Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 1, 2024 · 73 comments

  1. I took my vacuum cleaner apart to unclog the tubing, which was a messy but satisfying task. I’ve been troubleshooting the occasional issue with this vacuum since 2001, yet don’t use this normal maintenance as an excuse to replace it. An appliance is naturally going to need the occasional repair. This is both a financial and environmental issue, as the overmanufacture of consumer goods is detrimental to the health of our planet.

    The Story of Stuff points out how manufacturers profit from consumers perceiving older items as clunky and outdated, even when they still meet our needs.

    As Annie Leonard put it:

    “I’ve had the same fat white computer monitor on my desk for 5 years. My co-worker just got a new computer. She has a flat shiny sleek flat screen monitor. It matches her computer, it matches her phone, even her pen stand. [It looks cool.] She looks like she is driving in space ship central and I, I look like I have a washing machine on my desk.”

    So yeah, I’ll keep living with my vacuum cleaner, even if it’s neither sleek nor shiny.

  2. I signed up for a free seven-day Britbox subscription on Roku so my husband and I could watch the eighth season of Shetland. I then took a photo of how to cancel the subscription and added the task to my calendar with an alert. No taking chances for me!

  3. I’m reading a library copy of The Saints of Swallow Hill, by Donna Everhart, as well as listening to an audiobook of The Daydreams, by Laura Hankin through the library’s free Libby app.

  4. • I went on eBay and bought a replacement copy of a book that a friend lent to me last summer, as I’d accidentally left it on an airplane. I’d totally let this transgression slip my mind until the memory suddenly snapped back to the front of my brain.
    • I delivered a basket to someone in my Buy Nothing group who was housebound with a sick kiddo.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill A January 1, 2024 at 5:55 am

Happy New Year!!
1. I stopped into the service desk while I was at Meijers. I requested the rest of a reward that I didn’t receive. I had more rewards than purchases so I only received $6.35 from the $10 reward. They gave me the difference in cash.
2. I bought a pair of mittens for 75% off by using a 50% off coupon and they were on half off sale after Christmas. I had my eye on them before Christmas but didn’t want to pay that price. They have a flap so I can use them when I walk the dog. My fingers freeze in the winter.
3. Half of my 4 slice toaster isn’t working. I’ll continue to use it until the other half dies.
4. My youngest daughter and I have caught the nasty cold that has been going around. We are drinking throat coat tea and I’m making myself hot toddies. I’m using my large pile of handkerchiefs instead of tissues.
5. I made broth with bones leftover from our Christmas rib roast and picked as much meat as I could off them. I’ll attempt a stroganoff once I can get my hands on some mushrooms.


Bee January 2, 2024 at 12:24 pm

My ancient toaster only toasts one side of the bread, but I just live with it too. Maybe I’ll run across a really nice secondhand toaster one day.


MB in MN January 1, 2024 at 7:06 am

1. I over-bought green grapes (only came in 2-lb. containers) for Christmas charcuterie boards, so I put the remainder in a stockpot along with strawberries, apples, sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves. Cooked it all down and have used it in yogurt, as chutney, and as a fruit spread on toast. I think I might put some in a quick bread, too.

2. Negotiated with our new HVAC provider to receive $5,000 in discounts and rebates on our new furnace/heat pump/AC system. While it’s been a challenging first month in our home, my mantra to all of our issues is: “This isn’t Gaza, this isn’t Ukraine, this isn’t fill-in-the-blank, this isn’t anything compared to the utter misery that millions experience day after day around the world.”

3. When the technician told me he tossed the furnace filter from the old furnace, I asked him to retrieve it since we had just changed it a couple weeks before the system was replaced.

4. With our recent laptop purchase, I bought my first ever service plan knowing that technical issues take me out of my comfort zone and make me exceptionally cranky. The plan has already paid off as I used the remote support line one late night and then when I had to bring it into the store for further troubleshooting (for an issue that I created – ugh). Part of me loves technology while another part of me thinks that a stone tablet and abacus would be best.

5. I am a poop bag magnet! As in empty bags, not full ones. I found my third roll of bags on the ground in the park, and we haven’t even used up all the bags from the two rolls I found earlier.


JDinNM January 1, 2024 at 10:30 am

Your #2: I tell myself “Any day you don’t wake up in a Syrian refugee camp is a very good day.”


