Thirty-Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 9, 2016 · 60 comments

Curbside rocking chair

Screen-Free Week has ended, and although my emphasis was on minimizing screen time, I was absolutely continuing with my frugal endeavors. Some impressive, but mostly not. So to make up for a week without The Non-Consumer Advocate, I present to you . . . thirty-five frugal things!

  1. I took a small bag of unwanted household items to my nearby consignment shop and was rewarded with $5.70.
  2. I borrowed a book from one of the doulas at work and read through it in under 24 hours.
  3. I brought home a ton of great food leftover from one of my mother’s guest cottage tenants. This included craft beer, so my husband was super on board!
  4. My son and I went to Goodwill and I scored a nice top for $3.50. (It was the half-off color.) I had a gift card leftover from Christmas, so there was zero expense!
  5. I made a big batch of The Frugal Girl’s fish cakes which fed us for a couple of days.
  6. Work was slow and I could have gone home, but instead I sat down to do online education until I was needed to help with a delivery.
  7. I learned that our new contract has a special stipulation that resource nurses, (of which I am) get a bonus of an extra $1.25 per hour at the end of the year if we work more than 800 hours in that calendar year. I easy work more than 800 hours, so hello . . . big ol’ bonus!
  8. I reupholstered my curbside rocking chair using a piece of velvet from my mother’s basement. I used a piece of foam that my friend Lise had given me. I then sold the chair through Craigslist for $50.
  9. I listed a pair of Nike sweats on eBay. My son bought these pants at the Nike employee store for the low low price of only $50, (ha!) which annoyed me at the time. He later decided he didn’t like how they fit.
  10. I called the human resources department at my hospital to ask about some dormant PTO hours that sit in my account from when I worked at a same-system hospital. I’m unable to use them with my current hospital’s contract, but I did earn them. I’m hoping to get them cashed out.
  11. I drove over to one of my mother’s guest cottages after a 12-1/2 hour shift to grab all the laundry. (My mother was out of town, so I managed the houses in her absence.) Doing the laundry at my house allowed me to be much more efficient with the tenant turnover.
  12. I arranged for USPS to pick up an eBay package, which saved me an errand. This service is free.
  13. I watered my hanging fuchsia baskets with leftover water from drinking glasses, water bottles and cooled tea kettle water.
  14. My son’s Nike pants sold in eBay for $71! I guess he’s not the only trend follower!
  15. I mailed in the last of our persnickety paperwork for the FAFSA. (Financial aid information.)
  16. I cleaned my mother’s guest cottage.
  17. My son and I stopped at Safeway for a treat. We had planned on buying a half-gallon of ice cream, but instead chose a single donut for him.
  18. I went to my credit union to deposit cash. I found four or five foreign coins in the coin return and had the teller print free temporary checks which should last us for a year.
  19. I didn’t have a large enough padded envelope for the sweat pants, so I made my own packaging from some styrofoam-y sheets and an inside out paper grocery bag. Looked good, actually.
  20. I went for a walk with my friend Lise, which included dropping off plastics recycling plus bottles and cans.
  21. Lise and I passes a number of free piles. I grabbed some useful household items, as I know that my consignment shop will almost always buy that category.
  22. I found a dime while walking with Lise.
  23. I went to Fred Meyer to buy cookies for the new guest cottage tenant. Chocolate covered digestive biscuits were 2-4-1, so my family got a sleeve of them as well!
  24. I cut flowers from my own garden instead of buying them. (We always have fresh flowers at the guest cottages as special welcome.)
  25. I brought more stuff to the consignment shop and got $9.70. This included the free pile things and some lovely but useless gifts we received from our Japanese exchange student.
  26. I sold a $3 thrifted cast iron pan for $15 through Craigslist.
  27. I submitted a Clark Howard article and proposed four new articles.
  28. I came across a free pile while on my way to the library and scored a brand new looking men’s suit that I’ll get tailored to fit my twenty-year-old son! The same brand and style sells for $500 new at Macy’s, so hooray!
  29. I checked out a library book from an author I’ll be interviewing, plus a lovely little novel.
  30. I got rid of a couple of nice but cluttery things through my local Buy Nothing Group.
  31. I utilized a cute vintage enamel kitchen canister I already owned to use as a countertop compost bin. I’d been using an ugly Rubbermaid container for at least fifteen years, but had was craving something more attractive. It suddenly occurred to me that I already owned the perfect thing!
  32. I used a free car wash voucher that I was given a few years ago, and I brought my son with me to make it more fun. (We always joke that the employees as “mermen” and the huge brushes are “kraken.” Of course, we yell “release the kraken!” at the top of our lungs.) We don’t need no stinking’ Disneyland!!!
  33. I needed a better way to organize the stuff under my kitchen sink, so I took a filthy plastic milk crate from the back porch and ran it through the dishwasher. Now, not only is my under sink area less of a disaster, my back porch is enjoyably less cluttered.
  34. I potted up some rosemary that I’d rooted in a vase over my kitchen sink. This rosemary was snipped with permission from a neighbor’s bush.
  35. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny May 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Brilliant work – I’m a bit exhausted just reading all of it.

