Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on January 11, 2024 · 110 comments

    1. My step mother and I went to a empty damp food cart pod to celebrate my belated birthday. I spied a soggy dollar bill off to the side and got on my literal hands and knees to grab it.

      A free falafel wrap and a one dollar bill? Happy birthday, Katy! Especially since we brought the food home to my warm, dry house.

    2. I asked for and received a poster size canvas through my Buy Nothing group. My son has a hankering for a Wassily chair, but we forgot to set aside $2906.40 for a single chair. Instead I’m planning on painting some wall art based on one of these posters. Mass produced art has no soul and I live a deluded life where I believe myself to have artistic abilities. We already own multiple tubes of acrylic paint, so there’s no harm in trying.

    3. My husband and I drove to pick up the $30 Ikea dining table from yesterday’s thrifting adventure. I explained to the Goodwill employee which table I was there to load up, and her response was “Oh, I know which table you’re talking about.” She then proceeded to share that I’d gotten a very good deal on the table as their new manager was pricing things lower. “The last manager would have charged at least $75 for that table.”

      “Thanks,” I thought to myself. “Now I have content for the blog.”

    4. • My friend brought me a jar of homemade biscotti and a cute pair of socks as a birthday gift.
      • Portland is scheduled for a snow storm starting on Friday, which always throws the city into chaos. This due to both our hills and the government lacking the sufficient number of snow plows. Even though Portland’s goofy citizens would have a heyday if ever given the chance to name a snowplow. Maybe we could all chip in a couple bucks for the opportunity?

      – Snow Business Like Show Business?
      – How Now Brown Plow?
      – Snow Plower to the People?
      – Plow Jones Industrial Average?

      The list is endless.

    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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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele January 11, 2024 at 5:50 am

1. Back to work as a school nurse. Packing lunches, making coffee at home, and washing baggies/using pyrex to pack.
2. Eating down the fridge and freezer. Made an ?interesting soup in crock pot. Cooked down rotisserie chicken to make broth.
3. Carefully documenting mileage as I drive around to my different schools. That tiny mileage check is a nice surprise. I’m putting all mileage checks into an envelope for repairs/maintenance.
4. This FL girl is freezing- but have set the heat to come on at 69 and using blankets.
5. Recording expenses and socking away as much money as I can. My husband retired without me and I’d like to join him.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:56 am

Documenting mileage is finicky but worth it, good for you!


Selena January 11, 2024 at 8:03 pm

Old school – clipboard, paper with date, from, to, pen to log #miles. We get reimbursed for mileage occasionally. However I did create the paper via Excel but not is not required.


Bee January 12, 2024 at 4:55 am

We have a nearly free alternative for local tv — I have a super powered digital antenna that I purchased at an estate sale for $5. However, they are available at big box stores that carry electronics. We use it when my husband wants to watch the local sports teams play and when we need local news. PBS comes via their streaming service Passport.


Michele January 12, 2024 at 6:37 am

Will look in to the antenna. I feel like locals are the only thing keeping with cable! ( I DID subscribe to PBS passport yesterday because I’m catching up on Miss Scarlett and The Duke).


Ashley Bananas January 13, 2024 at 7:28 am

SWFL here. It’s been blustery out all week with overcast cloud cover, on an off rain, and just….very Seattle weather. I’d like the sun to come back out please!!!


Bee January 14, 2024 at 9:08 am

NEFlorida — 2 days of sunshine since Christmas. I’m getting the blue. I feel like I endure July and August here just for those perfect January days. I’m being cheated. 🙁


MB in MN January 11, 2024 at 6:15 am

Happy belated birthday, Katy!

I love your idea to paint the Wassily chair on canvas for your son.

Minnesota has annual snowplow-naming contests. Two recent favorites that I can recall are Betty Whiteout and Scoop Dogg.


Lindsey G January 11, 2024 at 8:07 am

Scoop Dogg! Love it!


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:55 am

Both winners for a good reason!


Karen A. January 11, 2024 at 6:28 am

Tiny, tiny frugal Things from Florida where I’m living a dissipated life hanging with my son while my husband is at a conference.

1. We’re renting a lovely house from a dear friend of mine, for less than most VRBOs and it’s more peaceful than any hotel.

2. The house is two minutes walk from a quiet beach that has no tempting concession stands, so every day we pack food and walk over for cheap leisure time.

3. Thanks to the full kitchen we haven’t eaten out unless you count the 12 dollar hot dog we got our son at Magic kingdom (our surprise Christmas trip gift to him). DH and I fasted that day, so no overpriced food for us.

4. Took my son to a little museum about the sunken treasure fleet of 1715. Only $2 admission, and he was quite pleased with his prize from the scavenger hunt they offered. At no time during this trip has he asked for any souvenirs, even saying when I offered, to buy him something, “the best souvenirs are my memories.”

5. On the way out of the Magic Kingdom I found a penny. My husband said he was surprised the Mouse didn’t swoop down and snatch it from me!


Denise January 11, 2024 at 7:14 am

Was that museum the one near Sebastian Inlet and Vero Beach? If so, I was there a year ago and loved that museum. The history was incredible.


Karen A. January 11, 2024 at 9:50 am

Yes! My son is into pirates, old sailing ships and treasure so I thought it was worth a shot.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:54 am

Being an Oregon resident, the idea of concession stands at the beach is absolutely foreign to me. What would they serve? Soup? Hot cocoa? hot potatoes for your pockets?


Lindsey January 11, 2024 at 11:39 am

Don’t knock hot potatoes! Years ago, when it was still the USSR, I took the Trans-Siberian from one end of the country to the other. This was WELL before American franchises arrived there. The train ride was both wonderful and horrible, the horrible being cold, cold, cold conditions for much of the ride. At nearly every stop you could get off and buy a newspaper cone full of hot potatoes. At first I sneered, but by the end of the trip (8 days) I would have knocked over old people to get to the hot potatoes. They warmed you twice, once while you held the cone in your hand and again when you ate the potatoes.


