Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on December 28, 2023 · 93 comments

  1. I was in a bit of a post-holiday slump today, so I decided to be extra productive to see if I could at best distract myself; and at worst check some dull tasks from my to-do list. Here’s what I did:

    • I raked the last of the soggy leaves from the backyard. Mostly.
    • I dropped plastics recycling off at New Seasons Market.
    • I returned a board game to Goodwill.
    • I took our two winning scratch-it lottery tickets to 7-11 for a whopping $6. I then had a nice long chat with the owner, who’s an old friend.
    • I stopped into Safeway to pick up my pre-colonoscopy prescription and a dozen eggs.

  2. We’ve been eating leftovers since Christmas and since the contents of our refrigerator resembles a tightly packed Tetris game, it’ll be a good long while until we need to do a proper grocery shop again. Eating what we’ve already bought is always the most frugal choice.

  3. I took down all the Christmas decor on the 26th, mostly prompted by the kitten’s aggressive tree climbing. I didn’t want my precious garbage picked Christmas tree to suffer irreparable harm, so it’s safely back in storage until 2024. A year when Chanukah and Christmas both start on December 25th.

    A free tree must be protected at all costs, as I’m unlikely to come across another one.

  4. • I registered all our losing scratch-it lottery tickets for a “second chance” on the Oregon lottery app. Please cross your fingers for us!
    • I listed a large basket and an antique throw pillow on my Buy Nothing group. Part of my never ending effort to rehome the “cool” things I bring home, but now just clutter the home.

  5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley December 28, 2023 at 5:59 am

I always appreciate your candor about the less-than-glamorous bits of real life. Too many social media accounts making it look like the holidays are all sparkle and fun. I way more identify with your need to be distracted from gloom and to tidy up recycling bits, etc. Thank you for having so many more blog posts this past year … they really are bright spots in my days!


Jill A December 28, 2023 at 6:06 am

I second this.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:10 pm

Thank you, and no one has ever accused me of being “too cheerful!” Not that I’m a Debbie Downer, but I just don’t buy into the pressure for women to be artificially happy.


Coral Clarke December 28, 2023 at 4:35 pm

I’m in one of the dark seasons of life At the moment, and the frugallers here, orchestrated by Katy, are my sunshine!


Selena December 28, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Thanks for not calling us “frugalettes”!


Jill A December 28, 2023 at 6:53 am

I’m also have the after Christmas blues. Part of it is just pure exhaustion. I have only one tiny frugal thing.
1. I used a small pair of tongs to pull all the dog hair and dust from the bag in my robot vacuum so I can reuse it. These bags are very heavy duty so I can see this being something I can do over and over.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:06 pm

I used to cut open the top of vacuum bags and then restaple them when I had a vacuum that required bags.


Jill A December 29, 2023 at 6:57 am

Me too. It was an Amy Dacyczyn thing. I’m a little disappointed that my new robot vacuum uses bags (I like the new no bag vacuums) but if I can reuse them then it’s not too bad.


Katy December 29, 2023 at 10:42 am

Yes, that’s who I got the idea from!


Tonya December 28, 2023 at 7:17 am

We stayed home and had a very low key holiday, and I can relate to the funky feeling, Katy!

I’m planning meals around leftovers, trying to get outside and walk or hike, and drinking coffee on the couch with the cat.

I’m also really enjoying my Buy Nothing group and am so grateful for the spirit of no consumerism within my local neighborhood.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:05 pm

I think it’s also that my husband started a four day work week on the 26th, which means he’s gone from 9:30 A.M. until 11 at night, so there was no one here to share the lovely post-holiday relaxation period with.


Tonya December 28, 2023 at 2:47 pm

Katy, it makes sense that if you were on your own with hubby working, you would be missing his post-holiday relaxation company! I think mond was due to my darling oldest having left home and returned to her apartment. Leaves me nostalgic when my kids leave my house.


Jill December 28, 2023 at 8:16 am

Today is our wedding anniversary -38 years – and the plan was to go to a locally owned restaurant in our town. But it went out of business recently. So we’re using a gift card to go out instead. I’m not saying I won’t cook but I don’t want to. Looking forward to a meal out, as like at Katy’s house, we are leftover Kings and Queens right now.


Jill A December 28, 2023 at 8:44 am

Happy Anniversary!!!


Jill December 28, 2023 at 7:33 pm

Thank you!


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:04 pm

I know a lot of people get great pleasure from cooking, but I’m rarely that person. So a meal out sounds lovely, happy anniversary!