The chair looks fabulous.


Katy May 9, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Thanks. My son was bummed that I was selling it.


Laura May 9, 2016 at 10:31 pm

Having a nostalgic flashback to checking into one of your mom’s guest cottages: soft music playing, cookies and flowers waiting for us on the table. If I ever make it back to Portland, I know where I’m staying!


Kathy May 9, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Oh lordie girl, sure did miss your blog..Wondered where you went to…
Obviously I did not follow your example of no tech week. Welcome back!


LisaC May 10, 2016 at 1:45 am

Wow, 35 things, that’s great!

1. Got some cute, new looking clothes from my daughter in law, we’re about the same size, and she didn’t want them anymore.
2. Shopped with her at a local art market, got some Christmas gifts to put away for really low prices. Love artists that are just starting out!
3. Found a 5 dollar bill!
4. Open windows, no A/C.
5. Called the A/C people to check our system. It costs $ but they found a broken part that would have been awful to discover mid July. Maintaining things are worth the cost in the long run
6. On the road, got a 5 dollar meal with chicken strips, substituted side salad instead of fries, so made a nice chicken strip salad. Saved 2 of the strips, some of the cheese, and a dressing pack, then made another salad for work when I got home with some lettuce I already had.


Mand01 May 10, 2016 at 2:05 am

Good to have you back again.

1. I’ve reduced my food budget by $30, to $125 AUD a week (4 people). We’ll see how that goes.
2. Entire outfit excluding shoes was thrifted today
3. We’ve started to live on the one income so that we can pay off our house early.
4. I’m listening to an audio book borrowed from the library to and from work. It’s about Jacob Fugger, a 16th Century millionaire and mining tycoon. He reminds me of Mr. Burns, medieval style.
5. Sticking to our meal plan like glue this week, which will help us with #1


Ellie May 10, 2016 at 11:26 am

#3 – we did that – definately worth it!


Jeana May 10, 2016 at 2:15 am

I missed you Katy! I’m glad you’re back.


Tami May 10, 2016 at 2:50 am

“I didn’t buy a Lear jet”= coffee nose-snort. Hahaha!!!


Elizabeth May 10, 2016 at 3:11 am

Have been missing your blogs so much and was starting to feel a little empty inside, but I am full to the to this morning and totally satiated, so thank you for this awesome list!

Good job on the cushion! It really looks nice! My mom was talented in that way, too.

I love that you use fresh flowers at the cottages. That must be a pleasant surprise for your guests.

1. Made a broccoli casserole out of lovely crowns picked from our own garden.

2. Has expired milk, so added vinegar to make buttermilk, which I made biscuits with and froze. These make for a quick breakfast in the toaster oven.

3. I also had expired eggs that my husband has bought marked down, so beat them and froze them into cubes for later use. I’ve dipped into them already.

4. Decided to quit ordering Kindle books online and start using the libraries option of borrowing from other libraries. Can’t remember what that’s called because I haven’t done it in a long time. Seems our library never carry the books that interest me.

5. I decided to start hitting down all leftovers/dates on the chalkboard in the kitchen and make sure we use up the older stuff first. If it can’t be used, then freeze it, but no more throwing out leftovers!

* I typed all this using my phone. Auto Correct is not very kind to me. I tried being careful, but if there are extra words thrown in, or crazy words that make no sense, i apologize in advance.


Elizabeth May 10, 2016 at 3:18 am

I knew it. Library’s, for one. This auto correct drives me mad. Wish I knew how to disable it. Anyone?


Bee May 10, 2016 at 4:13 am

Auto correct gets the best of all of us from time to time!


Lindsey May 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Yes, like the time I was writing a quick email praising someone who works for Department of Public Safety and it, unnoticed by me, changed it to the Department of Pubic Safety.


Mand01 May 10, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Imagine that Department

Elizabeth May 11, 2016 at 4:11 am

Hahaha Too funny, Lindsey!

Elizabeth May 11, 2016 at 4:17 am

Yesterday I was messaging my son about coming by for breakfast this morning and told him, “I’ll message you in the morning”. The message v he received: “I’ll massage you in the morning “. Made a quick correction to him, to say the least. Lol

Lesley May 11, 2016 at 12:29 pm

I write reports every with the words “public health” in them. You better believe that I do a search for “pubic” before anything goes out the door!

