Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on January 3, 2024 · 56 comments

Exiled lampshade

  1. I pulled a bag of leftover Thanksgiving turkey bones from the freezer and threw them in the Instant Pot with salt, pepper and some ragtag carrot/onion/celery bits. I then picked through it, so I now have everything ready for a big pot of delicious turkey soup.

    I sautéed carrots/onions/celery in leftover bacon fat and added cooked black eyed peas and a splash of chicken broth for a yummy lunch. A friend of mine panic bought a bucket of black eyed peas at the beginning of the pandemic and has been plying me with them ever since.

  2. My husband signed us up for a free week long trial of The Criterion Channel, so we snuggled up to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window last night. It’s been at least three decades since we watched this perfectly plotted movie, so there was still some element of surprise. But really, the movie could be hot garbage and it would still be worth watching for the opportunity to gaze at the ethereal Grace Kelly in her prime.

  3. My nephew is coming for a visit, so I’ve been getting my son’s old bedroom ready for him to sleep in. I sourced a bed frame from my Buy Nothing group when my son moved out, but the blanket in the room isn’t the warmest. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to stop by some thrift stores to look for a “new” duvet, but he reminded me that we had a backup blanket in our attic space.

    I doubted him, but sure enough he brought down a black contractor’s bag that indeed contained a nice warm blanket that I’d totally forgotten about. I put it through the wash to freshen it up, so now all I need to do is put clean sheets on the bed, run the robot vacuum, (it’s the only room in the house with wall-to-wall carpet) and we’ll be ready to be the hosts with the mosts.

  4. • I walked to the library to pick up my holds, even though this time of year threatens rain from dawn till dusk and all night long.
    • My neighbor returned some pretty jars that I’d given to her filled with Christmas cookies. She added Harry & David chocolates to them, which I set aside for when my nephew comes to town. I normally welcome any and all sweets, but we overindulged last month so they’re not currently tempting me.
    • My husband returned a packet of sliced havarti cheese to Costco, as it was moldy from day one.
    • My son’s five-month-old kitten is a wild child, so I’ve been removing certain items from common spaces to spare them her wrath. So far this includes a Victorian style fringe lampshade, (see above) a pothos plant and a variety of breakable tchotchkes. He moves into a new apartment this February and will take the cat with him, so my vulnerable belongings will see the light of day once again.

  1. 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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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany M January 3, 2024 at 12:32 pm

My son’s school building is right next door to Meijer. I don’t shop there much because it’s substantially more than Aldi, but they do have Flashfoods. Since I’m right there anyway I can even stop in for a clearanced bag of salad.

My mother-in-law continues to teach piano to my kids on FaceTime and my dad gives pointers when we visit. Free lessons! I love how they can fill their time profitably.

Completed 3 activities on rocket mortgage tonight worth $15 if we ever close on another property using RM. Who knows someday we might like to downsize and get the mortgage off our back faster. I have been happy with them. We got halfway through our approval and I found better rates. I asked them to match and they did 100%!

Cooked up 8 lbs of 27% fat hamburger for quick meals from the freezer, drained and refrigerated the grease. Then I added the gelatin to a soup and I clarified the fat into tallow which I used to make rolls and a triple batch of peanut butter cookies for school lunches.

Gave away a few things on Buy nothing and reused a box I was about to stuff in my overflowing recycling bin.


Edith January 3, 2024 at 2:39 pm

On tallow:
I have been make beef bone broth/stock using a combo of Vietnamese and Caribbean flavoring and it’s so good! I am left with an amazing amount of rich, spiced fat, which in other years I would have thrown away. But these past few months I have been using it in stirfrys, as a base for rice dishes, as a fat to roast potatoes, plantains and vegetables and in pastries- I made hand pies with the tallow!
I remember that my mom would also refrigerate her fats and used them up! Yes, we did use vegetable oil – but also retained the beef and pork fat.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 3:50 pm

Smart to shop an expensive store for bargains!


