Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 8, 2024 · 57 comments

  1. I curb picked a terra cotta planter that matches three I already have on my deck. (Two of which I sourced from different after garage sale free piles last summer!) This one was pretty dirty and had pieces of English Ivy stuck to it. However, it was a just a matter of scrubbing it down with some soapy water to bring it back to back to snuff.

    I won’t plant anything in it for now, (January and all . . . ) so I have time to figure out potting soil and what I’ll plant in it.

  2. My husband and I celebrated my birthday this week by doing some thrifting out of town and then sharing cake back at home with the kids. I’m enjoying things a bit simpler lately, so our dinner was homemade turkey soup with no knead artisan bread that I’d left to rise at the house.

    I didn’t come across anything to dominate the news cycle like this $100,00 Murano glass vase, but hope springs eternal.

  3. My son’s comforter is apparently starting to pill, which is how I ended up shopping for a duvet cover at an unpleasantly crowded Ikea on a Saturday afternoon. (His idea, not mine.) The one he liked was out of stock, but then someone in my Buy Nothing group offered up a similar one this afternoon. I love it when this happens.

    There is simply too much manufactured stuff floating around this world. Buy Nothing groups help put the glut of excess belongings into the hands of people who can put it back in use.

  4. • I finished reading my library copy of The Saints of Swallow Hill.
    • I organized a drawer and came across a bag of mirror holder clips, which prompted me to install a full length mirror in my daughter’s old bedroom. Unsurprisingly, I curb picked it last summer.
    • I took my husband out to lunch and we shared an entree, which was enough food for the two of us.
    • My neighbor put another Bonne Maman jam jar in her recycling bin, which I brought home to wash and add to the cupboard for food storage.

  5. I didn’t thrift any Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

K D January 8, 2024 at 5:19 am

I love the pot. It is beautiful after your elbow grease and soap and water.

1. Frugal yet spendy: I stocked up on Listerine at Costco while it is on sale. We each use it at least twice a day so we go through those large bottles.

2. I baked a large pan of chicken & rice. It was dinner on Saturday and will be a couple of days this week too. The organic brown rice was purchased on clearance.

3. I stopped at Lidl since I had a $20 credit for buying a $100 gift card a few weeks ago. I bought a lot of on sale produce and a few other items.

4. I bought Lara Bars on clearance, 75% off, at Giant. They are a health-ish snack since they’re basically nuts and dates.

5. I facilitated the donation of a lot of quilting stuff to a charity quilting group. Our SIL’s grandmother had a lot of quilting supplies when she passed away two years ago. Her family did not know what to do with it so I contacted a local church that has a group that makes quilts for those in need for Lutheran World Relief. They were thrilled to accept all the items and if their group will not use something a member of the group is a member of a quilting guild where items can be shared. The small group makes and donates 100+ quilts a year.


Coral Clarke January 8, 2024 at 1:23 pm

Other side of the planet, Brisbane, Australia, I recently did exactly the same, fancy sewing machine and all, for one of my friends, and a group who quilt for a charity! I’m a clearing house! Friends and family know not to discard, I will know someone delighted to have a need filled, free of charge, and no damage to the planet!


Bee January 8, 2024 at 6:23 am

Happy Birthday, Katy. Sending you best wishes for the year ahead.

I can tell it’s January immediately, because it is difficult for me to come up with anything particularly interesting. The first two weeks of January always feel like a real slog through the mud. Although in a strange way, it is welcome after the holidays. My FFTs…
1. I spent an afternoon cleaning up my email account. I deleted hundreds of emails, unsubscribed to a dozen promotional types and reported many as spam. During the holiday season, I shopped online. It did save time, but now I receive 3 emails a day from many of the companies I purchased from. I looked up a recipe and suddenly I’m receiving countless online recipe subscriptions. Grrr….I fixed all that and adjusted my settings. I’m not sure how this is frugal, but it makes me happy. I am also less likely to miss something of importance.
2. I sold an assortment of Tiffany boxes that were free on eBay for $70.
3. I started watching Northern Exposure which was recently added to Prime (my daughter’s account.) This was a favorite years ago and I am enjoying it again.
4. I have taken down my Christmas decorations and carefully packed them away. I use the same ones from year to year and hope they will last me a lifetime! Some are inherited. Some are gifts. Some are estate sale and thrift shop treasures. I bagged up all the greenery and natural elements that I used as decoration to start a fire in the fire pit. And as I reported before, I packed away gift bags, tissue and ribbon to be reused next year. We have very little holiday waste.
5. All the usual things – I am cooking from scratch. I am using up the food in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I am brewing my own coffee or drinking filtered water. I am trying to get back into my exercise routine and juggling appointments. I’m trying to get caught up on my filing. I am decluttering and enjoying the New Year reset.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity!


