Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 7, 2024 · 59 comments

    1. I dedicated Monday to doing a full grocery shop, jotting down a thorough list for days in advance. My day was pretty open, so I detoured to the dented vegetable store and picked up the above random items before hitting up Winco. (It’s hard to tell, but that’s a very full bag of mushrooms.) You never know what they’ll have in stock, but I don’t think I’ve ever walked out empty handed. My total? $7.81.

      Winco was an additional $62.20, but that was for a piled high grocery cart.

    2. I took my daughter out for a much needed mother-daughter date, which was belated as I’d promised her a new pair of Doc Martens at Christmas/Chanukah. But first I wanted to treat her to lunch. She was in the mood for Indian food, so she did a bit of internet research which landed us at the Namaste Indian buffet in N.E. Portland. It was almost 3 P.M. by the time we arrived, which turned out to be lucky as their prices jump from $16/plate to $20/plate when the clock ticks over to three.

      We were both really happy with our meals and I don’t know about my daughter, but I was still full at dinner time. If breakfast/lunch is “brunch,” then what is lunch/supper? “Lupper?”

      The Doc Martens weren’t frugal, but I’m happy to spend money on things people want and will use. I’m thinking the cost per wear for my daughter’s boots will eventually break down to pennies.

    3. I had my daughter bring by a load of laundry so she could save however much she pays for her apartment complex’s crappy laundry facilities. Bonus: My folding service is free.

    4. • My friend and I socialized by chatting over cups of tea at my house. Fills my cup both literally and figuratively.
      • Everything went well with Mama’s Little Meatball spay surgery on Monday.
      • I washed all my bedding and had it all back on the bed by late afternoon. We only have two good sets of sheets, (percale for summer and flannel for winter) so the laundering process needs to be efficient. Saves us money and works well for us.

    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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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley Bananas February 7, 2024 at 12:21 pm

Lunch + Dinner = Linner?

I am doing a deep dive on a filing cabinet in the office for now two weeks. I thought I was done when a coworker found a huge manila envelope of receipts from 2022. We’re required to keep 5 years of receipts on hand. Back to another deep dive, then I think I ‘m really done!!!!

No time for much frugalness between this post and the last. I continue to Door Dash and bring in lunch. I haven’t bought any tine lear jets or full size ones.


Katy February 7, 2024 at 12:46 pm

Also a good option. And congratulations on holding off on the Lear Jets!


Coral Clarke February 7, 2024 at 2:53 pm

Perhaps we could have a word with Taylor Swift?


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:11 pm

Only word I’d have with her is to thank her for getting people to register to vote. And I do believe she sends out a reminder to actually vote on election day. Her music doesn’t appeal to me but I applaud her business savvy and civic duty.


Debra February 9, 2024 at 2:59 am

I agree 1000%!

Fru-gal Lisa February 8, 2024 at 8:32 am

Instead of “lupper” or “linner,” call it an “Early Bird Special.” That’s what the restaurants call it in Florida; during this time, usually between 2 and 5 or 5:30 p.m. you can get dinner at discounted prices, and a lot of senior citizens take advantage of this.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:51 pm

Ooh . . . I like that!


K D February 7, 2024 at 12:41 pm

1. I went with a friend to a city about 45 minutes away. She needs a dress hemmed for her daughter’s wedding and the “tailor” she trusts has a shop there. We were in a beautiful downtown area and we walked around quite a bit and saw the decorated “sail boats” on the creek that runs through the area. We did eat lunch in a bar and the food was plentiful and the prices reasonable. I brought home half my cheese steak sandwich and chips for tomorrow.

2. I found a dime in the street on the trip today.

3. The Grocery Outlet online ad had coupons in it for this week: -$5 on a $25 order and -$15 on a $75 order. I printed them and stopped on my way to my friend’s house. They had very good prices on RxBars and Lara Bars, both healthy-ish snacks and I used the $5 coupon. I gave the $15 coupon to the cashier as she said she could use it.

