Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on November 10, 2023 · 87 comments

  1. I picked up a gallon of Safeway whole milk on sale for $2.50 and I’m working up my nerve up to try this recipe for two ingredient homemade cheese. I suppose this is a continuation of where I attempt to make things from scratch like an ole timey Alaskan homesteader.

    These items wouldn’t actually get me through a harsh winter, (not even a harsh weekend!) but lately I have made my own:

    Blackberry jam made from foraged berries.
    Sauerkraut, which by the way turned out great!
    Apple pies and crisps made from the neighbor’s fallen apples.
    • Pumpkin purée made from the neighbors’ leftover uncut Halloween pumpkins.
    • Homemade bread, although I’m holding off from baking any more loaves until the Thanksgiving grocery sales kick into high gear. I’m going through flour too fast!

    Next up — moose jerky! Probably not though, as the only big wild animals in my neighborhood are raccoons and nobody wants that.

  2. I sold a thrifted new with tags Gund teddy bear for $30 on eBay.

  3. I put up my Chanukah decorations early this year. Like Chanukah-doesn’t-even-start-until-December-7th early. Many Christians put up their Christmas decor a month in advance, so why shouldn’t I? There’s zero overlap of the two holidays this year, so we can properly enjoy them one at a time. Every single Chanukah item I own is from Goodwill, which makes it all extra special.

  4. • One of my neighbors texted asking if I wanted some homemade ginger cookies. Umm . . . yes!
    • My brand new LL Bean replacement sheet finally came in the mail. I did have to go through mailing back the ripped one, but selling on eBay means that I have packaging supplies on hand at all times.
    • I checked out a “Lucky Day” book at the library, but didn’t end up liking it. (It was confusing from the get go.) The great thing with library books is I don’t feel obligated to complete a book if it’s not my cup of tea. Perfection.

  5. I didn’t buy any tiny Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey November 10, 2023 at 11:38 am

1. Found two elderly apples in the fridge, turning too mealy to eat out of hand. I peeled and thinly sliced them, then I sauteed then in a bit of butter, and at the very end added some cinnamon and sugar. Tasty accompaniment to dinner.
2. Mended all the items in the mending basket.
3. Batched a bunch of errands, saving gas.
4. Did a grocery mystery shop, earning $32 of free food.
5. Made three loaves of artisan bread. When they had cooled sufficiently, I cut them into pieces and toasted them. They are now ready to be made into stuffing on Thanksgiving.


Katy November 10, 2023 at 11:46 am

Getting to the bottom of the mending basket is an impressive task!


Judi November 10, 2023 at 1:11 pm

I was there about a month ago, not anymore. Problem is people know I sew and give me stuff to fix (which I don’t mind since they help me out when I need it).


Bettypants November 11, 2023 at 1:10 pm

I’m also super impressed that you knocked out your mending basket. My mom always had a stack of stuff to be fixed and I didn’t understand why she didn’t just do it. And now I’m an adult with the eternal pile.


Mae Strychyn November 10, 2023 at 11:49 am

I encourage you to be brave and try making cheese! I have successfully made ricotta – it was tasty. Unless you get the milk on sale (lucky you!!) it’s not economical, though.
Your emails inspire me – thank you.


Casey November 10, 2023 at 12:45 pm

In the spirit of tiny frugal things, I pulled out all the single serve coffees I’v taken from hotel stays and have been cutting open the bag and filling my refillable K-cups with the contents. That’s given me coffee all week and I have a few more days left.

At one point I realized I had way too many hotel shampoos and conditioners. I’ve used all the shampoos (probably took 3 years — I don’t use a lot of shampoo). I’m now down to 6 conditioner bottles and am finishing those up. Still working on the lotion bottles, which I use on my face.

Took advantage of the extra trash bags we could set out this week and added 4 to the bin.


Katy November 10, 2023 at 3:55 pm

That’s a good idea with those hotel K-cups!


