Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 21, 2022 · 77 comments

  1. I pulled out my tote bag of holey socks and darned four pairs back into rotation. Sock darning is a unique activity as it can’t be rushed and requires an consistent level of concentration, which can be quite meditative. Plus it’s frugal and sustainable.

    This project prompted me to dump out my sock and underwear drawer and make some difficult decisions, as it was crammed full despite me wearing the same four pairs on repeat. Out went the knee-highs, (I only ever wore them as makeshift compression stockings when I worked as a labor and delivery nurse) as well as the Smart Wool socks with their agonizing garrotte-style ankle cuffs and buy-bye to the Japanese socks designed to be worn with wooden “geta” wooden flip flop slippers, which I don’t actually own.

    These socks were quickly snapped up through my Buy Nothing Group.

    The rest of the random socks weren’t decent (or even matched) enough to warrant darning or gifting, so they hit the garbage can. (Seriously, how is it that I owned so many socks where just one of them had distended elastic?!) My sock drawer now slides open with ease and only stores socks that I actually wear.

  2. One of my beloved Pittsburgh cousins came through town with her husband and although they stayed with my father, I offered to host a dinner one night. I knew I’d have to plan a meal that could be fully pre-prepared as they’d begged to be taken to Powell’s Books which I believe is now legally required for all Portland tourists. Here’s what I served:

    • A pan of spinach lasagna, which I could throw into the oven as soon as we got back to the house. The noodles were from Dollar Tree, the mozzarella was from my favorite “dented vegetable” grocery liquidator, the ricotta was a freebie from my grocery worker daughter and I cooked the sauce from scratch.
    • A big spinach salad, which I assembled that morning and waited to dress until we sat down to eat. Needless to say, I also mixed up a batch of my Tea Towel Salad Dressing™.
    • A warmed up loaf of random artisan bread that my daughter gifted me last week and was thrown into the freezer until that morning.
    • A “Royal Delight” icebox cake, which is made with chocolate wafers and whipped cream and left to set in the fridge. Not frugal, as the chocolate wafers have skyrocketed in price through the years, but is still a nostalgic family favorite.

    It would’ve been easy to take the easy route and get takeout as I’d be away from the house until right before dinner. But with a bit of planning, I was able to serve a frugal home cooked meal and still participate in any and all bookstore adventures.

    I also brought a bag of books to sell to Powells, which garnered me $13.50 in store credit, (woo hoo!) and I convinced my son to tag along as he possesses a rare 20%-off discount card through a job he worked earlier this year. They even let our entire party use his discount, which was an unexpected surprise.

  3. I hit up the aforementioned dented vegetable store for my normal veggie fix and scored six dented boxes of Annie’s gluten-free macaroni and cheese for 50¢ apiece, (normally $3.50+ per box!) I’m defrosting an extra turkey that I got for free last year, my husband installed our $25 “learning” Nest thermostat, a tree-less neighbor let me use her yard debris can for some of the 7.2 quadrillion leaves that fall on our sidewalk, my neighbor gave me her uncut pumpkin and I received both a box of frozen bison steaks and a case of Momofuku Chili Crunch as a thank you for keeping a tight eye on my aging aunt and uncle who visited from Nebraska last month.

  4. This last “frugal thing” is actually a “frugal fail.” I sold a huge stuffed plush Pikachu on eBay, which I placed both in a large plastic bag as well as a lightweight shipping envelope. I carefully squished the air from the package and taped it closed. The package must have expanded significantly afterwards, as I got a notification that I was being charged an extra $24 for shipping! It only sold for $30, so this sale pretty much garnered me nothing after eBay fees. Oh well, I did get it for free. Still though . . .

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or spend 44 billion dollars to implode Twitter.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Robinson November 21, 2022 at 5:21 am

I’ve used your Tea Towel dressing ever since first seeing it on your blog. I always is a favorite and everyone asks about it!!


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:26 am

It’s so simple yet a crowd pleaser.


Ava November 21, 2022 at 6:15 am

1. I took a double batch of the famous tea towel salad dressing to a salad and baked potato church lunch. It was highly praised and used to the last drop.
2. Had a very successful craft show and made 3 sales on Etsy. I will list some of the small easy to ship leftover craft items on Etsy.
3. Making lots of homemade food to take to Thanksgiving. Cheaper and more delicious than store bought.
4. Ate plenty of junk at the craft sale but resisted the urge for bottled drinks and hot chocolate. Drank the water I brought and refilled the bottle as needed.
5. Can’t take credit for this one but benefitted from it. Ordered a small pizza in a favorite local restaurant. The kitchen made a medium by mistake. They apologized and said “Enjoy” so I did.


