea Gatten rug, which originally sold for $500 as it’s hand knotted and 100% wool. The now perfect looking rug will live in my older son’s room to replace a scrappy piece of carpet remnant that I put in as a temporary solution 19 years ago! The carpet remnant? I’ll list it in my Buy Nothing Group.
  2. I brought home a large amount of leftover food from one of my mother’s guest cottages. This included an unopened pound of frozen shrimp, carrots, bok choy, red potatoes, eggs, hummus, a jar of pasta sauce and a few other items. I’ll put together a large shrimp stir-fry for tonight’s dinner!
  3. My husband and I picked up our younger son from college to attend the Portland Timbers’ season opening soccer game. He stayed home for two nights and then I drove him the 2-1/2 hours back to school. Although all this driving is far from frugal, we saved money by twice eating dinner in his dorm’s dining hall. He always has extra points as he misses some breakfasts, so we might as well enjoy some of the food we’re already paying for.
  4. I renewed all my library books, I wore a 100% thrifted outfit for a professional appearance, I brought dribs and drabs of leftovers as a work lunch and I continue to not buy anything.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline March 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm

1. Realized my outfit today is totally thrifted.I’m retired and am wearing some of my nicer work tops/shirts (purchased new when I worked a whole lot!!) at home, but today is pure thrift. Cozy Chico’s sweater , a pair of Nine West jeans, and even my sandals are thrift! (Tommy Bahamas flip flops!) All from my fave thrift stores!

2. Am cooking out of the refrig and freezer for a week or two! Crowded in there.

3. Staying home ALL WEEK.I am in “people” overload–been way too busy–I want a week at home to clean,cook, do some art work, and nap!!!!

4. Had “miles” awards ready to expire on a credit card we use for business. Not nearly enough for a plane ticket,alas.But was able to cash in and get $150 in HOME DEPOT gift cards! color my husband HAPPY CAMPER!!

5. Husband in out of town on business, making myself frugal and tasty grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner,catching up on “The Crown.”


Mrs. Picky Pincher March 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Oh wow, you’re brave with that carpet! I think I would have passed on that, but good find.

This week:

1. Today I worked from home, which meant no transportation costs. I monitored the delivery of some building materials, which means they weren’t stolen by hoodlums, which was an added bonus.

2. I ate a freezer meal for lunch instead of eating out.
3. I’m crocheting a headband with materials I got for free with a Hobby Lobby gift card.

4. This weekend I plan to continue sewing a dress I made from thrift store fabric and a cheapo Walmart pattern. I cannibalized a zipper from an old sewing project so I didn’t have to buy one.

5. I’m trying to contact KitchenAid to use my warranty. My mixer has never quite worked right and I’m at the end of my wits.


Reese March 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm

1. My boyfriend recently traveled to south america and mentioned he was souvenir shopping. I told him ahead of time that I’d appreciate a scarf (as it is something that will get use)… and he brought me back a gorgeous one! It’s helpful to let folks know what would be useful so they can keep an eye out for it….

2. I began a rather expensive weight loss program. 17 weeks. I take a lot of supplements. The NICE part about it though is that I can use the food I already have, just in lesser quantities. Between the supplements, working out, and food… I’m feeling great nearly a week in! Woot! (and already 5.5 lb. down)

3. Since I work at a public library, I get to rent DVDs for free for the first night. I didn’t have a chance to finish all of it, so I kept it one more night and returned it back to work this morning when I got in. It was only $1 to have it for two nights…and if I made a separate trip yesterday to bring it in, I would have spent more than $1 in gas!

4. one of the local goodwills is SO packed, that they’ve had everything listed at 50% off for weeks. I keep my cool as I searched for a shaker bottle for my protein drinks. Ended up finding one marked for 50 cents! Score!

5. Even though the leftovers from last night weren’t stellar, I ate them for lunch today and it’s something I kept out of the trash! And I’m full.


Lisa P. March 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Today I picked up my lunch from Applebee’s with a gift certificate I won on an instant win game. There are a lot of legitimate ones online if you know where to look.
Just not going into stores to be tempted to buy things helps!
I planned our meals for the week and decided to make some new recipes. My husband is kinda wary of doing this as, of course, you run the chance of getting one you don’t like. I think it’s worth it though. So far so good!
I love the old timey church cook books or organization cook books. I buy them used on an online yardsale site cheaply. I then copy any recipes I like and then give the book away or sell it, etc…
I know I mentioned that our church has a church swap that is totally free. That’s coming up soon. Also, sometimes we put out a list ahead of time to let people write down things they are looking for, and if you find them while cleaning up- you can choose gift them to that person. Hope you all are having a great week! Lisa


A. Marie March 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm

(1) Kudos on the big score on the Ikea rug, Katy! I’m eagerly looking forward to some trash picking here in Upstate NY as soon as the weather stops riding the roller coaster (if it ever does). As I’ve noted in comments through the years, our local private university–famous for its basketball team and wasteful rich-kid students–is an excellent source for end-of-semester garbage mining.

(2) Planning a visit Sunday to the “boutique” store that one of our local thrift chains runs in the university area, since the aforementioned students will be on spring break, and it’ll actually be possible for elderly civilians to park near the store.

(3) DH and I visited our favorite suburban library book sale (which is now monthly) and found excellent books and CDs as usual. I also checked two books out of our local library branch on DH’s card, and will get my own card as soon as I can get back over there with the proper ID. (IMHO, getting both a library card and voter registration in our area needs to be simpler.)

(4) Went to dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant with a group of friends, two of whom are celebrating recoveries from surgery. Took our own containers for leftovers to avoid the restaurant’s styrofoam, and have been eating the leftovers for the past two days.