Christine November 10, 2023 at 1:49 pm

Your #4 is one of the reasons I love to borrow books from the library. I’m out nothing if I don’t like the book.
1. I found a really beat up penny in a parking lot for the found change jar.
2. I cut DH’s hair with my Wahl clippers. They’ve been in service now for at least 12 years since I remember cutting my father’s hair in the nursing home and he has been gone over 11 years. A bit of oil on the blades every few haircuts keeps them sharp.
3. A friend gave me two delicious donuts. So sweet…her and the donuts.
4. In addition to the one fresh pumpkin, I picked some Bittersweet from my yard and stuck it in an old crock I got from my grandmother’s house.
5. I saw frozen turkeys on sale for .47 lb. but the store being far away it doesn’t justify the gas money. My regular grocery store has them for .69 lb. and is a lot closer so I will pick a couple of them up while there. Since I’m having Thanksgiving this year, I’m keeping a close eye on prices.


Christine November 10, 2023 at 2:40 pm

…one fresh pumpkin ON MY FRONT PORCH, I picked some Bittersweet…sheeesh, I need to check my FFTs before I post…


Katy November 10, 2023 at 3:54 pm

I have a “free with blah-blah-amount purchase” in the freezer from last year.


Bee November 10, 2023 at 3:05 pm

I’m making headway and I hope my home will have returned to normal by Monday.
1. I had purchased a washer and dryer last Saturday to replace my unrepairable one and then my refrigerator died on Sunday. The big box store where I purchased the washer and dryer was having a special offer. If you bought two appliances, you saved an extra $100. If you bought 3 appliances, you saved $300. The sales person in the appliance department would not honor the offer. She insisted that the appliances must all be purchased at the same time. I went ahead and made the purchase then stopped at the service desk where I asked the store manager to honor the special offer. She did and refunded me the additional $200. Sometimes you just have to ask the right person.
2. I made sure that I bought a qualifying Energy Star appliances. In Florida, you do not have to pay sales tax on these items through March of 2024. That saved me an additional 7.5%
3. I called my energy provider who also has a rebate program in place I have been emailed the rebate forms. I also need to contact the county regarding my new high efficiency washer. There may be some savings here too.
4. The old refrigerator will be moved into the garage tomorrow when the new one is delivered. If it can be repaired, it will live there permanently. Since it is less than 5 years old, I am in the process of contacting LG and asking for help/ Compensation. Evidently this is one of the models covered in a class action suit and are known for being unreliable. Unfortunately, it is now to late for me to apply for compensation using this avenue. So I plan on requesting it directly from the company.
5. The whole week has been out of whack, but I have managed to brew my own coffee even if I haven’t eaten at home.
Wishing everyone good health and prosperity.


Katy November 10, 2023 at 3:53 pm

I applaud your perseverance!


Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:47 am

Congratulations on surviving an awful week. I’m happy you got your discount on the appliances. You deserved it.


Heidi Louise November 11, 2023 at 11:51 am

Glad you are making things happen for you this week, Bee!
(I deleted the long rant I wrote about customer service here). Well done on receiving your “buy three” offer as advertised!


Bee November 12, 2023 at 3:42 am

Thank you! It was a week! I try to remind myself that in the long run this is just small stuff — not life altering. Although when I’m dealing with it, I am extremely agitated and ticked off. Serenity now!


K D November 10, 2023 at 3:30 pm

I’ve got a few tiny things:

1. Butter is $1.99/# at Aldi this week so I stopped and bought six pounds.

2. Plastic bags are banned in our county as of November 1st. You can buy paper bags at the grocery store for $.05. I have brought my own bags/backpack for years. This change will not cost me anything.

3. I found a dime on the floor at the grocery store.

4. Even though was cold, dark, and wet today I took a long walk around the neighborhood before it got dark. Fresh air and exercise help me feel healthier and sleep better.

5. I used miscellaneous apples from a big box of “seconds” to make a big pot of applesauce in the slow cooker. I put it in jars saved over the years and will freeze it.