Marion May 10, 2016 at 5:42 am

Humans of the world, unite! Demand the end of autocorrect! Don’t let the computers tell us what we want to say! Remember HAL. Fight back.


Elizabeth May 11, 2016 at 4:33 am

Amen! Auto correct, quit putting words in our texts!


RR May 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

I use an app on my phone called the 3M cloud library. Works great.


Elizabeth May 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

RR, I appreciate the info and was so excited, so downloaded the app right away. I live in SC, small town and unfortunately my library wasn’t one of the only seven county libraries listed. I would have loved this! Thank you again.


K D May 10, 2016 at 3:56 am

1. When the Asian market gives you $.59/# apples you buy the really big ones and make applesauce in your crockpot.

2. When zucchini are $.99/4 pack at Aldi you buy them and will make chocolate zucchini muffins.

3. When the pumpkin chia seed “pudding” you make is not delicious you top your morning oatmeal with it as you “take one for the team”.

4. When your husband no longer wants the exercise equipment a friend gave you, you offer it to a different friend, which will get it out of the basement.

5. When 10+ days of rain drives small ants into your house you mix up a sugar and borax solution, which cheaply and safely takes care of the problem.

6. When you haven’t been able to spend time with a particular friend, due to crazy schedule mis-matches, you plan to walk this afternoon, rain or shine.

7. When you meet as friend for lunch you’ll use a gift card that you received for letting the restaurant know about a bad food day.


Bee May 10, 2016 at 4:10 am

I missed you last week! I don’t have many frugal friends, so I really enjoy this blog. It keeps me focused. Thirty-five frugal things- five a day- is amazing! Last week:
1) I went to the library book sale bag day and purchase 29 books for $9 — around $0.32 apiece. I love to have non-library books in the summer to take to the beach, camping or on a road trip. If they make it through the summer in good condition, I donate them for the fall book sale.
2) I went to a 9:00 am baby shower which included breakfast. I had to bring something. So I made 6 dozen mini-muffins for the cost of 1 dozen premade from the local bakery. I gave the leftovers to a friend to enjoy.
3) I cleaned out and organized my pantry. I shared some items that I could not use because of dietary restrictions.
4) I brought 2 large green garbage bags filled with clothes to Goodwill. Since I no longer “dress” for work, I no longer needed them.
5) I took advantage of BOGO at the grocery. I bought 12 bags of coffee and 4 giant boxes of dog treats — a 3 month supply of each. I also used $2.50 in digital coupons and a $5 store coupon that came in the mail. That was all I bought that day.
Aside from these FFT I did the usual: walked the dog, read, gardened, paid bills on line, visited a friend, cooked, brewed my own coffee, cleaned my own house, cleaned my own car, wore my secondhand clothes, enjoyed the outdoors, and counted my blessings!


nancy from mass May 10, 2016 at 4:12 am

I think everyone has been going thru Katy withdrawals!

1. Bought U bolts to replace the missing ones for my extension ladder stabilizer. ($3 total vs. $30 for a new stabilizer). needed so i can finish painting my house now that the rains have ceased. couldn’t find bolts at goodwill, st vincents or savers.
2. swept my house instead of vacuuming.
3. made batches of vegan banana bread (Yummy!) to help use up brown bananas. the rest were cut and frozen for smoothies for the teen.
4. Not really frugal, but kinda frugal…..I purchased 4 counted cross stitch kits that are a seasonal series that i will make up and then frame together. The 4 kids combined costs less than 1 when it was regular price. I already have the mat that i can cut and i’m pretty sure i have a frame here i can reuse (they are 6×8 when complete so all 4 will fit in a 16×20 frame.) doing things like this keep me busy, happy and my blood pressure low!
5. went to a free ‘hikers workshop’ with the local AMC group. although i’ve been hiking for years, i learned a lot and they served breakfast and lunch too! because of this workshop, i found out about a thursday evening hiking group that is free and each week they hike a different area of the ‘hills’. there are 125 miles of trails there. i plan on joining them this week. 🙂


Gina in KY May 10, 2016 at 10:31 am

The hikers’ group sounds wonderful!


nancy from mass May 10, 2016 at 11:17 am

I just got the trail map for this week. it looks like an easy 2-3 mile hike. I am very excited to go but i can’t find my convertible pants (or shants as my son calls them). if i can’t find them by tomorrow, i’ll have to break down and buy new ones (these are not easy to find used). they will get a lot of use though if i have to buy them.