Lindsey January 1, 2024 at 11:39 am

I tell myself “Your parents lived through concentration camps. You have nothing to complain about.” When I was a kid, my father used a version of this to snap us back to reality. I hated it but as an adult I believe it.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:32 pm

Inherited survivor’s guilt.


Selena January 1, 2024 at 7:54 pm

Inherited survivors guilt knows no ethnic boundaries.

Christine January 1, 2024 at 11:44 am

I love your #2. I just read that practicing gratitude reduces daily stress. Less stress is always good. I too, have found myself feeling so grateful I am not living in Ukraine, Gaza or any war-torn country or area. My heart breaks for those that are.


K D January 1, 2024 at 7:34 am

Happy New Years Katy and fellow readers.

We have two vacuums and each one is at least 15 years old. One we repaired many years by ordering a replacement part and another I took into the shop and had them diagnose and replace a part (I was fine with them using a used part).

My desktop PC is from 2010 and still working. My laptop is five years old and I hope to keep it for another five.

1. We finished watching season 7 of Doc Martin courtesy of library borrowed DVDS. The rest of the seasons we should be able to watch with our PBS Passport. I don’t mind supporting them for $60/year.

2. I made a Cornbread Tamale Pie and it was less flavorful than it usually is. We ate twice it even though it was bland. We survived, not every meal must be a gourmet experience.

3. We have varied our daily walk the past several days. It is more interesting that way and keeps us walking. We almost always walk from our house as there is no reason to drive to walk very often.

4. I am listening to the fifth book in the Maisie Dobbs series and reading Holly by Stephen King. Both are digital loans from the library.

5. I didn’t buy anything the past several days.


Ava January 1, 2024 at 7:57 am

1. I used my medical insurance debit card for $70 worth of OTC meds, deodorant and toothpaste.
2. I have sold tons on Etsy and am still selling Christmas items. I am holding off on cleaning the Etsy room until sales drop off. The fewer items are there, the less organizing I will have to do. My husband has started selling a few items on Ebay which makes me very happy.
3. I bought yellow and red peppers for .99 and then forgot to use them until they were withering. I had left over restaurant tortilla chips so I made migas which was delicious. I ate it for 3 meals.
4. I made seafood chowder with small scallops that were beginning to freezer burn, sprouting potatoes, a can of clams and frozen corn. It was excellent.
5. Friends gave us an enormous jug of dishwasher detergent after they found a type that works better in their dishwasher.


Bettypants January 1, 2024 at 7:59 am

1. My office had a secret santa exchange, but it was optional, so I did not participate. As always, it was generic lotions, candles, mugs, and Christmas decor being traded around.

2. I had leftover caramel from a Christmas dessert. We walked over to the dollar store and I found they had Hanover’s pretzels, so we bought two bags and I made drizzled caramel & chocolate pretzel rods.

3. I went to the last library book sale of the year and picked up four Babysitters Club graphic novels for a quarter each, which went to my niece. I also bought a stack of Captain Underpants books which I sold later that week on Marketplace.

4. My sister bought a pair of pajamas on clearance from J Crew, but the pants turned out to be hilariously far too long. I hemmed them for her, and she was appreciative.

5. I have an excellent Goodwill with low prices near my office, and have gotten into the bad habit of over buying and under listing. I am working on digging myself out.


mary in maryland January 1, 2024 at 7:59 am

1. Early morning New Year’s Eve grocery shop to plug holes in my menus. I can now make jambalaya, Moroccan sweet potato stew, general Tso’s soy curls, borscht, many bean dal, Chinese noodles with black bean sauce, enchiladas, and cauliflower pasta sauce without going to the store.
2. Alas, looking over my sales slip once I was back in my car, I noticed that I had been charged for 3 pounds of honey crisp apples at 3.69/# rather than broccoli at 1.69/#. I went back in to have this corrected. And got back to the car I noticed that the checker had refunded the cost of the honey crisps and then charged me for honey crisps again. I was tempted to think “They gave me some food, I gave them some money” but I went back in to customer service and got a refund for $6.
3. I mailed out end of year donations rather than donating online so the recipients will get more money to use. A stamp costs less than the credit card cut of a donation.
4. I pulled a 16 qt Farberware stock pot out of the rich (foolish) neighbor’s trash. It’s sitting on the stove, but I know I’ll be giving it away. Ditto for the three qt Martha Stewart cast iron casserole on the wood stove.
5. I have a list of tasks for tomorrow. Sign up for the yearly free checks from the credit union. Make sure the vet authorizes all the simultaneous dog med renewals to save me on shipping. Figure out how to groom the dog whilst this ugly dog pneumonia circulates.
6. Made black-eyed peas jambalaya for New Year’s Eve (and another three lunches.) Apple crisp for dessert—no butter or marge in the house, so I used a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.