(5) Since it looks as if it might actually be spring here someday, I’m starting to plan this year’s vegetable/herb garden. (Also realizing that DH and I are going to have to double down on our efforts against Eastern whitetail deer. I had to chase two of them away from my bird feeders today, in broad daylight.)


susanna d March 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

#5 – I hear you on the deer/bird feeder problem! I was baffled by how fast the “birds” were going through seed – until I saw a couple of whitetail deer mounting a raid on the feeder. And emptying it in record time. We ended up hanging the feeder 8 feet off the ground and using a homemade pulley system to make refilling it easier. It takes a little more time and effort to fill the feeder now, but the seed lasts a LOT longer.


Barbara from Canada March 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm

We also have a major issue with whitetail deer. Just this week there were 10+ in our back field. Everything is fair game. I feel sorry for them but our town has banned hunting of any kind which I understand. A few years ago they did a cull which helped with the population. My husband had to
put an 8 ft. fence with a gate around our vegetable garden or we would not be able to have one.


Barbara March 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Would that be the FFL sale by chance?


A. Marie March 8, 2017 at 11:36 am

Yes, Barbara, it was. (The Fayetteville Free Library, in a suburb of my Upstate city, for those who are curious.)


Barbara March 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Thought so! I’m one of the volunteers at the sale! Please find me and say hello if you come next month-it would be lovely to meet fellow NCA fan!


A. Marie March 9, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Will do, Barbara! Cheers to you and the other volunteers!

Vickie March 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

1) Same thing goes on here around the public University I work for and when the semester is over in May, it’s like Christmas at the Curb!


Vickey March 9, 2017 at 7:17 am

Heh. “Christmas at the Curb”. Exactly! We’re still using perfectly good lamps and rugs that students left curbside 20 years ago. And it (the amount left behind) seemingly gets worse every year. 🙁


Amanda March 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

1. Our toddler came down with a fever last week, and in the scramble to share caring with her with my husband, I rescheduled a meeting from Thursday to Monday. The reschedule turned out to be a happy accident because it saved me two hours of driving, which is $15-20 in gas. (I had to drive on Monday anyway.)

2. Whenever we have a sick kid I vacillate between “its just a virus that has to run its course” and “it could be strep throat and we will be stuck in this hell until we get antibiotics.” Then I feel the hell for a couple of days and break down and pay the $20 copay for the doctor to tell us it isn’t bacterial. This time I resisted. My wager on virus saved us the $20 copay to find out for sure.

3. Then the cleaning lady got sick. This sounds like it should be a nonissue, but we rent our city home on the weekend on airbnb, so this means I had to take time off work to do some serious cleaning. But the upside is I was okay work-wise and we saved $65.

4. Bought two chickens at Aldi that were marked down by $3! $3 chickens make me surprisingly happy.

5. Came in about $150 under budget for February. We’re letting it ride. We are usually pretty close to budget, so any time we have a little bit like this we leave it in the checking account for the month that we will inevitably go a little over. If it gets up to something like $1000 left in the budget, I role it over into savings.


susanna d March 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

1. While grocery shopping, my husband called me over and asked if he was reading the sign over an end unit right – did it really say the peanuts were free? I looked, and sure enough – 5 ounce bags of peanuts were marked at $1 per bag, and each had a $1 off coupon. Sign said “Limit 10 bags” so we “bought” our limit. There were literally hundreds of bags of them, and they all seemed to have use-by dates of January, 2018. We’re set with free snack food for a good long time.

2. The peanut bags are of the VERY sturdy, zip-top variety, so they will be reused…and reused.

3. Kohl’s sent me a $12 gift card to mark my 12 year anniversary of having a credit card with them. Since my husband really and truly needed new socks, we decided to see how little we could pay for socks. We found 6 count packages that were buy one package for $16, get one half off. But that’s way more out of pocket than I wanted to spend, so in this case I bypassed the “half off the second package” and just bought one pack. So glad I did. The socks rang up at 25% off. Surprise! Which dropped the price to $12. Meaning the socks ended up being my favorite price…free.

4. Cut up my husband’s old and beyond-repair socks, and sent them off to start their second life as rags.

5. We had to spend a lot of windshield time last week – including two multi-hour road trips. Before leaving each time, we filled our travel coffee mugs and water bottles, and brought along a bag with whole grain crackers, bite sized pieces of cheese and ham, apple slices, grapes, carrots – and yes, freebie peanuts. Way cheaper than stopping for fast food, and reasonably healthy.


Lisa P. March 7, 2017 at 3:09 pm

wow on the peanut find! We found a similar thing one time at Kroger. They had their baby wipes 10 for $10, and $4 off when you buy 4 of them. We got 12 free between my husband and I. They then removed the sign.


Jennifer March 7, 2017 at 2:14 pm

1. Wearing an entirely thrifted outfit to work today (OK, the shoes were bought on a mystery shop, but they are my only pair of black flats, and I will wear them to death.)

2. Planned our meal plan for the week around food we already have in the freezer and pantry, which will make some room in our too stuffed freezer and cuts down on grocery expenses for the week.

3. Will be on a work trip for 10 days, so am already looking for mystery shops in the area for dinners. I get a daily per diem, so I like to see how cheaply I can eat (but still stick with healthy options!) and put as much of the extra money into savings as I can.

4. My uncle’s birthday is this week, and I will “shop” for his present out of a drawer I keep at home with small gifts. It’s usually things I get for free or nearly free, either in the mail or on mystery shops, so they never end up costing me anything and I don’t have to stress about running to the store for a last minute gift.

5. Spent the weekend at my sister’s house. Instead of going out for a (pricey) lunch on Sunday, we did a hike in the national park near her house, then went back and made Panini sandwiches out of stuff she already had on hand. Frugal and fun!


Bee March 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Your “new” rug is a beautiful shade of blue! I found a wonderful, antique Persian rug in the trash at the end of last year. I brought it home and cleaned it. It is now in my daughter’ s living room. Isn’t amazing what people discard?!

1) I found a black, wool sweater dress with a matching full length cardigan for $5 at an estate sale. It is perfect for my upcoming trip and it certainly didn’t break the bank.

2) I worked a side job and sold two beautiful prints that I didn’t need to help finance the above mentioned trip.