Gina in NY January 4, 2024 at 2:57 pm

Oh, I so wish we had Flashfoods where I live (Capital region of NYS). I have no idea why the grocery stores here don’t participate. I like to look in other areas I have lived in the US and look at what’s available. Weird hobby! 😉


Kara January 3, 2024 at 1:10 pm

1. Volunteered at the community garden. I can’t eat the snack they serve but I took a granola bar anyway and brought it home for my husband.
2. Free Costco grapes from Buy Nothing and free satsumas from our daughter’s tree.
3. Dried the fresh thyme leftover from Christmas, used the about to expire fresh green beans in soup, and made a quesadilla for my husband with the variety of leftover cheeses from Christmas. Also ate pinto beans bought for our family Christmas meal ( closer to New Year) and brought home by me in our cooler bag. It may not seem worth it to schlep a serving of pinto beans 200 miles, but I had a cool bag already for other things, so why not throw the beans in too?
4. Sold grass edger clippers on FB marketplace. Listed a few more things.
5. Sent out a very few Christmas cards this week. I like to write them after Christmas when I have more time. I enclosed the extended family picture from our daughter’s wedding. Cards were from a free pile.


Bee January 3, 2024 at 1:10 pm

Rear Window is such a great movie — 1950s Hollywood glamour at its finest.
My small frugal things so far this week include:
1. I scanned all receipts from the day after Christmas through today to Fetch and iBotta. I was able to withdraw $35 from my iBotta account and used my Fetch points to purchase a $25 Whole Foods gift card.
2. I accidentally put two of a single item in my cart when I purchased it online prior to Christmas. I returned one of these items to Target for a full refund.
3. I peeled and froze 3 bananas that were getting too ripe to eat. They will be used in smoothies later this week. I also purchase a fresh bunch at Trader Joe’s yesterday when I was out and about. Hooray for inexpensive bananas!
4. I used my HSA to pay for my monthly prescriptions and a bill from the radiologist.
5. Leftovers for dinner again!!!!

I really can’t believe 2024 is here…


Katy January 3, 2024 at 3:46 pm

That’s an impressive Ibotta and Fetch haul!


Katy January 3, 2024 at 3:48 pm

Yes, Hollywood glamour at its best. However, you do have to turn a blind eye to 25 year old Grace Kelly throwing herself at 46-year old Jimmy Stewart.


Cindy Brick January 3, 2024 at 1:12 pm

Katie, I am LOVING the extra ‘frugal things’ posts! Thank you thank you.

I have my own adventure with bones — chicken bones cut off the breasts ($1.27/lb at Safeway last week), then crockpotted overnight for chicken broth. Which then will become the West’s favorite dish: green chile. (Good for keeping away the blues and flu, too.) The boneless breasts then go into the freezer, except for one, which becomes Pad Thai tonight.

Happy New Year to you.


Katy January 3, 2024 at 3:45 pm

You can be my “Adventures With Bones” buddy!


Ecoteri January 3, 2024 at 8:24 pm

Count me in for “Adventures with Bones”! I have been purchasing lower priced chicken with an eye to the bones/skin leftovers. #2 son is well trained so when he takes cooked chicken to his loft to eat later, he has started to save the ‘remains’ in a bag in his freezer. a month ago I asked him to ‘bring me the bag’ and it was stuffed full (go #2!!!) I dumped it in my instant pot and handed the empty bag back = which he very cheerfully received, reusing bags is in his blood. Stock is so popular in my kitchen because it is soup season.


A. Marie January 4, 2024 at 3:06 am

Another fan of freezer bones for soup stock here. See my recent description of “Old McDonald’s Stock.”


Jill A January 3, 2024 at 1:51 pm

My two youngest daughters and I are still sick with whatever crud we caught.
1. I’m getting my money’s worth out of my streaming subscriptions – two are free from Verizon.
2. I gave my mom a container of deglosser she needed to do a project.
3. I made some yogurt and turned half into dog ice cream and the other half I’m mixing in some homemade blackberry jam for me.
4. I reorganized the refrigerator and found more Christmas leftovers to use up.
5. My daughters and I are having a sick together day today. Pajamas, hot toddys and take out. I ran out of bourbon but found a bottle of pre-mixed hot toddy in my cupboard, nobody is claiming it, so thank you to whoever left it there. Hot water, honey, frozen lemonade concentrate and the mix and it’s just right.