Bee January 11, 2024 at 12:14 pm

I don’t know of too many places in Florida where concession stand still exist. The have been replaced by the occasional taco truck and high end beach club. Never together, of course. I would love to check out this museum. I have a friend whose father dove with the famous treasure hunter, Mel Fisher.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 12:48 pm

Taco truck? I’ll take that any anywhere, anytime anyplace, forever.


Karen A. January 11, 2024 at 2:43 pm

Bee, Mel Fisher has his own treasure museum in Sebastián, Florida, not far from the one we went to, but I opted for the less expensive one.


Karen A. January 11, 2024 at 2:40 pm

There was always one at the beach we went to as kidd up in East Dennis, MA. I recall hot dogs, mostly, but my parents always brought sandwiches for us. The food cart at the other beach here seems to sell nachos, hot dogs and chicken tenders.


Marybeth from NY January 11, 2024 at 6:52 am

Happy birthday.
1. I made banana muffins with bananas that Hubby brought home from work and I froze.
2. Had a mishmash of leftovers for lunch yesterday to make sure nothing got wasted.
3. My sister dropped her dog off for 2 weeks. She is off to Taiwan. She brought me milk, provolone cheese, salami, some chocolate cake and a Panera gift card. I am happy to take open food to avoid it going in the garbage. I rarely buy cold cuts so Hubby was excited about the salami.
4. I made a ham, asparagus and provolone omelet for breakfast. It was delicious.
5. We got hit by a ton of rain. Got some water in the cellar. Everything on the floor is in tubs. Hubby used the shop vac to get all the water out. I have the dehumidifier running.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:53 am

Thank you for the birthday wishes! It sounds like you’ve had basement flooding in the past, good thing you have everything protected and a plan for when it happened.


Bethany M January 14, 2024 at 3:59 pm

I have bananas in the freezer. I should make some banana bread tomorrow.


Bee January 11, 2024 at 7:04 am

I also love original art. It is one of my favorite things to thrift. I recently rematted a pair of original, Asian-inspired watercolors that I purchased at a church jumble sale. They were lovely, but had garish pink mats. But even with new mats, I was all in for less than $20. I’m not sure what to do with the pink mats. I can’t even give them away — literally. Has anyone ever tried painting or recovering mats?
2. I bought these mats new at a big box craft store for $16. This earned $15 in store rewards to use at a later date. I have wanted to try my hand at bullet journaling, so I used these rewards to buy watercolor pens and a sketch book/ journal. I used a store coupon for 40% off and my rewards for an out of pocket cost of $2.64.
3. I had frozen some leftover gumbo that I had made in December. I took it out to defrost this morning. It will be tonight’s dinner. I’m not in the mood to cook.
4. I had 3 new magazines “delivered” via the library’s Libby App — “The English Home”, “Art & Antiques,” and “Home & Garden.”
5. I had breakfast at home. I brewed my own coffee and made a BLAT after taking the dog for an early morning walk and before my chores. I have been on the run all week and haven’t gotten much done around the house. I don’t know what to do first. Maybe I’ll just have another cup of coffee and think about it for a while.
Wishing you all good health, peace and prosperity.


Ruby January 11, 2024 at 8:20 am

Mats paint just fine. I routinely spray paint mats from thrift store art.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:52 am

I’ve spray painted ugly mats a couple of times and they turn out great. Go for it!


Bee January 11, 2024 at 3:33 pm

Katy snd Ruby, you have encouraged me to try to paint those garish pink mats.


Jill A January 11, 2024 at 7:10 am

I love your chair poster plans. I hope you’ll show us when it’s done.
1. We had our own birthday day of adventures yesterday for my daughter. We visited a vintage store which everyone enjoyed. I bought my daughter the items she wanted instead of the usual cash in a card.
2. We also went to a wonderful farm market that moved to a larger space last year. My daughters first visit since the move. I bought her grocery items.
3. This market has expanded their bulk items to include herbs and spices. This is what I’d been hoping for since I go there often enough I wouldn’t have to make a special trip for these things. I bought bay leaves and some split peas. The cost was very inexpensive so I’ll be exploring this more.
4. My daughter chose to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant which was very reasonable and really delicious. We’ll go back there again.
5. Tonight is the official celebration at an Indian restaurant (not frugal). Afterwards we’ll have a carrot cake I made and ice cream at home for dessert.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:51 am

I’m nervous to start the project, but also excited to get it started.


Denise January 11, 2024 at 7:20 am

We name loads of things in the UK. Foolishly (albeit amusingly), The Powers That Be invited the public to vote for a name for a scientific explorer ship – not a big carrier or anything. We ended up with Boaty McBoatface.

Gritters aren’t snow ploughs. Gritters are the lorries (trucks) which spread grit on the roads during cold weather to stop ice forming. My favourite one was named Spreddy Mercury. Snow ploughs: generally very little call for them over here. Some of the names are very funny.


Jill A January 11, 2024 at 7:39 am

Yes, Boaty McBoatface made the news here. People were very amused.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:50 am

My husband and I love “Boaty McBoatface!” We joke about it often.


Ecoteri January 11, 2024 at 11:49 pm

@Denise, I have been reading a novel set in Scotland and they were referencing gritters. I had no idea what they were but the word showed up enough that I finally figured it out due to context. Sensible name, but at first not enough context so I WAS a bit puzzled… It is a rather excellent name, though!


Denise January 11, 2024 at 8:03 am

More on topic: I’ve had a very spendy 2023 and am determined to take back control in 2024. House refurbishment became structural due to unforeseen/latent defects in my new-to-me 1980s house. I bought it because it would be less work than a period property. Ha. How the gods laughed at me for that stupidity!

1. I’m doing the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month (“UFM”) challenge, which I’m finding seems to veer between really easy and then “whoa, what actually happened there??!!”. I’ve been shocked by how unconscious some of my spending has become, especially with Katie’s favourite guy – Mr Bezos – on digital speed dial. I’ve removed my credit card details from the site and have decided that I won’t renew Prime in March, even though I mainly use it for the TV streaming. For all of you who are so much better at this than me, it won’t sound much but it’s big for me.