3) Today was my “office” day. I updated my budget, tracked my expenses, paid my bills (using bill-pay), helped my young-adult son with his taxes, filed, sorted and made several important phone calls. Life feels much more in control now.

4) I am trying to use up the items in the refrigerator this week since both my husband I will be away next week. I had some food waste last week and I am mad at myself.

5). I am enjoying the beautiful weather. It’s not too hot or cold. The windows are open. No AC!! I am really enjoying the outdoors. When taking a walk with my niece and her children, we saw 5 otters frolicking in the salt water lagoon near my home. They are so much fun to watch!


Katy March 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Great find for your daughter! I am 90% sure that this rug would have hit the landfill if I hadn’t brought it home, as it had been raining.


Marilyn March 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

That rug is a lovely color blue. I’m sure it will be a stand-out when cleaned up.

1. Made my monthly trip to Winco. I treat Winco the same way others treat Costco – I go there about once a month to stock up on things like toilet paper, jars of spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, bags of rice, etc. The cupboards are now full.
2. All this year, I’ve been focused on the “use it up” part of Katy’s motto. I made a New Year’s resolution to stop wasting food and I’ve had some success by planning weekly grocery store trips more carefully and being more creative in using leftovers.We’ve had a few unusual meals (leftover rice added to a salad, for instance), but I haven’t heard any complaints.
3. The “use it up” business applies to my wardrobe too. I wanted to look good for a training program in Portland last week so I “went shopping in my closet” and pulled out 10-year-old pants, blouse and sweater as well as 15-year-old scarf. I actually got compliments.
4. Watched a movie from Japan called “Sweet Bean” for our weekly movie night. Got the video out of the library, of course.
5. Possible frugal fail. It has been raining for weeks here in SW WA and it now looks like the roof is leaking. I’m hoping the roof just needs to be cleaned, but it’s possible we need a new roof. Sigh…


KJD509 March 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

1) We had invitations to 3 separate community events last weekend, which taken together would have cost us about $150 in entrance fees, plus food, raffle tickets, etc. We would like to support all of the causes and in the past would have attended, but this time I added the cost up ahead of time (imagine that!) and we attended only the one in which we had a child performing. Total cost: $28

2) Used half a bag of squishy apples we picked in the fall for an apple crisp. I thought we’d barely get one dessert’s worth, but by careful paring I saved the equivalent of 13 whole apples, enough for lots of dessert and a couple of yummy breakfasts.

3) Cancelled a gym membership. It offers an unusual class option, not available at the much-closer Y, that I love so much that for a long time I was making the extra commute. The extra gas was offset pretty evenly by the reduction in blood pressure medication. But it’s been 8 months since I’ve been out there and an honest look at the schedule means it’s unlikely that will change, so there’s an extra $50 in the college fund each month.

4) Still carpooling. Still changing out of work clothes immediately after work and re-wearing before washing. Still packing lunches when we serve dinner so seconds don’t cause lunch purchases.

5) Spotted half a dozen daffodils peeking up through the mud and snow. Woohoo! Fooled the squirrels!


sheila March 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm

1. Spent the better part of yesterday and today hand weeding our garden. As I was by the street pulling weeds, a neighbor stopped and we chatted. She mentioned that she’s hiring a gardener to weed her yard for $100 a day, so I feel pretty frugal doing it myself 🙂
2. I had leftovers for lunch and leftover brownies for a snack ;-}
3. I’m wearing either hand me downs or thrifted clothes that I don’t mind getting dirty.
4. I’m wearing my Fitbit and discovered that by gardening I was active for more than an hour. I know I’m getting a workout, but it was the validation that I needed to keep going!
5. I haven’t left the house in several days so no gas used.


Catherine March 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Lost a lot of weight just by eating cleaner and not eating out much. . Able to fit in clothes I had from 10 yrs ago and called it vintage. My Harry Potter shirt has to be at least 10 yrs old.


Elizabeth March 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

1. Spent eight hours decluttering. Felt so good. Recycled a whole bunch of old papers and magazines. Filled my trunk up with stuff to take to goodwill. Set a few things aside to give to friends and family. Listed about 9 things on eBay from the decluttering. I’ve dwindled my PayPal down by paying for our flights to Florida and my son’s birthday party with it so I need to get selling again.
2. Listening to an audiobook from the overdrive website that I need to read for my book club. And am doing other things while I listen as well.
3. Currently have seven things selling on eBay from decluttering the other day (plus a bunch more listed).
4. My friend and I swap magazines when we’re done reading them. I get all my magazines for free anyway and then when we meet at the gym to workout we just swap whatever we’ve already read.
5. Have not had a date with my husband since Christmas because he’s been sick or out of town. I had a coupon for a buy one get one free entree at PF Changs. We decided to go on Sunday for a lunch date and used the coupon. It was nice to reconnect.


K D March 7, 2017 at 4:37 pm

1. I returned a book to the library, using the return slot outside. Later I had an email from them saying I had damaged the book and I owed $19.99 for book replacement. WHAT? I had spend a bout half an hour reading the book with clean hands, not near food nor drink. I called to ask what in the heck was going on. After being placed on hold for a few minutes I was told they reviewed the history of the book and as others had checked it out as well they were removing the charge from my account. It sounds like there were a few coffee stains on the book. I had not even noticed but I knew I had not damaged the book.

2. Meals at home, using what we have in the house. I’m mostly just buying produce when it gets low, I consider it a necessity.

3. I needed new underwear (having a wedgie all day, due to old, worn out elastic, does not make for comfort) ). The Hanes underwear from Target were a huge quality control disappointment, the pairs didn’t even look the same size, despite being marked as such. I ended up ordering Jockey from JC Penney with a good sale. Hopefully they will last a long time.

4. I sent in medical insurance claims for a doctor that does not take insurance. I used a stamped envelope we received from a fund raising request. Whatever insurance does not cover should be eligible for flexible spending account reimbursement.