Edie January 3, 2024 at 2:22 pm

I was laid off just in time for Christmas, so the next couple of months will be very lean indeed!
1) I paid my very low water bill- $220 for three months. The Portland Harbor Fund is a complete and utter joke.
2) I had bought wine when the Hollywood Target closed at 50% off, so I had ready made hosting gifts.
3) I told everyone not to get me gifts! And I made Christmas cards instead of shopping.
4) I am eating through my pantry, garden (my greens and some herbs are still going!) and freezer- no need for going out to lunch now that I am home.
5) I got an Honored Citizen card for TriMet: no more than $28/month and I can travel around the metro area- great for job searches or getting a temp job!


Marie-Josée January 4, 2024 at 5:47 pm

My colleague’s partner was layed off in October from our common employer and it was such a shock! Their holidays were impacted and they recently has a house built, after many years of renting and being prudent with their finances. They are so stressed. I hope you find a satisfactory job soon.


Mary Ann January 3, 2024 at 4:01 pm

1. My husband grows walnuts for Diamond Foods. They sent a Christmas pack of flavored nuts and a nut pie crust. I am going to research a recipe for the pie crust. Can’t decide if I want savory or sweet.

2. Last year I made a miscalculation and let 10 pound box of walnuts go rancid. I thought I had more time because I kept them in a cool place. This year I asked our pitch man for a five pound of almonds and a five pound of walnuts ( halved and shelled. ) I will not let these go bad. Generally you can extend their life by freezing but I don’t like what it does for the taste,. Breakfasts will be homemade yoghurt, nuts and dried fruit. Nearly free for me. Excellent omega fat.

3. I have gone through three chapters of my chess book. This is part of my New Year resolution. Downgrade to basic for subscription and take lessons from free sources. Super Credit!

4. This week I will shell pecans from our trees we don’t commercially farm. I roast them and they are delish.

5. I am going down to pick oranges from one of our stray trees. Hopefully they are sweet. Usually I let these tree fruit rot because I have a full time job but I am making a concerted effort to gather, puree , freeze and dry.


Ruby January 3, 2024 at 4:40 pm

1. I am doing a very low spend January as a reset after December. Did my main grocery shopping today at Aldi, even though it is out of my way. Spending came in about $22 less than usual.

2. Used drugstore reward points to buy drink mix and popcorn for only 70 cents.

3. Put a library book on hold through Libby.

4. Threw sticks in the yard for the puppy to learn to fetch. The sticks will all wind up in one end of the yard for ease of clean up.

5. Chopped up some limp carrots, a couple of wrinkled peppers and an aging onion and froze them together in a bag for making stew.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl January 3, 2024 at 5:48 pm

Man, his kitten really puts Chiquita to shame with her antics!


Selena January 3, 2024 at 8:08 pm

Chiquita is *not* a Tortie, enough said. Anyone who has had a Tortie, or two or three can attest to their tortitude.


Ruby January 4, 2024 at 8:44 am

I must have the world’s only non-tortitude tortie. But my sweet girl is a dilute tortie with long hair, so she carries two recessive genes on top of the tortie gene. Maybe that sands the edges off the attitude? She only gets tough when her fat housemate tries to raid the kibble bowl, and then it’s full-on girl cat chasing, threatening a whomping all over the house.


Selena January 4, 2024 at 8:05 pm

Dilute is the only explanation for lack of tortitude. When it comes to noms, all bets are off as well as the same food tasting so-much-better from the other cat’s bowl.


Jennifer January 3, 2024 at 6:27 pm

I love the tasty sounding food you made!