Jill December 28, 2023 at 7:35 pm

Thank you! And our meal was delicious! I always think that food prepared by someone else is more tasty, especially when it’s a special treat. I thoroughly enjoyed our evening


Katy December 29, 2023 at 10:45 am

Yes, “other people’s cooking” is my favorite food!


Christine December 28, 2023 at 5:21 pm

Happy Anniversary! I hope you have a great time!


Jill December 28, 2023 at 7:37 pm

Thank you! It was wonderful!


Bethany M December 28, 2023 at 8:22 am

Decided to buy whole carrots instead of baby carrots in 2024. Sometimes it’s hard coming up with something new to save.

Winter has been mild here. My oregano has bushed. I harvested and have it air drying. Used some of the fresh medicinally to hasten the end of a cold. Like to beat stuff with my own immune system when possible.

Saved my daughter’s clippings from our home haircut to ward off the deer and bunnies from my blueberry bushes.

I’m going to go with straightening my hair this year, so I can save the expensive curly hair products for my teenager. She desperately needs it or she gets dreadlocks.

I told my sister-in-law (a banker) I’m going to get a savings account this year since rates are up. She suggested getting a CD with a locked in rate instead because rates are expected to drop 3 times in 2024. I’ll take her up on it.


Jill A December 28, 2023 at 8:42 am

I’ve been doing the same thing with carrots. I like them better when they are peeled and cut into sticks and I’ve thrown away almost no carrots this way.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:03 pm

I like the flavor and texture of full carrots better anyway, as the baby carrots always seem waterlogged.


Lesley December 29, 2023 at 4:50 am

They are definitely waterlogged! Because they are not “tiny by nature” (makes me think Naughty by Nature, old 80s reference) and don’t have their own skin to keep them hydrated like regular fruits and veggies, they have a lot of extra water added to keep them moist. Blech!


Katy December 29, 2023 at 10:43 am

And no skin barrier.


Marie December 29, 2023 at 11:31 am

Read an article about baby carrots. They are not baby after all. They are reject carrots that are shaved down enough to be saleable. Always wondered, they have no flavor

kathleen December 29, 2023 at 6:05 pm

All of the truths presented here about ‘baby’ carrots have been on my mind, but not at the forefront. Thank you, Bethany, for a great idea to add to my 2024 intentions! I will be going back to whole carrots as well!


Bee December 28, 2023 at 8:26 am

There has been an insidious stomach virus in matching through our area. On Christmas night around midnight, my son became ill and the family began to fall like dominos. One of us every 12 hours or so. I went to bed the night of the 26th and just got up.

My adult children headed home yesterday leaving a lovely mess in their wake. I have a abundance of food left and I did manage to freeze most of my leftovers from Christmas Eve supper. I know we will eventually want to eat again.

The period between Christmas and New Years can be hard. I usually plan little outings for this week. It helps with the blues. Because of the stomach virus, I have cancelled most of these. This is frugal but not fun. Over the next few days, I’ll be puttering around the house, taking naps and getting things back in order again. I have plenty to read and books to listen to. Courtesy of my local library.


Jill A December 28, 2023 at 8:43 am

Feel better Bee. There is so much yuck going around right now. I’m so tired I’ve only been able to do the bare minimum.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Ugh, sorry to hear that your family got sick. That’s the worst reward for getting everything and everyone together together for Xmas.


A. Marie December 29, 2023 at 8:24 am

Best wishes to you and yours for speedy recoveries, Bee. Stomach viruses are the pits.


Ashley Bananas December 28, 2023 at 8:53 am

Katy, Sometimes your lack of enthusiasm surrounding the thrifting of lear jets makes me worry for you…

It’s been a soggy week in Florida so far. I’m excessively cold as I’m now down 138lbs…nothing I do can keep me warm. I decided to join a dating site and have decided that human beings are the creepiest things on the planet and I’m concerned that I am one. Today I was asked to meet someone in a parking lot. I didn’t realize that dating had become such a race to the bottom.

In frugal news I was able to score some great holiday clearance on food this week. 30% off protein shakes in winter mint at Walmart, winter themed candy and red and green tortilla chips all 50% off. And Benton/Aldi brand Oreo’s for .65 a package, the cream was red instead of white. My teen wont notice. For the clearance candy and tortilla chips, I find the price at 50% off is basically regular price two years ago.


Lesley December 28, 2023 at 9:43 am

Kudos to you for the considerable weight loss, Ashley! We just relocated to SWFL and I am waiting for warm weather to return. What the heck!?