mary in maryland January 8, 2024 at 6:49 am

1. Placed a bulk order for beans and pasta.
2. Figured out how to order the free checks that supposedly come with my credit union account. Very frustrating, and they still have the Mister’s name first.
3. Counted my steps on our standard walk yesterday morning-2400. Paid for the lifetime membership with the group whose online program we’ve used 5-6 times/week for the past four years. Lifetime will only be a savings if we participate for another four+ years. Barring death, we will—and if we die the extra expense won’t trouble us.
4. Drank water, cooked at home, read library books.
5. Rehomed 500 items since 9/11 in addition to the 1600 earlier in the year. I’m tired of always having an outgoing pile on the bench near the front door, but working hard to prepare for a smooth transition if/when we need less stairs and/or more care.
6. After retirement I kept all my patient charts at home rather than paying a service to store and eventually destroy them. I have now shredded the last of them—as well as insurance policies and any remaining business records. I believe I’ve saved thousands of dollars doing this. But the storage companies won’t tell me how much they charge unless I give them my name and email address. Nope.


MB in MN January 8, 2024 at 6:51 am

1. Purchased a seasonal pass to the fitness center at my local community center, which includes a walking track (that I’ll use often) and a pool (that I won’t). Through the kindness of the person working there, I received the senior rate ($30 off) even though I won’t be 65 until September. The community center is next to the library so that’s a double win.

2. Repurposed a large cutlery tray to store fragile ornaments within the larger Christmas decorations box.

3. Cheese has been its own food group since Christmas. We over-bought cheese for the gatherings we hosted. No complaints here!

4. Friend brought us vegetarian lasagna and homemade gruyere bread. Pure comfort food. This provided us with at least seven meals.

5. I think I mentioned before that we agreed to the seller leaving us a lot of things with the house/garage, most of them beautiful or useful. After clearing out, we made trips to Goodwill, Habitat Restore, and metal recycling; and gave away numerous items on Buy Nothing. Whew!


Jill A January 8, 2024 at 12:02 pm

I like your use of the cutlery tray for ornaments.


Val January 8, 2024 at 6:57 am

Happy Belated Birthday, Katy. Your birthday meal of homemade turkey soup, artisan bread and cake sounded great.

I only have a couple Frugals
1. Stopped at Jimmy John’s after church to get day old bread for making cheap sandwiches for after-church lunch. The customer behind me got the exact same order: 2 loaves of day old bread. We cleared them out!

2. Took a book and 2 puzzles that we got as gifts back to Target for store credit (as gift giver didn’t include gift receipt). Got to apply $63 of store credit to needed groceries.


Susie's Daughter January 8, 2024 at 7:39 am

As Eeyore says “Many happy returns of the day” to Katy! And Happy New Year to everyone else!

1)We have enough snow that my favorite exercise of all time is possible – cross country skiing. Equipment is all paid for, so it is good for body, spirit and wallet.

2) Like many of you, January is an “eat what is in the house” month. Helps with the waistline and the budget. Lots of soup on the menu and last week we had two kinds of seafood out of the freezer. I am nudging us toward more “Mediterranean” style eating.

3) Found two pairs of pants and a package of beautiful Christmas cards featuring National Gallery art last week at our thrift store. The cards were a .01 apiece and part of a big box of loose cards, but even at the $1 I gave the store, they were a steal.

4) Looking forward to some of my favorite shows on PBS Passport and will try not to binge them all at once. “Miss Scarlet and the Duke” and “All Creatures…” are at the top of the list. I already binged Season 2 of RFDS…in 5 days.

5) I think the number one most frugal thing we did last year (aside from the very expensive, overdue new roof on our house) was having the dryer vents professionally cleaned. We had it done just before summer, which ended up being one of the wettest on record. I have used that dryer more this year than ever. I am grateful for this every time I do laundry, as it dries in half the time now.


Selena January 8, 2024 at 7:49 pm

The shorter a dryer run, the better. Might consider having your ducts cleaned, depending on the age of your house, previous owner (if any), pets etc.


Christine January 9, 2024 at 5:49 pm

Lucky find on the Christmas cards from the National Gallery of Art. I’m jealous! Good for you!


Bee January 9, 2024 at 5:54 pm

I love “All Creatures.” It’s so heartwarming. PBS Passport is a great streaming resource.