2. I’ve cancelled my Disney+ subscription. It was a three month trial (one month free, two months for £6.99 each).

3. I took out a seven day free trial for Paramount +, solely to watch “Fellow Travelers” (brilliant, sob-inducing in every episode), but those sneaky Paramount folk only released one episode a week so I’ve ended up with two months of subscriptions. Worth it on this occasion but in future, if I’m tempted, I’ll check if the weekly release mechanism is being used and wait till every episode has dropped and then use the free trial effectively. Or ask my nephew if I can watch it on his subscriptions – I cook dinner for him when we do this normally. Wow, there’s a lot of TV watching going on at present, which is worrying…The ridiculous thing is that in the UK, you have to (nearly always) have a government issued TV licence (£13.25 pcm), to watch terrestrial TV. It funds the BBC – TV, domestic (UK) BBC Radio stations national and local, plus the World Service. It’s worth the money. But I never watch it and have stopped listening to Radio 4. This is about to change. VFM.

4. Yesterday, I spent four hours reviewing my spending and building a spending plan. I have had v4 of the You Need a Budget software for years and have refused to upgrade to the current version which looks ace but is technologically beyond me. The defunct version 4 works fine and it’s been months since I did use it. Unsurprisingly, I was shocked at what poring over my bank account and credit card statements showed me. And more than a little ashamed too. I have had plenty of unavoidable spending (foundations and new sewage pipe didn’t fall into the “discretionary spending” category ), but so much waste. Now that I am retired, I don’t want to end up watching my life of pension planning going down the Swanny, and I have been anything but frugal and intentional. That too changes today.

5. I’m keeping my use of my central heating right down. I’m typing this with my feet tucked into a heated foot warmer (present from my sister) and with a blanket over my knee. Heating will kick in at 9pm for a hour before bedtime. I’m avoiding sitting down much, just chugging through my To Do list. Today’s was cleaning, treating and polishing my shoes, boots and handbag (purse). Took three hours – I was thorough! – and it scores as a sixth Frugal Thing, I think. Looking after what I’ve got to extend its useful life.

Phew. Baby steps, just baby steps.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:50 am

Yeah, I try to wait until desirable shows are fully released before signing up for free streaming trials. And electric foot warmer? Take my money!


Denise January 11, 2024 at 1:29 pm

Here it is: my feet get as excited as a happy puppy when this comes out!


Heidi Louise January 11, 2024 at 11:10 am

Best wishes on all your re-prioritizing of your life and funds, Denise!

Amazon. without Prime, at least in the U.S., has quite a few television programs (on something like FreeVee; don’t quite remember). No charge, just log in to your regular account and expect ads.


Jill A January 11, 2024 at 11:27 am

That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of it. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks


Denise January 11, 2024 at 1:32 pm

Thank you so much for this suggestion, Heidi Louise. I’ll take a look at what’s available in England. Just received an email from Amazon last week announcing that they are introducing ads, no way around them. And putting prices up, no doubt!


Christine January 11, 2024 at 6:28 pm

If you don’t want to see ads, you have to pay another $2.99 a month here in the US. That clinched it for me. Bye bye Amazon Prime.


A. Marie January 13, 2024 at 10:55 am

Christine, as I’ve noted in earlier comments, I ditched Amazon Prime (and Amazon altogether) after DH died and Chase canceled his Amazon Prime Visa card on me. So far, no regrets whatever–and your comment has put my regrets into the negative numbers.

Heidi Louise January 14, 2024 at 8:47 am

A, Marie: We “join” once every just-over-a-year for the one month free offer, suck up some free shipping on stuff that would be expensive for us to drive to a store and have to search to find, and then cancel. Works well.

Selena January 11, 2024 at 8:12 pm

#1 – after any purchase from Mr. B, you’ll have to remove your CC information. While it may *not* be your default payment, they AND OTHERS automatically store it. Yes, even those who have the box to “not store” do store it. Irks me to no end – adds to the work of being vigilant about ones confidential/financial information.


Heidi Louise January 12, 2024 at 9:01 am

Agreed. Mr. B’s workers offer every time to let me pay with points from a hotel chain I also have a credit card for. Excuse me? I did not ever use that card there, nor did I ever link anything with hotel points.


Selena January 13, 2024 at 4:19 pm

Read the fine print of your hotel chain card. Betcha a dollar it has verbiage re: information we share as well as “affiliates”. Besides usually printed in the smallest font allowed by law, it contains a lot of important information which we should all be reading.


Ecoteri January 11, 2024 at 11:55 pm

My #1 Daughter has been using That Hard To Avoid company to order things we can’t find locally at decent prices. I guess she was the last to make an order, today I got an email with a photo from her, asking if I had ordered this thing. OOOPS, I guess I better avoid pressing the ‘order fast and easy’ button – not my usual MO but I was being efficient. She lives 1 1/4 hours away, so I will need to wait for my prize. I like the idea of taking my CC off, but currently my plan is to add things to my cart then go in and Wishlist them instead. seems to address my urge to shop. Abandoning online shopping carts like a mad woman (always returning the brick and mortar kind, though!)


Ashley Bananas January 13, 2024 at 1:44 pm

Never ending subscriptions have become so hard to avoid. I’ve also noticed the price for Netflix raised, and on my favorite shows like the Great British Baking show, they now release one episode per week. So when I did a subscription I waited until all had played. Another all time favorite is TLC’s Sisterwives show. I have bought every season on Prime in the past but this year you cant buy, it pushes you to do a subscription for TLC or HBO, and then one of the ladies gets remarried and I believe you can only watch the wedding on HBO. It’s a lot of streaming services to keep up with . I dont mind buying shows because I tend to rewatch. But I dont want to pay the same amount for one month and cram.


Michele January 11, 2024 at 8:31 am

1. Back to work as a school nurse and packing all my food and drinks. Washing ziplocs and using pyrex.
2. Keeping track of my mileage. Those tiny “travel” checks are a nice surprise and I am putting them in an envelope for future repairs/maintenance.
3. Using up fridge and freezer surplus.
4. Debating about cable. We like our locals and can’t find a way to easily/cheaply stream them.
5. This Fl girl is freezing, but I’m only using heat at night and trying to use blankets when lounging.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:46 am

The only problem with snuggling under a blanket during the day is that it’s hard to motivate yourself to be productive.