Christine January 1, 2024 at 11:51 am

Good point on your #3. I did the same but without thinking of the credit card cut.


Gina in NY January 1, 2024 at 12:26 pm

Your menu sounds so delicious!


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:58 pm

Good for you for dealing with the overcharge. I know it must have been tempting to just drive home.


mary in maryland January 2, 2024 at 6:37 am

I was almost home the second time–and angry. But I calmed myself down and began to worry about both the salesclerk’ mental status and the store’s business on that very busy day.


A. Marie January 1, 2024 at 8:01 am

FFT, Between-Holidays Edition:

(1) I used the bones from my Xmas Eve Two Fat Ladies lamb dish, plus some lamb, duck, and beef bones I’d previously tossed into the freezer (another TFL trick), to make what I call “Old McDonald’s Stock.” (“With a baa-baa here and a quack-quack there…”) This stuff, IMHO, is even better than straight beef stock for making barley soup.

(2) I drove the Bestest Neighbors to the airport yesterday for their annual theatre trip to London, and as usual, they gave me various perishable bits and bobs from their fridge. I used most of the baby carrots and some chopped basil in the barley and mushroom soup I made with some of the Old McDonald’s Stock. I also added some leftover tomato paste and a generous slug of red wine left over from Xmas.

(3-5) And I’m riding a *really* hot thrifting streak right now. (As we thrifters know, the most wonderful time of the year is between Xmas and MLK Day, when unwanted Xmas presents and year-end donations hit the stores.) So far, I’ve found the following, all in excellent condition: an LL Bean fleece bathrobe; three pairs of LL Bean jogger pants; and a pair of black Brooks Addiction walking shoes (men’s size 7 extra wide) that fit perfectly. My quest for truly comfortable walking shoes sometimes resembles the quest for the Holy Grail, but I think that this pair is in Grail territory.


Christine January 1, 2024 at 11:57 am

Great score on the hiking boots. I find men’s hiking boots are more comfortable for me too. Years ago, I purchased a pair of Gore-tex men’s hiking boots with Vibrum soles. Honestly, I bet it was 20 years ago at least. They’re still going strong, still comfortable and although they were new when purchased, knowing myself as I do, they were either on sale or not too expensive!


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:56 pm

How practical am I, that I deeply envy the jogger pants? Tell me they have good pockets and I’ll die from jealousy!


A. Marie January 1, 2024 at 2:58 pm

They have good pockets, Katy. Eat your heart out. 🙂


Bee January 2, 2024 at 10:17 am

I love your old McDonald stock reference !


Ruby January 1, 2024 at 9:02 am

Katy, that basket delivery was such a sweet thing to do.

Lately I’ve had trouble getting the family to eat up leftovers, so our New Year’s Eve supper was pancakes, bacon and eggs. Always a big hit and the dogs were happy to help with the spoonful of leftover eggs.

Earlier in the afternoon, I used the last of some free pumpkin and prunes to make breakfast muffins. Picked a few walnuts out of some trail mix from Ollie’s Outlet to add crunch to the muffins and they are delish.

Also cut DH’s hair this weekend and trimmed his eyebrows and beard. Our new rescued pup has jaws like pinking shears and had bitten a little gash in the edge of the living room rug. I mended the back with tape and sewed it up on the front with quilting thread. It’s not perfect, buy you’d have to look hard to find it.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:54 pm

That’s a yummy sounding dinner for sure!


Anne January 1, 2024 at 9:14 am

We’re watching the new season of Shetland and finding it very disappointing.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:52 pm

To each their own I guess. My husband and I love that show!


Anne January 1, 2024 at 5:36 pm

I meant to say we loved the early seasons, but not the big cast change of this season.


Jennifer January 1, 2024 at 9:36 am

Happy New Year Katy!