Marybeth from NY January 8, 2024 at 7:47 am

1. Got a ham for 49¢ a pound. Cooked it up. Chopped most of it up for omelets, frittatas, and quiche. Put the bone in the crockpot and made a large amount of ham and lentil soup. Sent some to my in-laws and my daughter.
2.Hubby brought bananas and apples home from work on Friday. I made muffins with some of the bananas and froze the rest.
3. My daughter gave me a 1/2 gallon of whole milk that was about to expire. I made a large amount of chocolate pudding and froze the rest of the milk. Sent some to the in-laws.
4. Hubby bottled the first 25 bottles of wine that he made with his dad. Each bottle comes to less then $2 a bottle. Asking friends and family if they have empty wine bottles.
5. Made a carrot cake from scratch for dad’s birthday party. Because of the bad weather it was cancelled. Hubby is happily eating the carrot cake.
6. Picked swiss chard and thyme since it was going to snow/freeze.


Christine January 8, 2024 at 8:06 am

Happy Birthday to you Katy!
1. DH celebrated a birthday this past week too. We had plans to go out to dinner using a gift card we received for Christmas, but the first heavy snowfall of the season put a damper on that. Instead, I made him a dinner of enchiladas and rice and beans with a lemon cake from scratch for dessert with ice cream. I made him a birthday card which he loved and laughed over. Simple but fun day.
2. I worked extra hours at the deli last week due to people being out sick and on vacation so the extra money in my check will be nice to bulk up the savings account.
3. Reading library books while stuck in the house due to the storm. Nearing the end of Class (downstairs book) and in the middle of The Unquiet Grave (upstairs book). Both excellent reads.
4. Listed a gift on Facebook Marketplace DH received in a Yankee Swap on Christmas. If it doesn’t sell, its next stop will be my summer yard sale. If it doesn’t find a home then, my church’s thrift shop will be the recipient.
5. I discovered a package of boneless breast of chicken hiding under a turkey in the freezer. Dinner this week.


Kara January 8, 2024 at 9:06 am

Cute pot! I was given 3 of them but gave them away again because pots dry out so quickly here in California. I try to limit water needs in the garden-not a problem you have in Oregon!

1. Still have not food shopped since Christmas! Existing on very random meals.
2. Found a super sale on Prana trousers and bought 3 pairs ($25 each!!). I very literally, no exaggeration, owned one single pair of trousers. I stopped clothes shopping during covid and never re-started. But that can’t go on forever.
3. My husband used free scrap wood to extend a raspberry bed, ready for the free plants a friend gives me.
4. I gave away the last of a set of china I inherited. This helped towards the goal of NOT buying any more shelving to store STUFF in the garage. I told my husband it pained me to spend money on shelving to store stuff in our already crowded shed. Instead, I have been ruthless about moving the stuff along.
5. Mended a tshirt of my husbands, removed the stain from the collar of one of his flannel shirts, received a LLBean fleece from Buy Nothing-perfect for gardening.


Lindsey G January 8, 2024 at 9:22 am

Happy (belated) birthday, Katy!

My low spend-uary is going pretty well thus far, with just 1 non-scheduled, yet frugal, purchase.
1. In typical January decluttering fashion, I’ve been evaluating our belongings. One thing that I’ve pondered rehoming over the years is a chair I’ve literally carried across the country through various moves beginning in 1999 when I moved away to college. It’s ripped so I’ve had it slipcovered for many years. I’ve toyed with having it recovered, but the style makes that difficult and very spendy. Thus, this week it’s leaving me.
2. This particular chair was stationed in our bedroom as a token “laundry chair”, so I needed (yes, needed) something to fill this space. Thus, I moved a curb-picked sunny yellow chair from the living room that I scored last year and it looks great in it’s place.
3. The spot in our living room where the yellow chair sat was now vacant, and as you can imagine, the theme continues of filling the space. My husband has been marveling that he’d like another leather chair (we purchased a leather chair and ottoman on FB marketplace about 5 years ago for $75). I found a suitable chair on FB for $30 and we made the 15-minute drive to pick it up.
4. We were delighted that said leather chair was in MUCH better condition than stated. When setting it up, I spied a brand name and looked it up, as it was one I had not heard of. Turns out this is a sought after brand that sells used on Chairish for upwards of $1,000!
5. This list felt somewhat like “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” nursery rhyme, but in a good way 🙂


Jill January 8, 2024 at 9:27 am

Happy Birthday Katy!

1. I decided that the two baskets for toys and books for my grandson are not enough now that my grandson is 2 1/2. So I shopped the house and found an old bookcase that was my youngest daughters and then I found a nightstand at Goodwill. So I’m making an area to be the “playroom” Now I’m on the hunt for a kids table.