Michele January 12, 2024 at 4:40 am

Truth. And then when the cat sits on me! I can’t disturb her!


Cindy in the South January 11, 2024 at 9:06 am

Love the table!!!!


A. Marie January 11, 2024 at 9:13 am

Here in my Central NY city, where there really is no business like snow business, we’ve named plows such things as the Below Zero Hero, the Beast of the East, Control Salt Delete, and the Salt City Express.

Now, my FTFT, Regular Winter Stuff Edition:

(1) I’ve begun my annual cull of DH’s and my various collections (British royal commemoratives, DH’s lead soldiers and farm figures, etc.) for things that can be donated for a tax break to a charity auction/online sale this summer. I realize this may sound a bit premature, but it passes the time in winter, and it saves time closer to the date of the sale for gardening (which is what I really want to be doing from April on). I’m finding that the triage system of (a) donate, (b) save for my eventual estate sale, and (c) take with me to senior housing when the time comes is a good way of focusing my efforts.

(2) And when I finish with (1), certain portions of my home where my housecleaners aren’t allowed (e.g., my office and the attic) would be improved by a little attention. Let’s just say that the dust bunnies in those areas are starting to look like killer rabbits.

(3) I’m finishing my second jar of home-sprouted mung beans. Bean sprouts are one way of getting around the high cost of fresh vegetables in winter, and I long ago purchased a set of sprouter lids that fit wide-mouth quart jars.

(4) I’m thankful that the heavy rains and high winds that were predicted to follow this weekend’s snow dump weren’t really bad here. (I was envisioning downed trees in the back 40 and a basement full of water.) Still, I need to go out and play pick-up sticks (for kindling), empty my kitchen compost bucket again while I have a chance, etc.

(5) And I found my first penny of 2024 yesterday. More dropped money should be emerging from snowdrifts as the present thaw continues.


Anne January 11, 2024 at 9:40 am

Loved “dust bunnies starting to look like killer rabbits.”


Jen January 11, 2024 at 3:03 pm

This comment prompted me to get up and sweep my floor!


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:45 am

Th clever naming of snow plows and boats gives me faith in humanity.

A lucky penny!


mary in maryland January 11, 2024 at 10:57 am

I was given a coronation tea towel for Xmas. Would love to find someone who would appreciate it. A Marie?


A. Marie January 11, 2024 at 11:45 am

As I’m confining my collecting to the “working royals” from now on, and as I don’t have many Chaz coronation items as yet, I’d be glad to have it. Katy, please feel free to give Mary in MD my email.


mary in maryland January 12, 2024 at 6:42 am

And feel free to give A Marie and I one another’s email addresses.


Denise January 11, 2024 at 1:36 pm

“Control Salt Delete”: genius. As was the killer rabbits. Have you named any of them??


Bee January 12, 2024 at 5:17 am

A. Marie, I have a collection of interesting silver spoons. I keep them in a spooner by my coffee pot and actually use them to stir my coffee in the morning. Recently, I added a spoon that was a replica of the anointing spoon from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. I know I could sell it for a tidy profit, but I like it. My kids will figure it out in 40 years or so.


A. Marie January 12, 2024 at 5:59 am

Well, Bee, silver will probably hold its value, no matter what happens to the British monarchy!


Jen in Santa Cruz January 11, 2024 at 9:50 am

I am not going to be able to sleep until I get more info on “empty damp food cart pod to celebrate my belated birthday”. I know there was a $1 bill find and bday wrap, but empty damp food cart pod to celebrate?

Can’t wait to see the painting. After seeing the Doc Marten’s, I know you can do it.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:43 am

We didn’t know we’d be the only ones there, that part was not part of the plan. I was frankly surprised that no one took the time to wipe the rain off the tables and chairs or thought to turn on the radiant heaters.


Blue Gate Farmgirl January 11, 2024 at 9:52 am

I love the canvas art idea! It reminds me of a very cold NW rainy day, my then boyfriend (architectural student) and myself were looking at a home going on auction in a sketchy neighborhood and we spotted a barcelona chair in pieces on a front porch. I, being a real estate agent (at the time) put on my big girl pants and mustered up the courage to cold knock & to my surprise the elderly lady took my offer of $100 for the chair. I had it rechromed and new leather cushions and it was a memory and the best Christmas/birthday gift. That was in the 80’s…I bet he still has that chair.
I completely failed the “no spend January” and it was only 10 days in!
My mom’s hearing aid quit, so we made a trip into town to hit Costco and they had their tarps on clearance (bought 2 pkgs), their winter work gloves (bought 2), heavy duty tie downs (bought 1) and women’s 32 degree heat long sleeved t shirts for pack of 2 for $5 (bought both colors – 2 pkgs) this is cheaper than buying @ thrift stores and I rarely buy anything new…so I failed you, Katy! I perpetuated the over producing clothing manufacturer over consumption tailspin. I will go sit in the corner! The hearing aid got it’s software update and now plays nice with all things bluetooth for $0. Love it! Happy sad face on my purchases, I’ll get over the guilt when I go to use the tarps.
I drained the water lines in the garden, put insulation, used my free box yoga mats and bailing twine to wrap standing pipes, topped off with capped pvc pipes to further insulate and put an extra fan in the greenhouse. By keeping the air flowing, it does not need to be heated.
Preparing for the cold snap starting tomorrow. The snow level is 500 ft above us right now.
We name everything on the farm. Animals get their names by personality. Except one lamb, his bleat sounds like he is saying “Walter”, so that’s his name.
Be safe, have a cold kit in your car if you have to commute. I have a poster on my fridge that has been there since 1986 that says “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” My Great Grandmother made me a cross stitch pillow for my Hope chest when I was 15 with this phrase. My other poster that is in the mud room “Don’t make me go to town”.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:39 am

Wow, I love your chutzpah!


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:41 am

Worry not about my my perceived judgment, sometimes it’s very restful to sit in the corner for a bit.


Marie January 12, 2024 at 6:47 am

Don’t feel bad about purchases for things that are needed.
I went to Costco with my list, and came back with a new coat.
Did I need a new coat, why yes I did. And for 34.99 it was a great price, and I’m warm now!