5. I’m working on income taxes. Once all the information is put together the rest should be easy.


Karen B. March 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Nice to see I’m not the only that has had problems with Hanes underwear recently! I was very surprised by that so I returned to my favorite all cotton panties from Victoria’s Secret 5/$27.50 and long lasting.


Isabelle March 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I absolutely love the underwears from Marks Work Wearhouse! They are not cheap, but they are worth it, so comfy!


Vickie March 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

The last time I bought Hanes I was terribly disappointed. I wore one pair and hated them, so I washed that pair and ended up donating the entire bag to a relief drive here at work. I like Victoria’s Secret cotton undies, so I waited until they sent me a discount coupon and when they went on sale, I bought 8 pair. I only buy underwear every few years. Cheap underwear is worthless.


Emily N. March 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Ooh, a “professional appearance”! Do tell!


Katy March 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

It was a TV appearance, but I’m not satisfied with my performance, so I’m not posting a link.


Ruby March 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

What a beautiful rug, Katy!

1. Had cataract surgery today on one eye and spent the considerable time waiting reading a free book. The Mister and I, though starving afterward, ignored the siren call of restaurants and came home to have coffee and sandwiches.
2. Son needs a watch to wear to work. Went through his dad’s stash of old watches and found one that was still keeping time accurately.
3. Took apart an old pair of glasses to accomodate the now fixed eye and the not yet fixed one.
4. Am hoping my optometrist will give me a refund on an unopened carton of contact lenses no longer needed after #1.
5. Wore an almost completely thrifted/secondhand outfit today, including a cool L.L. Bean handbag a co-worker gave me that someone had given her.


Isabelle March 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

* groceries were minimal this week (fruits, milk, yagourt, brown sugar, corn chips) as we are trying to empty our overflowing freezers once again.
* Made meatballs using beef+lentils+oats in order to bulk the recipe
* Bringing my lunch at work every day
* Used my Scene Card points to see a movie for free, saving 12$. Too bad the movie wasn’t so good (Before I fall).
* Bought a travel strap at the Dollar-shop for 2$ to use as a yoga strap instead of buying the 20$ one selling at my favorite yoga studio. It’s exactly the same material!
* Tommorow marks my 30 days of being Binge-Free! I know I’ve saved a lot of money right there in that time frame, and I’ll be treating myself to fresh flowers! 10$ well spent!

Have a great frugal day!


Gina in KY March 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm

1. I’ve been gifted a few meals out lately (including one today by my supervisor despite my protest! He is a very generous kind boss). I also received a pack of vegan “beef” substitute from a friend.
2. Other than the generosity of friends and colleagues, I have been eating at home. I am still on an eat-down-the-pantry and try not to waste challenge and it is actually going well. I couple that with the free produce I get after the volunteer job and I feel satisfied. I was unable to volunteer this past weekend and I missed the odds and ends of rejected produce I bring home. It makes cooking a fun challenge. I did break down and buy some broccoli for a stir-fry this weekend.
3. I have a reoccurring alarm on my phone to remind me to download the Friday freebies. I need to get in this week to pick up the past couple of week’s worth of items.
4. Picked up a couple of more free packets of seeds for the garden.
5. We had a wonderful warm day on Sunday here and I finally painted the decorative trim on the front of my historic home. I painted it black because I already had the paint and it turned out wonderful! I was reminded by Facebook that I started the paint job three years ago. Yeah.


Betty Winslow March 7, 2017 at 7:13 pm

1. Lunch today consisted of shepherd’s pie from last night, capres salad from the night before, and strawberry shortcake from the night before that! Tomorrow’s will be leftover spaghetti. No wasting leftovers, for the win!
2. Hubby bought me a bouquet of carnations for Valentine’s Day. By carefully removing dying blooms and refreshing the water, I still have a small vase of flowers to enjoy!
3. Saved the cost of a doctor visit today – have the start of a UTI and a refill on the RX from last time, so just taking that!
4. Got chosen last week for a focus group meeting – Jimmy John subs and bottled water for free dinner, 2 hours of chatting about environmental issues, and a $100 check!
5. Picked up 2 RXs from CVS today and was given a $6 off a $30 purchase coupon. Bought laundry soap (which was already buy one/one free), snacks for work lunches, 3 boxes of tissues, 2 bags of my favorite chocolates, a back-up of my deodorant, a jar of Hershey’s chocolate spread on clearance for $2.19, and a 3 pk of peanut butter-to-go containers, to keep in my work desk. All of it except the Hershey’s was stuff I would have bought anyway, and it was all either on sale or cheaper with the $6 off. Score!


janine March 7, 2017 at 7:25 pm

1, Stayed home this morning and concocted a really good vegetable soup from fresh vegetables and a few pieces of leftover chicken that were almost to their throw-out date.
2. Needed to update my bank card so shopped the adjacent supermarket and purchased only loss-leaders.
3. Found an interesting hand-made card at a craft/thrift shop for a retiring friend.
4. Used up the remainder of a Barnes and Noble Gift card. Fail: Thought I had more $$ on card and overspent on my favorite non-frugal activity – buying books.
5. Gifted a jar of raw honey – now spoiled for anything else.


Beth L March 7, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Gorgeous colored rug and the wool is so luxurious. Glad you kept it out of a landfill.

1. Our local bodega has an endcap where they shrinkwrap quickly turning fruit and veg. I often walk the dogs there and buy the stuff. Mrs. Picky Pincher’s husband has a roasted vegetable sauce I make. So with a can or two of tomato sauce and $.99 of veggies, I have two quarts of sauce packed full of vitamins!

2. On my way back from the bodega I saw four DC expired license plates. I listed them for a craft-er on eBay – Buy it now $24.99 After shipping, my tomato sauce was free plus $18!

3. Last minute airbnb reservations, I’ll do the cleaning and keep the cleaning fee. $30 times 2.

4. I shopped my pantry (dried coconut) and google searched “key limes” (from said bodega) and “coconut” found a key lime coconut macaroon recipe. For less than $2 I have 3 dozen. Will freeze some, too.