2. My husband and I made a quick getaway to Portland (and crazily enough, Katy, I was near the Portland Ikea on Saturday morning) for a belated anniversary trip. We earned the Southwest Companion Pass last year and it will expire next month (with no plans to renew) so we decided to use a “buy one, get one” flight. We were only gone for two nights to save on hotel costs but I’ll take it. Drank the hotel’s free coffee – right next to the buy a coffee stand – and enjoyed the indoor pool while my husband used their free gym pass. Brought the customary snacks so no airport food for us. We did buy lunch before we flew out for an old co-worker of my husband’s who it was great to see. I’m calling it a success.

3. – Found a new to me set of mystery books at my library set in the Yorkshire Dales in England so a bit obsessed with those right now. and took my grandson to his first Music and Movement class there. He loved it.

4. Finally finished up leftovers before we left for the weekend. Excited to cook those soups and stews for this bitterly cold week ahead.

5. Also finally joined my local Buy Nothing Group after living here for a year. It’s a bit different than the one I was in before ( you pick numbers to “win” the item or say your favorite Christmas song?) but getting ready to list several items and get some things out of the house.


Lindsey January 8, 2024 at 10:47 am

Would you please share the name of the author of Yorkshire Dales mysteries? I would love to find a new mystery series to read. Thank you.


Jill January 8, 2024 at 11:15 am

They all start with Date With…. Mystery, Death, etc and they are by Julia Chapman.


Lindsey January 8, 2024 at 5:58 pm

Thank you!


Heidi Louise January 8, 2024 at 10:23 am

Happy birthday, Katy, and many more!

1. I read all four books by author Elsa Hart and hope she writes more. All have a classic murder mystery (means, motive, etc.), yet most unusually are set in the early 1700s. Three are in China, with scholar Li Du detecting during the time when Europeans are trying to establish a presence, and one in London in the world of naturalists and collectors.

2. With much-delayed for the winter predictions of rain, ice, and snow this week, husband moved the cement blocks he has used for years from the back yard to the back of his truck to add traction. We also need to put the windshield wipers “up” so they don’t freeze to the glass when the vehicles are in the driveway.

3. I don’t do online selling, yet have occasionally had luck with dishes from thrift store and yard sale at Replacements Ltd, online. Their offer process is very straight-forward. I have had the most luck with pieces marked from Great Britain. Best was a unique mug they paid $39 for, though postage was of course six or so that I had to pay, and the original dollar cost. Usually, they don’t buy teacups or saucers.

4. Ordered my favorite Naot shoes in my big size from an independent store online. These are my primary shoes and I will now have a second pair in a style that seems to be being phased out. Even though it is an odd color, I saved almost half the regular cost.

5. I have an old, all wool, Hudson’s Bay blanket purchased from a yard sale that is on the foot of our bed and keeps my feet warmer at night. One edge is fraying, so I fixed it up with threads that had come unwoven and will finish it all off with an edging of cream embroidery floss to hold it together. I thought of you sock-darners when I was working on it! I had to buy large-eyed needles.


A. Marie January 8, 2024 at 10:52 am

I join everyone else in wishing Katy a happy belated birthday!

Now, FFT, Winter’s Finally Here Edition:

Well, folks, after an atypically warm December and first week of January, winter is here: Central NY (and much of the rest of the Northeast, as Christine noted) got a big snow dump this weekend. In our case, it lasted from midafternoon Saturday to midafternoon Sunday. The total in my yard was just shy of 12″. But I mustn’t grumble. Instead, here are my storm-related frugalities:

(1) I did a Wegmans run on Friday to return a bagful of NY State deposit bottles/cans and pick up milk and other necessities. (No scores out of the Coinstar machine this time, alas.)

(2) I dumped out my kitchen compost bucket ahead of the storm.

(3) On Saturday morning, before the storm arrived, I continued my post-holiday thrifting success at two stores on the southwest side of town I haven’t visited in a while. My prizes included three small Corning Ware dishes, a good supply of votives and tea lights (I like to burn these before dawn and after dusk in winter), and a few other housewares.

(4) But my best score of all–and one of my best of all time–was a **brand-new** pair of UGG Tasman slippers. The slippers fit my next-door neighbor perfectly, and she desperately needed a new pair. She’s over the moon, and so am I! (She wanted to pay me, but I told her they were an early birthday present; her 85th is coming up next weekend.)

(5) And after all this activity, I was quite happy to spend Sunday doing laundry, hanging it on my indoor racks, and reading by a good fire in my woodburner!


Jill A January 8, 2024 at 11:27 am

I love the snow but 12″ is not fun to deal with. It sounds like your Sunday was perfect with a nice fire and a good book.