Bettypants May 10, 2016 at 4:22 am

I missed this while you were on hiatus. Nice job on making a profit on the Nike pants.
1. Sold a pair of Merrell shoes on ebay for $16. I had bought them at a church rummage sale for $1 a few weeks ago. Really debated if it was a wise purchase, because they were like new, but an ugly style. Also sold a cardigan than I had bought at Salvation Army, and six(!) plush Boyds Bears.
2. Walked several days on my lunch hour alone, and one day with a friend. Hoping to persuade her to make it a regular thing, as it’s more fun to walk and chat.
3. My son was sick one day last week and I stayed home with him. Thankful to have a job where it’s no big deal to call in sick, and I have a slew of banked sick days.
4. Kroger had bars of Vosges dark chocolate on clearance. Surprised to see that, as it seems like kind of a high end brand for them to carry. Bought one for my mom for Mother’s Day.
5. Picked up three holds from the library. Our library participates in the state program where you can search a database of hundreds of libraries and they will deliver requested books. I’m pretty amazed by it.
6. Worked in the yard again this weekend at reducing the brush pile and raking out beds. Found a couple peonies in odd spots that I am going to dig up and sell. We have far too many.
7. Cleaned out the garage and listed a huge mirror and a long unused armoire on FB.
8. Set up the Pottery Barn playhouse that I bought, took photos and listed it on CL. I labeled all the pieces before disassembling to make it easy for a buyer to put together.
9. My free Hello Fresh order came packed in silvery bubble wrap to contain the cold. I cut and stitched that piece into an insert for a tote bag, for summer grocery frozen foods purchases.
10. Sold a brocade coat on FB boards for $12, that I had pretty much resigned to taking to Salvation Army. It had been posted for months upon months with zero interest. Clothing is the one thing I really struggle to sell on those boards.


jennifer May 10, 2016 at 6:09 am

9. Great way to repurpose!


Bettypants May 10, 2016 at 8:16 am

Thanks! I was pretty pleased with myself.


lauren May 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Do you sell the bears on eBay or Facebook?


Bettypants May 11, 2016 at 4:35 am

I have been selling the bears on eBay. I had listed a couple on local FB boards, without much interest.

Teri May 10, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Oh I wish I could get some of your peonies!


JD May 10, 2016 at 5:34 am

Wow, were you busy, Katy! Love the chair. Missed these posts!
1. I finished my sewing projects for my daughters and granddaughters and presented them on Mother’s Day, a sort of reverse gifting situation. I bought one $1.78 pack of binding tape to do this. I didn’t have to buy anything else for their gifts, as I already owned the fabrics, threads, etc.
2. I made two of the gifts with my own created (admittedly simple!) patterns. When I needed precise rectangles for the patterns, I got an engineer I work with to CAD them to scale and print them out for me, free (we have permission for that sort of thing.) I’ll return the favor, of course.
3. My husband found some more change on the ground — I am having terrible luck at finding any, but he’s finding it now so we’re still good.
4. Our weather’s been dry, which means the sun is drying my clothes regularly.
5. My efforts at using mostly native re-seeding annuals and perennials in my yard are starting to payoff. I now have flowerbeds and containers bursting with coneflowers, yarrow, bachelor buttons, strawflower, blanket flower, four o’clocks, wild roses, wild petunia and wild ginger. Many people in my area replant their flower beds every year with annuals that don’t reseed, which is so expensive!
6. I started to add money to my Walmart shopping card to get 3 cents off on gas, but the card wouldn’t swipe at the checkout, although it’s been working perfectly. Instead I got a new card to load and was in my car leaving when I remembered that my old card still had a few dollars left on it. I turned around and got my old card back from the cashier, who hadn’t offered it back to me. I don’t know if I can still swipe it and make it work, but I’m not leaving it with Walmart.


Elizabeth May 10, 2016 at 8:10 am

Speaking of Walmart, I want to warn anyone who orders from to be very careful. I check my online banking every couple of days just to double check our balance and saw that a purchase for $6.12 (not much, but I feel like someone was testing the waters to make a bigger purchase later) came out last night that I didn’t make from I did make a purchase a couple weeks ago, but none since. I called my husband and he hadn’t made a purchase. So, I called customer service to inquire about it and was told there hasn’t been a charge since my last purchase. I told her, it’s listed as having come out of my checking account and it clearly says She told me to check with my bank, which I did and the lady at the bank closed my card out and I’m having to order a new one since my account has been compromised. They are also reimbursing me at the bank, though Walmart should be responsible and not my bank. I then looked online and have read a lot of horror stories of this exact same thing happening to others. I immediately called and cancelled my account, as well. I just want everyone to be aware that your account information may be hacked at their site.


lauren May 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm

I had this happen to me about a year ago as well 🙁


Elizabeth May 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I’m sorry to hear the same happened to you, Lauren. The most frustrating thing was the non-concern of “customer care”. Their loss, I’m afraid.