4. I stopped by Aldi on my way home from my friend’s house to pick up apples, oranges, and avocados on sale.

5. I walked to Walgreen’s to pick up DH’s statin. It is completely paid for by insurance. I also walked to the grocery store to pick up some bananas because some that we had went south quicker than expected. They became GF pumpkin banana muffins.


Katy February 7, 2024 at 12:48 pm

That was really nice of you to give the coupon to the cashier.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:13 pm

Yes it was. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve given away tickets to events. Yes money out of our pocket but the recipients enjoyed the event. Support local and a bit of kindness goes a long way.


Jill A February 7, 2024 at 12:50 pm

I think having an Aldi and a “dented vegetable store” plus Costco is all I would need. I’m always wishing we had a Grocery Outlet.
1. I’m continuing to sort through paperwork. I have three bags for shredding so far. I’ve found some missing items including some forgotten coupons. I used one that I’d received over a year ago to buy dinner for my girls.
2. I’ve taken some long walks for free exercise.
3. After walking with my Mom yesterday I fed her lunch. Both our favorites, cheese & crackers and berries.
4. I went thrifting with my Mom & Sister. I found a few pieces of clothing including a beautiful Ann Taylor dress and top to wear this summer. I love all of the clothes on their website and this scratches the itch for a lot less.
5. I’m doing my laundry and hanging it to dry, reading library books, drinking tap water etc. etc.


Lindsey February 7, 2024 at 2:31 pm

We realized early on in our marriage that if we had more than one set of sheets, we would never get around to taking things out of the dryer so now we only have one set at a time.

Today started out very frugal. Used up some aging potatoes as part of a hearty breakfast. Did a mystery grocery shop that got over $30 in free food. Bought gas with enough points to get 40 cents off per gallon and made sure to use up the entire permitted 25 gallons by taking a five gallon gas can with us. Took a load of saved newspapers to the animal shelter, per their public request. AND THEN…went inside to leave a donation of canned cat food that I’d received as part of a shop (-5, so too cold to leave canned food in the donation locker) only to see a pure bred Great Dane who had been surrendered. 8 months old and 140 pounds. Apparently they had a bunch of small dogs and they did not like this big boy.

And so now we have added Pound Hound #2 to the household. Totally not frugal but the heart wants what the heart wants. He is fawn colored and still has some growing to do but since all the dogs before Pound Hound #1 were Irish wolfhounds, and Danes are smaller than IWs, we know what we are in for. Looking at him makes me smile. And he is house trained, so we missed that aggravation. I did forget about the clobber paws of giant breeds and have already had one in the face, and he jumped in the recliner and it flipped backwards all the way to the floor…but the husband and I are both happy to have another giant around.


MEM February 7, 2024 at 3:04 pm

I’m so glad you rescued Pound Hound #2! My brother at one time had two rescued Danes including an all-white one that was deaf. One day my Dad was visiting and the other Dane got behind the recliner that Dad was sitting on and started licking Dad’s bald head! The Dane’s enthusiasm was such that it lifted my hefty Dad right out of the recliner. I wish I had been there!


A. Marie February 7, 2024 at 3:15 pm

Mazel tov on Pound Hound #2! I hope that Pound Hound #1 will be an accepting sibling. And for what it’s worth, we had a neighbor several years ago who owned a Great Dane, and Ruby was a total sweetheart. DH was very fond of her.