Christine January 9, 2024 at 6:09 pm

We ended up with about 12″ here in south central Massachusetts. Can’t complain too much though since we’ve had a mostly (aside from a light coating) snowless winter.


Lindsey January 8, 2024 at 11:16 am

Happy birthday to you!

1. Received four $10 off $40 worth of groceries coupons, and over the last month I used them to stock up on some meat that was on sale. I am not a big coupon person but these came right to my mailbox so it would have been silly not to make use of them.
2. Our credit card issuer was sold to Wells Fargo. I have had bad experiences with them before so cancelled the card. Found a new card that came with 90,000 points that will be enough to pay for a flight to an extended family get together.
3. Was at Costco at the end of the day and the sample station for a face moisturizing cream I use was shutting down. The woman running it offered me the rest of her bag of samples to take. I made one last for three days, and she gave me over 50 samples so I am set for about half the year. This is an expensive cream so by my estimation I got over $100 worth of cream for free.
4. Attended an after Christmas holiday party for a non-profit I like to support. People were asked to bring a small gift under $15 for the exchange. I printed up a booklet with four coupons that can be used anytime over the next year. Each one is good for a loaf of challah I bake and a jar of raspberry jam I canned in August from our own berries. It was the most popular gift there and I did not have to go out and buy it.
5. From the same party, I came home with two pillowcases someone made, using Christmas themed material. I will enjoy using them next year. I would never have thought of making pillowcases!


A. Marie January 8, 2024 at 1:44 pm

Lindsey, you made out like a bandit on your #3–and your #4 is sheer genius. Who wouldn’t love to get coupons like those??


MB in MN January 8, 2024 at 4:33 pm

Agree! Wow to both.


Lindsey January 8, 2024 at 6:11 pm

I have given those kinds of coupons for various gift exchanges over the years and they have always been a hit. When they got to the U.S., my grandfather went to work for a scrap metal business that only had a handful of employees. My grandfather was the only non-Jewish person working there but all of the men except the owner had lived through WWII horrors either in Nazi camps or displaced person camps before getting into this country. They were paid every Friday, back when they paid people in cash, and after the men signed for their pay packet, the wife, who would stand next to her husband, handed each man a loaf of challah she had made that day. They closed at noon on Fridays, so she must have risen at 3 am to make all the loaves. I loved the bread so much that my grandfather asked the woman if she would teach me how to make it. She agreed, so that summer I spent a lot of time with her and she taught me how to make challah and three different ways to braid it. The following fall, when I left for boarding school, she sent my grandfather home with a loaf just for me to take to school.


kathleen January 8, 2024 at 8:07 pm

Oh, Lindsey, I love that story!


Ecoteri January 8, 2024 at 9:22 pm

@Lindsey, your story is so very wonderful.. What a lovely children’s book it would be, with a recipe on the last page for the readers to make after reading the story? Thank you so much for sharing it, I know it will stick with me


A. Marie January 9, 2024 at 5:52 am

I’ve been encouraging Lindsey to write a children’s book called “The Adventures of Pound Hound” for a while. Now she has two book proposals to think about!

MB in MN January 9, 2024 at 2:08 pm

Lindsey, that’s such a touching story. I got a lump in my throat.


Plaidkaren January 9, 2024 at 4:54 pm

Lindsey, you made me cry!!! What a precious story and memory!!


Christine January 9, 2024 at 6:13 pm

Oh Lindsey! I love this story! Thanks for sharing. My heart just warmed up about 30 degrees.


Jill A January 8, 2024 at 11:36 am

Happy Belated Birthday Katy!! Turkey soup and cake sound like my kind of meal.
1. I received a fairly large settlement check from a class action lawsuit.
2. I’ve sold a couple things on Ebay. I’m happy to see these things gone. I haven’t had the motivation to list anything in months so any sales are appreciated.
3. We are still under the weather here. It’s been a week and a half so I am ready to start feeling better. We’ve barely left the house so no groceries or gas money spent.
4. We’ve been eating leftovers and cobbling meals together from the freezer and pantry. I made a large pot of potato soup that used half a bag of sprouting potatoes.
5. My mother had a medical procedure that required her to be NPO. She stopped by after and I made her a cup of coffee (she turned down breakfast) instead of her stopping at the coffee shop and I sent her home with some of the potato soup.


Dori January 8, 2024 at 12:25 pm

That pot is epic!! Just beautiful. Good find on your part (and great refurbishing, of course – you’re a pro!).


Ruby January 8, 2024 at 2:08 pm

1. Used a $10 off $20 coupon at the hardware store to buy a winter knit cap for myself and a bottle of leather conditioner for the sofa.