Katy November 10, 2023 at 3:52 pm

And again, I’m bummed that we don’t have Aldi here in Portland!


Selena November 10, 2023 at 8:27 pm

And I wonder why you don’t. Aldi seems to be everywhere else.


Jenny November 11, 2023 at 9:17 pm

Katie, I’m just curious- are there any Aldi-like stores there? We have one that people call “the poor man’s Aldi”. The name is Sav-A-Lot. And I’ve seen others like this down south and out west, but can’t remember the names. Seems like Aldi is getting too fancy and expensive.


Cindy in the South November 10, 2023 at 3:37 pm

Beautiful decorations! I am always up for ginger cookies…. or any cookies…. lol. Publix had turkeys on sale for 69 cents a lb so I snagged one for Thanksgiving.


A. Marie November 10, 2023 at 3:52 pm

One very large frugal thing: I had my second cataract surgery on Wednesday, and I’m doing better than I’d dared to hope. At the next-day follow-up appointment yesterday, not only was I cleared to drive as soon as I feel OK with it, but my eye doctor’s office sent a photo of my driver’s license over to the NY DMV to get the “corrective lenses required” item out of my record. For someone who’s been Ms. Magoo since age 7 and is now 68, this is beyond belief.

I probably will still get prescription glasses for close work (the drugstore “cheaters” are already driving me nuts) and astigmatism correction; if so, I’ll be measured for these at my next appointment on Dec. 12. But meanwhile, I’m trying everyone’s patience by running around yelling “Look, Ma, no glasses!” and “Hey, I can read that road sign!” Pardon me while I try to get my euphoria under control; it’s been a long, long time since I had anything to be euphoric about.


texasilver November 10, 2023 at 5:36 pm

Congratulations A Marie on your new vision improvement. I too wore thick glasses or contact lenses all my life. I had PRK surgery 10 years ago (like LASIK but w/ no flap). I now have 20/20 vision. It is so wonderful to see well. I had to pay for my surgery but it worth the 5K it cost. People born with good vision take it for granted. How nice that you are enjoying your clear crisp vision. One thing I like was that I can see the clock in the bedroom post PRK. I don’t not have to find my glasses to see the time in the dark.


Ruby November 10, 2023 at 8:48 pm

I’d also been severely near-sighted since childhood and still find it thrilling to be able to read the clock and drive without glasses. Pre-cataract surgery I would have struggled to find the car in a parking lot!


Patricia November 11, 2023 at 1:09 am

Say it loud, and proud A. Marie! It is wonderful!


Bee November 11, 2023 at 3:11 am

I’m glad to hear your surgeries went well and you are recovering quickly. I too am extremely nearsighted, but I wear contact lens. I see much better with these than my glasses. I’m sure cataract surgery will be in my future somewhere.


Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:45 am

Congratulations on your new clear vision. I’m hoping for the same in my future. I’ve worn very thick glasses or contacts since I was a teenager.


mary in maryland November 11, 2023 at 7:17 am

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 16 months old. I got dinged on my driver’s license test at 16 years for stopping for every red coke sign we passed.


Lindsey November 11, 2023 at 10:46 am

Glad you have joined the Former Ms. Magoo club!


Christine November 13, 2023 at 8:26 am

So happy it went well for you A. Marie!


Kathy November 10, 2023 at 4:47 pm

1. Finished my focus group $50. So I have $150 to use for daughter in laws Christmas gift.
2. Got pneumonia and flu vaccines which gave me $10 in Walgreens rewards
3. Logged in $5 and $10 rewards for hubby and into United Healthcare so we now have $15/each to use at Walmart (groceries, OTC, HABA)
4. Used my $8 credit at consignment store and scored a great Chicos jacket which I received multiple compliments at work today.
5. Realized I had 3 credits on audible (I had cancelled my membership) so I choose 3 books to listen while I drive to and from work