Ecoteri February 7, 2024 at 5:04 pm

@Lindsey, there was absolutely no for-shadowing in this story, so the sudden addition of Pound Hound #2 was a (lovely) surprise for me. So wonderful that you have taken on a giant. Danes are a bit too slobbery for me, although I am a fan of a bigger dog. My old girl is getting OLDER and I am glad I can carry her (barely) upstairs at bedtime…More weight lifting required if I were to get a Dane, LOL


Ruby February 7, 2024 at 7:06 pm

My best friend had a Great Dane that was smaller, about 120 pounds full grown, with a fawn brindle coat. When she was asleep on the rug, it looked like a deer had lain down in the middle of the living room. She was an exceptionally sweet dog.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:19 pm

Kudos for giving Pound Hound #2 a fur-ever home. With the exception of two pets in my 60+ years, all have been from shelters or dumps that showed up at my home. A lot of responsibility for a fur-baby family member. At least PH #2 was surrendered, not dumped.


kathleen February 8, 2024 at 12:10 am

This made me smile! I remember you had had big dogs before. Lovely that you found each other. My first thought was just maybe PH#1 will go out to potty in the cold if he has a buddy to go out with him. 🙂


Bee February 8, 2024 at 2:04 am

Congratulations on the new addition! I am sure PH#2 will add a bit of fun to the last days of winter.


Jill A February 8, 2024 at 5:56 am

Oh!! I love how you met your new family member!! It’s great that he’s already potty trained. It’s a great age to get a puppy. They can be a lot of work otherwise.


MEM February 7, 2024 at 3:21 pm

I have some tiny FFT and one potentially big one:
1. I can’t sleep without foam earplugs so I washed a week’s worth in some baby shampoo.
2. I was today-year’s-old when I learned that my 8 year old wall oven has a “proof” setting. My house is too cold for bread dough to rise efficiently but the proof setting is a game-changer. I made two loaves of the peasant-style Pyrex bowl bread – I think I learned about it here? From Alexandra’s Kitchen blog. The bread was a success with a texture like ciabatta.
3. I live in the Boston area and we keep the house at 62 degrees in the Winter. Our gas bill dropped significantly, no doubt a combination of a relatively mild Winter and a cold house.
4. Cooking my way through the pantry, fridge and freezer.
5. I have a Nespresso coffee machine and the coffee capsules are not frugal at all. They run about $1.25 each, I have a cabinet full of tea so I am alternating days when I drink only tea. Although the capsules CAN be refilled using foil stick-on lids from Amazon, it just doesn’t taste the same to me.
6. I have three rescued chiweenie-mixes who have a lot of Bark Box toys. I mended, washed and dried the toys and rotated them with clean toys I had put away a month earlier. I try to do this every month or so with their toys. The dogs aren’t fooled.
7. I cancelled Amazon Prime! I was refunded over $100 and it ended up as a credit on my Southwest Visa which more than covered my current balance.


Kathy February 7, 2024 at 3:29 pm

MEM-I periodically wash the dog toys. At least they are “freshened” up


Marybeth from NY February 8, 2024 at 5:56 am

I just went through the 3 baskets of dog toys throughout the house and tossed the pieces of toys in the garbage. Then everything else went into the washing machine.


kathy February 8, 2024 at 7:19 am

Marybeth-Pieces of dog toys as you know if eaten create big expensive vet bills.


Ecoteri February 7, 2024 at 5:15 pm

So pleased you have tried Alexandra’s kitchen’s peasant bread. You CAN half-again that recipe (6 cups flour) and make 2 proper loaves, if you wish (this is what my daughter is currently doing, although I intend to “up her bread making skills” soon by adding whole wheat to her mixes and perhaps the bread machine…) I am trying another one of Alexandra’s breads – she has a seedy bread that usually uses the same technique, I am cheating and using the dough function on my (newly repaired) bread machine, then forming the dough after it has risen. Lazy works, any way you find. Go us with the bread making!


Kathy February 7, 2024 at 3:22 pm

Enjoying my birthday freebies: cookie from Panera, $5 dsw coupon which I used to buy a tube of hand cream (zip out of pocket), ulta birthday gift
Sold 5 items on line since beginning of month
Used Costco cash back to buy dog food
Friend brought over items for garage sale so I snagged some new to the dogs toys
Upcycled packaging to mail online sale items


Christine February 7, 2024 at 3:23 pm

Nice you and your daughter spent some fun time together. My daughter loved her Doc Martens back in the 1990s! I guess comfortable, classic shoes stay in style.
1. A coworker gave me some homemade beet soup. I’ve never had beet soup before and it is delicious!
2. Reading one book for my book club and one book for the 2024 reading challenge I’m taking part in. I have one book downstairs and one book upstairs along with a pair of readers on each floor.
3. Near 60 temps predicted for Saturday. Time to turn the heat off and save on oil.
4. A friend gave me 3 beautiful snow globes with a Valentines Day/heart/love theme. I have them with my old Valentines teddy bears so my scanty decorations have been revamped.