Beth May 10, 2016 at 6:14 am

I too missed NCA posts over the past week, but I’m glad you were able to successfully go screen-free! I have no frugal things to post outside the normal drinking free coffee and water at work, taking lunches from home, and using non-disposable dishes. I really just wanted to say that you have created a wonderful community here, and I sincerely appreciate the very doable frugal practices that you (and the other readers) post about. I’m always inspired by reading your blog. Happy Tuesday!


shelia May 10, 2016 at 6:17 am

Welcome back, Katy! You were missed!
1. Had a garage sale with my sister’s family. The traffic was unreal and I sold over $300 which included a trash picked china cabinet that the woman was thrilled to get. I’ll definitely join them in their annual sale again.
2. Mother’s Day was uber frugal. My husband and I used a gift card to eat out on Saturday and we joined my oldest daughter and her fiance at the zoo where mothers were free and our daughter’s pass got us free parking and my husband in free also.
3. My daughters got me the most non-consumer gift of all: a year’s worth of schooling for a young girl in an endangered part of the world. I’m so proud of my daughters who choose gifts that make a difference.
4. Took a friend to a doctor’s appointment yesterday. We stopped at the thrift shop on the way home. It was 25% off day and I found my oldest a pair of desperately needed black jeans in her favorite brand-Not Your Daughter’s Jeans-for $2.25. She’s thrilled!
5. I’m painting a flea market coffee table as a wedding gift for a young couple at church. I could have purchased a gift off their registry but they have no furniture and were happy to choose the color they wanted out of my stockpile. And the table is no longer taking up space in my garage!


Vickie May 10, 2016 at 6:25 am

Love the upholstered rocking chair, very pretty!

1) I’ve finished 3 audiobooks, from the Library, and about to finish up one book I’m reading.
2) Hubby took me out for Mother’s Day dinner – yay for not having to cook – I ate the catfish & sweet potato fries, which were on special. Extra yummy when I get a break from cooking.
3) I picked up a penny in the crosswalk.
4) I bought 3 new-to-me tops at Goodwill, so I’m thinning my closet out again. I’ve been hanging the stuff I wear the most in the middle, in order to figure out what needs to go. Which is way more than 3 things!
5) I’ve been saving opened envelopes from bills to use as scrap paper at the house. It’s working out great. I make my grocery list on them.
6) My daughter and I went to the A-Z $ discount store, last week, and I picked some office snacks for a few dollars – they would have been at least $4 at the grocers.
7) I took a box of stuff to my daughter’s house for her yard sale this weekend.
8) I found a cool camo-print fishing/boating/hunting vest for my grandson at the Goodwill. I’m going to give it to him as a graduation present. It was in perfect condition and I paid $3 for it. Score!
9) I bought a Mother’s Day card for my MIL at the Dollar Tree and put pics of all 3 of my grandkids school pictures in it. She’ll love that better than any other gift I could have given her.
10) The Goodreads newsletter I get every month is what I use to find audiobooks at the Library. It’s awesome to put them on hold, online and then just pop-in during lunch to pick them up.

Huge Frugal Fail:
I apparently over-fed our horse and caused him to founder, which caused a vet bill. NOT frugal. I had no idea that would cause foundering, so I learned an expensive lesson – do not give feed to horses, once the pasture greens up in Spring. He’s starting to recover, thankfully. The only frugal thing about this is, I don’t need to buy feed until the pasture dies off next Winter.


Lucy May 10, 2016 at 9:36 am

That spring grass alone could be the culprit. Please check out for information on laminitis (founder) and the sugar/starch/grass connection. Best of luck with your horse!

(I trim a lot of foundered horses)


Sandy May 10, 2016 at 6:45 am

Katy, you set such a fine example–screen free week AND so much frugalness! I’m so glad I found you!
I made some meals for my brother in law and froze them. We delivered them on Sunday. We drove a different route than usual because of a couple of other stops we wanted to make. While enroute , I noticed a couple of farmers market type stores that are new to me. Already have a trip planned to check them out, with my own shopping bags.
I have some fabric cut, and will sew today, for reusable produce bags. I have a scale, so I can at least have an idea of the tare.
For Mothers Day, I received a Fitbit that tracks all kinds of things. I’m working on getting healthier, so now I can track my calories and water intake as well as steps! So thankful my daughter wants me around for many more years! From our son, I received a reusable tote bag with pictures of his two boys printed on it! I’m really good about always having a bag with me, this one is just so much more fun!
Planning errands for just one day a week, with lists and shopping bags and coolers!
Always have refillable water bottle with me any time I leave home.
Glad you’re back, Katy!


jennifer May 10, 2016 at 6:47 am

1. I found a Bath and Body Works gift card. I called to find out the balance and it was $25. I can’t think of any way to track down the owner of the card, any ideas? I feel bad because I feel like it was probably a card for some special occasion. I know I have lost my own gift card before and it is sickening. If I can’t find the owner I will use this $25 to buy my 21 year old daughter some nice stuff for her birthday.
2.I got 20 cents off per gallon using my Kroger fuel points. They have started back the 2x fuel points for summer so I’m excited for that.
3. I picked up my Free Friday downloads from Kroger which were Lindt chocolate sticks and Sara Lee bread.
4.I have been staying out of most stores lately which keeps me from spending.
5. We are celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday this week. She is 4. I took homemade cupcakes to her preschool. I also put a “birthday girl” button on her shirt that I have been using for all my girls birthdays for years. Her actual party is this weekend at the campground. It’s really just going to be more of a family gathering to celebrate both girl’s birthdays. I will have homemade cupcakes again and of course a few carefully thought out presents.