Frank January 11, 2024 at 11:29 am

Wassily chair knockoffs can be had for a couple hundred bucks, less if used.


Lindsey January 11, 2024 at 12:15 pm

1. The husband cut my hair.
2. A cabbage was hiding behind other items in the frig, and the outer leaves looked grim. However, inside it was perfectly fine so I made cream of cabbage soup that fed us for two dinners and a lunch.
3. I enter receipts on a few apps, usually while watching a TV program. Sometimes I think it is a waste of time but then yesterday I cashed in my points on one of the apps and received a $100 gift card. Took a year but it is free money, so why not?
4. I had a package to mail, no great rush, so I waited until there was a post office mystery shop that requires you to mail something so they can track how long it takes to get to the recipient. Got paid for the shop and mailed my package for free since they reimburse the postage costs.
5. Had enough points for $1.25 off every gallon of gas, up to 25 gallons. Drove our vehicle until it was almost dry of gas, plus took two 5 gallon gas cans, and managed to use up the entire 25 gallons so made use of every penny off.


Denise January 11, 2024 at 1:47 pm

I’m trying to avoid buying a new sofa, so I thought that I would get a quote for loose covers for my ten year old sofa. It’s well made but the covers are really worn. It needs new seat cushions too. First quote: £2,800. Just as well I was sitting down when I opened that one. I was truly expecting about £700 + fabric, not £2800 + fabric. I have zero sewing skills but I am going to look for an upholstery class. If the other quotes are as high, I’ll just have to do it myself. Katy always impresses me with stories of things which she and her husband can do – repairs, mending etc. I’m going to learn to use a drill this year and stop being so wet about trying things myself. In-sourcing seems to be a themed with so many of you.


Candy in SW Michigan January 12, 2024 at 4:51 am

Denise, we make slipcovers from canvas dropcloths. They’re available everywhere paint is sold, are cheap, machine washable and a neutral color. Wash the drop cloth in hot water before you start, you want any shrinkage to happen before you cut it to fit. If you use an old sheet to practice with first that can become your pattern. Good luck!


Gina in NY January 11, 2024 at 5:38 pm

We had a lovely snowstorm over the weekend and stayed in! Then, temps warmed up and the rain came and washed the snow away.

1. Doing the pantry challenge thing and all meals have been items already in the various food storage methods around the house. Tonight, it was BBQ veggie meatballs (made and froze a couple of months ago from leftover beans), sliced cucumbers, and a box of doctored up plant-based mac-n-cheeze that we really don’t like and will not be buying again (one more box to go, but I am thinking about offering up on Buy Nothing. I might even do a pantry purge this weekend of other things bought and tried and not enjoyed. These are mainly grocery outlet stuff that I take a chance on…or did). I prefer scratch cooking for taste, but not always in the mood to do it.
2. Made another batch of bread machine seitan-easy and economical. It substitutes beef in so many dishes.
3. I am deep in no spend January (and as long as possible). I managed a pet food and stamp run without straying. BTW, thank you to the ones that mentioned the stamp price increase. I was in the dark and I used my last stamp on sending my annual land taxes on a forest property I have in the Adirondacks (paying early yields a discount). I remembered from here about the stamps!
4. Back in December, I thrifted what I thought was a tie-dyed skirt. I finally pull it out today and they are the most comfy “hippy” pants ever. I think they cost $3. They’ll be in the regular rotation of comfy pants now.
5. in the evening, after the dog has had his walk, I am watching Fargo on free Hulu (which means annoying ads). While commercials play, I read the great posts and comments here. I’m also listening to Year of Less. I started it years ago, but never finished it. We’ll see if I do this time around. What is everyone else reading these days?


Heidi Louise January 11, 2024 at 6:20 pm

Ten days until postage goes up, January 21!
It might not be a lot, but such things add up.
Get your packages mailed next week.


Christine January 11, 2024 at 6:06 pm

I would’ve done the same for that dollar. If you didn’t, somebody else would’ve so why should they get the dollar? Frugal logic IMHO.
1. Using my CVS Care Pass, extra bucks rewards and coupons, my $13 and change bill came down to 53 cents.
2. While walking out of CVS I picked up a penny in the parking lot.
3. I purchased a beautifully glazed pot at the Salvation Army store for 5.99. This is for a Spider Plant baby that has outgrown its original small pot quicker than I anticipated.


Christine January 11, 2024 at 6:14 pm

Oops. Sensitive lap top keys sent my first 3 by accident. Here’s the next 2.
4. A coworker gave me a scratch pad for my cats that her cat didn’t like (he’s terrified of cardboard) and a half a large box of kitty litter her cat won’t use.
5. I stopped at the library to drop off two books I’ve finished and saw the fairly new book North Woods so I checked it out. Has anybody read it yet? Recovering from a dragged out respiratory bug and from a quick 24 hour stomach bug so I’ve been reading a lot.


Jennifer January 11, 2024 at 6:24 pm

I went back to work today after 6 weeks off following surgery. I tried to be productive yet relax.

1) I spent yesterday gathering my donation piles, adding things to my google doc for tax purposes and then driving them all to Goodwill.

2) It was raining and cold and I didn’t feel like going into Goodwill so I did not shop.

3) I went to the library and borrowed books. Then went to the local coffee shop, got my favorite drink and read for awhile. Low cost and supporting the local businesses. Plus it got me out of the house.

4) We are using up lots of odds and ends in meals lately which always feels good.

5) I made a homemade mocha before work today and packed a lunch.


Selena January 11, 2024 at 8:00 pm

City near me had a vote to name snowplows. Got a lot of suggestions which they winnowed down. I think it is a hoot.
Only way I’d be sitting in that Wassily chair is if it had a foot stool of an appropriate height. However if I see on BN, FB mktplace, GW, garage/estate sale etc., on the cheap, I’ll grab it for your son. However I will NOT be schlepping it cross country to him.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 9:01 pm

Sounds like a reasonable plan for the chair.


