Frugal Musings

by Katy on March 28, 2012 · 17 comments

Goodbye, Ayumi. We'll miss you! (This was not our goodbye dinner.)

The Non-Consumer Advocate has been suffering from a combination of writer fatigue, extreme busy-ness on my end and an increase in my work hours. But that doesn’t mean that frugality has taken a back seat, and here are some examples:

  • We had a big goodbye dinner party on Saturday for our Japanese exchange teacher, and I made The Pioneer Woman’  Perfect Pot Roast. Yes, it was an expensive meal, but I made sure to prepare enough to have leftovers. Which meant that Sunday’s dinner was . . .  french dip sandwiches, complete with sautéed onions and provolone cheese. And my work lunch on Monday was mashed potatoes with carrot and onions. Nope, there was no beef left, but it was delicious nonetheless. And my after work-snack yesterday was also the potatoes/carrots/onions. Yum.
  • My older son spent the entire week of spring break last year certifying to become a lifeguard, which meant he was then able to work all summer. And even though I doubt he’ll work this year, (He’ll be in Japan for five weeks this summer) it made no sense to let that certification lapse. So we forked out the $70 and he spent all day last Sunday keeping current with all his lifeguard requirements. Spending $70 may seem an odd example of frugality, but it will allow him to avoid starting from scratch for next year. And you never know, his pool might actually want him for August and the beginning of September.
  • Because we’re unable to get out of town for even one day this spring break due to our work schedules, I’m going to try to do fun stuff with the kids on all of my days off. (Sadly, just today and tomorrow.) Okay, just one kid in actuality as the 13-year-old begged and pleaded to participate in a soccer camp all week. (We though better of it, as rain featured heavily in the forecast. But we were handily outvoted.)  And what does my 16-year-old son want to do today? He wants “To go to Goodwills.” That’s my boy!
  • I am midway on a number of DIY projects, and my goal is to get them all finished by the end of this week. Because there is nothing frugal about starting and never finishing a project. Especially practical ones such as chairs and lamps.

Have you been working any interesting frugality into your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments action below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dogs or Dollars March 28, 2012 at 9:06 am

Does raising 10 chickens in your laundry room count as ‘interesting frugality’? 😉

I’m waiting for a DIY sushi post. or have I missed one? Those plates of rolls in the picture? YUM! Who needs pot roast!


Katy March 28, 2012 at 9:22 am

10 chickens in the laundry room certainly does sound interesting! Will they sort colors and switch from the washer to the dryer? And I have not posted anything about homemade sushi, as my recipes/method are less than stellar. However, it’s always yummy!



Dogs or Dollars March 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

Alas they do no sorting. They do make the laundry process much more interesting though. I’d be happy if I could train them to peep when the wash is done. So much better than that annoying buzzer!

I’m good with yummy and less than stellar. A completely winning combo at our house.


atsquared March 28, 2012 at 9:21 am

My example of frugality may be on the odd side: I bought a Dyson vacuum. 🙂 (I’m obviously not a Compact participant, but I am a firm believer in only owning what you need/love, using things up, sharing belongings, etc.)

Here’s the story behind the Dyson, and my rationale: We are moving in one month, leaving a large, new house that costs too much money, and moving to a small, 38-year-old bungalow. Our current house has central vac, and the one we’re moving into does not. So, I would rather spend good money on an excellent quality vacuum with a 10-year warranty than spend half as much on one that will only last a couple of years. (Our new house has lots of carpet, and with 2 cats and 2.5 small children, a vacuum is a must!) Spending more money now to save money later and keep stuff out of the landfill. Makes me happy!


Yankeegal March 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

I have had my dyson for many years now and I love it! I would continueously burn through vacuums in attempts to keep up with pet hair and finally broke down and bought one. I have not regretted it at all (except that it is a hideous turquoise/lavender color) I fully expect it to last many more years.


Katy March 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

I have a G.E. Hepa Filter vacuum cleaner that I bought around nine years ago and have been completely happy with. Of course, only room is our house has wall-to-wall carpet, so it only gets used for the rugs in two bedrooms plus the living room. This is actually a case where I’m okay with owning less than the best.