Kathy November 21, 2022 at 6:48 am

1. Received pumpkin and apple pies from employer. The are in freezer until needed
2. Bought $5 of raffle tickets at dog show. Won a beautiful oversized fluffy throw
3. Completed another Noom survey=$25 Amazon gift card
4. Sold an item on Mercari $27.88
5. Eating from pantry


Ruby November 21, 2022 at 6:51 am

Katy, I culled my sock drawer this fall too. I prefer Goldtoe socks and had bought several multipacks on eBay for an excellent price, but each pack included a pair in a weird color that I wasn’t wearing. Off to Goodwill went a little pile of washed but brand-new socks.

My FFT for the weekend:
1. Found an open box copy of a budget planning journal on Mercari for slightly less than half of what it retails for new. The real money-saver is that the book is from an English publisher, so the shipping cost would be quite high if bought new. I feel the need for a tool that works better than trying to keep everything in my head.
2. Revived some stained washcloths by boiling them in a stockpot of bleach water. Poured the hot bleach water down the kitchen sink to help clean the drain.
3. Am returning several items to an online retailer. I used to not bother with small items that did not work out, but do now.
4. Am diligently line/rack drying laundry, a task made easier by the recent cold but sunny days.
5. DH gets props for cleaning the dishwasher filter. I do the HVAC filter, so my chore is more frequent but way less disgusting.


Shona November 21, 2022 at 10:30 am

I keep a small bottle of bleach on hand because I use it so seldom, but thank you for the reminder to use it on my dingy kitchen towels.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:25 am

Boiling bleach made my alarm bells go off, so I looked up the safety of this practice and this is what I found:

“What happens if you inhale boiling bleach?
Exposure to low concentrations of chlorine (1 to 10 ppm) may cause eye and nasal irritation, sore throat, and coughing. Inhalation of higher concentrations of chlorine gas (>15 ppm) can rapidly lead to respiratory distress with airway constriction and accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).”

There were also other warnings about how the vapor is flammable, so I encourage all my readers to research think twice before boiling a bleach solution.


Ruby November 21, 2022 at 12:07 pm

Yikes! I had no idea this was dangerous. It was not a lot of bleach and I dropped the temp to a simmer while stirring around the cloths, but wow! Much safer to buy new washcloths and turn the old ones into rags.


Bee November 21, 2022 at 11:29 am

I cleaned the dishwasher filter last weekend. It is definitely a disgusting job. Now the dishwasher is running very well and my spendthrift husband is not threatening to buy a new dishwasher any longer!


Ecoteri November 23, 2022 at 9:52 pm

#5 Dishwasher filter – GAH, my least favourite job. Much improved since I began soaking mine in ammonia – which I purchase for this job alone (or, also for the grease filters in my over the stove hood, however those don’t get bad as I cook very little greasy meat). A half hour soak in diluted ammonia and a scrub with a brush (while wearing throwaway gloves) and I get most of the yuck off. In the past I would be in tears over cleaning the darn thing…


Cindy in the South November 21, 2022 at 8:08 am

The meal with your family sounds delicious! 1. I made one Thanksgiving meal, complete with a whole turkey breast and three legs, loads of homemade sides, and delivered it to my youngest son who is studying for law school finals. 2. I will make a repeat of this meal for my other two sons and my ex, and serve it on Wednesday, when my oldest son is off from his restaurant job. He is driving down from the northern part of the state. His off days do not jive with mine, so it is a real treat to see him! This meal will include a whole turkey cooked with long carrots, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, green bean casserole, pea salad, cranberry, some sort of pie probably pumpkin and sweet potato pie, but I am not making those. My middle son will be working that day but we see him all the time since he lives in the area, so he can eat leftovers after work. Leftovers are frugal. 4. I guess I will walk and take a nap after all of this.


isa November 21, 2022 at 11:34 am

Will you adopt me???


Cindy in the South November 23, 2022 at 5:45 pm

Lol. I also ended up making those chocolate/oatmeal/peanut butter no bake cookies. It took FOUR hours to cook that 20 lb bird! I may or may not have cussed like a sailor….


Hawaii Planner November 21, 2022 at 8:09 am

1) Cooked a lot, and cleaned items out of the freezer, to avoid food waste. We had some pretty creative meals last week.
2) Listed & sold the last of my husband’s outgrown stuff on eBay.
3) Picked all of the pomegranates from our tree. Shared a bunch with neighbors.
4) Used grocery store rewards, Fetch & iBotta for the few things we needed. I rarely find deals that I need on iBotta, but every so often…I’m also finally at the point where I can cash out, which is nice. Back into the grocery budget it will go.
5) Used a $1 Rite Aid reward on the day it was expiring. Bought deodorant for the teens.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:20 am

I have yet to reach the “cash out” point in Ibotta, as I mostly buy store brands.