1. We wanted to go out to dinner on NYE. I looked at what gift cards I had available and we picked Longhorn Steakhouse. Total after tip was $14.25 after our $50 GC. Delicious! And home by 7:30 safe and sound

2. Bathed the dog ourselves

3. I had ordered something to use after my surgery that I didn’t end up using and returned it today for a refund

4. Got an 8 pk of Campbells microwavable soups for around $1.25 each. These are perfect for on the go lunches for my ds. He loves soup but you can’t microwave a metal can and “leak proof” tupperware is never truly leak proof

5. Doing a pantry challenge and today finished up the end of a delicious cheese and a box of cheez-its. Not together and not by the same person, but 2 items that had been languishing are now eaten rather than thrown away


Lindsey January 3, 2024 at 6:29 pm

This is one of the few places I can brag about frugality, so here goes: I keep track of what we spend every single day, on this nifty program the husband designed. In 2023, we spent an average of $348 on food every month. The second and final bragging point is that this year our freebies totaled $10,297. Freebies includes what I saved using coupons, food and gas from mystery shops, gift cards from Fetch, My Points, and Receipt Hog, how much a library book would have cost me if I bought it, and found money. Really, the biggest haul, though, was from free hotel rooms and a four tire rebate when we were forced to buy tires on our cross country drive. I find it very encouraging to keep track of these things and see how we did at the end of every year.

Since the start of the new year:
1. I did a grocery mystery shop and found a $30 family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts marked down to $5 because they expired today. Since I get reimbursed for what I buy, they were free to me.
2. I remembered to shut off two streaming services on the day the free trial ended.
3. Husband had to get medication and while at Walgreens found M&Ms practically being given away for free–$1 for bags that normally run $4.00. Bought six bags and they are now in the freezer for future M&M studded cookies that he loves.
4. Husband has lost weight so I am giving away his larger sized clothes. A lot of them were really gorgeous and warm sweaters so half went to the Rescue Mission and half to the Psy ward at the hospital. A lot of folks who end up there come in off the streets or after incidents at home and they are often poorly dressed for release. I hope the men who get them feel a warm hug (I know how lame that sounds) coming from being given quality sweaters to protect them against winter temperatures. I did get a tax write off from the Rescue Mission.
5. Accepted a box of Christmas card a friend bought and then decided she hated.


Christine January 3, 2024 at 7:06 pm

I love your #4. It made me think of my late Dad who always gave the clothes he no longer wanted/needed to the veterans shelter. So many kind people in this world!


A. Marie January 4, 2024 at 3:08 am

Lindsey, I am super impressed with your freebies total! And I too admire your (and the husband’s) #4.


Sarah January 4, 2024 at 10:33 pm

I thought that your #4 was very beautiful and generous. What a nice thing to think about all of the people that are in really tough situations that will benefit from your kindness.


Whitney January 3, 2024 at 6:33 pm

A couple of years ago, I watched Rear Window with my very Gen Z son, and it was astounding to me what I had to explain:
– what a flash bulb was and how it worked and why you had to keep changing it
– why people opened up their back windows when it was hot (no ac)
– how camera film worked
– how old fashioned phone numbers worked

He loved the movie!


Bee January 4, 2024 at 5:10 am

Isn’t it funny how much the world has changed? I would have never thought about these changes needing to be explained but that was filmed more than 70 years ago. Gasp!


Whitney January 4, 2024 at 7:32 am

He’s a smart kid but every now and then he’ll say something that absolutely floors me. And I have to remind myself – his first interaction with technology was a smart phone. He was a baby! He’s never had a land line, no dial up, music has always been digital and on and on.

One of the funniest is that he asked to buy a yellow pages at the store because he wanted to see what it was like. I just laugh and sound ancient to him!


A. Marie January 4, 2024 at 9:38 am

Whitney and Bee, this whole discussion reminds me of how, back in my working days, I had to nudge authors gently into the realities of passing time and changing technologies (e.g., changing “videotaping” to “video recording”). In fact, it was pretty funny that I was the one doing this, since I’m the original Luddite myself.