Christine February 7, 2024 at 3:29 pm

5. I exited too soon. Washed the table covering for the umpteenth time my sister got me in Guatemala at least 15 years ago. Still looks great and apparently has a good, tight weave as it never pulls or unravels.


A. Marie February 7, 2024 at 3:53 pm

FTFT, Mostly Kitchen Stuff Edition:

(1) I had some Trader Joe’s Campari tomatoes (an impulse purchase) that were getting a tad overripe. I remembered the jar of red/green chiles in the pantry (from the Hatch folks in NM; this was a birthday gift from Grad School BFF), and I made a salsa with the tomatoes, some of the chiles, and some cilantro that has miraculously survived the repeated freeze/thaw cycles here.

(2) I also remembered Grad School BFF’s caution that the chiles don’t last too long in the fridge once the jar is opened. So I spooned the rest of the jar into a flexible ice cube tray and put the cubes into a Ziploc when they were ready. Now I can just grab a few cubes as needed for future use.

(3) I made another stir-fry this afternoon with the last of my @#$!! cauliflower (just call me Our Lady of Perpetual Cauliflower), a few leaves of kale that likewise miraculously survived the weather, and the last of the miraculous cilantro. I’m thinking of notifying the Vatican about the whole stir-fry, in fact.

(4) I continue to keep the heat at 63 (well, I do turn it up to 65 when I want to take a shower) and to rack-dry all laundry except sheets (of which I have only two sets, one for my bed and one for the guest room bed).

(5) And I’ve started sprouting another jar of mung beans for healthy snack food. (I will draw the curtain of charity over the bag of corn chips I bought to go with the salsa in #1.)


mary in maryland February 8, 2024 at 11:35 am

Too bad you live too far for a vegetable trade. I’d accept cauliflower for some of my remaining long-necked pumpkins. Bought 25 (3-4 pounds each) for 70 cents each. And they threw in another four. We’ve eaten nine, given away five, and have fifteen left. Pumpkin soup for lunch every day. Almost free despite the canned chilis and the frozen peas in the recipe. Charles is coming.


Laura February 7, 2024 at 3:54 pm

We call it Linner. Lunch + dinner.


Bee February 8, 2024 at 2:05 am

Lunch + dinner= dunch? Brunch and dunch


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:54 pm

Okay, I like the absurdity of “dunch!”


Bee February 7, 2024 at 5:04 pm

I’m glad Mama’s Little Meatball is doing well after her surgery. My Five Tiny Frugal things are indeed small.
* I have been focused on our budget since the beginning of the year. Although we have not changed the way in which we live – no lifestyle creep — our actual living expenses have increased by approximately 30 – 35% post-covid. We tracked our expenses carefully in January and now I am in “question everything” mode. I am looking at each line item and asking myself if it is necessary. If so, I am trying to determine if I can lower the cost. We are also making sure we are taking advantage of every benefit my husband’s employer offers. This is time consuming, but I’m hoping to find some savings. So far, I haven’t found much.

* I batched errands today. I had my haircut (not frugal) I returned one of the black funeral dresses that I had purchased earlier in the month. Unfortunately, it was made for someone much more voluptuous than I am. Much, much more.
I stopped at Trader Joe’s and purchased $0.19 bananas and that was all. I also went to the dollar store where I purchased greeting cards 2/$1 and the Awesome degreaser that Ruby recommended.

