Five Teeny Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on June 21, 2024 · 21 comments

  1. I gathered up all my “empty” Blistex lip balms and scooped out the inaccessible goo to create a single Franken-Blistex. I did this using my trusty Starbucks “splash stick” that I keep on hand for this specific purpose. (Yes, that’s really what they’re called!) I get annoyed with throwing away the last bits of beauty products, so this is how I make sure to get my money’s worth.

    I jokingly told my husband that I was “saving ‘ones’ of dollars!”

  2. I convinced my son to drive the extra five or so minutes to shop at Winco instead of Albertson’s last night. (It helped that I was visiting with him and did the actual driving.) It saved him money, plus I was able to pick up the couple items (curry powder, tostadas) that I normally buy at Winco.

    As an added bonus, there was an abandoned McMenamin’s Gearhart Hotel canvas tote bag in the parking lot and I brought it home as there were no cars nearby.

  3. I earned enough points using the Fetch* app to cash out for a $25 Safeway gift card.

  4. I drove across town and dropped off yet another probate legal form for my late father-in-law’s estate. The more efficient my husband and I are with this process, the sooner we can settle the estate and stop paying all his expenses and get reimbursed for the multiple expensive things we’ve paid out of pocket for.

  5. I didn’t buy a teeny tiny Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Susie's Daughter June 21, 2024 at 12:34 pm

1) Katy, I feel you on the probate. Not so tiny frugal thing is me handling the probate for my aunt’s estate without an attorney. I come from a family of lawyers and somehow, me the non-lawyer, is managing the whole gig. (Proximity has a lot to do with it in actual fact, but still…) I am close to the end of the process – fingers crossed. In my state, a lawyer is not required. But this confirms for me that I did not miss my calling as an attorney!

2) Repotted vast majority of my houseplants using pots on hand, four matching ones handed down from a friend and old containers (juice, yogurt etc) to pot the ones leaving the house. Aloe looks much happier as does the prolific spider plant.

3) Taking food out of freezer for dinner even though my brain is fried, and I want to sit like a lump on the couch (see 1 re: probate paperwork). Sunk cost on food we like, so in the end it is pasta with meat sauce for the win.

4) Used Staples rewards money to buy a birthday gift of purple paper notepads for myself and one of my besties – we share a birthday. She is also getting a purple pen like the one I adore, also covered by rewards.

5) Green tea and lemonade made at home, mystery book from Libby, walking with puppy for exercise and gardening for mental health (and hopefully some edible returns). Happy Friday, everyone!


Ruby June 21, 2024 at 1:26 pm

Having just closed the estate I had to administer, you have my sympathies. It is an expensive pain in the butt.

Today I made it into the city to Aldi and did a stock-up due to how inconvenient it is to get there in heavy traffic. It was worth the effort, as $74 filled up the back of my car. Also went to Ollie’s Outlet and bought 20 lbs. of cat litter for $5.99. Froze a bunch of on-sale fresh berries for future smoothies. Dried more laundry on the back porch and picked more tomatoes from the container garden.


Kara June 21, 2024 at 2:30 pm

Katy, could you tell me an appropriate gift for nurses on the antepartum floor? It looks like DIL is going to be not enjoying an extended stay (but is very grateful for the care).


Katy June 22, 2024 at 8:43 am

Food. And don’t think that people in healthcare only want healthy food, we enjoy a box of donuts. Keep in mind that a lot of people in healthcare prefer not to eat homemade food from people they don’t know.

P.S. That’s very nice of you.


Kara June 22, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Thank you for the info. I’m on toddler duty so I wouldn’t have made anything homemade anyway. Until now we’ve all been too worried to do anything but survive. Now we’re setting in for a wait (hopefully). Delivery will be at 34 weeks if it hasn’t already happened.


Marybeth from NY June 21, 2024 at 3:31 pm

1. Returned 85¢ in bottles and cans. The plastic machine was full so I will do it another day.
2. Ground turkey was on sale for $1.99 a pound limit 2 packs so I grabbed 2. Chicken thighs were 99¢ a pound limit 2. Breyers ice cream were 2 for $5. I also grabbed 4 bananas and a small thing of grapes because I didn’t want to go to another store.
3. Worked in the garden from 9am-10:30. It was very humid so I soaked my head several times with the hose. It was too hot to do any work on it the rest of the day. I don’t need heat stroke. I texted my father(81) to make sure he wasn’t outside still. He had gone out from 8-9.
4. Hubby had to go to NJ yesterday for work overnight. He is coming home tonight. Gets all of his meals paid for. He still looks for deals and brings a cooler for leftovers.
5. I turn our bedroom AC on 1/2 hour before I go to sleep. It is on the 2nd floor. The LR one was on all day. First time this season. I keep it at 77. Hubby will put at 75 when he is home.


Christine June 21, 2024 at 5:34 pm

1. I volunteered at the library booksale this afternoon. It wasn’t a hardship as they keep the place well air conditioned.
2. I didn’t see anything at the sale that truly interested me so I bought nothing.
3. I love to see books, CDs, DVDs, puzzles and games getting a second, third, fourth, etc. life so I enjoy seeing people reusing these
very reusable items. And all for an extremely low price. We’ll be donating a lot of what we don’t sell to a county jail for their library.
4. I made the iced tea I took with me to the sale, in a travel container.
5. I wore a t-shirt with the message: “I can’t. I’m booked.” to work at the booksale. Seemed appropriate. I won this along with a cloth shopping bag at a free raffle last year.


Ecoteri June 21, 2024 at 8:29 pm

Oh, I could do with that Tee Shirt (although I would prefer a nice large canvas bag with “I can’t, I’m Booked” printed on the side)


A. Marie June 22, 2024 at 10:42 am

Christine, I have a nightshirt with the message “Oops! I just bought another pile of books!” (Which is what I usually do at a library sale, so I commend your restraint.)


Jean C June 22, 2024 at 4:20 am

I love that t-shirt motif!

Totally relate to the endless minutia of estate settlement. I am in process of finally discarding the paperwork for an estate I was administer of 7 years ago. I kept 2 binders (with plastic sleeve protectors in which i inserted documents). One was the “to be done” (think misc correspondence) and the other was “done” (think bills paid, documents filed) if that makes any sense. It was easy to slip the paperwork in and out as needed.
If there is one good thing about having to do an estate it is the recognition of how important it is to have your own affairs in order – or close to. I had asked the person to give me a list of accounts and passwords in advance and that really came in handy (a digital estate plan per se).

I am actively trying to use up personal care items – so much satisfaction using what i have. But the items I don’t particularly care for (but am forcing myself to us up anyway) seem go take forever!


Bee June 22, 2024 at 7:30 am

I am so sorry that you are having to manage your FIL’s estate. I handled my father’s estate years ago. I know it is not easy. He was organized, but there was intellectual property involved which can be a challenge. However, it was actually more difficult when my MIL passed away. My SIL – an attorney — was the executor. Unfortunately, she lived 2000 miles away and not licensed in the State of Florida. She was overwrought with grief and wanted to keep everything for herself. (There were 5 children.) It took a lot of love, patience and work to get the estate closed without any hard feelings. I think this is one of the reasons a will/ trust should be air tight and well thought out. Sadly, my MIL’s was not. She had hired a lawyer who was a known alcoholic with a floundering practice. My MIL knew his mother and knew he needed the business. Life in a smallish town is always interesting.

Onto FTFTs:
1. I put a stack of magazines in the share bin at the library.
2. I sold two things online this week. One on a local site and one via eBay.
3. I bought a pair of Nike flip-flops at the thrift store. I have been looking for these for a while. They have great arch support and unfortunately have been discontinued.
4. I went to lunch with a friend and ordered a single taco off the a la carte menu at a local Mexican restaurant. I wasn’t particularly hungry. I was there for the company. I manage to spend just $7. $4 for the taco and $3 for the tip.
5. I am listening to yet another book on Libby, The Frozen River. Libby is keeping me sane and focused as I continue my decluttering project. We start on the garage this weekend. My husband and I must cooperate on this area. Wish me luck!!! He is a saver. The last attempt to clear out the garage ended when I asked him why we needed 3 shop vacs.

Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 22, 2024 at 7:41 am

I feel for all of you on the probate estate grindery. In three years I have cleared out 3 estates, def a “p in the b”.
Spent yesterday working in the fields and garden before the heat set in, then went to 3 “neighborhood wide” garage sale events. Parked and walked with my garden cart in tow. Since it was 90F, people were ready to bargain and I got 4 stainless steel pie pans for $.50, a 50 yo farm/logging community cookbook with all from scratch recipes, a huge 40 oz stanley travel mug that perfectly fits in my tractor for $1, an alabaster dog that actually plugs in to make a night light $2, 4 new outdoor throw pillows for $1 ea, a cake doughnut pan for my GF applesauce cake donuts $1 and a high end linen jeans jacket style jacket for me $3, a digital picture frame $1 (this was in the schwanky neighborhood and everything at their sale was $1) I also got some Williams Sonoma hotel linen napkins and round table cloth set of 8 for $1, crazy! I picked up a set of 8 fostoria nut cups for resell, a Husky rolling job bag for my favorite handyman, an iphone that still works to play my audiobooks on (he gave it to me for $1), it has a new battery! One house sold mocktails or fancy shaved ice for $1, what a treat! I have a rule that I must buy something before perusing the free box, I found a whole brand new set of RoseArt colored pencils, a bunch of practice golf balls for the kitties, a glazed pottery tall planter (I’ll use for one of my orchids) and a couple carabiner key chains. Everything is already cleaned up and put in it’s spot, I cleared out 4 pie pans to make cherry pies for give away treats – the pie cherry is loaded and ready to pick.


Katy June 22, 2024 at 8:33 am

What a fun day of garage sale-ing!

I’ll be going to garage sales today, as a nearby wealthy neighborhood is having their “neighborhood wide” sale today. However, I’ll go in the late afternoon when most people set their stuff out with a “FREE” sign. I’ve had good luck doing this in past years and am crossing my fingers that I’ll come across some good stuff.


A. Marie June 22, 2024 at 8:43 am

As Amy D said at the end of her Tightwad Alphabet, “Z is for zero, my favorite price!”


A. Marie June 22, 2024 at 8:50 am

BG Farmgirl, I agree with Katy that you made out like a bandit at those neighborhood sales! I’m especially gobsmacked at the still-working iPhone for $1; that’s a steal no matter what you use it for!

A couple of questions, though: (1) What are “nut cups” (you’re sending my mind places it shouldn’t be going), and (2) do your cats play golf?


Christine June 22, 2024 at 5:05 pm

A. Marie…your first question…you’re killin’ me! Although I must say, my mind went there too.


A. Marie June 22, 2024 at 9:16 am

My sympathies to Katy and Mr. NCA, plus everyone else who is or has just been settling an estate. I’m doing my best to make things as simple as I can for the friend I’ve asked to be my eventual executor.

Now, FTTFT, Heat and Drought Edition:

(1) We haven’t had meaningful rain (other than the occasional 5-minute passing shower) in over a week. So as long as I’m having to run the central AC anyway, I’m collecting water from its condenser (which drains into my basement laundry tub; I stick buckets under the tubing). This helps a bit with watering the gardens.

(2) And because the basement is the coolest place in the house, I’ve been spending as much time there as I can, mainly doing laundry. I then hang the laundry on my collection of indoor racks on the much-warmer second floor, where it’s been drying almost as fast as Ruby’s laundry on her outdoor racks!

(3) Since none of us felt like cooking on Wednesday, the Bestest Neighbors treated me to takeout from a locally well-known Italian restaurant. (I contributed locally grown asparagus that I’d previously steamed and marinated.)

(4) At Wednesday’s dinner, I remarked that I’d once owned a copy of this restaurant’s cookbook, had purged it, and had since regretted this. Well, another copy of the cookbook turned up at a Thrifty Shopper this morning!

(5) And for Friday’s dinner, I made another summer stir-fry, including Reduced for Quick Sale boneless pork from Wegmans, snow peas from the Regional Market, and scallions and a selection of leafy weeds from the gardens. (When things get to the point where I can’t tell the pigweed from the zinnias, it’s time to eat some pigweed!)


Ruby June 22, 2024 at 2:24 pm

It’s been 94 F. by afternoon. Laundry dries so fast. There is not a breath of a breeze, though.


Cindy in the South June 22, 2024 at 10:24 am

Cute tote bag!!!!!


Heidi Louise June 22, 2024 at 2:59 pm

I (and my two sisters) will be eternally grateful that our parents, Dad outliving Mom by twenty years, had everything in a trust. Everything was in his control until shortly before he died, when he made me co-trustee with him, (don’t remember the exact words), and I took over from there. I was then the sole trustee, and even with all of us hundreds of miles away from his home, it was relatively painless to divide everything by three.

He had a will, but as all his assets, house, and possessions belonged to the trust, we did not have to probate the will. My parents also didn’t want to go through probate because that makes the items in the estate public record, which a trust doesn’t, and that privacy was somehow important to them.


MEM June 23, 2024 at 5:38 am

For the first time in a year, my husband, son and I went yardsaling yesterday. It was a neighborhood-wide sale in my town and about 1.5 miles away. It was supposed to be 39 houses participating but the weather here in the Boston area was cloudy in the morning with the promise of rain by 3:00. It actually didn’t rain until 4:00. I need nothing so it was the FOMO that made us go. DH is recovering from hernia surgery two weeks ago so I did any lifting and carrying. He ended up staying in the car for most of the stops. DS29 found some DVDs for $1 each. I purchased a few cookbooks also $1 each. I love reading them more than using them. Dug through a huge musty bag of very assorted clothes and found DS a “Hawker Rye” shirt for $1. I had to look up the brand – it’s a Stitch Fix brand – the shirt is well-made so it was worth $1. Bought DH a cotton LL Bean short-sleeved shirt for 50 cents. Also purchased two LPs for 50 cents – not new in shrink wrap but no scratches either. Purchased a micro fiber towel for $1 designed for drying wet dogs. I have three chihuahua-mixes so that towel will do for all three.
Now for the freebies – because of the cloudy weather, some folks just set out free stuff in their yard. They knew enough not to use a table as those disappear even if marked “please don’t take my table!” My son found an Eric Carle book he doesn’t have in his collection. If you are ever in Western Massachusetts, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is well worth a visit. I found four Threshold brand marble and wood coasters, a huge new bag of gift bows, a gigantic cookie tin and a medium dessert cloche with galvanized tin plate – I will use that for a Halloween decoration as my plastic spider skeleton will fit nicely under the glass dome.
We have a very unfrugal week coming up – our 8 year old Central A/C died the day before the extreme heat wave hit most of the U.S. The A/C tech can’t come until tomorrow (Monday).
This might be TMI, but I am starting a low-residue diet today for my upcoming colonoscopy. Lots of “white” foods. Trying not to buy anything special for the prep except maybe Gatorade, lime Jello and Apple Juice.


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