I met my husband on eHarmony and always tell people how great the algorithm is, matching us up so well. But it’s because we both took the time to answer all the questions (even matched up on cilantro!). Keep trying … takes awhile but the right match is worth it.


Ashley Bananas December 28, 2023 at 12:03 pm

I might give dating a break for a while, but if I try again maybe eHarmony would be a good site. Thanks!!

And yes – .65 cent store brand Oreos for the win!!!


Ashley Bananas December 28, 2023 at 12:23 pm

On a similar note, welcome to SWFL!!! I’m in Fort Myers and absolutely love it here, void the dating scene.


Lesley December 29, 2023 at 4:51 am

Thank you! We are on Venice Island. I think I love it … but wondering when I won’t think of Chicago as home. Maybe it will always feel that way?


Katy December 28, 2023 at 11:57 am

Ugh . . . I feel for you, dating is so hard. I see it from afar with friends and it makes me relieved that I met my husband when I was 19 years old. And 65¢ Oreos? Wow!


Anne December 28, 2023 at 10:44 pm

“A race to the bottom.” Hilarious.

Just a couple of hours ago I said to my husband, “Aren’t you glad we don’t have to date any more?” He’s 81, I’m 75, so there is no chance that we ever would.


Vickey January 8, 2024 at 6:05 am

OMG, Ashley, your wonderful sense of humor was just the lift I needed to brighten my mood as I prepare to face a difficult day ahead. Thanks!!

For fending off the post-holiday, kid’s-gone-for-another-three+-months blues, I went into the sewing room and pulled a bunch of fabric out, sorting it into piles by project possibilities. My intent had been to pull things out to get rid of, but somehow…‍♀️

Anyway, all the color and art play cheered me greatly. Passing this along in case it’s a helpful reminder to someone else.


Jennifer December 28, 2023 at 10:01 am

I’m enjoying the day now that my parents left. I’ve been in relaxation and healing mode since the end of November (surgery) and finally am starting to feel almost normal. I am spending lots of time looking at the budget and talking with dh about goals and how we can achieve them. After hearing from my sister about wedding costs ($30k budget just not covering everything!!!!!) I am thinking we need to start saving money for weddings. With 4 adult kids someone is bound to get married in the next few years and we have to start somewhere.

1. I received a $100 Amazon gift card for Christmas. I used it to buy something I asked for and didn’t get but really do need. A hands free car phone holder. I also used it to buy the correct size pants for ds. Unfortunately the size I got him didn’t work and the return window is passed. I still have half leftover to use later.

2. I had bought 2 things of scalloped potatoes at Costco but in the end only used 1. I froze the other for a later date. I needed easy this year.

3. When my parents were here we had a clean out the fridge night so all my leftovers are either gone or frozen for later.

4. I am gearing up for a no/low spend January. I have a detailed list of either loss leaders (is that a thing anymore) and must haves that I will get this week and then I am cutting my grocery budget to less than half what we have been spending.

5. I found Barilla pasta for $1 a box and stocked up. This is our favorite brand.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 11:55 am

You can try calling the Amazon customer service number and get them to approve a return after the normal window has closed. 1 (888) 280-4331.


Jennifer December 28, 2023 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Katy! It’s worth a try for sure


Selena December 28, 2023 at 4:53 pm

I find the massive amounts of money spent on weddings vile, revolting, appalling, wasteful, disgusting, ridiculous – any adjective that invokes “not good”. All too often it is a) more the idea of getting married than being married and/or b) setting a standard the married couple cannot afford.
Nothing wrong with a flat amount of money (that is far less than $30K and is what you can afford). And what IF one or more of your kids doesn’t get married? Hardly seems equitable and I try to be equitable with my kiddos (granted I don’t have as many). Consider an amount, for each kiddo, that you can afford. Then decide if you the kiddos a a no-strings attached gift with the caveat of little to no $ for a wedding.
Yeah, I’m having a cranky day. Couple of pictures of a crying baby stuffed in what looks like an uncomfortable seasonable “outfit” will do that (IMHO, mom is still playing with dolls). Plus too many pictures of, again IMHO, young people spending far too much on vacations/travels. I’m sorry, odds are they will live many, many more years and those trips to Cabo, Punta Gorda, Paris, etc. does a number on your budget. No crying you can’t afford a house or you can’t live on social security. Deep breath, off soapbox.


