Just Another Frugal Day

by Katy on September 9, 2012 · 30 comments

Although it may make me sound a bit single minded, you would be hard pressed to find even one day of my life that isn’t focused on frugality. This isn’t as joyless as it sounds, as I have a radar for taking advantage of all the great cheap opportunities in life.

Just yesterday I:

Made dinner from my own pesto, which used up the last of some parmesan cheese left behind by one of my mother’s guest cottage tenants, some gifted pecans and basil from the garden. The noodles were actually from our bulging stash of Japanese food, which my husband seems to buy without realizing that we rarely cook with them. I had worried that the flavors would not pair well, but all was good. I also mixed in some over-ripe tomatoes that my sister brought over from her organic community farm.

Took my sister and younger son to Grand Central Bakery, where pumpkin muffins were free if you mentioned their Tweets for Treats program. We also bought drip coffees and make sure to leave a nice tip.

Walked around the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, whose rose gardens make me proud to live in The Rose City.

Walked over to our neighborhood block party, where I spent a couple of lovely hours chatting with neighbors I knew, and meeting ones I hadn’t. (The block next to me is three blocks long, so I always meet new people at these parties.)

Washed and hung up my towels, which always make me happy. (So pretty on the clothesline!)

There was nothing earth shattering about the day, yet it was all so perfect. Time spent with family, delicious meals and getting to know the people in my own neighborhood is exactly what I love to do with my time.

And the above photo? A graphic of family deprivation. 😉

What frugal activities have you been doing lately? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Megyn @MinimalistMommi September 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

Let’s see:
-Got the final inspection for our landscape rebate through our city. $400 back for removing grass (and will save money on water and time on maintenance!)
-Found tile to re-do our kitchen floor for $0.50/ sq. ft. from a tile outlet going out of business. Only $35 to complete the whole kitchen. And I get the benefit of not worrying about water damage from renters as almost went with wood.
-Took The Hubs out for drinks and a movie for his birthday (student pricing woohoo) instead of buying an expensive gift (and I don’t drink & just got water, which made it that much cheaper).
-Made a list of items to sell before we move
-Craig’s Listing all of the left over items from projects we completed so they don’t just sit in a landfill forever
-Instead of buying expensive oven cleaner, basking soda and vinegar have been doing the trick
-Rather than buying tools to do all of our projects, we are fortunate to borrow a ton of items from family, like a massive tile saw.


marie September 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

My frugal day. I had posted a rooster on craigslist. Hubby said no one would want him.
I said in my post would like to trade for a young hen, but whatever he just needs a home. Great surprise, the woman that came to get him brought me 2 baby chicks. People can still amaze me sometimes


Katy September 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

I never cease to be amazed.



Amy September 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

My frugal day is avoiding going to town. If we don’t go to town we don’t spend the $$$ we dont have. Also I’m looking up info that will soon be in need of such as “how to darn socks” . I can’t pinpoint why but we go through a lot of socks for a couple of adults.


Cheapchick September 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I lightened my own hair recently, which was a first (I was chicken to do so previously) so expect to save several hundred dollars per year as a result. I also foraged 12 cups of blackberries – love free groceries!


Thrifty Household September 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I’ve been making pesto too (Nasturtium pesto due to a glut in the garden) & Fennel liqueur (due to a fennel glut in the garden)…


Bauunny September 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I drove nowhere today too…..which means I saved money on gas AND was not tempted to buy anything. I cleaned out the pantry and fed our chickens a great assortment of various cereals and crackers thar apparently no one was going to eat. I harvested some veggies from our garden to prep for my “take from home” lunches. I refitted a nice jar of jam to my neighbors with a thank you note for giving us some Christmas decor that we could use in our little seasonal business. I made from scratch cloudless chocolate cake which I wrapped and froze for lunches thereby avoiding the temptation to buy any at our local coffee ship. I am using up the last of some “designer” tea that I stumbled on when cleaning said pantry. I am reading my stash of library books today too.


Madeline September 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Last few days:
Colored my own hair with Loreal medium golden brown which was on sale at 2 boxes/12.00. PLUS I had 3 $2.00 0ff coupons! Regular price is anywhere from 7.99 on sale to 9.99 not on sale! Have NEVER seen it 2/6.00 !! Bought 8 boxes as I have to color every 5 weeks or so. And it only takes half hour.I have no patience to spend the time and amt. of money the salons charge!

Made up 3 weeks menus to USE UP stuff in freezer and pantry–was getting into overload!Grocery budget will be small the next few weeks.Just some fresh produce. trying to make SIMPLER meals.I love to cook.