2. Ate the last of some slightly freezer burned black bean chicken chili for dinner with the last of some herb-garlic soft cheese and the last of the holiday wine.

3. Took several bags of donations to Goodwill, went inside and found the perfect backyard large play ball for our new rescued pup. She is part cattle dog and has an insatiable desire to herd something. The ball cost $3 and she’s having a blast bumping and chasing it around the yard.

4. Sewed up another cat-clawed spot on our son’s chair with yarn.

5. Had a look through the freezer and cupboards for stuff that needed using up and launched an afternoon of cooking based on it. This resulted in breakfast muffins, a casserole for lunches, and pork & rice kibble topper for the dogs.


Kathy January 8, 2024 at 5:47 pm

1. Small class action and survey to jump start my fund the fun fund.
2. Returned from my jobcation from Palm Springs with some upper respiratory issues. On antibiotics plus otc meds.
3. Hubby shopped while I was gone. Need a Costco trip for dog food, etc
4. Will use some sick time to cover this week off work
5. Listing stuff online


Jennifer January 8, 2024 at 5:55 pm

Hopefully you will post a picture of the 3 pots together this summer.

1. I went to Costco to get produce and hopefully purchase a new pair of glasses (hoping to save money, long story I can’t get them there) and stuck exactly to my list. I did briefly have a pair of leggings in my cart and I wandered through the clothing but held strong in the end. I filled up my car for $2.46 a gallon

2. I pulled 5 or 6 shirts from my closet to donate. They just don’t fit anymore. Getting older and now my recent surgery have changed my body. I tried on every single pair of pants I own and only 3 fit for work. I have a donate pile, sell pile, and hopefully can get back into after more time out from surgery. It was depressing but so nice to get the closet cleaned out.

3. Used up random odds and ends from frozen holiday appetizers along with 2 almost empty dips yesterday for our lunch while watching the Browns game

4. Made from scratch scones for breakfast. Made a homemade mocha to go with mine

5. We have been dealing with 2 non-urgent but annoying health issues. I spent some time today look up what essential oils might help and going through my oils and finding stuff that will hopefully work. I’m really trying to use up things we have before buying new or seeking a costlier option.


Mand01 January 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm

1. We are at the stage of the year when we can sustain ourselves almost entirely from the garden. We only need to buy potatoes and mushrooms (vegetarian household). All other fresh produce comes from the garden, including fruit. I love this time of year.
2. Our apricot tree went absolutely crazy. We picked about 200 kg (400 pounds?) of apricots. We gave away about half, ate as many as we could, and have processed the rest into jam, preserves, fruit leather, stewed fruit, dehydrated apricots, pies, and frozen halves, and ice cream. It was an exhausting but delicious couple of weeks!
3. To manage the glut I purchased a preserving unit from Facebookk Marketplace for $150, which included about 50 jars and all the clips, lids and rings, and a couple of books about preserving. I have always wanted one but put it off because of the expense and hassle. This year the apricot tree forced us into it.
4. My daughter’s apple tree is now in full production, and she does not like apples, so we have started to pick and process these as well. I made apple and apricot fruit leather, and apple pies yesterday
5. The tomatoes have just started to ripen, so I am enjoying fresh ripe tomatoes on toast daily. Nothing more delicious. I have grown all the tomato bushes from seed this year, which is the cheapest way to grow any plant. I picked over a kilogram of fresh beans from the bushes the other day and we had a delicious greek bean and potato dish for dinner last night. Only cost was the potatoes and a can of tomatoes.


kathleen January 8, 2024 at 9:29 pm

What a crop! Congrats on the hard work and everything it produced.


Mand01 January 10, 2024 at 2:43 pm

Thank you! It was an epic crop – almost too much to manage. Thankfully we have people to share with.


MB in MN January 9, 2024 at 2:10 pm

Mand01, all five of your things are big wins!


kathleen January 8, 2024 at 8:57 pm

HaPpY BeLaTeD BiRtHdAy, KaTy!

1. Though I retired in May, I still fill in as needed. So I worked today. Not a fortune, but it’s money in.
2. Continuing as a part-time employee also means the fees on our investment and IRA accounts are waived. (And by part time, I mean a day here and a day there, maybe a week at a time if someone takes vacation…probably less than a month total a year.)
3. I have been cooking once to eat twice for awhile now. Husband said we now need to eat down the meals in the freezer so it can be defrosted (old freezer in the garage). Sounds to me like that is an easy way to make him happy. I don’t even have to do the defrosting! 🙂
4. We’ve been using an old drop-leaf table under the tv to put tv ‘stuff’ on. It was large, and I was ready to let it go, so we moved a smaller pub table under the tv instead. The dropped leaves of the old table hid the wires; the pub table not so much. I asked the hubs if he had scrap wood and leftover room paint to build and paint a ‘blind’ the exact height and width of the table to make the cords less noticeable. We are both happy with that solution.
5. When I had my eyes checked late last August, the doc said there wasn’t really enough change in my eyes to warrant new glasses. Fast forward to last week. I was cleaning glasses, and they snapped in two at the nose piece. Daughter recommended, so I called eye office and had them send me prescription from last visit. Order for glasses was about half what I remember paying for last pair locally. They haven’t arrived yet, but I’m making do with an old pair. Things are a little out of focus, but I’ll survive.


Ecoteri January 8, 2024 at 9:46 pm

FFT Jan 8 2024

I bought “Cook what you Have” a Milk Street – Christopher Kimball hardback cookbook from my local bookstore – on half price. I think it has already paid for itself. So often these books call for ingredients that I don’t have, so the ‘frugal’ meal ends up being completely different than advertised due to the substitutions, or costing more than I want due to the purchases. In perusing this I have already found recipes where i have EVERYTHING. I made a delicious and different lentil dish (after soaking the poor old lentils overnight) that was so good my #2 son has asked me to teach him how to make it.
I made a big batch of potato leek soup with potatoes that I grew (that are beginning to spout) and carrots that I got on discount (that are beginning to be sad). As well as two enormous leeks bought on discount. The broth was made with the chicken skin and bones from some on-sale then fast-sale discounted legs and backs – and the chicken meat is being parcelled out among various mostly lentil/bean meals.
I went to the veggie store and bought some coffee cream there along with my few veggies – might cost 50 cents more than the grocery store, but I avoided the grocery store so it probably saved me $20 or more
Am baking my way through some aging cake and brownie mixes, and sending some to the #2 son’s house to avoid being a total pig. Sometimes I want something sweet (tbh, I always want something sweet) but I don’t need to eat it ALL!!
My $20 bread machine is really earning its keep. Still just making dough and forming either bread or buns. I made a large loaf of 40% Whole wheat into which i snuck a cup of oats – and when I formed it I rolled in the remainders of some jars in the fridge – some chopped kalamata olives, some home-pickled jalapenos, and a healthy cup or so of grated nacho cheese mix. Rolled it up like a jelly roll, and knew it was too big for one pan, so schmucked off one end, formed a smaller ragged loaf, and let them rise for MUCH longer than advised in my books (the house is cooler than most, I guess?). Long bake in a 350degree oven and they are SO good. I wisely sliced one loaf and stuck in the freezer, and sent what remained of the other with #2 when he got home, starving, from work.
Stopped at the library and came out with a huge load of books that I had requested – they all came in at once, I am in my glory! Books, homemade coffee (and bread and cake), home made meals from the pantry, life is great!


Lesley January 9, 2024 at 5:30 am

Ecoteri, your posts are *always* a pleasure to read.


Linda M January 9, 2024 at 5:43 am

I agree! Ecoteri’s posts are inspiring! Thx!


Ecoteri January 9, 2024 at 9:12 pm

AWW thank you @Lesley and @Linda M. I sometimes wonder if my long posts are not a bit ridiculous, however I am a novel not short story kind of poster!!!


MB in MN January 9, 2024 at 2:16 pm

Ecoteri, thanks for putting Christopher Kimball on my radar. Never heard of him but he’s obviously popular as most of his books at my library have a waiting list. I am now in the queue for two of his books and look forward to reading them.


Ecoteri January 9, 2024 at 9:11 pm

Milk street. is the website (with a www in front) he is so funny as I think he always has a bow tie and is very upright. Worth taking a peruse. AND this Cook what you Have book is certainly a keeper!


texasilver January 8, 2024 at 10:07 pm

*My birthday is next week. I’m going to Ikea tomorrow & will inquire about my 10$ birthday offer. I can get light bulbs or something useful like that. I think you get a desert in the cafe also. You also can get free coffee or hot tea w/ their Friends & Family card.
*I earned a 10$ Dunkin GC. I used it today to get a 2$ iced coffee. If you order ahead on Mondays in the app you earn 100 points extra. Soon I will have enough points to earn a free item. It is nice to get a drink on their dime.
*Had my annual physical w/ no out of pocket expense. TY Medicare.
*Likely will use some sort of birthday offer to go out to eat next week.


Bettypants January 9, 2024 at 6:29 am

1. I was browsing on FB Marketplace and found a set of The Company Store queen flannel sheets, brand new in the package for $40, including shipping. I had been wanting another set and these are thick and soft.