Tonya May 10, 2016 at 7:29 am

This is a special treat! 5 Frugal Things is my favorite type of post, so 35 Frugal Things is amazing!

1) My daughter made me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. She doesn’t drive yet and so she used all things we had at home and flowers from the garden. Frugal and resourceful.

2)She is applying for summer jobs that are places within walking distance of our house. Free exercise and fewer pickups and dropoffs on my end.

3) I’m very focused on helping me teens learn life skills (they are 15 and 13). Son mowed the lawn this weekend. Frugal because he is learning to do something for himself (and not hiring someone to do it) and may even be a money-maker for him if he wants to pursue it with neighbors.

4) Had a group over for dinner. Did an affordable crockpot chicken recipe.

5) Bought summer shorts for DD at the thrift shop yesterday. She used her own money for another non-necessary (but cute) purchase.


JD May 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

Oh, I forgot to add:
I have one or two vendors who still can’t be paid online and are out of town, so I need to mail my payments. They send bills with no return envelopes, which irks me. I started saving any business-sized return envelopes that came to me, and with a little creative folding, I can get this vendor’s name and address to show and stay in the address window, thus saving myself the cost of a business envelope and the ink to print or write the address. It’s not much, but every penny counts. I use the free return address labels that come to me in the mail from charities, etc., as my return address.


sarah m May 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm

1. picked dandelions and started dandelion wine. spent $7 on non-dandelion ingredients, and $6 on a reusable jug and airlock. so this one will only be frugal is the wine turns out decent and if i reuse the equipment for cider, but I’m optimistic. it smells good and is bubbling away.
2. working my way through my canned fish supply. mixed up a can of smoked kipper with mayo and a little hot sauce, eating it on toast. =cheap nutritious protein and doesn’t taste too bad.
3. the toast is from a loaf of whole wheat ciabatta i got on the discount shelf for $0.99.
4. started artichoke seeds. i love artichokes, don’t like paying for them, so hoping a few of these do well.
5. made my own yogurt for smoothies.
6. my mothers day present to my mom is a blackberry bush i got from freecycle. my mom is both frugal and a gardener, so she’s happy to get live plants rather than cut ones.
7. finally signed up for my library’s oneclickdigital and downloaded the app. so much good stuff!
8. synced my accounts with youneedabudget. this is my free trial period but i’ll probably buy an account, since it’s a one time expense, and keeping me more accountable than any free website. at this rate, i can take a hiking/camping vacation this summer, and a cheap airfare/hostel vacation to california or mexico this winter.
9. and for a not-so-frugal thing, got a bill for a super expensive medication i’m taking. thanks to the above, i at least had the peace of mind that i could pay it in full, and i’ve started the process to get a drug company partial rebate.


Ruby May 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm

The chair came out beautifully!

My frugal things:
1. Made a pot of “clean out the produce drawer” soup Saturday that also used up three potatoes that needed to be cooked. I jazzed it up with some fresh basil and sage from our container herb garden and topped each bowlful with a mixture of grated cheeses. It’s wonderful!

2. While organizing the freezer, I found three partially-used up bags of grated cheese of various kinds and consolidated them into one bag. First use for the custom-blended cheese was on the soup.

3. We can’t eat up strawberries fast enough, so I cut up a bunch and froze them, so no waste. Also made a simple salad out of leftover lettuce, sliced tomatoes and sweet onions and added some of the grated cheese to it.

4. Made three large loaves of oatmeal-honey bread this weekend that used up the last of an opened jar of honey that was crystallizing. It made the most wonderful light, scrumptious bread.

5. Mother’s Day was frugal, as we had a family get-together and I made a “cheater’s” Black Forest sheet cake with cake mix, cherry pie filling and chocolate chips from the pantry.

6. Caught a 25 percent off sale at my fave thrift store and scored five summer tops for $10 total. Also found two glass fish-shaped platters that match a fish salad bowl bought retail years ago, and they were two for $5.