Christine January 3, 2024 at 7:00 pm

1. As I was removing ornaments from the Christmas tree, an ornament which had belonged to my great grandmother (who lived close to us when I was a kid and I adored) literally broke in my hand at the area where the hook attaches. I was upset but tried repairing it with Gorilla glue and it worked! I can barely see where it cracked and broke.
2. I threw together a vegetable/bean/pasta soup tonight using questionable celery, a couple of lone carrots from the vegetable bin, a dried out onion, freezer burned cooked turnip plus leftover peas and a can of diced tomatoes. The beans I made in the crockpot months ago and portioned out and froze. Flavored it with some chicken bouillon since I was out of broth. Something to have all week with the chilly air and snow predicted for the Northeast.
3. I’m doing a puzzle my sweet granddaughter gave me for Christmas. I love to do jigsaw puzzles in the cold weather. Once the weather warms up, I lose interest and want to be outside more, usually reading library books on the deck.
4. DH noted we don’t have many shoes in our closet anymore. I love how he leans toward frugality and minimalism along with me. He can’t call me Imelda Marcos anymore either. Anybody remember her shoe collection from the 1980s?
5. Making our own tea and coffee. I heard coffee prices are going up due to crop failure so it will be more important than ever to make it at home for us.


Selena January 3, 2024 at 8:12 pm

Ah Imelda.. a blast from the past. I still call my sister Imelda cuz she does love her shoes.


A. Marie January 4, 2024 at 3:10 am

Thanks for the tip in your #5, Christine. Another reason to start using up my “Boston Tea Party” stash of teas.


Ava January 3, 2024 at 7:27 pm

1. I saved $10 at the drug store with rewards points.
2. I am currently reading a book from a little free library. I have another book to donate .
3. I reworked my Christmas wreath. It originally had a multicolor bow, ornaments and a gold deer. After a few years, the deer fell off. Then it began to lose ornaments one by one. I took everything off. I rolled pine cones in white paint and then glitter. I touched up thrifted berries with red paint. I added a few snowflakes and a new red and white striped bow. It is ready to go for more years.
4. I made hamentaschen as a special treat for my husband. I don’t know what the savings was but for all the work they are, they should sell for $20 per cookie.


texasilver January 3, 2024 at 9:08 pm

At first, I thought the picture of the fringed lampshade was some kind of a hat that you were selling on Ebay. My bad.
Your husband has a good memory to remember a blanket put away in the attack! I had a mattress topper that was unused for several years. I needed a heavier type cover. I put the topper into an old duvet cover. Voila a warmer cover.
I guess many of us on this blog think alike. I made stock from chx bones & froze it. It became soup w/ leftover items in the fridge & freezer. Others are donating warm clothes to facilities. Several of us have cats that misbehave. We are kindred spirits.


Christine January 4, 2024 at 5:39 pm

We really are kindred spirits. I love how you put it that way. What I wasn’t already doing, I learned to do from people on this blog.