Marie December 29, 2023 at 11:39 am

Ahh, weddings. My sister married 4 times, just cheap justice of the peace after the first-time.
Remember mom telling her when she married the 4th.
( lets just have a big party, its cheaper)


Selena December 29, 2023 at 8:22 pm

IMHO, low-cost, low-stress ceremony (JOP works for me or a 10-15 minute low-cost non-denominational ceremony). And use the as a family get together.


Kathy December 28, 2023 at 10:07 am

We haven’t exchanged gifts as son and daughter in law were out of town for Christmas.
Treated myself to a facial yesterday. Listed some more items on line.
It’s very chilly here in central Oklahoma so the dogs and I are cuddling while watching tv


T December 28, 2023 at 10:20 am

Lesley, I second you on using eHarmony.
One year I was at a conference in Nashville and struck up a conversation with another attendee.
After the conference she was going home to her daughter’s boyfriend’s planned proposal . She spoke in detail of their meeting on eHarmony.
I came home and mentioned this story and my eldest said she wanted to introduce my husband and I to someone she had met on eHarmony in the past month
. Fast forward she married him and they celebrated the birth of their first child recently. My SIL is lovely and I’m so glad for her decision to try it.
I think the cost may be a barrier for som using eHarmony , but they frequently have specials for the New Year.


Lesley December 28, 2023 at 11:12 am

I love these eHarmony success stories! I signed up for an entire year because it made the monthly cost more affordable (it was $20/mo). I figured I would do it for 12 months and then re-evaluate the cost of renewing. In the end, I didn’t need to worry about it. 🙂


Lesley December 28, 2023 at 11:13 am


Meant to make this point: having both partners pay money for the site seemed to weed out a lot of those just looking for hookups. I knew that the men I was chatting with were at more likely to be serious about their search since they had invested the $$.


Lindsey December 28, 2023 at 10:38 am

1. It is 27 below today and I am practicing frugality by wearing an undershirt and tights under my clothes, rather than turning up the heat.
2. Husband and I did a freezer inventory yesterday, since our tracking system flew out the window during the holidays. Only found one very small baggie that had to be thrown away due to freezer burn; even pound hound was not interested in the contents. Our goal is to buy only milk and fruit in January, using freezer contents for our meals.
3. Baking bread today. Cheaper than store bought, no mystery ingredients, and it warms the house on this cold day.
4. Ordered two books through interlibrary loan system, rather than buying them. This is hard for me, as I really like owning books rather than borrowing them.
5. Accepted 12 empty dog food bags, the 40 pound size, from our neighbor. We use them as garbage bags, so they at least get used one more time before going to the dump.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 11:53 am

You forgot to mention how your house smells while baking bread. A frugal upgrade.


Bee December 29, 2023 at 5:56 am

I started reading 40lb dog food bags in this way after reading your post several years ago. I have found they are especially good for bagging up broken glass. They provide an extra layer of protection. I’m always worried the garbage men will cut themselves.


Bee December 29, 2023 at 5:59 am

* using the bags. Not quite back to normal yet after the stomach bug.


Heidi Louise December 28, 2023 at 10:53 am

As mentioned above, I also appreciate the frequent posts the last few months, Katy!
Did you find out what happened to the (high school craft prairie style) Christmas stocking you passed along on I think Buy Nothing?
1. I just finished one of my favorite meals, soup made from leftovers from my favorite meal at the local Mexican restaurant. Cut the chicken flauta into chunks and dump it, beans, rice, chips, salsa, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, and whatever else was left on my plate when I was full into a bowl. Pour in a can of chicken broth and heat. Excellent comfort food.
2. I am trying to use up a bag of mandarins before they go soft, so peeled one and added it when the soup was heated. Sort of an exotic garnish.
3. More peeled and sectioned mandarins are on a plate in the freezer, as they are good frozen, as are grapes.
4. Called to find out why I received a whopping refund from the local hospital system. Made note of who I talked to in case they ever go back and say they were wrong and for me to return the money.
Side question: Does anyone have any insight into how long to keep medical billing and health insurance records? I don’t necessarily have the billing accounts set up online, and just keep throwing the papers in a new box each year.
5. Sister sent me soap nuts and laundry soap strips to try out with other msc. gifts in a box for Christmas. It is nice to get something from someone else, as I buy or curate most of the few presents we exchange at home.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 11:52 am

I haven’t found out yet, but I figure a white elephant party might be an after Christmas event, so I’ll wait a few days before asking her.