Linda in Indiana March 28, 2012 at 9:41 am

We are starting our own plants for the garden. My husband is constructing a game called Pegs and Jokers out of scrap wood. We played this with friends and the boards cost about $75 on the internet. I started a container in the freezer for odds and ends of veggies and when it is full it goes into being veggie soup–always a little different depending on the type of veggies that made it into the container. I made my own fabric softener out of vinegar and will never go back to store-bought. Planning an outing with two friends in the future but it will be a picnic at the park with each of us bringing a dish instead of a restaurant. Much cheaper than eating out and we all are decent cooks so the food will good. Needed some artwork in the living room and are in the process of converting a window from my husbands’ parents old house into the frame and it will house photos from several generations. Need new clothes—looked in the store–ouch! Now will be visiting the thrift and consignment stores. Don’t know if I am frugal or just plain tight:)!!


Katy March 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

Frugal or tight? I say they’re both good!



Kelli March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

Selling our old childhood toys on eBay. Since January we’ve sold about $700–it’s been fun and all the $$ goes to daughter’s cello lessons and a trip for her to New York next spring with her orchestra. When I told my mom what I was doing she said–” be sure to buy something for yourself”…guess I’ll head off to the thrift stores….mom said to do it! I’m still looking for a red pyrex bowl to complete my mixing bowl set.


Amber March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

The month of March has been an almost no spend month for our family. Obviously we bought necessities like food and gas to get to and from work. But the only non necessity purchases we made this month have been 9 dollars at Savers on a pair of pants, shoes, and a cookbook and 9 dollars at Joann Fabric for some waterproof fabric to make a waterproof pad for my daughters bed. I also started a blog to help keep our family on track financially and to help simplify our life. We have had so much “crap” in our house that we are starting to de-clutter it and organize so we only have what we need and truly want. My mission is to live a simple kind of life!


Dianna @ practicing frugal March 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I have been selling some things on ebay and working on frugal plans for my raised bed garden.


Dianna @ practicing frugal March 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Oh yeah, isn’t that pot roast wonderful? I also love how we can have more than one meal out of it.


Indigo March 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I have my garden starter plants in my little greenhouse perking up for their big move to my small summer garden. The seeds came from some of last year’s plants and from friends. The starting pots are paper egg cartons.

Since this is my first house and I’ve always lived in tiny apartments (and I never filled those up) I’ve been scoring some frugal finds at the local thrift shops. Everything from a raw linen shower curtain, a handwoven crow blanket, to smoke colored small wine glasses.


AnnW March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I think others believe that frugality is the same as cheapness, spend the least you can for everything. One reason for frugality is to have money when you really need it, like for your son’s lifeguarding, or your trips to Japan. I have been spending money on exercise and trainers because I can’t do it on my own. I have turned my health around and given up Coke Zero. This start should help me keep it up for years and help to prevent Alzheimers which is in my family. Spending money now may prevent spending $100,000 a year in the future for my care. My mother’s care is now costing $90,000 plus a year.
I don’t buy too much stuff now, and am giving lots of things away that I don’t really need. I am hooked on Pinterest and am starting to think about making my own detergent, etc. I am going to make dog shampoo after I found how much you need to work up a good lather. Your posts are the highlight of my evening. Ann


Liz March 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm

“Goodwills”? Plural? Do you have that many?


Mary March 29, 2012 at 8:12 am

Katy, I love your blog and find it so inspiring! Ihave been frugal for years, using tactics gleaned from a variety of sources…esp the Tightwad Gazettes…and have really concentrated my efforts lately on decreasing our spending. I have been implementing your idea of the Food Stamp Challenge ($101 per person/momth) for the last several months. It has been hard, and I don’t always reach my goal, but I love the challenge and it has really reduced what we spend. So today, I spent several hours in the kitchen, scratch cooking for the next few days. I also hang laundry, carpool the teens to school, start seeds for our garden, use the library like crazy, make crafts with materials we already own while tv watching and use the park down the road for exercise. I just read The Cheapskate Nextdoor and it was very good. Thanks so much for your posts!


Tina (Tightwad Mom) March 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I have spent the last two days, dejunking and organizing my storage room. Now I know what is lurking in the “Cave of Wonder” (that what my kid’s call it, anyway). I also organized all the wedding decorations, and odds and ends from my son’s wedding this winter. You will be proud to know that I staged an entire wedding and reception with thrift store finds, old windows salvaged from a dumpster (that became the backdrop), food bought on sale with coupons, clearance fabric, burlap, and flowers from my local Fred Meyer store. We hosted a wedding for 350 people for just under $700.00. Now, I have a list of friends who want help staging their children’s weddings on a budget.


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