Daily Frugality

by Katy on February 1, 2012 · 33 comments


It’s salad made from the biggest head of lettuce in the bin instead if a bag of salad. It’s storing your lettuce in a manner that keeps it fresh to minimize food waste. It’s then eating that salad at home, using a homemade dressing recipe. Frugality is about feeling empowered, not embittered by these hundreds of daily decisions.

Frugality is not deprivation. Frugality is a tool to live the life you want.

And frugality is the life I choose.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Dogs or Dollars February 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Love the ’empowered, not embittered’. I’m going to think of that as I’m eating my leftover enchiladas, made with leftover beef roast. 😉


Jessica February 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

Just a tip from my ex-mother-in-law – and it really works….keep a small piece of coal in with your lettuce to keep it crisp. I keep lettuce in a huge (freecycled) tupperware pot with a lid. No need to buy fancy lettuce bags or plastic things that give off special gas. A lump of coal does the trick. I’ve had my piece for 8 years.


Yankeegal February 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I am feeling empowered as well as I make up my menu plan for the week-utilizing both my pantry and frozen leftovers.


Chris February 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Every time I watch one of those consumer reporters on tv visiting local restaurants and hear the kitchen reviews (ew – failed?) I am so thankful for leftover turkey meat in my freezer, “planned-over” meat loaf slices to heat in spaghetti sauce for tomorrow’s dinner, etc! Frugal, and definitely more healthy!


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land February 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Planned-over? Love it! I knew there should be a name for that!


Katy February 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Jonathan Bloom of http://wastedfood.com calls them “Bestovers.”



Jenny February 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Love them. A night off from cooking that doesn’t cost $20 for takeout? Yes, please!


Jinger February 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for this today….especially the dressing recipe. I needed some inspiration in the “making food” category.


Abby February 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I loved reading this as I was slurping down chili I made with the remains of a pack of burgers (from a grocery salvage place,) what was left of tomatoes & onions from the fridge and dented cans from the pantry. Yum!


Shannon February 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I feel empowered that I didn’t have to shop for food this week. Shopped the freezer instead!


Virginia Bruce February 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Frugality is choosing to spend some of your time doing things for yourself, instead of spending time earning money to buy those things.


sandy February 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I fully agree with what you said and I wish I could have said it as well myself. I have been doing this frugal thing since forever and although I could relax some now I like how I live.


Ann February 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I have not tried the coal method, but I have had success keeping head lettuce fresh for 2 weeks (only 2 of us left here) by wrapping it in a linen towel and zipping it up in a freezer bag ( I wash them out and reuse them). I just change the towel out, as it absorbs moisture. The lettuce stays crisp!


Elaine in Ark February 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Now that’s a tip that I could try! I’ll have much better luck finding a linen kitchen towel than one lump of coal.


Jen February 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

You know, it’s weird, but I totally get it. I like being frugal. I feel good when I make a good lunch out of scraps from around the house and use up everything. I truly enjoy turning out lights, hanging laundry, and cuddling up in a cozy blanket because I keep the temps in the house low in the winter. I don’t like excess anymore, and I have learned to be really happy with small treats. I guess I have totally brainwashed myself!


Katy February 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Me too, sister. Me too.



Lucy February 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

What Jen said!


Megg February 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Re: the lettuce…I had a lot of success chopping up my lettuce and putting it into glass jars (most of them were washed out from spaghetti sauce!) It kept an amazingly long time, I couldn’t believe it!


Katy February 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I wash and chop my lettuce as soon as I get it, then I store it in my salad spinner. All the extra liquid falls away from the lettuce and it lasts for ages!



Madeline February 2, 2012 at 5:33 am

Being frugal is vey satisfying, not at all a deprivation. It’s fun to use m ingenuity, my creativity and my recipe file so I don’t waster food or other resources.I love buying resale and yard sales are a fun adventure! What’s not to love about the frugal lifestyle!!

My girlfriends and I used to splurge on going OUT to dinner once every 8 week so so, to a local restaurant,with coupons of course, but this past 6 months we’ve all decided to rotate houses and make our own meals..SO MUCH MORE COZY and fun.. we can stay as long as we like, and have dessert around the fireplace, even watch a movie afterwards if the urge strikes..

Some nights its just a crock pot of soup and homemade bread.. but much more tasty than restaurant food!


Lorien February 2, 2012 at 6:49 am

I can understand what you mean. In fact, I’ve been stalking your blog for like a month. And you changed my view of life so much. I can’t help being grateful for your inspiration which made my life so much better.

I make fair amount of income (I live in Korea that makes like $7~80,000/yr would be enough for a family of two.) but I’ve never felt full. I’ve always felt something’s deprived of my life. Thus I made a habit of compulsive buying and regretting so much.

However, one day I came across with your blog with a total luck(thanks for Google) and since then, my habits of spending money has been changing dramatically. And you know what? I’m much happier now.

Thank you, Katy, from all my heart. You are a great person and your blog is awesome. Wonderful enough to change one’s life.

I’m so sorry about my poor English since English is NOT either my mother tounge or my major at all. (My major was Chemistry, far from linguistics and so on.) But I hope my appreciation would be accepted.