1) I gave my dh an experience gift for Christmas and he loved it. We are going to see the Sabres play in a couple of weeks. I picked a game that was at a time when we won’t have to get a hotel room, as it will be a 3 hour drive. We don’t need a lot of stuff so I think we will continue this tradition.

2) At the grocery store Saturday I found organic boneless skinless chicken breasts for $0.99 a pound!!!!! I bought 12 pounds. The sell by date was that day and they had a huge supply. I guess chicken is not a popular food at the holidays.

3) I also found baby carrots for $0.10 a bag! My dog gets carrots in his dinner every night and we normally buy a big bag of whole carrots. This week he is eating baby carrots

4) At church Sunday they were giving away the Poinsettias that no one picked up on Christmas Eve. I now have a pretty plant for the winter months.

5) Dh and I came up with a plan for saving for travel and I am very excited. This should keep me motivated to spend less and save more. We want to go everywhere but have never set aside the money as dh is leary of traveling abroad. So I guess I want to travel everywhere. We had finally planned a trip to London in March of 2020. So that didn’t happen and we lost a good bit of money. I get his hesitation but that is no reason to sit at home. I can’t wait to plan a trip for 2025!


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:48 pm

Re: Your #2. People do to make fancier meals during the holidays, so that’s probably a good theory.


Tonya January 1, 2024 at 9:58 am

Doing very sexy stuff here on New Year’s Day, including:

Scrubbing down the tile where my cat box lives,
Scrubbing the kitchen trash can inside and out for a better smell and appearance, cleaning out the fridge and putting together many weird meals, and enjoying hiking, reading, and sleeping in. I go back to work tomorrow and have really loved some low-key time at home.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:44 pm

That’s sexy to me.


Selena January 1, 2024 at 7:57 pm

We changed a water filter and reorganized DVDs/blu-rays. But it does remind me I should have cleaned my frig shelves (we’ve done a good job of eating leftovers).


Blue Gate Farmgirl January 1, 2024 at 10:48 am

Happy Foggy New Year!
Had a very quiet NYE, thankful that the rowdy neighbors (15 acres away) did not party and shoot it up this year.
Have been in a Swedish Death Cleaning kick lately. I have done 1 walk in closet, one big guest room bath and mudroom closet. There is 50 year accumulation, so it is a huge job.
Will paint the ceilings and all of the interior walls this year along with stripping 30 yo wallpaper.
Still working on cutting up the oak that we took down at the entrance to the driveway. The oak had moved over 10 inches this past year as a tree next to it was literally pushing it over. So far have cut up 2 cords of wood.
January will be eating out of the freezer, started lettuces in the greenhouse yesterday and radishes. I will buy dog food and milk. We still have pears and apples from harvest, cabbages, chard, kale, broccoli and spinach in the garden.
My friend dropped off her Amaryllis plants that had spent flowers. I plant them outside in the early spring and they bloom in July. She has been giving me the bulbs for 10+ years and I have a 40 ft x 4 ft raised bed full of them. I split off the babies and force them in the winter in my bay windows.
Today will make caramels from some leftover apple cider. Taking 2 chicken carcasses to make chicken and homemade noodles with the nieces (Grandma’s recipe). Fun!


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:41 pm

Wow, you are on a roll, I’m super impressed!


Ecoteri January 1, 2024 at 3:49 pm

Wow, that bed of Amaryllis sounds lovely. I suddenly remembered that I had 7 bulbs in a large pot out in the garden, yesterday. oops, pretty cold for them. When I dumped out the pot, I figured that the healthy roots and solid bulbs likely would recover, even if the leaves had all died off and the tops were looking sad. when I wiped the sad outer layer off them, I potted each up in a gallon pot, watered well, and have them down in my warm basement. I will remember to give them a bit of water every week or so, and hopefully they will stop sulking and send out new leaves
How do you make caramels from apple cider? and can someone please tell me the difference between what we call apple cider and what we call apple juice?


Mary Ann January 1, 2024 at 11:31 am

1. I went through my subscriptions. Although I canceled a few, I kept some at a lower level saving me 50%. For instance, is a serious hobby for me and it is good for my brain. I wasn’t using all the bells and whistles though so I cut the price in half. All told, I will save over 700 over the next six months.

2. Our 17 year old TV can no longer support a high tech world.. It was not a smart tv. We are bringing it down to the ranch basement which doesn’t have internet but does run DVDS.