Marilyn May 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Wow – 35 Frugal Things in one week! Very impressive. I was interested in #18, the free temporary checks from the credit union. We switched our account from a bank to a credit union a few years ago and I was pleasantly surprised to find we now get free checks all the time. Very nice checks too. I wish we had made the change sooner.


JennC May 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm

1. My husband finally consented to look at non at&t cell plan options (we were grandfathered into a plan with unlimited data and he didn’t want to let it go) and we’ll be saving over $100 a month on phone bills once he switches us over.

2. Canceled a few other small monthly subscriptions we’ve picked up along the way to the tune of $30 a month savings.

3. I’ve been scraping along without a planner, but life is getting too crazy for my current half paper notebook/half outlook calendar method so I decided it was time to get one. I didn’t end up with the most frugal option, but I didn’t buy the $60 one multiple friends recommended!!!

4. Picked up a free file cabinet and bookshelf from people in our local Buy Nothing group.

5. Sorted through the bookshelves and took homeschool things in to our local consignment shop and sold others at our local used bookstore.


Susie's Daughter May 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Dear Katy –
I have just found your blog and been reading obsessively since I learned of it yesterday. Thank you, thank you! I feel greatly encouraged in my frugality and especially appreciate the reasonable suggestions. For years my mum has posted in her kitchen the same “Use it up, Wear it out…” phrase. Your blog made me feel right at home!
My five frugal things so far this week:
1) It was “Green Up”day in Vermont this weekend when residents pick up roadside litter in their towns and I collected enough returnable bottles on our road (along with two bags of trash) to buy spaghetti sauce and mac and cheese on sale for the food shelf.
2) I decided as a result of this blog to “shop” some of my own cabinets I haven’t been in lately and found some lovely tea (brewing right now) and a set of Corning Ware bowls which are going to our local consignment store this week!
3) Bought myself a “new” pair of jeans today at our non profit thrift store in town.
4) Invested in a microfiber duster – not cheap, but will hopefully work as well as the ‘one and done’ disposables that fit on the wand.
5) Got Season 4 of ‘Call the Midwife’ from the library. I love this show!

Thanks to the many readers for their great suggestions. I look forward to more tips, tricks and treasures from this blog!


janine May 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm

1, Yard picked flower bouquet – white iris, apple blossoms and lilacs from my husband for a beautiful and frugal mother’s day gift.
2. Son cleaned off the winter dirt and dust from our picnic table and chairs, then treated us to takeout sandwiches for an impromptu mother’s day picnic lunch.
3. Trying to remember to pull plugs on appliances at night when no one is using them thus saving a small amount of electricity.
4. Shared references to Neal Gabler’s article in the Atlantic Monthly on the state of Americans’ finances with family and friends newsletter that I occasionally send out.
5. Received a homemade May Basket from the third grade; mailed them a thank you card for their original and artistic efforts!
Missed Katy’s guidance this week and was super impressed with her list of frugal activities. My plan is to emulate her on the compost container – have a large cookie jar collecting dust that will be suitable for a new use.


Lindsey May 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

1. Harvested my first crop from the garden—spinach. I live in interior Alaska, so this is amazing. I started a shallow bucket of seeds when I started my tomato seeds for the greenhouse, putting them under grow lights until the tomatoes got large enough to need all the space under the lights—the space would have been lit up even without seed starting, for the first three weeks, so this cost nothing in terms of electricity to put spinach under them. Once I ran out of space, I put them in a southern facing window for two weeks, and now they are ready to eat.

2. My husband showed up at the grocery check out line with an $11.99 cake—one layer! I convinced him that I could make him a great cake when we got home, for a lot less than $11.99!! He later told me the cake I made was better than any commercial ones he has eaten so in the future he won’t try to sneak one into the cart.

3. Accepted free seeds for chard and pak choi from a friend who finally decided not to grow them anymore because she really didn’t like the taste and ender up letting it go to seed every year.

4. Asked the husband to make a pound of macaroni when he got home from work. I got home after he had left for a meeting and, irritated realized he had not cooked any, so I boiled up a pound and a half, to use u two boxes. Then he came home…to show me a bagof cooked macaroni in the meat drawer. We froze everything we did not use that night. Since them I have been pulling out small bags of cooked pasta and using it in soups, casseroles and an egg frittata. Took us a month, but we didn’t waste any of it!

5. I have been saving magazines for about six months, planning to take them someplace to recycle them. A neighbor came over and saw my pile and offered a dozen homemade birthday cards for the pile—she uses them with her puplis, for collages. I told her she could have them for free, as I am thrilled that they will be used by someone else. The next day, her husband dropped off a box of a dozen cards.