Selena December 28, 2023 at 5:01 pm

I’ve had an HSA since like, 2006?, so I keep ALL medical bills. They are marked reimbursed if I paid from my HSA. Those that were not, can be paid, to me from my HSA, at ANY time in the future. I only pay from HSA when it is a larger bill – aka not that $15 Rx etc. I’ve built up the account for retirement health care costs but I will likely be sure to reimburse myself prior to going to the other side of dirt (actually dust in the wind) IF I can. Given the age difference, I’ll outlive my spouse. Hence the kiddos will pay less tax on an inherited HSA. The onus of proof is on the HSA owner hence I keep the records.
I’d definitely keep all paperwork related to the whopping refund.


Vickey January 8, 2024 at 3:47 pm

Nice tip on freezing mandarin sections, thanks! We already stock up on grapes during peak season and freeze them. They make a welcome,refreshing snack during those warm days the following spring when your taste bus are longing for a change from winter fare.


Isa December 28, 2023 at 11:49 am

* Got a couple series on DVD (yes, I still use those…) from my Buy Nothing group. Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribeans and The Mummy. Will make for fun and free entertainment with Hubby and the kids.

* Was considering taking up a Spotify membership, but I would use it only at the gym. Not worth it. I’ll keep using the free playlists on Youtube instead.

* Been using the food from the pantry and freezers all month in order to bring down the grocery bill. Will do the same in January.

* Got good hair products (new) from my Buy Nothing group. I will add those to my daughter’s b-day gifts next week.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 11:50 am

Those are all super fun movies!


A. Marie December 28, 2023 at 1:01 pm

FTFT, “A Wassail, A Wassail” Edition:

Actually, I’m relatively chipper right now. This holiday season has been easier for me than the previous two, when DH was in the nursing home and didn’t know who I was, what day it was, etc. So here’s how I’m keeping cheerful in the period between Christmas and New Year’s:

(1) I went around to the curbside apple tree that’s done the best for me this fall, and sang it (quietly!) a wassail song to encourage a good crop next year. Here’s the version I used, from a 1970 album by the British folk supergroup Steeleye Span ( I know another wassail song that involves shooting off cap pistols, but I didn’t think that this was advisable in this section of the ‘hood.

(2) I’m making a couple of last-minute 2023 charitable donations, including renewing my membership in the Wild Bird Fund of NYC. Not only does the WBF do wonderful work in rehabilitating the poor birdies (and some mammals) that come to grief in the Big Apple, but I’m hoping to go on one of their guided bird walks when I visit JASNA BFF in early spring 2024.

(3) I sent off a number of belated holiday greetings this afternoon via email. Given the continuing spikes in the price of postage, I may go over to all email next year, except for local hand deliveries and for my elderly friends at a distance who still think that computers are the invention of the devil.

(4) I’ve been happily subsisting all week on the leftover Two Fat Ladies lamb dish that I served (once I woke up, that is!) on Christmas Eve. The ability to live cheerfully on leftovers is one of many keys to the frugal life, IMHO.

(5) And even though some of you have had success with eHarmony and other dating sites, I’m saving $$$ by staying off them. There was, is, and forever will be only one DH–and however lonely I may be (and I’m not saying I’m not), it wouldn’t be fair to anyone else to be forever compared to him!


Katy December 28, 2023 at 1:45 pm

I’ve been thinking about you, with this being your first Christmas without your DH. I’m happy to read that you’re doing well, plus I know you are surrounded by a supportive community. ((virtual hug))


Selena December 28, 2023 at 5:06 pm

The first after a loved ones death is hard. It’s been good to read you keep busy and have a social network, aka not isolated like far too many.


Christine December 29, 2023 at 2:41 pm

I’ve been thinking of you A. Marie. I’m glad this year was a little easier for you and happy that you have some awesome neighbors.
“…The ability to live cheerfully on leftovers is one of the many keys to the frugal life…” yes, yes and yes again to this piece of frugal wisdom! And let’s face it…some food just tastes better the second or subsequent time around. American Chop Suey and Chili come to mind.


Ruby December 28, 2023 at 1:19 pm

We are also whittling down the leftovers, Katy, although the end is in sight.

My five frugal things:
1.Took a $5 store coupon from our neighborhood hardware store and bought cleaning stuff. We also needed HVAC filters and the store brand was buy three, get the fourth free. I bought four, which is a year’s supply.

2. Washed the disposable Swiffer dusters I use to clean blinds – I have a bad allergy to household dust and these hold onto it well – and hung them up to dry. Washed carefully, I can get five or six thorough uses out of one.

3. Used a $2 can of oops paint to touch up the peeling paint on our back door. It’s a close match and will do until we replace the door, which is not insulated and is starting to rot after 70 years.