3. I ordered a replacement door boot for the washer. Meanwhile, we are using the old washer down at the ranch. I think back to the early days when I used a laundromat. I really have first world problems.

4. I bought 32 ounce Starbuck Pumpkin lattes for .50 each at Grocery outlet. It is too sweet for me but I am using it as a creamer and adding a little coffee to it. I can’t beat the price.

5. I am ordering New Year’s cards for 60% at Walgreen.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:38 pm

It’s good to evaluate one’s subscriptions every so often.


Christine January 1, 2024 at 11:37 am

1. I made gift tags for next Christmas using a pair of craft scissors I found in the street years ago on my mail route. I then recycled the scraps.
2. I threw all the cut greens and berries we used for Christmas decorations on the invasive Bamboo at the edge of our yard. We’ve never been able to kill it, but we keep it tamped down using various Earth friendly methods.
3. I tested negative for Covid but my crummy cold kept us in the house last night instead of celebrating New Years Eve with a gift card to a local restaurant we received for Christmas. Watched a free movie and had hotdogs and potato salad. DH had sweetly picked up a small cheesecake for us to split for dessert.
4. I’m putting together a donation box for my church’s thrift shop. Included are holiday decor that outstayed it’s welcome but has not seen the end of its useful life. It may appeal to someone else’s taste. Like Katy, I detest making more trash for the landfill.
5. We bit the bullet and unsubscribed from Amazon Prime. They now want their subscribers to pay extra for NOT receiving tv commercials and we very rarely use the free shipping they offer because, well…because we are Nonconsumers.
6. One extra…I procured a free wall calendar from my bank for my friend in a nursing home who had requested one. She suggested the Dollar Store but hey, free is even better.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:34 pm

Sorry that you’re sick, I’m hearing that from so many people lately.


A. Marie January 2, 2024 at 7:14 am

Congratulations on your #5, Christine. So far, I have zero regrets about canceling my Prime membership after Chase Visa canceled my Amazon Prime Visa card after DH died. Take that, Schmeff Schmezos!


Ruby January 2, 2024 at 8:41 am

Chase is the company that was calling me relentlessly about my late brother’s credit card debt. Unsecured debt is last on the priority list in settling an estate in Georgia. I finally told them to go away and wait for their money because I had not yelled at anyone but it most certainly would happen if they nagged me again.


kathy January 1, 2024 at 12:10 pm

1. Spent this am reorganizing personal care items. Note to self do not buy any hair care, cosmetics, skin care until the multiples are used up.
2. Leaving tomorrow for So Cal, however it’ll be a little nippy out in the Coachella Valley. Borrowed sweaters from my sister (2 are new with tags).
3. Listing multiple items to jump start my fund my fun fund
4. Going to son and daughter in law’s house today to watch the games. She’s making gumbo
5. Made beef stroganoff for belated Christmas celebration with leftover tenderloin from Thanksgiving


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:31 pm

Have a great trip!


Lindsey January 1, 2024 at 12:28 pm

1. Did an inventory of our cupboards and during January we will be eating some weird meals in order to use up things that are getting a bit old.
2. Did surgery on a bunch of dog toys so that they will live longer.
3. Went through our book shelves and pulled out books I no longer want. Dropped them off at two little libraries for other people to enjoy.
4. Trimmed husband’s hair.
5. Husband cut my hair.


Katy January 1, 2024 at 12:30 pm

Thank you for dropping books at your local little free libraries, I depend on people like you!


Gina in NY January 1, 2024 at 1:14 pm

Happy 2024!
1. Found some black eyed peas in the pantry and I am in the process of making veggie hoppin’ John. We will eat it over leftover mashed potatoes. I am also making a side of cabbage (from a huge $3 farmers market cabbage I scored in November). One can never have too much luck.
2. Watching Indiana Jones with the beau. We stayed in our PJs and wished in the New Year from the comfort of our home. We noted the neighborhood was very quiet (no fireworks or people yelling, etc). I think quiet celebrations at home were trending for our final night of 2023.
3. Made homemade pot pourri from citrus peels, pine snippets, holly, rosemary and simmered it on the stove. It smells great.

Short list for today.


Vickey January 16, 2024 at 6:32 am

Nice! What does holly smell like?