5. I picked up an old wooden window frame. I painted it a vintage green and distressed with sand paper. I attached an American flag to the back. It looks great on the wall. Listed some stackable outdoor chairs that we no longer need on Craigslist. Here’s hoping.

Frugal Fail: We recently retiled our airbnb english basement’s bathroom. I took the contractors word for it and purchased 80sq ft of tile. I was too lazy to double check and ended up with 30 extra sq ft. It is too expensive to return, but, hopefully a friend can use it. At 2.99 a sq ft., that is a lot of money!!


Katy Hope March 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm

1. We had our son’s birthday party this weekend (not frugal), but I did return the favors to Target that we did not give out (Pokemon cards) and take the leftover fruits and veggies home and we have been eating them for breakfast/snack/dessert.
2. Went to the library today to check out a book and picked up a few DVDs for a cheap, easy, and fun weekend night with the kids.
3. Our dog passed away last week. I have been spending the last couple of days figuring out where to donate our pet supplies. Food/treats go to a friend’s dog, doggie beds and leftover poop bags go the the SPCA, and a few other odds and ends get donated to a friend who is getting a courthouse dog.
4. Spent Sunday morning doing free arts and crafts with the kids at a local park (The Presidio Officer’s Club in San Francisco).
5. Spent the morning gardening with our 2 year old instead of going out and doing something that costs $$.
check out more about me at


Roberta March 8, 2017 at 7:30 am

Sorry to hear about your dog. It’s hard, I know.


Nalani March 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Sorry to hear about your dog. 🙁 We just put our elderly kitty down yesterday afternoon and it’s been really hard. Planning on donating his unopened food and other supplies to the local no kill shelter when I can muster it.


Pennonen March 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Long time reader, first time adding my voice to this lovely community. Here goes nothing!
1. Over the weekend I juiced carrot&apple juice. I always make a big batch to freeze some so all the prep and cleaning doesn’t have to be repeated so often.
2. I was left with a massive amount of fiber from said veggies. Decided to freeze some and have been since adding it to pancakes and our morning oatmeal. It’s surprisingly tasty!
3. Dutifully packing my lunch to work today as usual. I also make sure to pack an afternoon snack, usually a smoothie and carrots, or joghurt with berries.
4. Cycling to work, even in the minus temps.
5. Defrosted the freezer and deep cleaned around it. It was time, but it should now run more efficiently. Plus I got a good look at my stock and will need to use some ingridients soon.


Danielle C March 8, 2017 at 7:30 am

Welcome! Fun, isn’t it?!?!


Marybeth March 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

I make the same kind of juice all the time. I make apple cake and apple muffins with the leftover mush. My husband and kids love them and no waste so I love them.


Pennonen March 8, 2017 at 9:35 pm

Waste not want not! This is fun, thank you for the warm welcome.


Krystal March 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm

1. I have been behind on grocery shopping, but have completely avoided takeout by eating up a mishmash of leftovers.
2. We have not yet replaced our washer, so I had to visit the laundromat, but on Tuesdays, it’s only $2 a wash, down from $3, so I saved a few bucks today. We visited my dad and stepmom last weekend and did 2 loads there, free of charge.
3. I have been keeping fantastic track of my mileage this year so far, which will save me on my 2017 taxes.
4. I picked up an extra trade shift at my yoga studio, as my bank of free classes is running low.
5. I have not been eating my feelings, which saves me money on indulgent desserts. Barbra Streisand reminded me not to.


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy March 8, 2017 at 5:17 am

1. We are eating out of our pantry this week which reduced our weekly grocery budget to less than $40.
2. A book that I forgot was listed on sold for $40. That was a pleasant email to receive!

Unfortunately, that is all I can think of for today!


shelia March 8, 2017 at 6:20 am

It was my birthday week and we celebrated with birthday coupons, rebates and thrifted finds!
1. My sister and niece took me to lunch at Cheesecake Factory using a gift card and enjoying a free cheesecake from the gift card purchase. Before joining them, I stopped at Christopher & Banks and using the 20.00 coupon they sent me, I bought two needed summer shirts for a little over 5.00.
2. My actual birthday(Sunday) was sunny so we celebrated Saturday. We started by having my husband hang art in the spare bedroom. We just moved and it’s taken awhile to figure out what should go here. It was a gift because I didn’t feel guilty asking him to use a morning to do something as frivilous as hanging art!
3. We started at Red Robin for lunch using my free birthday burger. Although we paid for his and a generous tip, it was still pretty frugal.
4. We stopped at Goodwill after and he found two stools for his workshop in the garage and I found three Crate and Barrel Christmas candles(.39-.49) and a David Winter cottage for .99. They’ll make a lovely Christmas scene on my windowsill.
5. After a stop at an antique mall where we looked but didn’t purchase anything, we went to Menards and using a rebate check, bought insulation, a clearanced tv mount for our bedroom and two cans of a beautiful teal spray paint to use on a craigslist vintage typewriter stand that will go in the above mentioned spare bedroom. The rebate check didn’t cover everything but we have receipts to mail in for another rebate check.
6. The next morning, my husband made me an incredible gourmet omelet for breakfast and gave me my gifts-a gnome house from Big Lots and a thrifted small vintage safety box that will hold our tv remotes. Perfect! And I got serenaded by all three daughters during the day. Perfect birthday indeed!


Vickie March 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

Happy Birthday – sounds like you had a blast!


Tracy March 8, 2017 at 6:37 am

1. Went to Goodwill and bought nothing but had fun!
2. Shopped below budget for groceries this past week, made two big pots of soup (ham and bean and chicken tortilla) on Sunday, one to take to a family with a dad undergoing chemo and one for us.
3. No eating out since last Friday’s date night at a hole-in-the wall Mexican place (very yummy!) Also saw Hidden Figures that night, not a frugal night but worth it! (And Mexican place was very reasonable)
4. Taking bus to/from work today.
5. Not buying a vulgar gold apt. in the sky! (or anything else except groceries in March!)


rebecca March 8, 2017 at 6:40 am

1. Chicken breasts and salsa in the crockpot. Both were bought on sale.
2. Oil change done with a coupon.
3. Bought some new clothes. They were all on sale and with a coupon.
4. Needed vitamins and found them on sale at CVS.
5. Seeing a new client tomorrow.