Ecoteri January 3, 2024 at 9:33 pm

1. Listed a non-functioning but heavy duty (and large and awkward) shredder on my buy nothing group – left it on the porch for pickup and it ain’t there now! YAY, more stuff gone from the past life of me when I had a business.
2. A dear friend was coming to visit so I stash-and-dashed – well, I sorted and boxed all the Christmas things that had been left in my living room by #2 son when he wanted to set up a tree. I never did a tree, but I also never dealt with the stuff. YAY for a friend comign over to get me to tidy. In the same vein, I cleared off my kitchen table, wiped it down and put down a favourite tablecloth. And cleared off my kitchen island that has also been a flat surface collecting stuff. Kitchen is more functional again.
3. Although I am only planning on buying milk/cream and a few veggies, when I stopped at the grocery they had chicken on sale (again!) so I picked up some legs and backs. That is it, though, no more buying of meat until I have cleared some space in my freezers.
4. Dropped in at the discount veggie market and picked up celery at half of what the main grocers are charging. Chatted with a number of equally frugal folk who had some of the other prices in their heads. This grocer had started to raise their prices but I think they noticed that they were loosing a lot of clients, so now their motto is more about saving money and they aren’t focussing on being upscale. We don’t need that, thank you very much!
5. Lent my Best Buddy’s (BB) son two sets of snowshoes so he didn’t have to rent. They were out on the porch in an ikea bag, gone for 36 hours and back again in fine shape. I have even hung them back up in their rightful place.
BB’s son brought two boxes of family discards for me – destined for the thrift store but my family tends to benefit – #2 son walked away with a nice pair of swimsuit shorts, and a stack of tee shirts that aren’t office-ready but great for working under a car. #1 daughter will get a sweet stained glass table lamp that BB’s friend had made for them decades ago. I tried on a plaid jacket and promptly hung it in my stairwell – it is the perfect weight for farm chores (and was BB’s GFIL’s so probably is 50 years old – BB’s husband is thrilled that I am going to use it, even though he wasn’t wanting it any more). I packed up the remaining Tee shirts, shorts and mens underwear (in good shape, that underwear) and added it to the bags in my car – Delivered these bags of older sox and shirts and newer shirts and some underwear and a couple of nice women’s purses to our local homeless shelter. They are always so pleased to see me, and I am doing my part by sharing with my community that I will do those deliveries, not everyone feels safe to do so.


K D January 4, 2024 at 4:22 am

1. I have been staying out of the grocery store. We have plenty of food and it feels good to take items out of the freezer and use them. Last night I used 1/2# of cooked chicken to make chicken noodle soup. I use GF brown rice spaghetti, broken into short pieces, as noodles.

2. I totaled my 2023 found change. It was $19.33 but I did also find a run over Home Depot card on a busy street and it contained about $70.

3. We continue to be entertained by Doc Martin. We are streaming season 8 on PBS.

4. I made a double batch of GF cranberry sauce muffins since I had three cans that will expire in a few months. I used leftover pumpkin spike nog for the milk.
Most of them went in the freezer for future eating.

5. I left a jigsaw puzzle on a neighbor’s porch, one she thinks her husband will enjoy building. She recently shared a couple with us and after we built them I gave them away using Freecycle.


Gina January 4, 2024 at 8:51 am

Would you mind sharing your GF cranberry sauce muffin recipe? I don’t need it to be gluten free, but I do have some cranberry sauce to use.


A. Marie January 4, 2024 at 5:52 am

FTFT, No Post-Holiday Letdown Edition:

(1) Like K D, I’ve run my 2023 “underground economy” totals: $428.20 in NY State bottle/can deposits and $24.86 in found change, both personal bests. (Finding $9 in bills and a lot of Canadian coins–usually accepted at U.S. face value here–definitely helped with the found change total.) But I applaud K D’s Home Depot card!

(2) The neighbors on the other side of my next-door neighbor (NDN) had a grand New Year’s Day open house. NDN was treated like visiting royalty (these neighbors know about her cognitive problems); she was seated first at the dining table, and they made sure she got a nice plate with a little bit of everything.

(3) And I was treated like visiting royalty too: The neighbors sent me home with not only a full bag of lobster shells for a future stock (grilled lobster tails were among the offerings), but some extra lobster tails as well, since these weren’t getting much love for some incomprehensible reason. (Granted, they were kind of messy to eat, but that’s never stopped me!)

(4) The extra lobster tails didn’t last long enough to make it into the linguine I made for myself a day or so later, but I did add some tomatoes and chopped basil that the Bestest Neighbors left me on their way out of town, as well as some portobello mushrooms.

(5) And, after all this feasting, I too have been staying out of the stores, since I’ve started a January low-spend challenge. There’s more than enough in the pantry and freezer for me to do this, and I do need an occasional corrective to my packrat tendencies.