Selena January 11, 2024 at 8:32 pm

While likely not frugal, small or large, we’re ready for the 3rd and 4th round of snow this week. It is almost like “hey, we’re behind schedule so let’s catch up as soon as we can”. Which will be followed by single/negative digit temperatures. In other words, do snow removal as/as soon as its finished otherwise it will be like moving ice.
Plenty of food and entertainment (read: not streaming) in the house. Ate up some odds-n-ends tonight for dinner, lunch was also leftovers.
Year-end statements trickling in, waiting for tax forms to start trickling in. Every year I wait for that *one* last form – form that does not require any complex calculations. Not happy that it appears I’ll have to install a *&%$ app on my phone for 2FA for my CPA. Don’t these companies realize that an app for “authentication” just opens up yet another opportunity for a breach?


Katy January 11, 2024 at 8:59 pm

May your electricity not even flicker.


Ecoteri January 12, 2024 at 12:50 am

Well, my no-spend January went out the window, however much of it was at the thrift store and (thanks to the helpful folk on here who reminded me) Habitat ReStore. I also had a DOH moment while cooking, however my mouth has no regrets
1. Following advice elsewhere I tried putting one of my small pumpkins into the instant pot to cook. 1/2 cup (ish) of water, a trivet, 20 min then natural release. If I were to do again, might go for 22 min, but… I left the house (see below) so unplugged the IP as it was done and came home to a pumpkin cool enough to hold in my hand and peel, most came off and a knife did the rest, then I cut/pulled it in half and OH SO EASILY spooned out the seeds. Even easier than oven roasting and since I didn’t have a need for an oven on, less energy use. Pumpkin was packed into a glass container with plans for it tomorrow. Muffins? And a stew maybe.
2. Being all on-the-ball and such, I also got out my rice cooker and started some brown rice to which I added some wild rice. Lesson learned that my small rice cooker isn’t happy with more than 1 1/2 c of dry rice – I had to leave before it was done, and did an experiment where I just unplugged it (good thing as I was gone much longer than expected. ) Came home to a lid barely holding down the rice. I was thinking it wasn’t done as much as I like, but eating it tonight found it deliciously toothsome. Note to self, one CAN turn off the appliance mid-rice-cook and it might just finish on its own.
3. My cooking DOH was that I had photographed and printed some pages from my new cookbook – However I also had printed the first dish I had made. I was GOING to make a new to me lentil dish, but in my inattention realized I was remaking the one I had made before. DID use a different kind of lentil, and DIDN’T use broth – used water instead. Once I realized what I was doing I carried on, and with a bit of doctoring got the flavour profile up to a standard of delicious. However, lesson learned, I will use de puy lentils going forward. The good news is that this is a great meal for #2 son to take with him to his new job, and it is tasty enough that neither of us mind eating it for days.
4. My trip to town was to meet up with someone, however I hadn’t noticed in my email (since I didn’t look) that she was ill. No matter, I sat in the coffee shop with my coffee and muffin feeling quite cosmopolitan, opened my laptop and did a lot of work on this volunteer project. I haven’t been the kind of person who goes to hang out in a coffee shop, it was a unique and lovely experience. For $7 and change I will do it again.
5. Since I was in town I dropped in to my favourite local thrift store, that had closed for painting and reflooring – it always is nice and bright, and I found a laundry basket for #1 daughter for much less than what I was finding elsewhere. Picked up some candles (Thanks A. Marie, i think it is you who suggested this) and holders, some wrapping paper ribbon (50 cents for 8 partial rolls!) an 8 cup plastic measure (no numbers left but I find this size/shape very useful in my mad canning months) and came away for under $20. Met my shopping urge, almost. I then wandered in to the ReStore, found my cleaning lady considering a bench grinder that I disuaded her from buying (lacking a couple of important pieces and the stones were in need of grinding themselves, not something she knows enough to do yet). I found, however some 25 cent shelf holders (you know the tiny ones that always fall out and disappear) plus some tubes of a caulk that I need for some firesmart work. It was discount day and I signed up for their rewards program and came out having had a lovely browse. I appreciate this group for reminding me to go there first!!
6. My frugal fail was dropping in at the veggie market and getting more than normal – but all will be eaten and enjoyed. Then to the grocery where I was much more frugal however Turkey Bacon is much more costly than pork bacon – and I don’t eat pork. My new cookbook has a cauliflower dish that uses bacon and I decided to splurge. Cauliflower is steeply discounted here so I am kind of drowning in it, might as well smother with bacon and garlic and broth and have a delicious almost-healthy indulgence.


Ecoteri January 12, 2024 at 12:57 am

And I completely forgot to mention that we are having the same polar vortex that Katy is anticipating, but we are further north on Vancouver Island so it hit already. about 2 inches of snow on the ground and it is really freaking cold out there! I was so glad I got hay for the sheep (and schlepped a bale down to the greenhouse near them) as well as did a couple of Wheelbarrow loads of firewood this morning, this old leaky farmhouse is needing the heat pump and a good basement wood stove fire to fight against the cold. Of course I am slippered, blanketed, sweatered but even so, BRRRRR. today’s snow was a total surprise as they have been forecasting for saturday. Tomorrow, I need not go anywhere and I did stock up at the ‘Liberrry’ during my town trip. Bring it on! I just hate hauling water to the animals – but I know where the snowshoes are….


Ecotier January 12, 2024 at 12:17 pm

as for the lentil recipe (add Carrots and use de Puy lentils if you can – firmer rather than fall apart). here is a link . #2 son went to work today and has taken all the topping (which, as I say, I add carrots to.. add a bit more oil if you do, as the carrots use some up. and make twice as much as it calls for, with a cup of chopped almonds, for most crunch/ taste appeal) I also used both cilantro /parsley (tried both in the two makings) AND green onions/scallions. the scallions are key, as well.


Selena January 12, 2024 at 7:40 pm

I’ve now learned that the definition of a polar vortex is dependent on one’s geographic area. I looked up Portland’s weather. Residents of my area would argue that is not a polar vortex.


Bee January 12, 2024 at 5:20 am

Are you slicing the pumpkin first?