Teri May 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm

1. Using plastic shopping bags for several small/medium sized trashcans. Love it when I can recycle and save money at the same time.
2. Saving several bottles with deposits to take to Oregon as we don’t have that in Washington.
3. Picked up a “Pack & Play” crib from a free spot in daughters apt. bldg. Very happy to find it is like new, and good to go with a little lysol.
4. Discovered that 2 french rolls will yield more slices than the loaf of french bread for 2/3 the price, so its rolls from now on! (its the little things)
5. Using up pantry items in meal planning rather than buying and then planning, finding a few coins here and there, batching errands, and helping son & daughter find things to sell on eBay. I buy the item, they post, we split the profit. Its a win-win.


Lauren May 10, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Great list Katy!
Here’s my most recent frugal things:

1. Are leftovers from our Mother’s Day lunch for dinner. I paid $8.50 for a container of mixed Chinese food.
2. Ate lunch at work two days.
3. Saved a bunch of cardboard rolls for my daughter to make a craft project
4. Borrowed a couple of books from the library.
5. Made a batch of coloured play dough for my nephews birthday. I also gave him some toys my kids had outgrown.
6. Picked up an extra shift at work each week.
7. Used up the sad looking strawberries by making smoothies using other ingredients we had on hand.
8. My daughter asked for lamb chops but they’re crazy expensive in Oz. I scoured the shelves for a couple of weeks and found a packet marked down as they were close to their use by date.

Not so frugal:
My daughter has been sick for a couple of days so I lost a shift at work. However we have saved a little on groceries because her appetite is barely existent. She seems to be on the mend now though


Chris May 11, 2016 at 4:04 am

1. Spent all Monday pricing for a garage sale this weekend.
2. Walking the dog longer each day while listening to podcasts.
3. Husband is going to a baseball game today and searched around for the least expensive ticket – saving over $5 and it’s $1 hot dog day – that might not end well!
4. Took clothes to a different consignment store – you can check your sales online and it makes it easier to see if buying for resale is worth my time.
5. Sent in $ to be a part of my neighborhood garage sale in two weeks – whatever doesn’t sell this weekend will be part of my sale.


Isabelle May 11, 2016 at 7:45 am

* I’ve been really good lately with my resolve to lose the extra weight and appart from the gym membership (that I don’t think I will renew), I am not paying a dime for it. No special diet food, diet club or fancy shmanzy tricks/supplements. Eating real healthy food in moderation and exercising daily at the gym or at home/outside. Lost 15 pounds already, yay!
* Returning 3 shirts and a dressed that I just bought last month and are already too loose.
* Bought 2 dresses and a pair of shoes for a wedding. Decided to keep the cheaper dress (that I will be able to wear again this summer) and to return the other dress and the shoes.
* My restaurant meals have decreased dramatically (see no. 1!)
* Hubby has prepared the garden for the summer, so yay for “free” food coming.
* No TV cable, no fancy cell phones, 2004 paid-for car, no gadgets.

Have a great frugal day!


Elizabeth May 11, 2016 at 11:34 am

Congratulations on your awesome weight loss thus far! That is great! Slowly losing weight myself by eating what I love while counting calories.

I agree on the paid for car. Mine is a 2002. Low taxes and insurance to boot.


IsabelI May 12, 2016 at 1:48 am

We are getting our first roadside verge pick up for 18 months! I am going to try to make it interesting!
After telling you all that never any money dropped on ground here, unless glued down, my friend picked up two $50 bills and gave me one!


Katy May 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

Now that’s a good friend!


amanda May 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

I brought leftovers for lunch every day. We had a bbq on Saturday for a friend I haven’t seen in 20 years, they came up to our farm and brought potato salad to go with the home-raised chicken and coleslaw.

I taught the kids how to check out books for their kindle fires from the library. The library is a 50 mile round trip, and they are voracious readers so it will be nice that they can keep track of their own books.

Found a dime on the ground.

I’ve been walking every evening. I enrolled the kids in a hunter safety course and it’s 2 hours long, 3 days/week. Rather than go shopping or drive someplace, I put on my hiking boots and went for a refreshing hike through the woods.

I’ve been selling off my baby goats, all are sold but 8 and I have buyers interested in them.

Relisted my craigslist and facebook ads for kids’ toys. I donated the rest of the kid stuff to our local firehouse sale. I was able to clear out more than 3 rubbermaid bins of stuff, which will help organize the barn.

I’m vending at a huge fair next month and asked my friend who lives near the venue if I can stay with them for the weekend. The booth space was a lot of $$, so it will be so nice not worrying about making enough to cover a hotel stay, too.

Cashed in a gift certificate that I earned on Swagbucks for new batteries for my kids’ electric motorcycle. I didn’t tell them it was coming, and boy, were they excited!

My daughter cut her dad’s hair. She’s only 9 and did a great job, saving us a ton of money over the year.


Sandy Kobb May 13, 2016 at 6:56 am

Thanks for the fix after screenfree week Katy! Love it!


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