4. Our very old kitty with the digestive disorder is back on a diet of baby food. To attractively corral all those tiny jars, I covered a small cardboard box with a scrap of adhesive-backed vinyl wallpaper leftover from sprucing up the pantry.

5. Used a remnant of black fabric from the sewing scrap box to sew a dust cover for the printer, which seems to be a magnet for cat hair.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Every single one of your “frugal five” is so creative! I need you to come help me with my homeowner tasks!


A. Marie December 29, 2023 at 8:27 am

Katy, we all wish Ruby could help with our homeowner tasks!


Katy December 29, 2023 at 10:42 am

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could each get a Ruby?


Ruby December 29, 2023 at 1:56 pm

I should put on my super heroine cape and do home visits with both of you. 😀

It has been great, being retired, to have the time to properly take care of things around the house. It’s mostly been a matter of dejunking, cleaning and some inexpensive painting.

Vickey January 8, 2024 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for the inspiration, Rudy. I’m semi-retiring soon (was supposed to be end of last month, but they can’t quite quit me yet?) and am looking forward to getting my house in order, literally and metaphorically. Sewing! Political advocacy! That unwanted “inherited” family photo collection! Organize all the things! 😀

Vickey January 8, 2024 at 3:56 pm

*Ruby* Sheeesh.

Selena December 28, 2023 at 5:07 pm

How do you wash your Swiffer dusters?


Ruby December 28, 2023 at 5:47 pm

I run some water through them to wash the worst of the dust out, then use a litlle liquid dish soap and gently shampoo them. Rinse well, squeeze the water out, and give a good shake before hanging up to dry. I can usually wash them about five times before they get too frazzled to keep using.

My allergy to dust has gotten worse over time and I have to stay on top of cleaning or suffer a lot. The Swiffer type material holds onto the dust better than a flat rag for doing blinds.


Ecoteri December 28, 2023 at 6:46 pm

@Ruby have you tried a real feather duster? When I followed Flylady all those years ago, she convinced me about how well they work, and I got a lovely long handled one from her (later got some smaller ones locally). they seem to suck in the dust then you go outside and shake it off, shake it off. I currently have a lovely woman come to clean for me, but the duster is still hauled out a lot for the spiderwebs that multiply when I am not looking.


Ruby December 29, 2023 at 2:00 pm

I had a real feather duster a long time ago and it eventually got grimy-looking and was hard to clean. For spider webs, my husband bought a tool called a Webster on an adjustable pole. It’s sturdy enough to hold up to being whacked on a tree trunk to get the dust out of it.

MB in MN December 28, 2023 at 1:25 pm

I mentioned recently that it seems like I just open the door every morning and throw $100 bills into the air. This week it’s been $1,000 bills! Needed a new HVAC system as the one that came with the house was old and had not been serviced in ages. We knew it was going to need replacing, just not our first month here. Then the dishwasher up and died… for good. It’s only three years old; technician said they are built to last for five. Sheesh. We’re hand-washing until we decide what we want in its place.


Katy December 28, 2023 at 1:42 pm

I bought a used dishwasher maybe 18 years ago and it’s been a real workhorse. It’s Kirkland Signature, so it’s Costco branded. Maybe consider a used one? We paid $50.


Bee December 29, 2023 at 6:05 am

I’m sorry you are having so many challenges getting settled into your new home. It’s unsettling to spend money in such a way when you are a naturally frugal person. Hoping for you that this will soon pass.


Juhli December 28, 2023 at 2:18 pm

1. After the first hard rain since we moved in we found a leak at one of the windows. Hubby was able to caulk the opening after it dried out. Another rain and it didn’t leak!

2. The long piece of what I thought was metal threshold left in the garage turned out to be kitchen cabinet baseboard and end caps. The cabinet installation by the previous owner was a bit sloppy in places and there was no end cap in the most visible spot. Hubby cut one of the new pieces to fit and it is visually much better. We need a dab of glue to hold it though and will have to buy some.

3. I was given loose tea from Portugal for Christmas and thought of using our French press to steep it as I have no teapot. Worked fine and the tea is quite nice.

4. One of Santa’s elves left a bag of cookies on our porch Christmas Eve. I suspect the main elf is about 9 years old and lives up the street. Will be investigating the identity of the elves so we can thank them and let them know they are delicious.

5. Prepared the forms to submit to get rebates on our federal employee health insurance since we have Medicare as primary.