* It is a bit chilly here temperatures in the 30s. (I know that is spring-like weather to many of you) I have once again taken out my little space heater to warm the bathroom before I take my shower in the morning. I have been a sweater around the house and warming up the bed with a heating pad before climbing in.

* A leak has developed under the kitchen sink. I am trying to find the source. I have placed a washtub underneath as I try and locate the source. It must be a very small leak. I’m hoping it is something we can take care of ourselves.

* All the usual things … brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily water, cooking at home, reading, walking Rescue Pup and going to the gym.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:25 pm

@Bee – don’t know what size dress you ordered but since the mid-1980s, even dresses on the small size end of the scale seem to be tailored for voluptuous. Depending on the garment, sometimes a selective hook/eye will do the trick. However I do remember ordering one dress that not-voluptuous me almost got stuck in! – it was a one time event.


Bee February 8, 2024 at 2:09 am

A hook and eye wouldn’t have done the trick. It would have taken a prosthesis. It was huge from waist up.


Jody February 7, 2024 at 5:33 pm

I love how you share how you balance frugal with parenting. My 3 teens are getting to that semi adult stage and it’s so helpful!


Katy February 7, 2024 at 7:41 pm

I’m very lucky that my adult kids live in the same city as me.


Shona February 7, 2024 at 6:01 pm

Nothing terribly frugal since last post. I am in the market for an alarm clock, wanting to move away from my phone in many aspects of my life. I made the rounds to the thrifts with no luck, BUT made a few not necessarily needed purchases. I couldn’t pass up a pair of black hightop Chuck Taylors for $5.99 since I live in the ones I already own. This will give my others a break. And a new 100% cotton terrycloth robe for $4.99 to replace my 30-something Y-O threadbare one.


Katy February 7, 2024 at 7:39 pm

$5.99 Chuck Taylors are a screaming deal, well done!


Julia February 7, 2024 at 6:22 pm

1. Sold a piece of art that I picked out of a neighbor’s trash. $12
2. Sold a large bag of fake flowers that had belonged to my MIL. $15
3. Worked an event over the weekend as a vendor and made $300
4. Returned something i bought for Christmas be decided we didn’t need. $65
5. Went to a local museum to see a show by a photographer that I love. Ingoutva reduced rate since I’m an educator.


Katy February 7, 2024 at 7:38 pm

Wow, you are on a roll!


Ruby February 7, 2024 at 7:36 pm

So glad Mama’s Little Meatball did fine with her surgery and it’s so nice that you got to spend time with your daughter.

This week I had an eye exam paid for by insurance, which also paid to reattach the crown that popped off my tooth. Thank heavens I did not swallow the crown or things would have been much more expensive. Also stopped in at a watch repair shop that just opened up and got my watch fixed for just $25.

I mended a favorite t-shirt for my son and scrubbed my yard work sneakers clean with an old toothbrush. Also used some of last year’s container garden soil to fill in holes dug in the yard by our new pup, who I think might be half wombat from her enthusiasm for digging up the yard.
Sadly, we had our very old, very sick kitty put to sleep this week after a long struggle inflammatory digestive disease. Our awesome vet did her best to control costs (it’s an expensive illness) and cure him, but he was too old to ever recover. He was such a sweet boy.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:29 pm

Condolences – while never easy, PTS is the last act of a responsible pet owner. I’m not sure what is worse – PTS or (not that I’ve ever had it happen), pass in pet’s sleep. Also had the agony of pet just not coming home a couple of times – yeah, coyotes. There is a benefit to indoor only cats.


A. Marie February 8, 2024 at 1:50 am

My sympathy on the loss of your dear old kitty, Ruby. Our two cats before Betty both had digestive troubles, so I too know how expensive treating those can be. But that didn’t make it any easier when the time came to say goodbye.


Bee February 8, 2024 at 2:11 am

My heart goes out to you. Wishing you peace.