Roberta March 8, 2017 at 7:26 am

1. Sold our extra car for as much as I was hoping we’d get. I called the insurance company, and we’ll get back almost $200 for the remainder of the year’s balance!
2. Beautiful, warm weather for hanging laundry out. I’m even hanging out socks and underwear, as a bush has grown up between us and our neighbor, so he can’t see what I hang up!
3. I took my daughter to Goodwill yesterday, and only came home with things I need: a pair of summer shoes (her feet are still growing), two dresses to replace grown-out dresses, a pair of swim flippers for a trip with my parents, and a book that will be an Easter gift for my son.
4. I’m making leek pie with discount leeks for dinner, and I’ll throw a batch of muffins in the oven at the same time. We’re heading out very early tomorrow morning, and we can eat muffins in the car.
5. Picked a bunch of oranges and tangerines off my neighbor’s tree. We’d eaten all we had before, and now we’ve got a drawer full again. I alternate oranges/tangerines and purchased apples for lunches. Apples are my family’s favorite, but you can’t beat free!


A. Marie March 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Roberta, would you mind sharing the recipe for the leek pie in your #4? I’ve got six leeks left in my garden from last year and would like to send them off in style. Thanks.


Danielle C March 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

1. Had a major disappointment when a snowboarding trip got cancelled due to weather. Our first replacement plan was to go through movies and out to lunch. However, the idea came up of using the day to move some furniture upstairs/downstairs which I have been wanting to so forever. We spent the whole day on the project, free and it made us happy!

2. The furniture moving project gave us an entirely new way of using our living room. My son who has discovered online Minecraft with his friends is thrilled to be playing with the power of a real pc, not a laptop. The way that laptop ran loudly, I’m sure he was killing it.

3. As part of project, helped computer guy husband sort through years of electronic items that he had horded. I respect that he wants to keep some things, he always has just the right part to fix things for us or for friends, but technology gets outdated quickly. A trunk load of goods for donation/electronic recycling, and more space for living.

4. Vehicle we are selling desperately needed new tires. Called around and found the best deal, beat the competitors by $180. Now the new buyer will have a safe vehicle! Also located the best deal for smog/oil change that is needed.

5. Refused to buy a new pet bed when my son asked. Our medium size dog already has 3 beds around the house, all hand-me-down beds from when my moms cat died. These have removable and washable covers and are still in good shape. The cute ones at the pet store do not have removable covers! How long will that last?!


Vickie March 8, 2017 at 8:24 am

Nice rug, Katy, I like that blue color and nice haul on all that food from the cottage!

1) I’ve been wearing my free FitBit I received for signing up on the Wellness challenge at work. It’s nice to actually see how well I’m doing on my walking and calorie burning. Not perfect, but getting better.
2) We have plenty of leftovers for lunch this week. I budgeted in my monthly lunch out with my BFF from work. I ate the special, so it was frugal and yummy.
3) I’ve been returning my items to the Library on time, so I haven’t had to pay a fine in quite some time.
4) I took last Friday off so my daughter and I could shop at a discount store in the city, where we get most of our supplements, OTC meds, goat’s milk soap & sulfate-free shampoo for just a $1 or $2 each per bottle. We each spent about $30 and we’re set for the next 6 months to a year on stuff.
5) We stopped at the Goodwill Outlet and I got a colander, a turquoise skirt and a book for $3. My daughter spent about $30 and got a lot of stuff for my grandkids. I love that it’s 1.49 per pound. It was awesome!


Ruth March 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

First time posting my Frugal Five, but I’ve been reading here for probably more than a year. Love your work Katy, and the community you’ve created here.

1) Taking the bus to work every day. It takes longer than driving (by about 100%!) but it’s cheaper and the parking situation is dire.
2) No take away coffee so far this week. I limit myself to a maximum of one a working-week anyway, and make my own every morning at work using a French press.
3) Taking my lunch to work every day. Bread and soup. Uninspiring, but healthy enough and easy. Also eating porridge at work for breakfast too, using just water so I don’t have to faff around with buying milk. Not giving in to the desire for fresh chocolate croissants.
4) Brexit is killing the value of the pound: consumer goods are all £20-£50 more just on the basis that we will be leaving the EU. On the upside, my husband gets paid in dollars, so his earnings went up his month!
5) Went to the cinema with my husband yesterday, using the UK ‘compare the market’ 2-4-1 deal, so only paid £10.60 for two tickets. Brought our own water bottles.


Isabelle March 8, 2017 at 10:56 am

* going on a 30 days personal restaurants ban, as I am spending way too much on eating out and it’s also stalling my weight loss.


Mand01 March 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Just got back from another remote trip.
1. I spent less than half of my per diem. I couldn’t face any more Aussie pub meals, so I bought cheese, crackers and grapes and ate them in my hotel room every night. I did buy a couple of good coffees and some coffee bags to make life bearable. The tea at the pub was excellent.
2. I read books while I wasn’t working.
3. I wear the same few outfits, all thrifted, on these trips. I have a ‘country uniform’ (not actually a uniform but a group of clothing that’s appropriate) so it’s very easy to pack, wash and repack. For some reason every shirt is blue. It’s a mini capsule wardrobe for country travel that maybe cost me $25.


janine March 9, 2017 at 6:29 am

Always love to read about your adventures and lifestyle “down under”.


Vickey March 9, 2017 at 11:03 am

Me too!


Mand01 March 10, 2017 at 1:18 am

I have to say it has been pretty interesting lately!
I have been travelling a lot for work, and have been privileged to be spending time with local Aboriginal people in each community. I have been shown some amazing man-made places, and some natural places that are beautiful and of significance to Aboriginal people in the areas I have visited. Out again next week and then a couple of weeks break, thank goodness! Bit tired now.
Aboriginal cultures are very different in each place so it’s a fortunate thing to be able to learn a bit from local people in each community. I don’t take it for granted and just listen and learn.