Gina in NY December 28, 2023 at 3:52 pm

So many people seem to be feeling the blues this year. I feel it too. Hope the slump passes by quickly for all of you who mentioned it. <3

1. Tonight, I made a shepherd's pie soup from the leftover shepherd's pie I made with leftovers. It was quite nice! I will freeze the remaining soup for a future meal. This means I also need to come up with a new meal tomorrow.
2. I am planning to go without grocery shopping in January and, possibly, into February (2024 is a hardcore No Spend Year for me). I had a great garden year and canned a lot of veggies, plus I have 50# of potatoes I buy for a bargain from the local Boy Scout troop, fresh apples and citrus, and squash. In order to be sensible with meal planning, I inventoried the contents of the freezers and panty and will create a meal plan probably tonight.
3, For entertainment, the dog and I walk around the neighborhood and look at holiday decorations or we go to the park.
4. Requested new books from the library and will pick them up tomorrow.
5. Found a recipe for a vegan copycat cranberry bliss bars (like at Starbucks). They were very simple to make from ingredients I already had and are delicious. The recipe made more than we could handle, so I froze half of the batch.


Vickey January 8, 2024 at 4:19 pm

Gina, the vegan bars sound nummy! Care to share a link?


Marie-Josée December 28, 2023 at 4:58 pm

I too, love that you keep it real on your blog. Your husband is gone for long shifts, I admire his resilience. I don’t think I could work such long hours. COVID visited us and ruined our Christmas celebrations planned with family and friends. My husband thought his allergies were acting up and eventually tested himself just to make sure. Ugh! Hopefully he will test negative on the 31st so we can celebrate the New Year with our loved ones. I was really disappointed, as the pandemic deprived us of so many celebrations and it has felt like going back to that dark period all over again. I have not caught it so far and marvel at the efficacy of the vaccines. I have been working from home to keep myself busy and I have so much work to catch up on, which is the only positive to this situation. My masked daughter came by to recuperate a whole bunch of veggies I had bought to make crudités and some dip. We weren’t going to let all that fresh food go to waste. My husband is almost 28 months from retirement, we are so excited! We purchased his/our retirement car and I found the process so stressful, although my husband handled most of it. I hate dealing with dealerships and am glad that we go through the process only every 10 to 15 years. Unfortunately, the car we wanted (an EV with a really great range) is not yet available used, but the Canadian and our provincial government currently provide a combined $12 000 subsidy, which we took advantage of.


Ecoteri December 28, 2023 at 6:52 pm

@Marie-Josée, what make and model of EV did you get? I am thinking that the next small car in my household will be an EV (what with the Solar panels and all) but am a bit flummoxed about how flashy they seem to be. I don’t think I want a Bolt, I want a small and simple runabout (I have a truck for many farm things and for road trips). Need to start saving seriously for one, they are a lot of dollars, even with the Canadian rebates..


Marie-Josée December 29, 2023 at 3:45 am

We bought a Nissan Ariya Venture+ which has a 490 km or 305 mile range. Our previous EV was a Nissan Leaf with a smaller range. We really loved it and have had no issues with our EVs living in Canada with the whole gamut of weather range (tropical hot and humid and arctic cold).


Kara December 28, 2023 at 9:30 pm

Also in a post Christmas slump but had to get out the door for a 4 hour drive to visit the kids (which IS lovely but I’m dragging). We had a car load of stuff for them, a used dresser we are giving to one, large cardboard sheets for mulching for another, and the Christmas presents and fixings for 2 meals. Frugal all around.

A neighbor was going out of town and gave us 2 lbs of baby carrots. Since we were also leaving, I parboiled and then froze them. They’ll be great in soups.
I dropped a whole bunch of leftovers in the freezer.


texasilver December 28, 2023 at 11:25 pm

I’m not in a slump yet. Maybe it is coming later. My slump comes in Feb. when the trees are bare, the Texas landscape is bleak, & I am tired of the cold. I am semi-retired but not drawing SS or retirement $ yet so I did not have a lot of $ to spend for Xmas.
1. Frugal Xmas for me & hubby. We went to a covered dish dinner at my brothers. I made a huge baking dish of mac & cheese.
2. My husband went to Panera on Xmas eve. Usually, the stores give the leftover baked items to a food bank. But the next day was a holiday. He got a lot of bread, bagels, & 2 large boxes of cookies. I took one of the boxes of cookies to the Xmas dinner also.
3. I rummaged around the house to find some items for gifts. I had a stash of Bath & Body Works items to choose from as well as bagged candy on hand.
4. There was a small cello bag of choc chip cookies in the Panera haul as well as 6 huge muffins. Those were used for gifts also.
5. I got my husband discounted GCs for haircuts. I think he has enough for monthly haircuts for a year. He got the hood of my car repainted in Dec. I think these were practical gifts.