Nancy from mass November 10, 2023 at 7:11 pm

1. Dropped off the $58 worth of food (3 large, heavy bags) at my food pantry today in celebration of my late husband‘s 58th birthday. I managed to find some pie crust mix so I put a package of those in a brown bag with a can of pie filling. For pie making kits.
2. Found a package of bulbs that I bought last year and forgot to plant. So I went to the cemetery today and planted a few at the gravesite. The weird thing is, there was a monument being delivered across the way from my husbands and the name on the monument, is my maiden name.
3. Since I took the day off, after running my two errands, and eating lunch, I took a very nice nap with one of the kitties for 90 minutes.
4. My newest grand nephew has outgrown one of the hats that was knitted for him when he was born. I grabbed some nice soft yarn I had and I am making him a new hat
5. Helped my son tweak his résumé and added the fact that he went through a background check and his license for two years in the state he lives in. I think that will make a big difference in applying for jobs. I also had him bring his laundry again. Four loads of laundry. Freshly washed and folded. The men were very happy


Patricia November 11, 2023 at 1:13 am

Nancy, every time I see your name in a comment I smile with deep gratitude to you. Your information about survivors benefits (years ago) was instrumental in my getting Social Security benefits earlier. Thank you again, and again, and again.
Wishing you always the very best.


Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:35 am

Would you mind repeating the comment on survivors benefits? Thanks


Nancy from mass November 11, 2023 at 7:24 pm

Hi Jill A!

As a spouse of a deceased person, you are allowed to collect their Social Security at the age of 60 (I believe at 75%, but Patricia might be able to verify that) once you are 67, you can switch to your own Social Security benefits. It’s not a very well-known benefit, so I’d like to tell others because I know it will help. In three years, I will be able to start collecting.


J November 11, 2023 at 9:24 pm

OMG. I didn’t know this! Why did no one (funeral home! Lawyer! Financial planner! Family! Friends!) mention this? I was just under 60 when my husband died. I had no idea. Never expected to be in that position and his illness and death were unexpected and quick. I guess I will be trying to look into this.

Jill A November 12, 2023 at 6:09 am

Thank you Nancy & Patricia. I can’t believe that this information isn’t readily available. I have spoken to social security. I think it is all very confusing even to them. My situation is a little different. My husbands benefit is larger than mine so I will take his full benefit at 67 but I can take my own partial benefit at 62.

Katy November 11, 2023 at 1:07 pm

I love this!


Patricia November 12, 2023 at 1:16 am

And thank you, Katy for providing this platform in which information is shared that can be so helpful, and life changing.


Nancy from mass November 11, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Hi Patricia! I’m glad it was able to help you. I unfortunately was able to pass the same information along to a coworker whose husband died earlier this year.

I wish the SS office would tell people about this benefit when they call about the whopping $255 death benefit.


Patricia November 12, 2023 at 1:14 am

You get your husband full social security benefit at the age of 60. You are able to apply by phone 3 months before your 60th birthday, and begin receiving your benefit, the next month after you turn 60. This benefit does not extend to Medicare (you must be 65 to receive this benefit).
Thank you again Nancy.


Patricia November 12, 2023 at 1:19 am

Additional information, many states give widows a discount on their property taxes. I live in Florida and its around $500.
Check with your property appraiser’s office.

Diane November 13, 2023 at 1:51 pm

My Ed Jones guy told me that I’d be able to get my husband’s ss when he would have turned 65- which is next year. Does that seem right? I am 58.

Selena November 13, 2023 at 8:26 pm

@Diane – if your late husband would have turned 65 next year, he’d still be collecting early – FRA for a person born in 1959 is 66 years and 10 months. I think your Ed Jones guy is flat out bad advice wrong.

Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:34 am

What a nice way to remember your husband. I also donate to the food pantry in my husbands name. He would have been 59 this month.


Christine November 13, 2023 at 8:29 am

Your #1…what a lovely thing to do in memory of your husband that will also benefit hungry folks in your community! I love this idea.