Rejena March 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

First time to list a 5 Frugal Things, but here goes…..

1. Leftovers or scrounged food for lunches all this week for hubby and I.
2. Talked with a church acquaintance about giving her baby some of my littlest daughters clothes. She then returned the favor by offering her oldest daughter’s clothes to my oldest daughter! A win for us both!!
3. Making some beef broth with some soup bones from the butcher–they will be so good in beef stew.
4. Decide to do some price checking on some consumables via the internet, and discovered that my local store was cheaper than the internet. I always prefer to shop local–YAY!!
5. Read the ER discharge paperwork from when my son had croup (definitely NOT frugal), but learned that OTC cough syrups work no better than a syrup placebo, and may have side effects. May try to make some homemade “cough syrup” that coats and soothes the throat, for when my kids’ throats need some TLC.


nancy from mass March 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Nice find on the rug!

1. taking a month off so no commuting miles.
2. brought the 3 large vases back to the florists since I can’t use them (they were large). these were used at my husbands funeral 2 weeks ago and I still have a lot of flowers left.
3. my son and I are eating from the freezer and cupboards since we have so much food stocked up.
4. making a pair of socks with yarn I had stashed away. it’s been keeping me busy.
5. sleeping late and taking naps….more frugal than shopping! 🙂


BJS March 8, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Nancy, I’m so sorry about your husband. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.


kathleen March 8, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Nancy, I’m sending thoughts and prayers for you and your son…and a big virtual hug.


Tracy March 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Nancy so very sorry for your loss. Be kind to yourself.


karen March 8, 2017 at 7:55 pm

I am very sorry for your loss. Be kind to yourself at this stressful time.


Bee March 9, 2017 at 4:24 am

I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.


Pattilou March 9, 2017 at 5:58 am

I am so sorry for your loss.


Nancy from mass March 9, 2017 at 6:03 am

Thank you everyone. He had been sick for a long time and he’s no longer suffering. On a good note, we asked people to donate to his favorite charity he volunteered with (when he was well enough to) in lieu of flowers and almost 1,000 has been donated in his name!! Its a small charity and the money goes directly to helping the kids. We still had a lot of beautiful flowers though


janine March 9, 2017 at 6:33 am

So sorry to hear of your loss. Glad you found a good charity to direct donations to in honor of your late husband.


Vickey March 9, 2017 at 11:16 am

My condolences to you and your son, Nancy. Wishing you peace and comfort during this difficult time. {{{}}}


Gina in KY March 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm

My condolences, Nancy!


BJS March 8, 2017 at 5:48 pm

1. My husband and I were invited to a destination wedding this summer for an extended family member. (I almost had a coronary last year when I found out the wedding was going to be so far away, but that’s another story.) To save money, I’m going alone and he’s going to stay home with the kids.

2. The hotel for the wedding had a reduced price for wedding guests, but with a two-night minimum. I only wanted to stay one night. When I called, I explained my situation as kindly as I could, and the wonderful woman I spoke with gave me the wedding price for my one night. I told her I was going to look for her when I checked in to give her a hug, and she said that sounded good.

3. I was checking airfares to the wedding location and getting depressed about the cost. It was looking like it was going to be around $400 round-trip. Then my husband wondered if he could use the airline miles he gets for work travel for my flight. I thought airline miles only applied to the person who had actually done the traveling, but they’re not! He was able to book my flights for $11.20!

4. Got an extra shift at work last week. Those always make me happy.

5. Continuing to pack everyone’s lunches during the week. This is definitely not my favorite job, but I try to keep plugging away at it.


Lisa P. March 8, 2017 at 7:31 pm

That’s great, BJS, and one lesson in that example, it doesn’t hurt to ask! So glad she was nice to you! I hope you enjoy your trip!


Bee March 9, 2017 at 4:30 am

Don’t you love airline points! Destination weddings can be hard on the budget. I’m glad to see your comments again. 🙂


whitney March 8, 2017 at 6:40 pm

1. not exactly super frugal, but I didn’t spend any money today except at two local women-owned stores (one yarn store – clearance bin!) and a coffee shop. I want them to stay in business! I don’t usually do that, but I decided it was worth it for Women’s Day.

2. finished a long term to-do list by painting my office (with paint and supplies already purchased)

3. sewed my son a colonial costume by altering several thrift store finds (cost about 10 bucks). It turned out very cute and will be passed on when we’re done with it.

4. had a shipment of jeans come in – not frugal, but I have a hard time finding what I need and these were on sale. Now that I have pants that fit, I’m done buying clothes (always a weakness), thrifted or not, for a long time.

5. I have a couple of chronic illnesses and it’s been hard of my family. So, I’m creating a game plan for surviving without totally breaking down and buying take out when things get rough. I plan to teach my little boy more useful tasks around the house, freezing healthier options for when I can’t cook, keeping groceries and staples simple (so other people can purchase when needed), etc. Some options might be less frugal than some people would suggest, but it’s always preferbale to “survival mode” where things get out of control quickly.


Bee March 9, 2017 at 4:54 am

I think it is wonderful that you are coming up with a game plan for your family. My mother was very sick when I was a little girl. This was the early ’70s in a small town, so convenience items were not prevalent. One of my mother’s dearest friends took care of me when she was in the hospital and my dad was working. Although I was only 8 at the time, she taught me how to make myself something to eat, to use the washer, hang up clothes, and to wash dishes. When my mom finally came home, I was able to help. I think this made me feel good about myself.