MB in MN December 29, 2023 at 10:09 am

Your Panera bounty is impressive! I think I will put Panera on my calendar for New Year’s Eve.


Katy December 29, 2023 at 10:45 am

Wow, you’re set with baked goods for a good long while!


A. Marie December 29, 2023 at 11:09 am

Texasilver, I’m glad to see that you too have been getting in on the Panera goodies train. You may recall from earlier comments of mine that I have a friend who works in a Panera in the next city over and is generous with the day-old treats.


MEM December 29, 2023 at 10:19 am

At last I have a few worth sharing:
1. Sewed the dogs’ toys, washed and dried them all and rotated those toys with the bag of clean toys I had put away a month ago.
2. Cancelled Amazon Music and Audible subscriptions. Skipped some Subscribe and Save items
3. I expect to be retired a year from now so DH and I created a budget for the next year based on what I will receive in retirement.
4. At the tender age of 64 I had a wisdom tooth extracted – it had a large restoration and was no longer a good anchor for a bridge. For two weeks I existed primarily on protein drinks that I had purchased to add to cold brew coffee. The drinks are gross with overwhelming artificial sweetener aftertaste. DH and DS ate their way through the pantry and freezer.
5. Stayed away from Target after-Christmas mark-downs. Personally I despise CVS so that would not be a temptation.


K D December 29, 2023 at 12:18 pm

1. We took a day trip to two national parks in the D.C. area that have overlooks to the Great Falls on the Potomac. I used my old age pass for entrance. The pass is good for life and can be purchased once you turn 62. We drove the hybrid vehicle and went early-ish when crowds and traffic are less. It was wonderful scenery and exercise and we ate a late lunch at home.

2. I stopped at Aldi for cheap produce: mandarins, avocados. They also had spices on sale/clearance and evaporated milk marked down.

3. A neighbor called to ask if we had anything to add to their dump run. I had a few items that just were not salvageable. They stopped by on their way.

4. Meals have involved Christmas leftovers. They are almost gone.

5. We didn’t look at any of the lovely homes we drove by in McLean VA and Potomac MD. Too crazy for my blood.


Vickey January 8, 2024 at 4:42 pm

Re your number 5: I *do* look at houses like that. And congratulate myself on not having to clean, maintain, pay for the McMansions. 8*)


Christine December 29, 2023 at 2:31 pm

1. DH gathered the limbs and sticks that blew down in the recent windstorm to use in our outdoor firepit.
2. I found 5 pennies on the floor in a store.
3. I received a check for $10 in the mail from an overpayment at a doctor’s office.
4. We have plans on New Years Eve to use a gift card to a local restaurant we received for Christmas. Early dinner and then home to watch a movie together.
5. I haven’t been grocery shopping for the house since the end of November, except to purchase food I needed for my Christmas Eve party with our kids and grandkids. I love shopping once a month at the super cheap grocery store (Market Basket – a Northeast chain) and filling in once or twice in between with milk, bread, cat food and fresh fruit. Works for me.


Sandra December 29, 2023 at 5:38 pm

I had a lovely Christmas with family. My daughter did Thanksgiving this year so I did Christmas. For Thanksgiving we had a wonderful spiral sliced ham that my son provided. He covered it in an orange spice jam and then double wrapped it in foil. It was one on the best hams I’ve ever eaten. We had leftovers to share and they were also awesome.

For Christmas dinner I served a curried pumpkin soup made with one of our fall pumpkins. We also had a pear salad made with beautiful red pears gifted us from our sweet neighbors. Then it was followed by a whole roasted turkey breast with all the trimmings since we didn’t do it for Thanksgiving. We finished with a homemade cherry pie, my son-in-law’s favorite dessert.

There was enough turkey left to make hot turkey sandwiches the next day and then I made turkey stir fry and turkey tetrazzini on subsequent nights. The carcass was boiled off today with vegetable scraps saved in the freezer and now we have three quarts of lovely stock to use.

Ribbon, bows, boxes, and bags and put away for other gift occasions. We are still enjoying our Christmas decorations, but in a few days they will be put away for future use.

I did some frugal mending today. Replaced a shirt button before it got lost and mended a seam in a sweater that would have been lost without my intervention . I should have given it attention when it first started, the old “stitch in time”, but I didn’t so it ended up being several inches of mending. That should teach me to stop and take care of things in a timely manner…..but will it!?


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