Ava November 10, 2023 at 8:24 pm

Katy, if you make the cheese, be sure to let your readers know the result. Years ago, I used a popular food writer’s recipe to make cottage cheese. It was a total failure that went into the trash.


Ruby November 10, 2023 at 8:59 pm

Been rather ill this week, but scored free popcorn and a mini pack of cookies from the drugstore with reward bucks. Made turkey-rice kibble topper for my dogs that they love and it’s less expensive than canned dog food. Read Maggie Smith’s “You Could Make This Place Beautiful” as a free library book. Using a free 2024 calendar from a car dealership. Rearranged some kitchen decor for a free new look. Repainted a worn light switch platee and renewed the faded suede on my several pairs of blue sneakers and sandals with dye and an artist’s brush.


Bethany M November 10, 2023 at 9:01 pm

I took a part-time job teaching this year. The added funds have been a welcome relief, but I began struggling with using up all our leftovers. So now that I’m more in the groove, I’m working on doing better. The family had hamburgers for lunch today. There were 4 patties but 5 of us. I ate leftover soup and took one for the team.

The cost of lunchmeat went up the past month again. I’m strategizing on how to avoid it and still pack our lunches. Bean burritos, homemade pizza, and egg salad are up on the menu this week for lunches. I just hate a facing a huge grocery bill. Even though it’s only $5 here and there, it sets the tone for frugality when you make such concessions.

School called and asked me to come in early to sub for a class. They added $20 to my paycheck.

My children donated their unwanted Halloween candy to me. I think I’ll offer my 8th grade a piece to enjoy while they complete their study guide. Most have not been big fans of the chemistry unit we’ve been on. Not that a piece of candy will do the trick, but it’s a baby step, and a free one for that matter.


Danielle C November 10, 2023 at 9:13 pm

I am curious to hear about the milk/cheese project results!

Tiny things: I’ve been seeing videos from a content creator on TikTok known for using past-the-expiration-date products so I was motivated to take a fresh look in my the cabinets. So far this week I’ve used up a bag of navy beans (2021), a box of non-dairy Mac and Chz (2022), and a bag of penne pasta from the emergency kit (2022).


Heidi Louise November 11, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Danielle C: And you are still here to report on your expired food cooking success!
I wouldn’t worry about dry pasta or beans expiring.


Jenny November 11, 2023 at 9:30 pm

I will push the limits of expiration/best-by dates to some extent, and old pasta has been fine, if not great, until recently; I found an ancient bag of (dry) cheese tortellini and cooked it up. Definite fail!


Ecoteri November 11, 2023 at 2:39 am

My five…
1. Went for preventive laser surgery in my girly parts – pre-cancerous lesions (I now HATE the word lesions) in a rather tender (even if not currently in active service) part of the anatomy. apparently it is awkward to use scalpels in there, so laser it was. Free to me (thanks Canada) and #2 son drove me down. Bonus is he spent the 5 hour wait with his Grandmother, eating lunch and then playing board games with her. She has been missing his visits.
2. Watched Beau Miles on Youtube doing a marathon in 24 hours, and completing chores between his one mile runs. I was inspired and on two days I set an alarm to go off on the hour. I walked the dog up the road (about 15 min) then fitted in small and largish chores and actions before the next alarm went off. I got my woodbox filled (each day filled a wheelbarrow after a walk, twice), dealt with a lot of garden produce (never ending) made two soups, (produce), talked on the phone with my #1 son, and my #1 daughter, as well as a financial adviser. emptied the drying rack and dishwasher, sorted garlic and created labels for planting, kept the fire going, watered some indoor plants, and generally kept moving. Not a marathon, but more than 10,000 steps both days and the dog is happy.
3. grocery shopped and found icing and cookie mixes on huge discount. Yes I can make from scratch, but these prices were astonishingly good. loaded up, with cookies and cakes in the future. More walks are probably recommended.
4. I continue to read library books and gifted books and books on libby. I have a couple of library books that are overdue and are somewhere in the house – I had put into a bag to take to the library and the bag was removed from the vehicle when I went to move my daughter. My ‘jobs between walks’ are including a slow and steady search for the books. Luckily, our library doesn’t have late fees….
5. I made a bread from an instagram / tic toe post that had gone viral – I had all the ingredients on hand, so soaked the quinoa and buckwheat overnight and assembled and baked the following day. won’t be making it again, but I will eat what I made. Sliced and frozen (a job for tomorrow) it will be fine as toast. Not a win, but was fun to try.


Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:44 am

I love your second frugal five. What a great way to get exercise and accomplish some small chores at the same time.


mary in maryland November 11, 2023 at 7:24 am

I made no-knead bread from the NYT recipe. Turns out our house is too cold for proper rising. It is so hard that I made ribolitta (brothy Italian veg soup) that is meant to be served over stale bread. I find I have to start soaking the bread a couple hours before the meal.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 12:22 pm

I let mine rise the full 24 hours.


mary in maryland November 11, 2023 at 2:12 pm

I let it rise 48 hours. It started smelling alcoholic without expanding much.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 4:54 pm

Yeah, that’s not a sign of success.

A. Marie November 11, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Re: your #1, Ecoteri, I had a similar procedure about 35 years ago, with no trouble since then. I wish you equally good results.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 1:06 pm

I love a good productivity hack!


Kris November 11, 2023 at 3:58 am

Love your Garden of Allah in its original frame! I’m a huge Maxfield Parrish fan. Your decorations pair beautifully with the Parrish blue :-).


Katy November 11, 2023 at 1:05 pm

Oddly, the wall color predated the faded print.


Jill A November 11, 2023 at 6:50 am

I have no frugal activities to add besides the usual boring stuff but I also love your Maxfield Parish print. I’m embarrassed to say about 40 years ago an old boyfriend had found one left behind by the previous owner of his house. It was also in it’s matching frame and I told him to throw it out. I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 1:05 pm

I got mine at an estate sale for eight dollars and change. It was all the cash I had in my wallet.


Blue Gate Farmgirl November 11, 2023 at 10:26 am

Happy Veteran’s Day! It is a cold, sitting by the woodstove, drinking hot beverage kind of morning.
*Neighbor dropped off chopped kale from the community kitchen leftovers. I promptly made meatball soup and saved some for harvest chopped salad and will freeze the rest to use soon. They offered it to the 300 families served at the community dinner, no takers. 4 lbs of kale!
I’m stealing the idea of honoring your loved ones with age = $$ donations to the food bank, my dad’s birthday is this week.
Filled the back of my pick up worth of holly, cedar, juniper and pine cones for the FFA greens sale. We make wreaths, swags, tablescape decorations for sale.
I will harvest the mistletoe the week of the sale.
I bartered jeans mending with the neighbor, he sharpened my chainsaws. I think I won on that trade!
Rake leaves, rake leaves, pick up millions of acorns. Good work out.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Good for you for making sure that kale isn’t going to waste!


Selena November 11, 2023 at 5:07 pm

Those who sharpen chainsaws on a regular basis have it honed down to a T. Not to belittle any skills but in reality a push. Love that those making good use of his/her skills do so.


Bettypants November 11, 2023 at 11:31 am

1. I like that candles are so polarizing. People who love them give them as gifts and people who hate them sell them dirt cheap at garage sales, which is where I come in.

2. My office bought a massive amount of whole coffee beans in an effort to win a new client. I took a bag home and made some excellent coffee this weekend.

3. My neighbor leased their child a brand new car, which she totaled, and their insurance is now sky-high. My new driver mentioned he would prefer an SUV with a back-up camera and what he got was a 2010 Ford Fusion with a broken side mirror and a small rusted section on the lower part of one door. I think it’s perfect while he gains driving experience.

4. I bought vintage Nancy Drew books until I had a pretty large set of 42, and then sold them on FB Marketplace for $125. It used to be FB was only local pickups, then the Marketplace started offering shipping and I had a ton of shipped sales, with barely any pickups so I couldn’t sell any large items. Now it’s swung the other way where it’s local sales again. It’s annoying how FB keeps changing the listings that people can see.