Jen November 21, 2022 at 3:38 pm

I rarely use Ibotta or Checkout 51, but use Fetch with every receipt. Even taking a photo of a Goodwill or gas receipt gets me 25 points and I have cashed out a few times.


Bee November 21, 2022 at 11:37 am

I have used ibotta for a long while. It takes me approximately 6 months to earn the $20 needed to cash out. I literally earn a dime at a time usually by generic items such as grapes. This month I have been helped a long by BOGO free offers for Mayo, ketchup and cereal. I have paired these items with digital coupons. However, I have never figured out the Thanksgiving free turkey offer.


MB in MN November 21, 2022 at 8:19 am

Ooh, thanks for the salad dressing recipe! I was looking for ways to use up both rice vinegar and garlic.

1. Although we’ve sold our house and will be closing in mid-December, we haven’t found another one. We’ll be putting most of our possessions in storage and staying mostly in Airbnbs, including a two-month stay in California to get away from Minnesota winter and to help a family member. This will be an adventure! Lodging and travel costs will be offset by not having any home maintenance expenses, taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, etc.

2. Got renters insurance for our possessions and updated auto insurance since one vehicle will be in storage.

3. Scheduled the movers to come during the week, saving a couple hundred dollars.

4. Stockpiled books from library book sale and thrift stores to take on trip. I will put them in Little Free Libraries as we go along.

5. Spent $2 to buy back a piece of my own pottery from the thrift store. I made this piece in an adult beginner’s pottery class so it’s just a few steps up from a child’s pinch pot. Nevertheless, when I told a friend that I had donated it, she said she wanted it so I went back and found it on the sales floor! At $2, it was a good investment in our friendship, even though the thrift store clearly under-valued my nascent talent.


Ruby November 21, 2022 at 8:32 am

I bought my own sweater back from a thrift once. Donated when I got too fluffy to wear it, lost weight a year later and then saw it on the dollar clearance rack. I just looked on the $1 as a storage fee.


A. Marie November 21, 2022 at 10:01 am

Ruby, Ms. Bestest Neighbor is still kidding me about the time a few years ago when we went to one of her favorite charity shops in the town near the BNs’ lake cottage, and I bought a sweater she’d donated. But it benefited the charity (a cat rescue group), and everyone including the store personnel enjoyed the joke.


Anne November 22, 2022 at 8:24 am

I once picked up a book at a thrift store as a gift for a friend because it involved her favorite activity in the whole world, bowling. I snuck over to her house and slipped it into her mail slot.

A couple of hours later she guessed it was me and called me. It turned out that SHE had donated it to the gift shop.


Katy November 22, 2022 at 8:27 am

That is too funny!

Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:18 am

I can only imagine that having a buffer period between selling your house and finding a new place will feel like light and fluffy freedom without the responsibility of home ownership.


MB in MN November 21, 2022 at 11:26 am

Katy, yes! We’re already starting to feel light and fluffy just anticipating it.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:37 am

I could use some “light and fluffy.”


MB in MN November 21, 2022 at 11:24 am

Hopefully you could tell the humor in my #5! I have next to no artistic talent.


Jill D November 22, 2022 at 2:37 pm

But you clearly have great Friend Talent, to have a friend who so treasured your $2 beginner pot.


MB in MN November 22, 2022 at 6:28 pm

Jill D, that’s very nice of you to say. Thank you.


Bee November 21, 2022 at 11:48 am

Enjoy your lovely adventure! There is so much responsibility – financial & otherwise —. related to owning and maintaining our stuff. I once read a post written by a single man who lived in a hotel in Silicon Valley. It was cheaper than renting an apartment in this HCL area. He had maid service, breakfast made for him every morning, shuttle service and never ran out of coffee. I think about this every now and then. What a way to live!


Katy November 21, 2022 at 12:03 pm

Was it a suite? I’d go nuts in a standard hotel room with just a bed, chair and desk.


Heidi Louise November 21, 2022 at 12:42 pm

I’ve thought about such a stay as potentially cheaper than a short-term apartment: TV, phone, internet, cleaning, security, provided furniture and linens, parking, snow removal, mailing address, maybe a business center with printer, work-out room, pool, trash pick-up.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Okay, I now want to live in a hotel.

Jill A November 21, 2022 at 3:40 pm

Now I want to live in a hotel too. I can just imagine how it must feel to not have all the worries and hassle of home ownership.