Virginia Allain January 1, 2024 at 1:32 pm

1. We’ve been eating turkey re-run on alternate days since Christmas and tomorrow will finish the last of the turkey/veggie soup my hubby made. The rest of the big turkey is in the freezer now and will become turkey enchiladas later.
2. Boxed up some of my vintage books collected over the past 55 years. My sister’s home business is selling used books on Amazon and a rare book site. She’s giving me a good deal of 50/50 on the profit and she’s doing all the work.
3. We stayed home for New Year’s Eve instead of going to the $ 50-a-person street party our senior community had. I got a glimpse of the midnight fireworks from the patio, then retreated into my warm house to finish a favorite movie on TV.
4. Selected a goal planner/habit tracker workbook and a happiness journal from Amazon VINE. Only cost me 10% and two reviews since I’m a reviewer for that program. We’ll see if it gets my resolutions off to a good start this year.
5. Stocked up on Forever stamps to beat the coming postage price increase.


Ecoteri January 1, 2024 at 3:42 pm

Happy New year everyone!
1. Listed and sold the treadle sewing machine that I had collected when my friend was emptying her brother’s house in a big hurry, after he died. They didn’t know what to do with it so I brought it home and it has sat filling up 11.5 cubic feet of space in my living room. I am finally at an emotional space where I could deal with it, and after checking with his daughter and sister, who didn’t want it and told me to give it away, I listed and sold it within an hour on FB Marketplace. I totally under priced it because I wanted it GONE – and they brought me crisp dollars that I am going to send via E-transfer to his daughter. Good deed for the day – she is grateful that I took on the ‘hassle of selling it’. I won’t tell her how smooth it all went! Listed and sold and picked up too, in about 3 hours ….
2. Listed on our Buy Nothing group a (very large – took up at least 10 cubic feet with the stand) knitting machine that I had picked up and determined was a bit beyond my skillset. My good buddy saw the post and let me know she wanted it so the listing came down again in about 15 min. She just left so that listing to leaving was about 4 hours. WHOOT. I sent her away with a manual food mill that I had been gifted as she has borrowed mine a number of times, now she has one (and another partial cubic foot gone)
3. My #2 son wanted cabbage and carrot salad (again). I thought I didn’t have any cabbage and stores are closed, but I found 5 huge savoy leaves that I had packaged separately from the enormous cabbage that didn’t fit in a bag – and I found two small baseball cabbages growing in the garden. I still have an enormous bag of sad carrots, so I listened to a radio show I like and peeled a lot of them, and soaked my cabbage in salt to help clean it out. #2 son came over and ‘ran the machine’ – grating a lot of carrots and slicing the cabbage, filling many containers with dry mix. He will eat many of them over the next 3 or 4 days. Using found and cheap food for a big healthy win.
4. I picked a big huge bowl of kale yesterday , washed the leaves and cut them off their stems. Today I took that bag-o-kale and did some handy massaging with oil and vinegar and tahini. Sat and ate a big bowl of good-for-me and enjoyed all the chewing – ALL the chewing… winter veggies for the jaw workout win.
5. I woke early this morning (!!) not on purpose, but got myself up and into my exercise gear, and rebooted an exercise program I bought a couple of years ago. Not necessarily somehting I love, but it is only 17 minutes and I know that it works me hard. Then a dog walk, time with the chickens and sheep, fill the woodbox, start a fire, have a shower, make my morning protein shake and coffee – all before 10. I hadn’t intended on getting up until 9:30, so feeling very productive and healthy. Now am going to read a book online from either the library or Amazon – drink my homemade coffee, and figure out what else I can post on Marketplace while I am on a roll. So far no money in my pocket, but still…


texasilver January 1, 2024 at 6:31 pm

1. Found a soccer ball and a basketball. I will take them to an elementary school that is nearby.
2. Made a meatball soup from leftovers languishing in the fridge. It has turned chilly in Texas. Soup is a welcome meal on a cold day.
3. I am using a hairbrush & a space heater that my grandmother gave me. These things must be 40 yrs old.
4. One of my colleagues from work gave me a food processer & a mini smoothie maker.
5. Found around a dollar’s worth of a change in a purse I found. I washed the purse to see if I can clean it up a bit.
6. Curb picked a nice wall clock. It is a faded red. The metal case is distressed to make it look vintage. It looks very nice on the breakfast room wall.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:58 am

Gotta love free stuff!