5. My son saw an offer from Capital One to get a $350 bonus for opening a checking account. He got the account open and direct deposit set up, and received his bonus yesterday. He has picked up my frugal tone.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Your son is a smart cookie!


Selena November 11, 2023 at 5:10 pm

Please tell your son he’ll get a 1099 (either MISC or INT) – there is no such thing as a free lunch.


Vickey November 13, 2023 at 7:05 am

One exception – if I take my credit card cashback rewards as a statement credit rather than, say, a deposit to my bank account, I *don’t* get a 1099, because it’s considered a rebate.
I don’t know how taking the rewards points in merchandise or services works out wrt 1099’s – I always take the statement credit rather than, say, using points at evil online retailer because by using my credit card to pay there I get the additional cashback on that purchase.


Jennifer November 11, 2023 at 11:35 am

I like your decorations! I will wait until December as I get tired of the Christmas decorations being up too long.

1. Made homemade pizza for dinner last night. Made a triple batch of pancakes the night before to use up the milk and add to the freezer.

2. Mended my bathrobe.

3. It’s cold here now but we have hiked the past 2 days. Free entertainment and exercise combined.

4. Put a deposit down on a “new” car to replace the one my dd totaled. Between her savings and insurance she will have to take out a small loan (under $5k). Not ideal but cars under $10k are falling apart and unreliable (that we have found and we don’t have time to keep looking) – and she has an hour commute on the highway to school. It’s worth a small payment for safety and piece of mind.

5. Cleaned out the pantry and pulled a large bag of items and donated to the food bank. Maybe not as frugal as eating the stuff ourselves but one of the reasons I shop the sales and buy extra is to donate when I see food drives. And I was able to donate some items that just weren’t getting used like I thought they would.


Katy November 11, 2023 at 12:19 pm

Ugh, finding a reliable used car is the worst!


kate November 11, 2023 at 1:43 pm

what a nice mantle. can’t wait to start decorating my apartment soon.

i love your maxfield parrish with beautiful frame!


Katy November 11, 2023 at 2:03 pm

Thank you, the frame is original to the now faded print.


Terri C November 11, 2023 at 2:00 pm

there comes a point in every frugal woman’s life where we’ve repeated and repeated the money savings parts of things and it’s time to add SKILLS to our ability to save. Hence making cheese, or non-racoon moose jerky, etc. You are now elevating yourself to the next level of frugality.


cathy November 11, 2023 at 11:04 pm

Nice to see you getting more mileage out of your Hanukkah decorations.

I’m going to lump all the frugal things into one category:
My parents have had a timeshare/points thing for decades. A few months ago it occurred to me they weren’t going to use it this year, so I asked if we could. Our adult kids didn’t want to go, so my husband and I got nearly a week by ourselves (!) in a condo with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Since we didn’t travel during the first two-and-a-half years of the pandemic, we’d accumulated lots of Skymiles. Cashed in what we needed and paid only $23 to fly. Got an amazing rate on a rental car through Costco. Once there, we agreed to attend an owner’s presentation where we were rewarded with a $200 Visa gift card. (We told them up front we didn’t want to buy anything and just wanted to find out for the family ways we could be maximizing the existing program. They, in turn, pretended to go along with our wishes and then capped it off with a Hard Sell. At that point we figured we’d really earned the gift card.) Though we did eat out a little–mostly breakfasts–we went to Trader Joe’s where we spent a chunk of the gift card on groceries and cooked most meals in the condo with its full kitchen. The last day we were there, we had to check out several hours before our flight so I filled a ziploc with a bunch of ice, put it in the bottom of the TJ’s reusable bag we purchased and created a makeshift cooler. We took almost all our leftover food with us, which kept us from eating out that day or buying food at the airport. We brought several nonperishable items home. During our vacation, we spent our time at the pool and hot tub, went to a couple of beaches (taking the free hotel shuttle to one because it gets you much closer than driving and parking), explored the grounds and outdoor exhibits at the Griffith Observatory in L.A., met up with various cousins and friends, watched movies, and wandered a historic botanical garden and library that has a reciprocal free admission with our local arboretum. My favorite daily activity was sitting on our balcony drinking a glass of wine and watching the sunset over the Pacific. We didn’t intentionally do only free activities but spending our days shopping wasn’t appealing.