Cindy in the South January 4, 2024 at 6:51 am

Ah…..kittens and their antics….lol.
1. I brought a PBJ for my work lunch.
2. Made homemade coleslaw for kid last night, to go on his hot dog.
3. I cooked up ground beef I had in freezer and intend to make spaghetti with it on Friday.
4. I still have not purchased a washer nor dryer. It cost me $3 once a week to wash and dry at the local laundromat near where I work. It is a pain to haul it but I don’t care for the price.
5. I still don’t have the heat on during the day at home. It is a bit chilly when I get home from work. I keep it at 55 at night. Considering the thievery, I mean cost, of our power in a very poor state, I don’t care if it is a tad chilly. I sleep on top of a bed, in a sleeping bag rated for ten degrees, with an army wool blanket thrown over it, and in long johns under my pj’s. I am quite warm.


Julia January 6, 2024 at 3:12 pm

I love a cold bedroom. I sleep better. I rarely turn the heat on in the bedroom. I’ve been known to sleep in a knit cap with lots of blankets.


Sherry January 6, 2024 at 4:42 pm

I agree, I sleep much better in a cold bedroom. I do not even turn the heat on in there. I have blankets and flannel sheets. And I usually throw them off a couple of times during the night {hot flashes}.


Marybeth from NY January 4, 2024 at 7:01 am

1. Finally recovered from Covid. The brain fog has lifted.
2. I made matzo ball soup. I used the chicken stock I made from the chicken I cooked NYD. I also used the fat in the matzo balls. The celery and carrots were ones that I had cut up for NYD. I used a box of Matzo that I got free last Passover. There are 2 more boxes still so I see more in the near future.
3. I have been cleaning out drawers everyday. I have a nice size box to drop off at the thrift store.
4. Keeping the heat at 65 degrees. Wearing layers and blankets.
5. The upstairs shower was leaking. Hubby fixed it.


Ashley Bananas January 4, 2024 at 9:47 am

This week has been ripe with frugal fails….
My washing machine broke on Christmas day. It’s old and worked wonderfully until it stopped spinning. A repair man came to the house and in five minutes said the repair exceeded the cost of the machine, that it wasn’t worth fixing, and charged me $85 for his visit. I bought a used washer for $40 off FB marketplace, got it home, hooked it up, ran it, and it then banged wildly out of control, and after taking it apart found we couldn’t fix it….I’m back to square one with two washers on the curb for scrappers. This has been an exhausting and expensive frugal attempt at non-consumerism . But, I will figure it out…again

In frugal wins
1. My son has been home on Winter break and made taco meat and rice for made burritos. I’m very proud of him for taking the time to cook and then telling me how good it was and sharing with me when I got home.
2. After a fundraising project selling ornaments in the neighborhood, we have started buying trees and pollinator plants for giveaways in our neighborhood. My porch looks like a small suburban yard and my cats are excited to explore. We’re going to buy fruit trees this weekend. Then the rest of the money will likely be spent on milkweed. This is actually the highlight of my week, month, and year.
3. The kids are on Winter break and I’ve gotten a lot of crafting prep work done at work as well as all the monthly scheduling. It sounds weird, but when the kids are here it’s very busy and I often don’t have time to get any of this work done. A little peace of mind goes a long way.
4. My neighbor came over and told me at length that his roommate does not like me or want to date me. I am so thankful for this free diatribe. I don’t know what I would do without the unsolicited advice of a 55 yro man about his 36 yro roommate not wanting to date me, who has never asked me to date him, and I have never asked him to date me. *eyeroll* He did let me know that they liked the cookies I made them for Christmas, and returned the Tupperware.
5. On NYE and New Years Day I Door Dashed and made $550. I guess this helps with the washing machine fund.

Have a great week!!!


MB in MN January 4, 2024 at 7:36 pm

A “free diatribe”! That is so funny, but I’m sorry you had to experience it.