Jenn January 1, 2024 at 6:58 pm

Long time reader, first time with a Frugal Five list. One of my aspirations for the year is to contribute to this amazing community that has brought me a lot of happiness.

1. Cleaned out the bathroom closet. I discovered a full bottle of face lotion I was planning on buying and a prescription pain cream for my knee, both forgotten. I do a no-spend on toiletries every January and June, so in addition to using up all the hotel freebies and gifts, this discovery will come in handy.
2. Believe it or not, I still had a rescued pumpkin I needed to roast, process, and freeze, which I did tonight. My son is excited by the prospect of pumpkin bread with chocolate bits, the chocolate a gift from a student. Will save money on buying him snacks. 17 year olds can really eat!
3. Made blackeyed pea casserole with dried beans and old celery. The family loves it and it is a very budget-friendly meal. I
4. Walked to return library books and mail a birthday card. Exercise and errands may be one of my favorite things.
5. And then the usual, cold water washing, books from the library, sweaters and slippers to stay warm.


MB in MN January 2, 2024 at 6:24 am

Jenn, great list! Your #2 reminded me of the time when I went to make chocolate chip cookies and I didn’t have any chips. I chopped up mini candy bars in their place and, boy, were those good cookies!


Roberta January 2, 2024 at 8:19 am

Welcome, Jenn!


Bee January 2, 2024 at 12:20 pm

I remember how much my boys ate as teenagers. I think that is why I always cook too much food now. Fortunately, a decade later their food consumption has normalized.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:58 am

Happy to have you commenting, welcome!

Thanks for the reminder about pumpkin bread, I should make a loaf.


Selena January 1, 2024 at 8:18 pm

1 – Changed aforementioned water filter as we always do on the first of the year.
2 – Relegated pictures/hand designed cards from relatives/friends out of a main floor cupboard to the “holding” area. Open space was used to store DVDs/blu-rays.
3 – Planned on buying two bottles of adult beverage. One bottle had a rebate form. After I got home, I took a look at the *very* small print on the form. Realized I likely had other receipts that qualified. Took *maybe* three minutes of time and now the rebate is $32 not $10.
4 – Balanced three accounts today. One is “paperless” so printed the statement for the “hey, I’m/we’re dead” folder I’m putting together for the kiddos. I’ll add the toll-free HR number to the file. If I retire, the monies will be rolled out but if not, kiddos will need to know.
5 – Surprise gift from the restaurant where we had NY Eve dinner (we are steady customers, including during Covid-19). Unexpected but greatly appreciated.
A bit loaded for bear with the health care system when it comes to my parent. Experiencing a long term PCP who has provided good care to my parent(s) but appears to have a conscious or unconscious bias against younger doctors. Wish me a bit of tact and patience as I walk the “line”.


Christine January 2, 2024 at 3:04 pm

Nice score on your #3! This shows it really does pay to read the small print.


Bee January 2, 2024 at 5:52 am

The holidays are finally over. Whew! The kitchen is clean after having 12 people and 4 dogs for a traditional New Year’s Day dinner of roasted pork, black-eyed peas, green and corn bread. For some reason, it seemed totally chaotic this year, but I enjoy starting the year with love and laughter. Best of all, there are plenty of leftovers!!!! Like many of you, I will be eating out of the pantry and freezer a good bit this month.
Here are my Frugal Five as we head into 2024.
1. I neatly folded up the Christmas gift bags, ribbon and tissue paper to store all of it until next year. On occasion I’ll pick up new wrapping at an estate sale, but I have used the same gift bags for years and years.
2. Although I bought a small ham for the holidays which was more than enough to fulfill my needs, I was given a ham bone and additional sliced ham by a neighbor. Since I already had a freezer filled with leftovers, I knew that I wouldn’t be using it for quite a while. I called a friend who I hoped needed it. She was thrilled and made herself a pot of split pea soup.
3. My car battery died on Saturday morning. (I had to have one more aggravating thing happen in 2023.) DH drove into the city, purchased a new battery and installed it himself. This of course is not hard at all and saved $70.
4. I received notice from the library that four of my hold requests were in. It seems they always come in at the same time. I started reading one of the four, The Art Thief. I also have borrowed Anderson Cooper’s new book on the Astors as well as two works of fiction, Hello Beautiful and Starling House. I am not sure I can get through these in the two weeks allowed. They are all high demand books.
5. It’s been a bit chilly so I’ve taken out the little electric space heater to warm the bathroom before my shower. I sold two items on eBay just a few days before Christmas. I started the end of year closet declutter. Of course, all the usual things when possible – brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, washing in cold water and cooking from scratch.