Selena November 21, 2022 at 8:14 pm

I camp out at an extended stay hotel when I have to visit the office proper (haven’t been there at all since Covid hit). I pack a good chunk of food for my self and make use of the stove/microwave/frig. Has a dishwasher but honestly, I just wash up the few items I use. I usually buy a couple meals out and these days, most meals feed me more than once. Work pays for lodging and I get the hotel points which I used when we visit the kiddo.


Tonya November 21, 2022 at 9:12 am

1) I made homemade chicken soup from the carcass of my Costco rotisserie chicken. Threw in rice, some odds and ends from the fridge, and my son and I enjoyed a hearty and warming meal.
2) I packed lunch for work (for the millionth time). We don’t really get a lunch break, so it makes a lot of sense to eat at my desk anyway.
3) Pulled a few items from the freezer since my college kids are home for the week of Thanksgiving. I had baked muffins ahead of time, and had some pork roast that my oldest likes.
4) Mourning the lost lives in Colorado springs. This is just down the road from us and hits way too close to home.
5) Planning some cozy, warm time with my kids, holding them close, celebrating who they are, and hoping that our world can start to do better. Love is love.


MB in MN November 21, 2022 at 10:57 am

Tonya, I’m so sorry evil came to your community. My heart goes out to everyone. Your #5 made me tearful. Give your precious kids a hug from all of us who feel the same way you do.


A. Marie November 22, 2022 at 11:48 am

Tonya, I second MB in MN on your #4 and #5. I had the “way too close to home” feeling about the shooting at the Buffalo Tops store earlier this year. Dear Lord, when will the madness stop?


K D November 21, 2022 at 10:47 am

1. I saved the liquid from baking a couple batches of marinated chicken breasts. I used it as a base for a soup to which I added vegetables and some leftover meatballs.

2. I used random note cards to pen Thanksgiving greetings for people I deliver Meals on Wheels meals to.

3. I finished listening to Demon Copperhead, borrowed from the library, using the Libby app. I’m almost done listening to Lucy By The Sea.

4. I gave away a pair of shoes my husband no longer found comfortable and also a couple of toothbrushes from our dentist. We use electric toothbrushes and already had a few spare manual brushes.

5. We do not have a 200 pound pet pig. I met one today while delivering for Meals on Wheels. It lives in the owner’s house and is very spoiled, it was wearing an blanket coat with his name embroidered on it.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:05 am

Re: your #5 — you too, huh?


Bee November 22, 2022 at 3:34 am

Re: #5 is fascinating – I’m trying to grasp how big a 200-pound pig is. That is the size of a grown man. Who delivers its meals? I think I’ll stick with Rescue Pup for companionship. Different stokes.


A. Marie November 22, 2022 at 11:21 am

I once saw someone out walking a pet pig on a nearby street. My immediate reaction was “Holy @$%, that’s the ugliest dog I ever saw!”


Susie's Daughter November 22, 2022 at 4:49 pm

A. Marie – I am laughing so hard, I’m crying. Thank you for that!


Christine November 23, 2022 at 5:23 pm

My niece who is a hospice nurse had a pet pig. She would sometimes take it to visit her patients in their homes. However when he grew to 700 pounds…well, he had to go. She gave it to some Amish people and I don’t know what became of it after that.


Shona November 21, 2022 at 10:57 am

Continuing with No-buy November and sticking to my list at the grocery store. However, I still cannot pass up a good sale or mark-down on food we will actually eat and enjoy. 1/2 off a BIG tub of hummus which we have been enjoying for lunches spread on the free sourdough I bring home from work. We eat a lot of rice and I found a 20# bag of jasmine on the grocery clearance shelf for $13.50.

Found a $4 off Starbucks recovery card in a parking lot. My No-buy November accountability partner shops there so she got the card to knock some $ off her beloved holiday drink come December.


Isa November 21, 2022 at 11:30 am

* I continue to give alot stuff on Buy Nothing and to receive stuff as well. I scored a brand new looking London Fog winter jacket for my teen daughter, wout! wout! She was complaining about her red jacket (It’s not coooool), wanting a black one. Well, this one is black!

* Got invited to join in on a Christmas lights viewing. it’s an activity that would have cost us 30$/car. So we passed. I love Christmas lights but I will not pay to look at them, sorry!

* A friend gave me a Mexican meat pie she made. I gifted her marinated beets in return. Win-win!

* Got medium ground beef at 2,85$/pound (canadian), which is a fantastic price here! So I bought 3 giant trays and divided them into 18 small packs to freeze. We use way less ground beef than before, so this is a treat. I usually stick to the cheapest option, which is ground pork around here. (2,85$/pound or about)

* DD wants a skateboard for her upcoming b-day. I shopped around and was able to find one on sale, 80% off. So I paid 10$ instead of 50$, yay!


A. Marie November 21, 2022 at 12:32 pm

FFT, Hamming It Up as an Old Lady Edition:

(1) Frugal fail/win: I bought a 3-pack of socks for DH at Ollie’s last week, only to observe as I unpacked them that they seemed a bit small for him. However, they fit me perfectly (and I needed some more socks of that type anyway). I got DH some bigger socks on a return visit this morning, using a 20% off one item coupon.

(2) I also indulged in a ham shank (the smallest I could find) at Price Chopper last week, since they were $1.69/lb. As an expat Southerner, I adore ham, but as a recently single woman, I rarely buy it. (Things were different when DH was around to eat his share.) However, I’ve made the most of this one: I’ve had several ham sandwiches; I made a ham and potato soup on Friday from a new-to-me recipe that both I and the Bestest Neighbors thought was excellent; I carved off 1.5 pounds and froze it for future use; and I’m currently making a split pea soup with the bone.

(3) I treated myself to a trip to the Rescue Mission’s boutique store on the local university campus yesterday, since the students have cleared out for Thanksgiving and parking near the store is actually possible. I bought a number of odds and ends that definitely have me showing my age: a lovely English bone china teapot (Tuscan Ware) for $6; a pair of diabetes-friendly socks (I don’t have diabetes, but they’re comfortable); and–here I am with TMI again–two packs of incontinence pads for women (again, I don’t yet need these, but I’m getting there). Small wonder that none of these things had been picked up by the students!

(4) On my by now almost weekly Monday visit to the Salvation Army superstore at the foot of my hill today, I found a pair of NWT Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans–in a size up from what I usually wear, but they fit. I’m consoling myself with the thought that they must have been incorrectly tagged for size. As the Jeff Goldblum character in “The Big Chill” said, we all need at least one good juicy rationalization per day to get by.

(5) And Betty the cat and I have been enjoying fires in the woodburner since the weather turned colder. (We haven’t had the horrific snow totals you’ve been hearing about in the Buffalo area, but it is certainly cold and windy.) When there’s a fire going, Betty camps out on the hearth rug and won’t move, except when I absolutely have to put another log on!


Katy November 21, 2022 at 1:20 pm

Mmm . . . I love split pea soup with ham!


Katy November 21, 2022 at 1:21 pm

I am a huge fan of wearing clothing that fits, damn the size label!


Anne November 22, 2022 at 8:33 am

Love, love that you picked up things at your thrift store that college students didn’t need…….yet. Their time will come.


Jean November 23, 2022 at 6:21 pm

I volunteer in a nice thrift shop and can tell you there is a wide disparity in sizing depending on the brand. (In my opinion Gloria Vanderbilt clothings tends to run small). In thrift stores I recommend sorting through your normal size (whatever that means) as well as one size up and one size down. Sizing can be totally crazy,


Christine November 21, 2022 at 12:37 pm

1. I scored 5 long life light bulbs for 2.50, a bag of sports cards for 2.25 (there are hundreds) to give to my son who appraises them and then sells them online and a happily accepted a free silk poinsettia on wire to use in one of the cemetery baskets I make for relative’s graves at Christmastime, all at my church’s thrift shop.
2. Speaking of the cemetery baskets, I retrieved the two containers I had used for arranging the Memorial Day baskets from the cemetery to use once again.
3. We overpaid our portion of a dental bill so we received a check from our dental insurance company for the overpaid amount. Our money anyway but a nice little surprise.
4. DH and I worked the midterm elections together. I like to do my little part to hopefully keep democracy running smoothly.
5. Eating all meals at home, making my own tea iced tea and coffee, doing a jigsaw puzzle and crossword puzzles for entertainment, reading library books and taking walks when it’s not too cold.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!


janine November 21, 2022 at 12:39 pm

I thought ‘Twitter cost $44B? $44M was quite a savings – no wait – was it possibly purchased with FTX crypto $$ so bargains were gained by all?
1. Extended family dinner hosted by cousin for Thanksgiving. Planning to gift kids with Advent calendars but Trader Jo brand didn’t seem to contain much candy – will add chocolate bars so sugar highs can continue. Adults get poinsettias. I am excused from bringing a dish to pass.
2. Expecting out of town guests tomorrow which has motivated me to at least do a cursory house cleaning and a sweep out of unneeded stuff.
3. Thankful for complete but crappy health insurance. DH has signed up for additional cardiac therapy at no added cost which will help.
4. Found some slightly out-dated Danish cheese for $2.00# at a local market. These days bargains are especially appreciated.
5. Did a pantry inventory and found an excess of cooking oil. Savings come from knowing what you have on hand as many posters have attested on this site!


Katy November 21, 2022 at 1:17 pm

Thank you for your eagle eye, that typo is now remedied.


AM November 21, 2022 at 1:57 pm

1. Went to Costco and got only what I needed (plus a bag of mandarins). I went in to buy the medications I take daily as they are much cheaper than pharmacy or grocery brand.
2. Used the whole rotisserie chicken for multiples meals and stock
3. Also the motor oil there is about half the price of any other store. This is a bonus frugal because my old Corolla has a constant oil leak and keeping the levels up improves gas mileage
4. I’m setting a strict Christmas budget of $150 for my large family and friends. I participated in a focus group and got that as payout. I’m thinking of ideas in my notes app and writing the prices before I buy anything. I’ve been looking out on buy nothing and being very discerning with the sales ads that come up on my feed. For example, I got a set of two dry sacks ( $50 value ) for an outdoorsy friend because they were offering it free with $100 purchase. I returned the purchase and got to keep the dry sacks, so I only paid $5 in shipping. And I have a few handmade gifts planned, but not everybody would want the same things.
5. Going on year 4 of my dollar tree gloves. They aren’t the warmest and don’t protect from wet but I find them very cozy and they do the job good enough for me. Surprisingly built to last, as I find some things at dollar tree are


Christine November 23, 2022 at 5:29 pm

In my mail delivery days I always bought gloves at the Dollar Store and snipped off the tips so I could go through the mail while out on my route. For 1$ there was no guilt about wrecking a good pair of gloves.


Jill A November 21, 2022 at 2:22 pm

Some day I’m going to try darning my socks. I’m always impressed that you do this. Powell’s Books was a highlight of our trip to Portland.

1. We received a large dump of snow over three days. I blew out my driveway three times trying to keep up with it all. This saved me probably a few hundred dollars if I were to have it plowed as I have a very long driveway. I’m not sure what this winter is going to bring but I know I only blew out my driveway three times last year total.
2. I wore my daughters middle school snow pants to work outside. They are way too small and I can’t even zip them up but they cover my legs which is the important part. Someday I’ll thrift a pair that actually fits but for now they’ll work.
3. I went to estate sales with my mother the other day. I picked up several items to sell on Ebay as well as a 12 piece set of Anchor Hocking Milano glassware. I’ll use them for our Thanksgiving dinner and then sell them on Ebay afterwards.
4. I’m continuing to deep clean each room of my house. I’ve finished my kitchen and dining room and moved on to my bathroom. I’ve cleaned out expired meds and rearranged items so I know what I have to use up…many half empty hotel toiletries. I found an old forgotten bottle of corn huskers lotion which will come in handy because with all the cleaning my poor hands are a mess.
5. My daughter is staying a few extra days unplanned…long story. She’s running out of dog kibble and I was able to give her several free samples of dog food that I was gifted. Her dog has allergies to chicken so 5 out of 6 samples will work for him.

Bonus: I’m making a price book for all of my groceries that I buy so I can keep track of the cheapest prices. I picked up the least expensive items at Aldi, Meijer & Costco.


Bee November 24, 2022 at 7:21 am

I had a price book years ago. With the rising costs of food, I have started this again. I went to Costco last week and spent 2.5 hours compassion shopping. It’s a little more complicated now. Since we usually have an empty nest, somethings aren’t worth buying in higher quantities, but I am determine to get my grocery cost down.


CeeLee November 21, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Regarding the worn or unmatched socks, do you use Ridwell or Just Porch It rather than sending textiles to a landfill? I know Ridwell has a fee (and it’s why I use Buy Nothing to ask my neighbors to take items occasionally!), but Just Porch It is free in Portland for textile recycling!


Christine November 23, 2022 at 5:32 pm

St. Vincent de Paul takes textiles in their drop boxes.


Alexandra November 21, 2022 at 3:17 pm

1. French food! I have found making both cheese fondue and crepes a great way of using up odds and ends and dang they seem elegant. I steamed ½ head of broccoli and one carrot, cut in chunks to serve with the lightly toasted bread cubes (heels of homemade bread) with the Swiss fondue (gruyere cheese, white wine, garlic). Crepes can seem intimidating, but they are simply thin pancakes. I had one slice of thick cut deli ham leftover. I chopped it up with some green onion and some diced cooked potatoes and a quick white sauce. Filled crepes. Then put into a 8×8 pan (greased) with a thinned leftover-fondue sauce on top. Bake 20 min 375 until top bubbles a bit and browns. I served both with a salad of arugula, onion and cherry tomatoes and a vinaigrette. I need to try the kitchen towel salad dressing!
2. I’m working as a food-sampler at a large box store right now for extra money while job hunting. We did hams and turkeys this past weekend. I got to bring home bones! Stock is cooking in Instant Pot with turkey bones. I’m making bean soup with the ham bone. I think white bean with rosemary.
3. We just planned a meet up with family in a neighboring town in early December for their down town holiday festivities. A great free event to enjoy the lights and music of the season and all it costs us is gas. We’ll bring snacks for the car and of course our refillable bottles of water. We’ll splurge on a few local handmade treats to support the folks and add to the holiday enjoyment.
4. So thankful family is on board with minimal Xmas. All gifts are practical. Our adult kids raved, I mean RAVED about grocery gift cards a few years ago and so we keep to that sort of theme: food, consumables, and practical.
5. I mended 2 items of clothes this week and felt proud of myself! So simple.


rebecca November 21, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Nothing exciting and it has been an expensive week due to takeout because I don’t have a kitchen right now.
1. Bought loss leaders at the grocery store
2. Bought a less expensive bottle of wine as a Thanksgiving hostess gift. The salesperson at the liquor store said it was really good. Fingers crossed.
3. My friend took me out to lunch on Saturday as a thank you. Not needed or expected but lovely.
4. Not much else-coffee from my .20 coffee pods. I miss brewed coffee and don’t like the ecological cost of them but cheaper than coffee out everyday.


Susie's Daughter November 22, 2022 at 3:50 am

1) We were FINALLY organized to get rid of what our town calls “bulky waste” (think broken gas grill, damaged screens/blinds etc) only to discover that “Bulky Waste Days” ended for the season in October. With Dear Wife’s truck already loaded up like the Clampetts, we called nearby town waste management and were delighted to learn that the transfer station would allow us to unload the truck into various dumpsters for $9 total for the truckload. I was thrilled that it was so affordable and had steeled myself for painful cost. Huge relief and bargain end to this long lingering chore. I think they figure it is cheaper than having to send someone around retrieving junk from the side of the road, which unfortunately happens here too.

2) Prior to loading up Clampett truck, I endeavored to give away as much useable material as possible. Three years’ worth of black plastic starter plant pots and trays from the garden shed – no longer recyclable – and two solid wood accordion folding doors from a closet we no longer have. Beloved next door neighbor added a heavily used but still serviceable stroller. Thrilled to watch the “Free” pile on our front lawn disappear.

3) I send Thanksgiving cards each year for work as Christmas cards are too much for me in an already busy season. This year I realized I had plenty from years past to send the 25 I need to. If anyone notices a repeat card from 2018, more power to them. I hope they know the sentiment is still current!

4) Stocked the freezer with a bargain turkey and veggie sales. Waiting to see if baking items (butter, sugar, flour) will go on better sale than they are right now, but not optimistic. If not, they will go on the Costco list for the next trip to the “big city”.

5) Thanksgiving will be at a rented house with all of DW’s family. Buying, prep, cooking and dishes split among the whole family and no one has to do laundry or clean bathrooms when the weekend is over.

Happy Thanksgiving, frugal friends. Katy, I am so grateful for this community you have formed!


Katy November 22, 2022 at 8:30 am

Thank you for your kind words, I am grateful for it as well!


MB in MN November 24, 2022 at 7:11 am

I second what Susie’s Daughter said and wanted to chime in with my own gratefulness this Thanksgiving Day. I love when Monday rolls around now as I know there will be a new post and comments to read throughout the week!


Lindsey November 23, 2022 at 4:43 pm

One college friend and I have used the same Christmas card for 31 years, sending it back and forth and just adding a few lines. It now has extra pages stapled to it, and things on the front have had to be reglued, and it can no longer be sent in a regular envelope as it is like a small package. I get it, I send it, she gets it and sends it back even if by now it is January or February. It has wished us luck in marriages, career changes, family deaths you name it. It is a joy to read through it and odd to remember what we were thankful for/obsessed with over three decades. I am so very glad we somehow decided to do it, although neither one of us can remember who suggested it first.


Christine November 23, 2022 at 5:38 pm

Lindsey, that is really nice. It must be fun to look back and read the old entries. What a great idea.