Selena January 4, 2024 at 8:12 pm

#4 truly made me laugh. And almost makes me think said 55 yro man is the one that wants to date you. Do keep that in mind…


Ecoteri January 4, 2024 at 9:00 pm

Huh, your #4 makes me wonder if they never have had a neighbour bring them cookies just because! sorry about you having to experience the free diatribe, thanks for sharing with us so we could be amused with you…


Ashley Bananas January 5, 2024 at 6:13 am

#4 These are the wonderful neighbors who put my son’s basketball hoop together for me just a few weeks ago. I gave them a huge Tupperware of homemade cookies and individual thank you cards for Xmas. I imagine I will continue to be single for the foreseeable future.


Vickey January 19, 2024 at 3:13 pm

So…they/he thought the cookies were a come hither?? Or the 55 y.o. thought the younger one should snap you up cuz you can bake, and was disappointed he wouldn’t have an unending baked goods source?
Musing over whatever led him to unleash the diatribe boggles the mind. He’s not doing his age/gender group stereotype any good.

Otoh, *loved* your #2! Made my heart happy.


Gina in NY January 4, 2024 at 2:51 pm

Here’s my 5:

1. I also visited our historic neighborhood library and picked up my requests. Our library is located in a lovely large park with a lake, so the dog came with me for a long winter walk along the lake. I borrowed books on gardening and vegan cookbooks for inspiration. I have taken a break from Killers of the Flower Moon (which I’ll finish up this weekend) and am listening to Barbara Kingslover’s Demon Copperhead.
2. I also visited the thrift store for a bathroom size trashcan to replace the porcelain, thrifted one I dropped months ago. I only found an ugly cheap-looking one priced $5. I stopped by Dollar Tree and picked up a cute pink one instead (despite really wanting to buy secondhand first 🙁 ). I also found a pair of lounge pants and a skirt that were 50% off. I budgeted a small monthly amount for my No Spend Year. It’s a source of joy for me and a reason to leave the house now and then (I work remotely), so I consider it a sinking fund for mental health.
3. I am feeling a bit under the weather this week (I am on use/lose vacation this week). I had a big “to-do” list, but it is looking like it is going to be continued later this month. Maybe MLK weekend. Sometimes, one just needs to curl up in bed, drink tea and watch YouTube videos, and just not worrying so much about everything pending. I have been trying to use up a big bag of various types of tea I bought in years past, so I am accomplishing one thing.
4. I sorted through all my planners and notebooks I already hoard and found one that has blank dates for the calendar. This will be my 2024 planner and I have been adding in custom lists and goals and it’s helping ease the temptation to buy a fancy new one. I also created an Excel budget file this week and it turned out great.
5. I finally tried the pine soda! Here is my report: It’s good and bubbly, but I wish I had used cane sugar and not honey (recipe called for cane, but noted honey or maple syrup would work too). The honey taste overpowers the more subtle pine notes. I have the other two bottles aging a bit more, so I will try them this weekend. I do plan to make some spruce beer in a few months. I live next to a huge old cemetery and the fence rows are a great place to forage things, including spruce from some giant trees.


Ecoteri January 4, 2024 at 9:03 pm

@Gina in NY, I think taking your use it/lose it vacation time and actually doing some serious R&R is a great idea (and using up all the teas is a way to get you moving every hour or so, if you get my drift…. tea-induced movement, if only to the bathroom and back to bed). Enjoy your break, the chores are never finished.


Julia January 6, 2024 at 3:28 pm

I too am using up lots of tea by reminding myself to drink a cup or two a day. It’s all herbal so no caffeine. And really nice on cold days. Hot beverages also keep me warm so I can turn the heat lower.


Vickey January 19, 2024 at 3:19 pm

Library in park on lake sounds enchanting. #swooning

And yay for you, loading up on plant-based cookbooks! Healthy choices are long-term frugal.

Vegan Vickey 😉


Sandra G January 27, 2024 at 2:31 pm

Is that lampshade from Yestershades? If it is, that’s my mother-in-law’s business in Portland.


Katy January 27, 2024 at 10:34 pm

It’s from a business that used to be on S.E. 13th in the Sellwood neighborhood. My mother would trade thrifted lamps for her handmade shades and I’ve had it for more than twenty years. It’s extra beautiful when the light is on.


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