Bonnie March 9, 2017 at 5:30 pm

What a lovely story, Bee!


kathleen March 8, 2017 at 7:45 pm

1. I worked 3 1/2 hours today at a new branch, and I think they will call me again.
2. Was asked yesterday if I could work one day next week (different branch). I had to turn it down because my sister was due to be visiting, but sis just called a few minutes ago to cancel the visit (she was rear-ended today, and her car sustained quite a bit of damage). I will call tomorrow to see if they found someone else to work, or if they still need someone.
3. I love modern libraries…getting email notices that books are due and ability to renew online are so AWESOMELY frugal…no fines accrued, no gasoline used.
4. The hubs did some necessary repairs on his truck this week…parts reasonable…labor free.
5. We are still enjoying mild temperatures…no a/c, no heater…we did however find the first scorpion of the season in the house this week. Always means the heat will be here before we know it. 🙁


Shannon March 9, 2017 at 5:31 am

#5. This is why I love where the air hurts my face! 🙂


Jessica March 9, 2017 at 9:06 am

MASSIVE fail. Left laptop at work, when I was working from home, and from home when I was working from the office. Because of the way my work & laptop are set up, this resulted in a TON of unnecessary extra communting, and probably about $20 of unnecessary spending.


Vickey March 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

That’s so frustrating, isn’t it? Be gentle with yourself, it will make thinking clearly easier. I’ve often found post-it-notes by the door helpful in remembering things I tend to forget as I’m leaving the house.


Vickey March 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

1) Had planned-over black bean soup for supper last night. The garlic, onions, squash, corn, and peppers were all from local farmers, dehydrated or simply shelved in a cold room last summer/fall. Cooked the pot of soup one the woodstove when it was already going anyway.
2) DH started the first tray of seeds for our zone 6b garden. We’ll do about 12 trays of seedlings before spring is out.
3) Picked up my bulk foods order from the local buying club. Bottled up some curry powder to give to one member, was given dried parsley by another.
4) Resisted attending fabulous estate sale. Looked at the pix online and didn’t see anything I loved or needed well enough to pay for and have to care for. Texted DH to stop and look at the tools on his way home, tho’.
5) Plugged away at making insulating shades. Long-term project, that.
6) Wore red for International Women’s Day. Fighting to retain rights is more frugal than fighting to reclaim them. 😀
7) Made arrangements to pass along some vintage clothing from MIL’s basement to an appropriately petite friend. We also made plans to have a joint yard sale this summer when our village has its famed village-wide sale.
8) Drinkng all the elderberry juice I can manage. Apparently I’m the last in line to catch the flu bug that’s going around.


Carolyn S March 9, 2017 at 12:22 pm

I love reading all the comments here. I get so many good ideas and so much inspiration from you all! And boy do I need the inspiration right now. Am feeling decidedly unfrugal and stressed with my car in the shop (again) for more expensive repairs. So, I’m trying to focus on the frugal things I can manage to do.

1. Repairing my car instead of replacing it. I’m not sure how frugal this will end up being if I have to have too many more repairs needed. But we replaced my husbands car just a couple of months ago when the old one flat out died. And I really, really don’t want two car payments. I really don’t even want one, but I don’t feel like we had much choice about it.

2. Made my coffee at home and brought leftovers to work for lunch.

3. A friend at work brought me a giant eggplant that she couldn’t use up before leaving on a trip. I think I’ll make crockpot ratatouille with it since I’m pretty sure I have all the other ingredients I need on hand already. Wuhoo!

4. Since my car will still be in the shop tomorrow and husband will need his car to get to work, I’ll be at home with the kiddos tomorrow. Going to try to make the most of our day at home by getting things down – laundry, taxes, garden cleanup, etc.

5. If I get enough time during the kids nap, I’m going to try to figure out what I need to do to get started on ebay. I’ve got a little pile of stuff to try selling there, and have just stalled on actually listing it. I’m not sure why, but figuring out shipping for the items seems to be a big stumbling block for me. If anybody has any tips for getting started on ebay, or how to ship things, I’d love to hear them!


Marianne March 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

1. Got our taxes done. I hate hate hate (!!) doing my taxes. It was free dollars to do them myself.
2. I use financial software and had some errors that needed to be fixed. Took a couple of hours but…done!
3. Only shopping at Aldi for the next couple of weeks. Spent $15 on fruit and vegies.
4. Huge windstorm over our area yesterday we had minimal damage. Feeling very lucky as the area to our south (Detroit) had major damage. We can clean up the damage ourselves.
5. My dad had a huge pine tree fall into the power lines to his house and while the tree is tangled in the wires they did not lose power and it missed his house. A kind neighbor called Consumers Power for him. He is 94.


SueB March 10, 2017 at 3:05 am

March has been a terrible month for outgoings so far (is it only the 10th?) So here’s five frugal unavoidable (kind of) fails.

1. Ordered next years wood. Flat rate of delivery made sense to order max delivery of 3 loads. Had set aside £120 from last month but was still £100 more than expected.

2. Got bill we’ve been hassling electrician to give us for about 18 months. Lovely guy but very disorganised. So another £180 that we could have done with in another month.

3. Daughter had suspected appendicitis, she was hospitalised but responded so well to antibiotics that they decided not to operate. So we drove down (approx 70 miles), picked her up, took her home (as opposed to the rented place where she lives), bought some easily digestible/tempting food for her, after 4 days she felt better and wanted to get back to work so drove her back. Another £70 unexpected expense,

4. Took dogs to vet for their annual vaccinations. One of them has early signs of arthritis so vet recommended (expensive) supplement, so instead of around £40, we paid £185. If it works, this will now be an ongoing expense but we expect this as we choose to rehome rescue elderly greyhounds.

5. This one was (kind of) avoidable. Two deals came up where if I spent £70 (in total) on them then I would save £20. So an extra £50 but on things I would have bought anyway so in reality £20 saved even though the budget this month is totally buggered.

Although I’m a tiny bit sad the budget is blown for March, my self employed husband’s outgoings have picked up after a terrible 4-5 months so outgoings will less than incomings which (as I keep reminding myself) equals happy.

We also put money aside in the good times to cover these kind of dips for precisely these reasons, so despite March being awful from a money saving perspective, we’re both still good and can afford to cover emergencies and unexpected expenses from our savings.

So although March was terrible (budget blown by Day 10) I still very lucky and in control 🙂


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: