Five Teeny Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on October 26, 2023 · 40 comments

  1. My childhood best friend Carol had been wanting to get together and since I’m the exciting person that I am, I suggested we hit Costco together. She lives very close to the warehouse store, so the two of us were able to enjoy each other’s company while crossing an annoying task from our to-do lists.

    Buying cat litter and a rotisserie chicken has never been so much fun!

  2. They didn’t have the 2-pound bags of carrots that I normally buy at Winco, so I bought a 5-pound bag and gave some to my friend Lise. She and I frequently share when we have too much of certain foods, so it all balances out. Last month’s excess cilantro becomes this month’s carrots.

  3. Portland’s weather has taken a dip into Autumn temperatures, which means my sieve of a 109-year-old house is decidedly chilly. However, it’s just me at home, (my husband is still in Las Vegas for his baseball tournament) so I’m hesitant to turn on the furnace for my big ol’ house until I’ve employed a few actions.

    Here’s how I’m staying warm when the interior temps hit 58-60 degrees:

    • I wear either a sweater or hoodie sweatshirt to preserve my body heat. Cozy socks and shearling slippers warm my feet.
    • I plug in a heating pad for my lap, which I then cover with a pillow or blanket. Obviously, this is for when I’m seated on the couch. This really is pure luxury!
    • I open the curtains if the sun actually peeks out from behind her cloud cover.
    • Tea to warm my hands and tummy.
    • I sleep on flannel sheets and under a thick down duvet.

    I know nothing on this list is new or exciting information, but I still wanted to share how I’m choosing to preserve the natural gas that powers our furnace. Sure, it’s a I-hate-to-waste-money issue, but it’s also because the natural gas industry is nasty and a major contributor to climate change. If I can acclimate myself to cooler temperatures there’s really no downside.

  4. • I noticed that dried chives were $22.48/pound in the bulk section at Winco. This makes me extra pleased to have grown and dried my own chives.
    •  Safeway had another sale on Tillamook cheese, so I picked up two more 2-pound loaves of white cheddar cheese for $6.47 apiece. I also activated a $2-off-anything coupon in the “rewards” section of their app. This cheese is often twice this price, so I stock up whenever it’s on sale. Their expiration date is far into next year, so it’s no problem to stock up.

  5. I didn’t buy any teeny tiny Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy October 26, 2023 at 3:42 pm

I miss Safeway/Vons since we moved from So California 3 years ago
1. Made quiche with bacon hubby cooked up this am
2. Redeemed Southwest rewards for $100 in kohls gift cards. I was going to get gift cards for Christmas gifts. However, the winter comforter which I got 2nd hand from my sister is rather ratty looking
3. Used $5 reward at Walmart
4. My pay this week was pleasantly more due to holiday pay
5. Friend gave me over 100 dvds to sell


Plaidkaren October 26, 2023 at 5:24 pm

I, for one, am enjoying your recent extra writings!! Thanks!


Lindsey October 26, 2023 at 5:27 pm

1. We were out of dog treats, so I pulled a bag of pumpkin pulp from last summer’s garden and set it on the counter. When I opened it, SURPRISE! it was frozen cherry tomatoes that I had thrown in the freezer when I had no time to use them. I found another bag, this time correctly labeled and made dog treats.
2. While the treats were baking, I put the cherry tomatoes in a pan, threw in a few cloves of garlic, drizzled on olive oil, and put it in the oven. They had to cook for about another 15 minutes after the treats were done, but I did save a few pennies by cooking two items together. Used them to make spaghetti sauce for tomorrow’s dinner.
3. Mended a bunch of stuff that had been sitting in a bag in the corner of the study.
4. My sourdough starter died while we were gone so I started a new one.
5. Husband went out to lunch with his three indoor golf buddies and brought home half of his breakfast. As he was putting it in a to-go box, one of the guys said, “You sure must love that dog to bother bringing food home to him.” My husband was very pleased with his wit when he replied, “I love my wife even more, these leftovers are for her!”

Frugal fail: Last year we had over 200 kids come by on Halloween and we ran out of candy. Husband was stopping at Costco for some tire related thing, so I asked him to buy a bunch of candy. He came home with full sized bars of Hershey’s chocolate bars. Not the minis, the full-sized ones. That is 8 boxes of 36 bars each, for a total of 288 bars. This cost $224. Words failed me. In fact, as I read this now, words still fail me.


Katy October 26, 2023 at 6:22 pm

You’re going to be very popular!


Selena October 26, 2023 at 6:27 pm

Take heart – a lot – and I do mean a lot – of kids will be thrilled with full sized candy bars. You will be remembered. And yeah I will admit a bit pricey but less than $1 a bar. Which is a better price than buying individual bars. We get a very few neighborhood kids only so we over buy. Plenty for them plus extra just in case.


Jen in Santa Cruz October 26, 2023 at 9:22 pm

You are now officially one of the houses that gives out FULL SIZE CANDY BARS and all of the kids will love you. I am frugal so I can splurge on the important things, like Full Size Candy Bars at Halloween. The little kids are amazed and the big kids might even go home and change costumes and come back. Halloween is such a fun holiday, so just go with it. There isn’t much to do on Halloween for the “big kids”, like age 12 and up, but they still want to be kids, so thank you for being so generous. It will go a long way.


A. Marie October 27, 2023 at 5:48 am

I agree with what the others said about how popular your house is going to be at Halloween. And the husband is so close to perfect in all other respects that I think we’d all vote for cutting him some slack on this one.


Nancy from mass October 27, 2023 at 10:06 am

Oh boy will you be popular! I only get 6 to 10 kids, so I buy full-size candy bars or packages of gum.

I actually might not do anything this year since I think I only had six kids last year. The next street parallel to me has cul-de-sacs off of it and it is a very busy street, so I don’t get many trick-or-treaters online.


Selena October 26, 2023 at 6:31 pm

If you had our electric company, you’d turn up the furnace in a heart beat. Wood stove is our frugal, even if we didn’t get free wood (read: good trees/worth burning for heat). Electric rates are high in my area – BS about “shareholder dividends” and of course executive pay/bonuses. Greed will be the downfall of the US but I have high hopes Gen X and younger are going to right the ship.


Selena October 26, 2023 at 6:33 pm

Natural gas furnace that is. And I am not quite convinced electric is better for the environment. Perhaps in your neck of the woods. I’m on the fence in my area (electric is winning) and suffice it to say Duke Energy is the pits.


texasilver October 26, 2023 at 6:58 pm

Is the kitten enjoying the heating pad in your lap? I know cats love warmth & laps too!


Trish October 26, 2023 at 7:01 pm

I LOVE that you can handle 58 degrees in your house! We had a brief spell of cold weather here in the lower midwest, and inside temps plunged to 59 degrees. Bundled up instead of turning on furnace in our ancient farmhouse on the used-to-be prairie. We are going down into the upper 20s next week, at night, so furnace will be turned on, to 60. We have survived many yrs at this temp!! A cat or two in my lap keeps me warm in the evening, and as I sleep! That last thing isn’t frugal but is effective. Out here in rural America cats just show up, and we adopt them and give them ridiculous names. And yes they are fixed!!


Katy October 26, 2023 at 7:15 pm

Please tell me your ridiculous cat names!


A. Marie October 27, 2023 at 6:49 am

The Ridiculous Cat Names contest is on! Here are mine, from our six (to date) lifetime cats: Mr. Pumblechook, Flash Toby Crackit (these first two are from minor characters in Dickens), Disraeli Diehard Dreadnought, Chequers (he was adopted from a friend and already had a name, so we didn’t add to it), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Betty Crocker’s Butterscotch Pudding.


Katy October 27, 2023 at 10:03 am

You really saved the best for last, those are amazing names. For some reason I’m suddenly craving butterscotch pudding!


K D October 27, 2023 at 3:39 am

I can’t keep up with you. You are a frugal/posting queen these days. I’m enjoying it.

Five Teeny Tiny Frugal Things (these really are Teeny Tiny):

1. I have been reusing aluminum foil and parchment paper, when possible. I bake a lot of chicken breasts, covered in foil. After they are done baking I fold the foil and put it in the freezer to be used again. I line a baking sheet with parchment paper when I bake granola. After it is done I fold the paper, and store it, in a bag, in the refrigerator. It saves a little money but it is also better for the environment which is my main motivation.

2. For a few years I printed the Brain Bashers CalcuDuko puzzle every day (in scrap paper and using black laser printer ink) but I recently switched to solving it online. It saves a bit of paper and ink.

3. Last week CVS started sending me ExtraBucks. I drive past one three times a week so I stopped last week and bought cans of peanuts on sale and yesterday pistachios on sale. There was very little out of pocket and it is not at all out of my way.

4. DH had an Rx ready to be picked up at a pharmacy. We walked there for our evening walk.

5. I brought the bar of soap home from the hotel last weekend. It was the bar we used for washing our hands and I believe they throw them away once they’ve been opened/used. I use those soap bars for handwashing at home. I was happy to see the hotel had large bottles of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Hopefully that is better for the environment.


Selena October 27, 2023 at 6:54 pm

You know Reynolds Wrap makes compostable parchment paper? AND the roll has a much shorter width than other parchment paper.


Jill A October 27, 2023 at 5:19 am

58 degrees is awfully chilly. Good for you. I’d just have to hibernate. That is what my thermostat is set for at night but I’m under a few blankets.
1. Tiny, Tiny Frugal thing – I cut open my tube of hand lotion to get the last of it out.
2. I returned all of my soda cans to Meijer for a total of $19. This made my grocery bill $5
3. I used one BOGO and a 50% off coupon for my groceries.
4. I’ve sold a few items on Ebay even though I haven’t listed anything in months.
5. My Aunt gave me a beautiful purple aster from her garden and I remembered to transplant it before it died.


Q October 27, 2023 at 6:13 am

Loving all the posting: inspires me to find more ways to save.

1. Batched my errands: picked up a very nice iron firewood holder from Marketplace for $20, and it was located near both my yesterday’s Dr. checkup, and near Michaels, where I used a coupon.
2. Used a $5 reward coupon at Michael’s, along with a 50% off coupon, to purchase a $10 jar of sprinkles (that I use on birthday cakes) for free, and did not buy anything else. I mainly just get the photography specials at Michaels.
3. Library called and I did not realize a membership I had won included a big box of spices, which I went and picked up. Yum!
4. Instead of purchasing a single thing for Oktoberfest party I am going to, I called and asked a friend for something to borrow. I am going to wear shorts and knee socks and a German scarf, and wear a pin (that I will make) supporting a German soccer team!
5. I used the shoe goo that I used on my hiking boots to fix a ping pong paddle. It worked great!

I am about to bake some loaves of pumpkin bread for a practical gift for some friends as everyone loved it last week. Am going to 2nd potluck this week. Will stop by library for a movie and free popcorn to have on hand for a movie night next week. We have so far resisted turning on the heat: I was surprised to find in discussion with friends that none of them follow the Nov. 1 rule!


Lesley October 27, 2023 at 6:36 am

Katy, I can’t be the only fan who is *loving* all the content this week! Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Marybeth from NY October 27, 2023 at 7:14 am

1.My son does his laundry on Thursday’s at our house as it is his day off. He usually goes food shopping too. Hubby was out of soy milk so I asked my son to pick up 2 so I could avoid going to the store.
2. The acorns have been crazy this year. I try to pick a 5 galloon bucket up every day. We don’t pay for yard work. All of our neighbors do. Leaves started falling so I will upgrade to a garbage can a day.
3. My son brought his shower curtain and asked it it could be saved. I soaked it in the tub with oxyclean and then ran it through the wash with bleach. As good as new.
4. I knew I would doing a double today and working Saturday so I cooked lots on Thursday. I made lemon chicken and rice. Ate it for lunch with my daughter and packed it up for several lunches. Fried an eggplant, cooked some Italian sausage while the oven was on. Threw in 6 potatoes too. Made a pound of pasta. Heated up frozen sauce. Sliced the sausages and fed Hubby lunch and packed up 3 more meals for him. Made pancakes, cinnamon apples and bacon for dinner. Froze the leftover pancakes for easy breakfasts. My daughter and I made her GF oatmeal cookies too.
5. Working extra hours means extra payment to the mortgage.


Katy October 27, 2023 at 10:06 am

I should make some pancakes as my daughter brought me a whole gallon of skim milk that needs to get used up. I’ve never frozen pancakes, but no time like the present to give this a try!


Marybeth from NY October 30, 2023 at 9:20 am

I make them so they fit in the toaster. so easy.


A. Marie October 27, 2023 at 7:33 am

FTTFT, Miscellany Edition:

(1) My National Grid bill for this month (electric and gas) came to $72.59. This is up slightly from last month, because (a) with decreasing daylength, the solar panels are helping with the electric a little less; and (b) I have caved in a few days and put the furnace on briefly to take the Central NY morning chill off the house. (I’m not as young and tough as I once was.) But I’m still proud of the fact that the supply charges are still only $12.01, as opposed to the $60.58 that NG is gouging me for delivery.

(2) I enjoyed two Panera freebies this week, courtesy of my friend who works at a Panera: a reheated souffle for breakfast after I came home from my cataract surgery, and the second of the two round Asiago foccacias for another personal pan pizza (see my September description of this).

(3) Not frugal/frugal: I saw my eye guy for a surgery follow-up yesterday, and he thinks that the continuing cloudy/blurry vision in the operated eye is due to corneal edema (probably a result of my pre-existing cornea condition). He recommended a Bausch & Lomb product called Muro 128 to help with the edema, which I bought on the way home (Ms. Bestest Neighbor, who drove me to the appointment, swung by Wegmans for me as well). Not cheap at $23, but I do think it’s helping–and anything that will clear my vision faster is frugal in my book.

(4) Now that I’ve finished soaking all the labels off the 18 used herb bottles that a neighbor gave me (see my FTFT of Wednesday), I’m about to start filling them again, with dried herbs I intend to give as Xmas gifts. Up first, basil. (Regular large-leaf basil doesn’t dry at all well, but the mini basils I grow dry superbly in my large, dry attic.)

(5) Finally, I noticed today that I’m finally close to running out of the deodorant soaps I used for a few years as deer deterrents in the garden. (At the end of each season, I saved the soaps for their original intended purpose.) But I have enough leftover soap chips to make a “new” bar of soap, using the old soap mold I bought from Miles Kimball several decades ago.


Heidi Louise October 27, 2023 at 7:52 am

I wonder if Miles Kimball still has turquoise-and-white boxes? My Mom would order from them every year, notably for Advent candles for pretty much everyone we knew– relatives, teachers, neighbors. I shall have to look up the soap mold on their online website, don’t remember seeing one before.


A. Marie October 27, 2023 at 8:26 am

I just checked the Miles Kimball website, and, sadly, I don’t see the soap mold. But I’m gobsmacked to learn that MK is still in business; I thought it folded years ago!


Katy October 27, 2023 at 10:00 am

$23 is a bargain to protect your eyesight!


Blue Gate Farmgirl October 27, 2023 at 8:48 am

Purchased loss leader butter @ shwanky grocery store, 4 lbs in the freezer for holiday baking.
Harvested last of the basil, made pesto and froze in ice cube trays
Power company cut trees on our road, I followed them cutting up their leavings, ended up with 2 1/2 cords (split and stored in the barn for next year) I only cut up what was alongside our property line.
Dug up and potted 24 whiskey barrels of geraniums. They will over winter in the greenhouse. If I had to replace them according to this years prices $500 +!
Harvested bell peppers, baby sweet peppers, pimentos, jalapenos and holy moly hot peppers. I guess I know what I’m doing for the next day or so!
I picked the last of the tomatoes and will pressure can the sauce.
I still have beets, but they do well in colder temps. I can procrastinate a bit longer. We do not have trick or treaters, but we do have a new family on the road that has littles, so I made them each a ghost that was a quilt snuggly quillow to go with the book.


Katy October 27, 2023 at 9:57 am

That is so sweet of you to make ghost pillows for your neighbor kids! And 2-1/2 cords of firewood is amazing! Do you have a wood splitter or do you chop them by hand?


Selena October 27, 2023 at 7:02 pm

2 1/2 cords (cords not face cords) tells me wood splitter. Must have been one heck of a cutting effort (power company and BGF) to get that much wood.


Iforonwy October 27, 2023 at 10:06 am

Did a bit of a sort out in the freezer and unearthed a bag of frozen veggie soup mix. Into the slow cooker and we had large bowls of veggie soup that lasted us for 2 nights.
I made use of the half price electriciy deal on Sundays and did some batch cooking. Apple and sultana muffins and a large Dutch Apple crumble using Bramley apples from the garden.
Sorted three small bookcases in the hallway. Two large boxes of books to the local hospice charity shop and a box of books to Ziffit earning me about $10 of your money.
Whilst sorting came across two photo albums of our trips stateside and spent a happy hour, whilst it poured down with rain, saying do you remember this with Hubby. Came across photos of our trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory!