2. My nearby (mostly overpriced) resale store advertised 40% off clothing, so I stopped in. I picked up a J Peterman tunic, an Under Armour infrared hunting jacket, and a 100% cashmere (no holes!) sweater.  

3. Someone posted a large lot of free candles and votive holders, and they were less than one mile from me. I picked up, kept all the candles, and reposted the rest for free immediately.

4. Working on a home improvement project and needed to make just a few cuts, so I was able to borrow an electric saw from a friend.

5. Bought a life sized Melissa & Doug stuffed dalmatian dog from Goodwill for $3. Intended for resale, but my teenager and I have been setting it in odd places in the house to scare each other. It is startling to turn on the bathroom light and find a 3 foot dog staring back at you.


Christine January 9, 2024 at 6:25 pm

Ha ha! I love your #5! Us frugalists get our cheap thrills in very innovative ways.


Julia January 9, 2024 at 7:52 am

1. Got $79.51 worth of items from Target for $36.78 after $42.78 off/$ back (Target Circle, Ibotta, and Fetch.) all were items we use.


Ashley Bananas January 9, 2024 at 8:05 am

Happy birthday Katy!
1. After many fails at a new washer, I went to a second hand store and bought one for about $190. The gentlemen at the store and I loaded it in my SUV. I then brought it home, slid it out of the car, on a dolly, and brought it in the laundry room and hooked it up by myself. If only I had done this in the first place. Thanks to my willingness to do this, I saved the delivery and installation fee.
2. I picked two t-shirts from garbage piles near dumpsters in the last few weeks. I was finally able to wash them and try them on, they fit perfectly. I think I will start doing this more often. When I do Door Dash and go to apartment communities specifically, folks there throw away everything. I should have taken the entirety of the bags, apparently the wearer was my size.
3. My son and I had a $10 coupon/giftcard for Outback. We went, got a blooming onion and waters for about $10 and left a 30% tip. I also did a survey for PaPa John’s and received a free promo code for a Papadilla, we ordered this for my son. We love free food.
4. I have not received any unsolicited advice on dating or not dating from men who have never asked me out about men who also have never asked me out.
5. This weekend I obtained a Cultural Enrichment pass for a local rehabilitation type zoo. My son and I went and enjoyed it. It was a quirky little Florida place and it reminded me to do more things with the people I love while I can.


A. Marie January 9, 2024 at 11:09 am

Your #4 is priceless!


Bethany M January 9, 2024 at 12:20 pm

My last Aldi trip was great. All 3 of their big produce specials called out to me. So I took advantage. I returned a lunchmeat because one of the 2 inside packages had spoiled. They gave me the twice back guarantee. So free $5.49 package and $5.49 store credit. I’m $11 better off than if I had chucked it. At the cash register the lady said, “You did a power shop!” But in reality it was $60 and for a family of 5 eating 21 meals (plus snacks) a week at home, that’s fantastic!

Well, this week I also picked up some Flashfoods sales. $4 for 2 lbs of hamburger and 4 fancy bags of salad mix.

Picked up a free gallon of distilled water with a Meijer coupon. I need for my CPAP. I also refilled the previous gallon with tap water for emergency preparedness. Apparently you shouldn’t store water in those jugs for long term because they are prone to leaking, however I put them in a bathtub that we don’t use. We don’t have quite the amount the government suggests, but some is better than none.

Made 2.5 dozen eggs into deviled eggs for our church lunch and to keep some for my family. I dried the shells out and then crunched them down and sprinkled them over the snow in our yard. My gardens already have a stocked supply of shells, but my yard tends to be dandelion beds in the summer. I heard this can indicate a calcium deficiency as the dandelion’s tap root brings calcium back to the surface. Couldn’t hurt to try this.

From my last canning session I had one pint of garbanzo beans that siphoned. It sealed, but I put it right into the fridge because I’m a nervous nelly. I made it into hummus tonight for my daughter’s lunch. She absolutely loves my hummus.


Julia January 9, 2024 at 1:25 pm

So I already posted my #1 but forgot the other 4! So here they are!
1. Got $79.51 worth of items from Target for $36.78 after $42.78 off/$ back (Target Circle, Ibotta, and Fetch.) all were items we use.
2. Found a penny so I can start my 2024 found $ jar
3. Used up odds and ends of root vegetables and gourds from my winter CSA along with some marked down curs of beef to make a yummy stew in my crockpot
4. It’s raining here in PA so using my indoor lines and racks to dry two loads of laundry.
5. It’s really gross outside, cold, rainy and windy. Saving $ by staying home. Drinking hot tea to keep warm and not turning the heat up.


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