Katy February 2, 2012 at 9:04 am


Thank you so much for your lovely words. This may be the nicest comment anyone’s ever written to me.

Thank you!



cathy February 2, 2012 at 6:49 am

Smorkusbork – (some might say smorgasbord) that’s how my grandkids pronounce it! Instead of calling it “leftovers” we make it an adventure and call it smorkusbork. I take all the small storage containers of random leftovers along with a can of olives, maybe some crackers and cheese or carrot sticks, put each in its own small dish or in it’s own place on a large platter. Then everyone takes just a small amount of everything and we have a feast! The kids love to have so much to choose from and they’re good at taking a small helping of each. We laugh at the funny combos, and admire the freshly cleaned fridge!


Katy February 2, 2012 at 9:03 am

Love it!



Kymm February 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

I’m currently eating through food that a friend couldn’t take when she moved out of state. Free eats? Yes, please! If I plan it out, I won’t need to buy many groceries other than fresh produce, bread, and dairy for the next few weeks. Woo hoo!


Spendwisemom February 2, 2012 at 8:44 am

I feed our family for $50 per week. I don’t use coupons, but do match ads occasionally. I don’t buy chips and soda and junk or processed foods most of the time. I do buy mayonnaise. I find that we can eat well and by being frugal, I have the freedom and extra money to go on vacations and do other things that we normally wouldn’t do. It is possible because we are careful about what we eat. There are some real benefits to frugality. I guess it just depends on your attitude.


Laura February 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Love the post. Frugality is such a frumpy word, though…wish there was a better one. It doesn’t connote that sense of creativity that you mentioned in your earlier post. Hmmmm. We might need to invent a new one!


Kate in NY February 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I live in an extremely affluent area outside NYC. Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren both have homes within walking distance, to give you an idea. I am still not really sure how we ended up here – luckily there are enough regular folks to make it bearable.

But lately, I have found myself actually feeling sorry for my uber-wealthy neighbors. It’s odd, but I enjoy frugality – – – I would feel so empty if there were no point to drying my own laundry, or saving up coins, or using up the store of chicken bones in my freezer to make – so thrilling – my very own homemade stock! Maybe frugality feels so creative and stimulating to me in part because it is (sort of) a choice. By that I mean I am not making up chicken stock from bones so that my family wont go hungry. And I turn down the thermostat because I want to, not because I cannot pay the bill. I’m not sure it would feel as cozy and satisfying then. But the philosophy of frugality has made my life richer, for sure, and I rarely feel “wanty” anymore.

That being said, I often – aack – buy pre-washed organic lettuce. I know, I know. But I find we all eat about 50 times more salad when it is just there and ready to eat in a nanosecond. I guess there is always room for improvement!


Jen February 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I had (and well, she is still my best friend today) a VERY rich friend in high school. Her dad lived in a spectacular mansion in Oregon and I lived with them for a while. You know what’s weird about rich people who live in amazing homes? They have to have people in their house fixing and working on stuff all the time. There was always someone there, cleaning the pool or working on the intercom system or something. I don’t like the lack of privacy. Also, they really only lived in a small portion of this amazing large home and most of it was for show. We spent 90% of our time in the family room and kitchen.

I am not dissing the rich, just pointing out some things that I found when hanging out with them that I don’t envy.


Katy February 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

I know your neighborhood well. My best friend from college, (and since) grew up in Katonah, and I’ve visited her three times, the last time in 2005. We drove past Martha Stewart’s house, (which was walking distance for her house as well!) and I even took pictures!

Mt friend’s house was lovely and elegant, although not actually all that big. However, it was surrounded by insanely fancy houses. And the property the house sat on was worth a fortune.



Kate in NY February 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

WELL in that case, you had better get in touch the next time you are visiting. I will whip us up a lovely omelette (with eggs from my own backyard chickens), a salad (no pre-washed greens, I promise) and some homemade bread. We can eat off my charming-but-mismatched hodgepodge of plates that my mother gives me whenever she upgrades (that is, yearly), sit back in my (curbside find) porch rockers, and have a nice chat. Does your friend still live here?


psmflowerlady/Tammy February 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

I know that my personal attitude makes all the difference in the world. I thnk that people who “want” all the time, no matter their income, will always feel deprived and “poor”. When I focus on the abundance that we have in general here in our society, I feel rich – no matter how much money I make or don’t make. Using the above examples, if I think of wanting a specific salad @ a pricey restaraunt, I “want” it and feel deprived if I can’t get it for lunch. If I focus on the leftovers (from my home-made canned goods) and the fact that I am blessed to even be able to buy fresh citrus in January to go with them, I can hardly wait to enjoy what I know will be a great hot lunch with sunny citrus on the side! I’m rich! Focusing on what I have rather than what I don’t has truly been a life-altering change in thinking for me.


Jinger February 3, 2012 at 9:27 am

Just made your dressing to go with Romaine, cut up myself, a homemade baguette and stuffed shells from Pinterest. Dinner tonight will be restaurant quality. Thanks!


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