Patti November 22, 2022 at 2:55 pm

1) I refused to pay $250 for one night of lodging (in a cheap hotel, no less) in my hometown this past weekend when I went home for a youth group reunion. I took my blow up bed to stay in my parent’s home which is empty and for sale. My best friend from high school came to stay with me and we had a wonderful “girls slumber party” together. She brought a camp chair, a blanket, and her crochet. I brought my camp chair, old pictures of her and her sister, and snacks. Best night ever!!! Not sure why the hotel was so high (nearly double) except it is the start of the holiday season.
2) Making many dishes for Thanksgiving from items on hand – it is how I determined the menu! I did stock up on $.29/lb sweet potatoes and have enough for several meals this winter.
3) Will be making your salad dressing for Thanksgiving. I love homemade salad dressing and this one sounds like it will go well with our meal. I have all the ingredients in the pantry.
4) Roasted a special squash I bought in the mountains last month when I went apple picking. It is called a Candy Roaster and was developed by the Cherokee Indians. I made two pies with the pulp using a sweet potato pie recipe.
5) Making Christmas gifts out of my stash of supplies that I have needed to downsize. Only giving “useful” gifts to each recipient ( I hope).


Shona November 22, 2022 at 5:45 pm

Candy roasters are fantastic!


Jennifer November 22, 2022 at 5:44 pm

1 – Getting ready for Thanksgiving. I wanted a fresh turkey and had to go to 2 stores to find one as I was paranoid to buy one too early. In the end I did get organic spices B1G1 at the second store – was a big savings and the organic was just a bonus.

2 – free lunch at work today. I took leftover veggies to go with the pizza. Better than a plain iceburg lettuce salad and my veggies did not go to waste.

3 – I love to do stockings but the cost can really add up. As significant others start coming into the picture (2 will be here Christmas morning) I had to decide what to do. I decided to combine and do couples stockings. Therefore my total for each stocking should be the same. I really didn’t want to do 2 more stockings and eventually 4 more stockings.

4 – Eating up the leftovers to make room for Thanksgiving food prep. Didn’t want to cook dinner but scrounged in the freezer and came up with something.

5 – Dh rode his bike to work, I filled up gas at Costco, used a gift card for a free starbucks drink, and have been remembering to use my flexcard for prescriptions – almost finished it up after today.


CH November 23, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Powell’s. I have 3 big bags of books to take, but I’m being a baby about it. I’m afraid I’ll get stuck in a really long line or something. Which store did you go to?


Katy November 23, 2022 at 3:06 pm

I went to the downtown location. I would check first to make sure that they’re buying that day. I think it’s just Fri-Mon right now, but that might just be the Hawthorne location. There was no line even though it was a Saturday and the store was packed.


Casey November 23, 2022 at 3:58 pm

Someone was commenting on laminators last week … if you don’t have access to one, packing tape works great on small items like an insurance card. It will take a bit of practice to do so without wrinkles, but it works well.


Lindsey November 23, 2022 at 4:51 pm

I was one of the people talking about laminators. I am afraid my love, at one time, was stronger than that. I actually laminated whole pages of the local newspaper that I thought I might want someday. There is no explanation for the fixation, although it has grown more manageable over the years. Turns out pages still get yellow even after laminating. Now I could get by with the packing tape trick, so I will keep that in mind if I want to keep my insurace card, license, car insurance, grocery list (kidding…) encased in a protective coat. Thank you for bothering to reply with an alternative. I think my lust has switched to a 3D printer that I don’t need but so far the price has kept me sane and away from such a purchase.


Roberta November 26, 2022 at 9:24 am

Our public library has a 3D printer, and it has saved my family from lusting after our own too much. The several times we have used it over the years would not justify the cost!


Katy November 26, 2022 at 11:21 am

That’s so cool, I need to check if my library has one.


Ecoteri November 23, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Not frugal for me but kind of joyous, anyway. While doing the (ongoing, always ongoing) farm yard cleanup, “Wonder James” assisted me in taking out to the road, where they soon flew away:
1. a {stupid} plastic wheelbarrow that someone gave to me years ago, it has been sitting in the field with a deteriorating bag of lime in it for at least three years. now the lime is in a chunk on the field where it will slowly get spread around.
2. 2 road bike frames left by a previous tenant
3. 2 sad folding lawn chairs that had been placed where the chickens dust themselves. Someone has taken them away and will be glad to clean them. I wasn’t going to!
4. a {stupid} rolling garden seat that had bad memories and needed to be repaired. Win, more bad feelings taken away
5. something else that I can’t even remember so I know it wasn’t important.
A friend of mine always asks “How many cubic feet do you think you got rid of?”
Other than that, I have avoided grocery shopping as I am discovering again how much it is a habit and I must have a better plan with what I have. I have been admiring the ripening tomatoes in the kitchen and those are next on the gotta-finish list – they came from the garden and using them up is important!


Katy November 24, 2022 at 9:41 am

I love all your adjectives and have a feeling that you’d be a very fun person to play Ad Libs with!


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