Katy October 27, 2023 at 10:12 am

I’ve actually only ever been there once. (We had a Japanese exchange student with us.) Did you enjoy the factory tour?


Iforonwy October 28, 2023 at 7:06 am

Would you believe that our trip to Tillamook was in 1982!! It was during our first ever trip over rhe pond We enjoyed everything as it was all so new and different to us. We could not beleve that stores stayed open beyond 6pm (Fred Meyer) and also opened on Sundays – Clackamas Mall.
We are just having one of those muffins baked and then frozen last Sunday. We saved money this morning as we are having new carpet in our hallway and we opted to take up and dispose of the old carpet ourselves. We saved £48 by doing that and also used a £50 off voucher that came in the mail from the shop we are using – so almost £100 saved!


Katy October 28, 2023 at 8:04 am

Those are some impressive savings!


Nancy from mass October 27, 2023 at 10:19 am

1. We are supposed to be in the office three days a week but I was feeling better on Monday. So I talked to my boss and I said I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. And he said “why? Milk this another week. Stay home. It’s OK”. When I asked him what if someone says something about my not being in, he said “I’ll deal with it”. So, I haven’t been in the office since September 16! I also haven’t needed gas in so long that I had to reset my password for the gas app on my phone
2. My son sold the majority of my husband’s baseball cards in one lot to a dealer. He didn’t make quite as much as I had hoped he would (he doesn’t like to barter much) but he still made some money. And he kept the ones that are definitely valuable to have graded. Put some money in his pocket. (It was the first time he sold something that belonged to his dad. So it was kind of a tough thing for him. Probably why he didn’t barter much.)
3. I sold my sons golf bag set and some of my husbands clubs. They weren’t doing anything in the basement. I gave the money to my son.
4. My father-in-law gifted me his CD component player since he hasn’t used it in years. It’s actually original from 1984. And it completes my living room set.
5. The golf stuff that belonged to my husband that the used dealer did not want, I put out front and someone picked it up within a few minutes. So someone else will get a lot of enjoyment out of something my husband enjoyed, that I do not like.


Katy October 27, 2023 at 10:25 am

This must have been hard for both of you, but what a gift to put your husband’s stuff back into circulation and some money into your son’s pocket.


Nancy from mass October 27, 2023 at 7:49 pm

Yeah, Golf was never my thing. I find it very boring. But my husband never liked hiking, so we figured it evened out. Keeping his stuff isn’t doing anyone any good. And I want it to be used! Same with the baseball cards, my son didn’t care about baseball cards and his generation in 10 or 20 years probably isn’t going to care about a rookie card from some baseball player in the 70s.


Susan in TN October 27, 2023 at 6:18 pm

My frugal doings for this week:

I was able to get gasoline for 1.75/gallon using Kroger fuel points.

My dog takes an expensive med, Apoquel. I pay about $90 for 2 months but through Zoetis pet care rewards I got $9 back.

Used up the last of the HSA card for the year by getting reimbursed $16.34 for some OTC meds.

Bought my winter shirts/sweaters at GW. I had to let all my old winter clothes go due to weight loss.

It was time for husband’s Yousician subscription to renew. He hasn’t been focusing on piano/guitar so he cancelled and saved us $139.


mary in maryland October 28, 2023 at 6:57 am

My dog also takes Apoquel. The doc wanted to give her a 5 mg tab per day. I got her to prescribe the 16 mg tabs–I cut them in thirds. It really cut down on my cost as well.


Marsha Wells October 28, 2023 at 8:15 am

1. Took a pair of long sleeve VS pajamas from my apartment’s laundry room, that had a “please take” sign on them (they retail for around $60). Laundered them and discovered they are the most comfy long sleeve pjs I’ve ever had!
2. Took games on a visit to see my son so some of our entertainment was free, as well as made one crock pot meal.
3. Made a cake for my mom’s birthday (less than $4) rather than spending $25+ on a store bought cake that wouldn’t have tasted as good.
4. Submitted request for a vacation day at my job which is now part time with no vacation pay benefits to see if my old accrued vacation time from when I was full time could be used, and it was approved!
5. No jets


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