Jill A February 8, 2024 at 6:07 am

I’m so sorry about your sick kitty. It’s so hard to lose a beloved pet.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 8:09 pm

Can’t speak for your meatball (is she now a permanent resident of your home?) but my not-that-many-days-from-feral-when-we-took-her-in removed her stitches herself (thank you very much she says). While the vet’s office didn’t charge me (gee, it looks like she took them out herself) office visit, still had to stuff her in the carrier and make a round trip. But that’s okay. Plenty of spunk in her (which means she will most likely always be an inside cat) and she and the other stray we took in are best buddies. Can’t buy that, can’t put a price on it either.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:56 pm

Meatball is off to my son’s house this coming weekend now that she’s through her surgery.


Selena February 8, 2024 at 8:25 pm

Keep us posted on how she does. My cats got used to me working from home very, very quickly. And she is a Tortie…


Kara February 7, 2024 at 10:01 pm

I returned new wall sconces when I found some used on FB marketplace. Saved $100!
I’d lost my new earbuds and had been making do with ones that only one side worked. This morning I decided enough was enough and was about to order new ones when I found the long lost pair! Usually I find them AFTER I’ve replaced them
I got several flower starts from a friend and dropped off to her some different flower starts from my house.
Found the flower pots I knew I had, so I repotted two houseplants that had gnats. I first try and set them out in the garage to air out, but when the gnats persist, I re-pot.
I’m taking a medication that makes me warm. I now can keep the house at 61 during the day! Have to appreciate the frugal where we can find it.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:55 pm

Hooray that your lost airpod revealed itself in timely manner.


Michele February 8, 2024 at 4:32 am

Wish I had a dented vegetable store nearby.
My friend and I meet once a month for “Linner”. We became friends when our boys were in Pre-K and missed each other when they grew up. They are still friends- R even made the trek from FL to WY to see D, my oldest. They are 24 now!
Not sure I can come up with 5….
1. Switched my nursing insurance to another company. Same coverage and 80.00 less.
2. Using my library to get books I see others mention . My library is so efficient and friendly.
3. Dinner out for my Husband’s Bday will be with a gift card we received for Christmas.
4. For his B’day gift, I bought him a big bottle of Pom and some exotic fruit. He loves that kind of stuff and we need nothing!
5. MIL over for dinner once weekly and we always eat whatever’s on our loose menu plan. Today a one dish no peek chicken and rice. Tasty and inexpensive.


Shona February 8, 2024 at 12:40 pm

If you don’t mind, who carries your nursing insurance? My husband’s is up in 2 months and he may need to comparison shop.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:54 pm

How wonderful to have such a long term friendship!


Marybeth from NY February 8, 2024 at 6:17 am

I love mother daughter days. I also love mother son days.
1. My daughter and I carpooled to the chiropractor.
2. On the way home we stopped at ShopRite. I got 4 packs of bacon for $1.99 each, 4 5 pound bags of potatoes $1.99 each, a box of Entenmann’s donuts for $2.49. My daughter grabbed a few things on sale too.
3. Listed a bunch of stuff on FMP
4. Cooked up a large batch of shredded potatoes for easy breakfasts.
5. Didn’t have anything leftover for lunch when my daughter was over. She asked could I make her a batch of GF waffles so that’s what we had for lunch. I sent her home with the rest. She doesn’t have a waffle maker or the room for one.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:52 pm

That’s a great deal for bacon. And yes, all mother-child dates are fantastic!


cathy February 9, 2024 at 1:01 pm

Glad you finally got your mother/daughter time. Coincidentally, we got our daughter Doc Martens for Hanukkah/Christmas as well. Back in November (or October?) she mentioned in passing how frustrated it was that they *finally* had the style she’d wanted for a few years in her difficult-to-find larger size but she was too broke to buy them. We don’t usually do splurge gifts, but it was so worth it. The look on her face when she opened the box…priceless. And she wears them all the time. Plus I sussed out a much better deal on Zappos than the price she had found.


cathy February 9, 2024 at 1:02 pm

…frustrated SHE was… not “it”


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