Ecoteri January 12, 2024 at 12:11 pm

@Bee the pumpkin is small so it fits in. I imagine you could put slices in – I was originally told this trick using squash. In any case, Squash like butternut is firmer than pumpkin so I would go with 25 min (or test and do another 5 – life is an experiment!). If you can fit it in whole, it works just fine and boy howdy no effort at all other than scrubbing the outside.


Bee January 13, 2024 at 5:32 am

Do you put a lot of holes in the pumpkin prior to cooking? Please forgive all the questions, but I’m a little frightened to try it. I once cooked a spaghetti squash in the microwave and it exploded. Took me forever to get the squash off the ceiling. However on the other hand, I love squash and pumpkin, and would love to find an easier way to cook it. Perhaps this is less problematic than I think, because the IP cooks from the outside inward. I believe microwaves ovens cook from the inside out.


Ecoteri January 14, 2024 at 10:06 pm

@Bee, honestly, I just put water in the IP, dumped in a trivet (and it was the short trivet so the pumpkin touched the water) put in my small pumpkin (washed but nothing else done to it) and pressure cooked for 20 min. then natural release. ( would do for 22 next time, and am not sure how long for butternut, probably depends on the end use?).
If you are concerned, poking holes won’t hurt. but I think are unnecessary. and if the squash is too big, chop it up. no need to pull the seeds out, though, that is easier after cooking. after cooking you can get all those stringy bits much more easily.
Give it a try! do what I did = set it up and take the dog for a walk!! then you won’t worry about it and will come back to a cooked squash.

K D January 12, 2024 at 5:16 am

Happy Belated Birthday Katy!

1. When I was in Giant the other day they had bags of loose bananas for $.29/#. I grabbed the bag that had the freshest looking bananas. We have eaten most of them and any that become too mature will be used in making muffins.

2. I needed a new phone charging cord for my car as Android Auto won’t work unless a phone is plugged in. I walked to the nearest big box store rather than asking someone with Prime to order from Amazon for me. I bought a name brand charger in the hopes it will last a lot longer than the generic and minimize landfill trash. I did find a penny in the Coin Star machine and a dime in the street.

3. I made a pot of Persian-Style Tomato and Lentil soup since I had the remnants of an almost full can of tomato paste in a jar in the freezer. I store the leftovers in glass jars and eat them for lunch or dinner.

4. Tuesday was forecast to be a very rainy day so I walked early and mostly beat the rain. My mind and body appreciate daily walks. I used the rainy day to bake a pan of granola and do some other cooking.

5. A friend and I walked together to meet another friend at a cafe in the afternoon. Instead of getting a drink I bought a banana ($1). We sat outside to enjoy the warmish sunny day.


Juhli January 12, 2024 at 6:16 am

Happy Birthday!

1. Talked myself out of buying additional shelving for my closet by changing where the extra sheets are stored. Also cancelled a final chiropractor appointment as I am good for now.

2. Returned a couple of items to the grocery store that were not used for a game day gathering. Bought more “emergency water” instead.

3. We seem to have switched to eating instant hot oatmeal as we both are unwilling to cook regular oatmeal in the morning anymore so I made yummy oatmeal muffins to use up part of the remaining regular oatmeal.

4. Fixed some stitching coming undone on my down jacket. Fixed the frig door seal where it wasn’t staying in place. Hubby fixed a piece of kitchen cabinet baseboard that wouldn’t stay in place. He also went under the house and tweaked the heating air flow some more as this is our first winter in this house and we aren’t comfortable yet despite wearing lots of layers.

5. Lots of library books plus some exercising at home.


mary in maryland January 12, 2024 at 6:50 am

We could never cook regular oatmeal in the morning. For years we put it in a crock pot on a timer that turned the crock pot on at 5:00 am. We ate at 8. Now we put it in the instant pot and set it so that the oatmeal is done at 8.


Vickey January 28, 2024 at 7:47 am

We make a large batch of bulk-purchased steel cut oats overnight in the IP , set to high for 2 minutes then left to cook in the residual heat. DH stirs it up in the morning, scoops out a portion for his breakfast, and stores the rest in the fridge. He adds water or soy milk to his bowl when re-heating portions, which improves the texture.
The more processed the oats are, the higher the glycemic load.


Mary Ann January 12, 2024 at 7:38 am

Good Morning,

Lots of good ideas in this post.

Katy, I wanted to mention that you can reproduce any art easily by printing an 8 1/2 by 11 version. Take a ruler and create a a 1 inch grid over the paper ( 1/2 inch grid if it is very detailed. You can either make the same grid on your canvas with light pencil or eyeball it. I do it with my students all the time for great success.

I bought a refurbished dream chair “the Aeron” for 350. It retails for 1700. I bet there is a Wassily out there someday with your son’s name on it.


Ruby January 12, 2024 at 8:50 am

Katy, your found change jar for the year is off to a good start. And happy belated birthday!

Turned half of the fabric shower curtain bought for 75% off into a simple slipcover for the two cushions of our armchair. Our cats like to sleep in the chair at night and we need to be able to whip off the slipcover and have a fluff-free chair for company.

Cut my own hair (short pixie cut) with a razor comb. Been doing this regularly for more than a year.

Cleaned up an inexpensive Parson’s style end table that was used to support some pet steps and moved it into my husband’s home office, one end of which doubles as a guest room.

Moved around and adapted some cat furniture so that the cats are happier and can use it better. I had thought we’d have to buy something new, but a little carpentry saved the day.

Took one for the team and turned the last, slightly dry burger bun into a delicious breakfast sandwich. Nothing a little toasting and a buttery egg couldn’t fix. 😀


MB in MN January 12, 2024 at 2:08 pm

Ruby, turning a shower curtain into a cat slipcover… brilliant sewing project as usual!


Kathy Sell January 12, 2024 at 8:58 am

For the person who likes Hickory Farm turkey sausage: Because I was curious, I went to their website and found that turkey sausage will be available after January 24, 2024. Full price, of course, but it’s frugal if you can’t find a substitute. Enjoy!


Bettypants January 12, 2024 at 3:54 pm

1. I tried a new recipe for cranberry orange muffins, which used up my fresh cranberries and the last of the yogurt. Begged an orange from my neighbor and traded back a plate of muffins, which she complimented me on.