Picked up 3 free paperbacks in the freebie bin at library. Brought home 3 free dvd’s (rental) from library that I had on request. Put two best sellers on request.I am #41 on one book list , #19 on the other.I am NEVER in a hurry to read the latest book,i just wait my turn….

Husband bought materials to build two SQUARE FOOT GARDEN boxes in the yard of our new house.We downsized this year, and had 2 boxes in our old home.We grew a LOT of food. Cost of lumber to build two is around $25-30 vs. ready made boxes for $85 each! We have to pay for soil, but will make it up with FRESH ORGANIC PRODUCE plus it is a fun stress-relieveing hobby (less stress=better health=less medical bills!) In Az. we have TWO LONG growing seasons, also.

Browsed in my own closets to put new outfits together from clothes I have not worn in a while. Rearranged stuff so i see what i have not worn and can get into rotation. Definitely no need to clothes -shop,even at goodwill,for some time.

Talked husband into getting my 11 year old Highlander repaired instead of thinking of a new one. (we drive mountain roads a lot.) I want this one to last me 200,000 miles!!!! I am DETERMINED. (i am the more frugal of the two of us.) Repair bill only $150 vs. the $500 he thought it would be.

Living frugally,saving more and spending less, is a fun adventure, not a chore! And the more you do it the better you get at it!


EcoCatLady September 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Well… my frugal day:

-Went for a 40 mile bike ride with CatMan. Gorgeous weather and enormous fun. I’m not sure this really counts since I just dropped a huge pile of money on a new bike, but the trip was free! Plus I did avoid spending $40 on a new bike jersey by sewing a pocket into my old biking shirt so I could carry a light jacket.

-Came home and ate leftovers made from discount chicken that was near it’s sell by date and several items from my cleaning out the pantry project.

-Collapsed exhausted in my bed where I proceeded to have bizarre dreams all night long. Sleep – the cheapest entertainment there is!


Diane September 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

At home weekend…only shopping was for groceries which included mostly produce and other staples to make restaurant style meals in my own kitchen. Last night southwestern style stuffed peppers with a side dish of rice. I brought home a huge bag of brand new books from my library…each one I have been wanting to read. And I used a $10.00 Lowes coupon for 2 big bags of bird seed and a length of wood to fix a broken planter. Planted swiss chard seeds in a pot on my porch and then sat down on my outdoor chaise and to enjoy our beautiful cooler weather.


Lesley September 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

With 2 teens and college looming, I’ve been racking my brains to figure out how I can “passively” bring in more money (ie not leaving the house for another job; I already have two!). Living in a Big 10 University town, it occurred to me that I can turn my home into a boarding house of sorts in a few short years when the kids are away at school, so long as I’m strict about who gets to come and live in our rooms. SO, today was spent figuring out how to make that happen. Best inspirational moment: realizing that I could turn a small unused room off the living room into my own bedroom, thus opening up three rooms for rent instead of just the kids’ two rooms. SCORE! Love your blog, Katy!


AnnW September 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

You could also take in a kid or two over the holidays when the dorms are closed. Good for you. It might be interesting also.


Lesley September 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Hi Ann: I figured my own kids would want their rooms back over the holidays and summers, at least while they’re in college … but someday! Great idea.


Renee CA September 10, 2012 at 8:43 am

I’ve considered that as well! Renting out my master and moving my bedroom and bath to a smaller one. Might work.


tna September 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Started reading Beth Terry’s “Plastic Free” I borrowed from the library then took a walk and enjoyed the beautiful post drought day and cried a little over the news of Shell beginning its Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf drilling. I’m sorry earth, I luv U!


Lesley September 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Also: today marks day #3 without Diet Coke. This is no small miracle in my life and I sincerely hope it gets easier. Am giving it up for a variety of reasons, including $$! Coffee at home and suntea on the porch today.


Liz September 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Our town made us switch to wheelie garbage and recycle bins they provide so I’ve got 3 regular garbage cans to make use of. I drilled some holes in one of them and made it into a compost bin that I can roll around.


mrs.p September 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

This weekend I worked. That means I don’t spend any money. I leave and come home.


Megan September 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Just toady I…
-Attended Mass
-Re-heated Leftovers for lunch
-Made homemade pasta for supper- served with homemade Marinara sauce (from free! tomatoes), and homemade bread.
-Borrowed a friend’s food processor to make some hot sauce with peppers from our garden
-Washed cloth diapers
-Planned menu for the week- no groceries needed- unless the boys drink all my milk again. Which is possible.
-Avoided filling up the van. Although this is inevitable. I don’t like to be under 1/3 tank… which I am now.
-Steeping a cup of tea, and heading up to take a bath and snuggle up with a library book.