Today is a planning day. It is time to review what has been done in 2023 and what needs to be done 2024. There are phone calls to be completed, calendars to update and lists to be made. After two weeks of ignoring life, it’s time to embrace reality. Yuck!!!!


Jill A January 2, 2024 at 1:15 pm

I also had a few library holds come available at the same time. I think people were passing on them during Christmas. It always seems to go that way.


Bee January 2, 2024 at 1:46 pm

What are you reading now?


Jill A January 3, 2024 at 4:52 am

I just finished Let Us Descend by Jessmyn Ward and started The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh. I asked that a couple of my hold requests be delivered next week since I doubted I would get to them all.


Christine January 2, 2024 at 3:13 pm

The library book “glut” happened to me too. Four books came in within about a week’s time. Trying to get through them reading two at a time…one book on my bedside table upstairs and one book in the living room downstairs. Also coming up is the book I want to read for my book club which meets for a discussion at the end of January. Wish I had paid more attention in that speed reading course in high school…sigh.


Lori January 2, 2024 at 6:25 pm

I read The Art Thief over the holidays. It was a quick read as it’s so interesting and well researched.


Patricia January 3, 2024 at 1:14 am

Hello Beautiful, was a wonderful read. If you don’t have time to read them all, I would put this on top of the list. Happy reading!


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:47 am

It always seems to be feast or famine with library books.


Ecoteri January 3, 2024 at 9:14 pm

I love this blog and I also am so grateful for your many book recommendations. I request them from the library and because they are popular it might be months before they show up – a surprise! why did I request this? Most of the time I am very pleased with the read. Sometimes if I take out more by the same author I am happy, sometimes disappointed – however in all cases I am glad that these random books work their way through the long lists of holds and eventually arrive at me.


Cindy in the South January 2, 2024 at 5:58 am

Happy New Year!
1. My middle son came over, took the sink pipes apart and unclogged them.
2. I made all meals at home, including a collard green/turnip green/ diced tomatoes/black eyed pea soup combo for New Years for good luck. Tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, spinach dish, etc. for my and my son’s other meals….. nothing fancy……. Packed turkey/ horseradish/cheese sandwiches for work lunches, as well as alternating those sandwiches with PBJ sandwiches.
3. I walked my neighborhood, as usual, for exercise.
4. If I want to watch TV, I go to my son’s place because I am way too cheap to pay for anything at my house. He knows his mother…
5. Broke or lost a couple of pairs of glasses and went to Dollar Tree to replace.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:45 am

Dollar Tree glasses are the best!


Michelle H January 2, 2024 at 12:02 pm

Trying to use January as a reset, will be trying to declutter and deep clean my way thru the house, and use up what we already have while limiting spending.

1. Ruthlessly went thru my closet yesterday, and husband decided he wanted to do his as well. Filled 2 bags to donate, and listed some nicer stuff on marketplace and buy nothing group.
2. Cut up old tshirts to be used as shop rags.
3. I don’t stay in hotels often, but had a handful of sample/hotel size shampoos, conditioners, and body wash, so put them in the shower to remember to use them.
4. Had a single travel sized bar soap so put it in a dish next to the kitchen sink to use for washing hands while I’m cooking.
5. Made a menu plan for the week based on what I already have on hand.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:44 am

I’m very impressed with your productivity. Take a bow!


rebecca January 2, 2024 at 12:36 pm

1. I made chicken broth from a frozen carcass. The broth made a decent vegetable soup.
2. Made a turkey breast from a sale purchase. It has made a bunch of meals.
3. I did not order take out. Please see above.
4. Friends came over the other night for an impromptu game night. I made snacks from what I had on hand-muhummara from ingredients on hand, homemade pita chips, pineapple I bought on sale and some cheddar and crackers purchased on sale as well. Coffee, water and tea to drink. They brought leftover Christmas cookies.
5. Used a CVS coupon for 30% off.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 11:43 am

That sounds like a fun and yummy night!


rebecca January 3, 2024 at 11:54 am

Nothing like a game night!


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