2. I work from home 2 days a week, but turned it into 3 days this week due to the weather. Lovely having an extra day with no commute.

3. Looked up what reviewers thought the best cookbooks of 2023 were, and ordered a few through our state-wide library system. Often they are too fancy for me, but I like to page through them for free.

4. Stopped at Kroger earlier today to use my store coupons for plain yogurt, butter, and free Cheetos. Winter storm is coming tonight, and people were piling their carts high like they won’t see daylight for a month.

5. I sold several items on FB Marketplace and ebay this week.


Vickey January 28, 2024 at 3:52 pm

Re your no. 4: We see that here, too. I think it’s a COVID hangover.


texasilver January 12, 2024 at 11:34 pm

This may end up being a frugal fail. My husband went to the local park to practice his putting. He found a small cat under his truck who was meowing. He brought her home. She was chipped. The vet called the owners, but no one has called us. I don’t know if she is spayed or vaccinated. A polar blast is coming on Sunday so the cat got lucky. She is friendly & playful. My house cat is slowly adjusting to the new arrival. If no one claims her then I’ll have to spring for shots, food, maybe a spay. The shelters are full. If I take her to one, they will probably put her down. She has a home here if needed.


Ecoteri January 13, 2024 at 12:42 am

@texasilver oh bless your kind husband and self for taking care of that cat. Let’s hope the owners call, or maybe if you keep her the vet could say if she has had the necessary treatments already? GAH. Animals, they are so good for us and sometimes they are costly…


texasilver January 13, 2024 at 11:15 am

TY Ecoteri. The cat got a lucky break. She jumped up on the bed to enjoy the electric blanket when she first arrived. Seems happy to be inside.


A. Marie January 13, 2024 at 11:11 am

texasilver, this reminds me a lot of how my late DH and I acquired our third cat: He turned up as a filthy, terrified kitten under the hood of DH’s Suburban (and it was a mercy he didn’t get further into the engine and wind up as cat pulp). DH brought him in to me, filth and all–and he put his paws around my neck and started suckling my hair. (“Mama!!”) How could I ever resist?


texasilver January 13, 2024 at 11:18 am

The stray had some grease on head but was otherwise clean. I tried to scrub the grease off, but she didn’t like it. Will try again soon. My husband said finding the cat was meant to be. Well maybe I said.


Selena January 13, 2024 at 4:24 pm

Watching the two dumps we took in as I type. One was in December and it gets cold here (cold weather is why we had to get him at least into the garage – he was not feral). However I am in worry mode about the feral who has been around for the last 19 months. He used the shelter we set up last winter (he was banged up). Fed him twice today (we got a dump of 10 inches of snow yesterday so didn’t see him). We’re at -10 windchill right now and predicting -30 windchill at 8 am tomorrow with -16 (not windchill) tomorrow night. He’s a tough one and as I’ve said before, a special place in hell who mistreat/neglect animals. Cat will likely become the best cat you’ve ever had.


Christine January 13, 2024 at 4:43 pm

One less cold and hungry kitty in this world is a good thing. May the kindness you showed her come back to you tenfold.


CindyBrick January 13, 2024 at 12:20 am

I have a better name for the snowplow:

How about ‘Western Flakes?’

(Not that we in Colorado would think that about our Western neighbors…ahem.)

Just spent 2 or 3 hours reading through your instagram photos — what fun! But you have definitely gotten better at it over the years. P.S. LOVE the cat video on the Christmas tree — the stinker.


Katy January 13, 2024 at 7:53 pm

Wow, you went far back!


Bethany M January 14, 2024 at 10:52 am

We received mini mustards in our Christmas gift set. Not fans of it as is, so I transformed it into honey mustard dip for chicken strips and later to dip grilled cheese.

I usually buy the 8 count buns to feed my family of 5 for 2 meals, and I low carb the meals. Someone ate a bun at breakfast so it left me with 3 buns. I served the kids pulled pork on a bun and my hubby and I had it over ramen which also gave me the opp to add more veggies. Hubby is stoked for any kind of ramen meal so it worked out well. Weird, but good and warm in this winter storm.

I made 7 quarts of white cake mix. Each quart is equivalent to 2 of today’s store bought cake mixes. So kind of a total of 14 mixes and my total came to 36¢/equivalent or 72¢/quart. I have used this time and again, and I always wing it on the wet ingredients, never measuring and it comes out great sometimes I add pumpkin or cocoa powder…..1 and 1/4 sugar in each jar. In a mixing bowl combine 5lb bag of flour, 9 TBSP baking powder and 3 and 1/2 tsp salt. After mixing just finish filling the 7 quart jars and put the lids on. You can and should mix the sugar in, but my bowls aren’t big enough.

2 days of paid missed work because of the storm. Not complaining! Gives me more time to plan out meals, and look for a day to restock our groceries when I won’t get frostbite.

Found a new YouTuber that is turning an old Indiana schoolhouse into a homestead. It is satisfying my HGTV craving for free.


Jill A January 14, 2024 at 12:31 pm

I’d love the name of your Youtuber. I’m stuck at home and tired of cleaning.


bethany m January 14, 2024 at 3:53 pm



Virginia Allain January 14, 2024 at 2:10 pm

1) Had leftover vegetables after eating the New Year’s dinner multiple times (a New England Boiled Dinner). There was lots of flavorful ham/vegetable broth so chopped the veggies smaller, put some bits of ham in it, and some pasta to be a soup. That made one dinner with a roll and a lunch the next day.
2) Borrowed some books from the community library (Wiggs, M.H. Clark, and Barbara Davis). Not new titles, but new to me.
3) Tried an online recipe to make cookies from mashed over-ripe bananas, oatmeal, and a little milk. Bake at 350 for 10 or 15 minutes. No eggs, flour, sugar, or oil. Experimented with adding nuts, chopped dates, seeds, and chocolate protein powder that I had on hand. They are a good approximation of cookies.
4) Bought regular and postcard stamps before the price went up. I need the postcard stamps for the get-out-the-vote campaigns that our political action women’s group participates in.
5) Rescued a baby marigold plant that was about to be weeded from a community flower bed. Planted it in my least-crowded container planter. (I live in Florida).


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