Cathy September 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I must say I am in shock after reading about Americans only drying their clothing in clothes dryers. I live in a beautiful home in a beautiful area on 2& 1/2 acres of grounds and Only 1 hour ago, as I was hanging my washing in the sun to dry was thinking how much I love doing that! We Australians make use of our beautiful sun, warm breezes and just the general outdoors! If its a sunny day, we hang it out. If its raining, we use the dryer. No brainer! Trust me- the clothes prefer the fresh air to the heat that shrinks the clothes! But I do love the US! X


Joyce September 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

“If it’s a sunny day, we hang it out. If it’s raining, we use the dryer.” Not me. If it’s raining, I either wait for a sunny day or hang it inside on racks, clothesline, and hangers. Dryer is for towels only in the winter, when they dont’ dry fast enough and become musty smelling. I live in Upstate New York. There’s not many sunny days here and Autumn is here. Pretty soon all clothes get hung inside. 🙁


Shar September 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I am in USA and hang a load every day ( lines only hold load or two). However since I live in cold climate, that eliminates several months. I am going to try to use it more this year, especially since I lost my job.


patti September 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Maybe you can dry inside on cold days? Our upstairs is very warm due to heat rising and clothes dry very fast, especially in our bathroom which is very sunny. I have two dryer racks but just using your shower rods could help some.


Joyce September 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I agree with patti.


JudyY September 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

* Ate the last of the biscuits that I didn’t like but I refused to throw them out

* Bought hubs a set of CDs from a 2nd hand shop that he wanted – and he said he’d have them as his Father’s day present

* Made soup using up some less than fresh veges

* Washed the towels and hung them out to dry on my $20 Hills Hoist clothes line


Victoria@SnailpaceTransformations September 10, 2012 at 1:37 am

Over the weekend I bought 3 pairs of clearance rack jeans for the price of 1 for my son and got him one more for free with a gift card earned through online shopping. Took my daughter out for starbucks using a free card I got from the bank account reward program. I enjoyed a date night with my hubby in which we paid a good percentage of the bill with again free gift cards earned by yet another points related club. So not as frugal as some but still not full price. 🙂


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary September 10, 2012 at 4:21 am

For the last two weeks, we’ve been eating out of the freezer every other night. Seriously, for two weeks, and we still have plenty left in there. I have a tendency to cook large portions and put some in the freezer. And hubby has a tendency to buy extra on sale and put some in the freezer. Between us we were filling the freezer, but not using items *from* the freezer. So now I’m on a rampage! We are eating well, and I can *almost* see the bottom of the freezer in some places. 🙂


Jo@simplybeingmum September 10, 2012 at 7:15 am

I too hung a load of laundry and indeed, in true British style, it proceeded to rain all over it about 2 hours later. having forgot it was out, I left it (shame on me) and now it’s dried again (I think!)…


Joyce September 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I do the same thing. Fear not. It’ll get dry sooner or later. 🙂


Amy Nash September 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I have been hitting up the thrift stores to decorate my house and replenish my wardrobe. Our Goodwill does 50% off every other Saturday and this was one of those sales. I scored 2 pairs of perfect fitting jeans, a sweater, a cargo vest and a skirt (all by Gap), a pencil skirt, a Xmas table runner, a brand new leather wine rack, a pair of hot pants for roller derby, four beautiful pillows for my couch and loveseat, a basket for our guest room and a serving tray for my bar. I paid $43 for everything. Afterwards, I purged my closet and donated two contractor size garbage bags of clothes to a co-worker who is a single mom with very little extra money. I do a purge every six months and if it does not fit, it goes to her. About half of my wardrobe comes from Goodwill. I buy some work pants at whole price (usually $16.99 per pair), but I enjoy the “thrill of the hunt” at Goodwill for high quality clothing. I also use their monthly 20% coupon. My house was built in the 1950’s so I’m decorating it using very retro knick knacks. Even my hubby was impressed with my finds so far.

Foodwise…I am a member of Build-A-Menu and I pick my weekly meals on Tuesdays. That site calculates your approximate grocery bill and gives you the recipes. I print it all out and go shopping. I’m down to an average of $60 per week for the two of us which covers meals for lunch and dinner (leftovers cover our lunch).

I have a very sick dog who requires a lot of meds and this past weekend, I scored one for BOGO free at the drugstore. I’ve researched places for the remaining drugs and managed to get his insulin down from $65 to $24.88 at Wal-Mart.

All in all, it was a fun weekend of retail therapy on a shoe string budget.


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