Bee November 12, 2023 at 3:49 am

Although I have lived within walking distance of the Atlantic Ocean for most of my life. I find the Pacific so mesmerizing and so different. I also love that so many people living on the West Coast stop what they are doing and watch the sun dip into the sea at sunset. Glad you had a relaxing and frugal vacation stay.


Vickey November 13, 2023 at 7:09 am

“This made me homesick” said the native Californian displaced by real estate price increases.


cathy November 16, 2023 at 9:46 am

Oh…the price of real estate! A couple days ago I saw an article that listed the 100 most expensive zip codes in the country. Seven of them were in L.A. (including an area around the Griffith Observatory), six were in Newport Beach (including where we were staying), and one was in San Diego (where we visited family and my husband was treated to a round of golf). It’s a very good thing we’re not interested in moving there because it’s definitely not in our budget! On the other hand, I really have to steel myself to drive those freeways. I was happy to get home to our crowded freeways that seemed vacant in comparison.


cathy November 16, 2023 at 9:37 am

Thanks Bee!


texasilver November 12, 2023 at 1:48 pm

The plastic insert to my rubber blender lid broke. The cracked insert fell into the iced coffee I was making & ruined it as I did not want to drink pulverized plastic. Anyway, I looked around the condo for something to plug the hole. A large Rx medicine bottle top worked! I sawed off the medicine bottle 1″ from the lid so it would not hang down into the blender. I can now make my iced coffee w/ crushed ice tomorrow. No need to buy another blender due to missing lid part. (I looked previously at thrift stores for a replacement lid but to no avail.)


MB in MN November 12, 2023 at 3:13 pm

texasilver, your makeshift top is so resourceful!


texasilver November 12, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Thank you, MB, for your compliment! “Gotta have my blender working for those iced coffee drinks.


Ecoteri November 12, 2023 at 8:35 pm

@ texasilver that medicine bottle trick reminds me that I recently cut a larger vitamin bottle down so that I could use it as a funnel to slip seeds into tiny packages. it was the perfect size, I almost ‘screw’ the bag onto the screw ‘top’, then turn it over and have a much larger and sturdier opening into which I can spoon the seeds I am saving for next year. I thought I was particularly clever, so imagine you were feeling similarly pleased with yourself after your RX bottle solution!


Isa November 13, 2023 at 6:37 am

* Went to the restaurant. Got a 30$ plate of ribs and fixing. Since I got weight loss surgery, this one meal actually made FOUR meals for me.

* Been losing weight and replacing my wardrobe with Buy Nothing founds until I’m at goal weight/maintenance.

* Library books all the way! I love “free”

* Been using the no-waste store to buy groceries. It’s not dependant of economic situation, anyone can use it. They collect food (from grocery stores) that would be thrown out otherwise, and sell it at a low cost. For 15$ I get a decent basket of fruits and veggies, 2 liters of milk, a big tub of yogourt and 2 breads. Here in Canada 15$ doesn’t bring you far for groceries, so this is really good!

* Got a fancy unopened jar of pistachio cream worth 20$ on Buy Nothing. Expiration date september 2023….. Well, we don’t care too much for expiration dates on products like this, so this is going into Hubby gift basket for Christmas.


Christine November 13, 2023 at 8:36 am

Congrats on your weight loss! It’s not easy! Way to go!


MB in MN November 13, 2023 at 9:02 am

Isa, that’s a smart way to replace your wardrobe. Here’s to health and wellness!


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