Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 14, 2024 · 77 comments

    1. I had a low key day at home yesterday and cooked up a pot of red lentil soup and a pan of fried rice using some leftover brown rice. I’d picked up a bag of frozen mixed vegetables at Winco last week for a buck or so and threw the entirety into the skillet. I need to remember to keep these on hand for exactly this situation.

      So much food for so little money!

    2. I chopped a huge onion for the lentil soup but froze about half of it, (on a tray and then into a ziploc bag) which I consider to be a favor to my future self. It was basically no extra work to chop the whole thing and will save the work of washing the knife and cutting board at a later date. Plus, there’s no chance of the half onion being shoved to the back of the fridge and going to the dark side.

    3. My husband and I completed 12 debit card transaction through our new credit union checking account, which earned us a nice $100 bonus. We can now stop using it as we earn 2% interest on the checking account we’ve had for years at our home credit union.

      We hadn’t planned on opening a new checking account, but I’m not one to say “no” to a hundred bucks. We’ll continue to keep our savings in their high yield savings account as it’s currently at 5.25% interest.

    4. • I continue to turn off the heat throughout at the day as I’m the only person home and I can always throw on an extra layer. Mind you, the daytime temperatures in Portland have been in the high 40s to low 50s.
      • I watched the movie Minari through the library’s free Kanopy app.
      • I spent a number of hours tidying up the landscaping in the front yard. I had a lot of thinned out Japanese iris rhizomes, which I bagged up and gave to a neighbor.
      • I stopped into Goodwill, but didn’t find anything I wanted to buy. However, I did find a shiny penny in the parking lot.

    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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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Marybeth from NY February 14, 2024 at 1:06 pm

1. We did a big one. We cut the cable cord. I have been saying to do it for years. Hubby last week said after the super bowl we should do it. Well we did it yesterday. It should save us $100 a month.
2. We got snow yesterday. Hubby works less then 2 miles from work so he went in. Only 7 people went into the office so the boss ordered them pizza. Hubby brought home some of the extra.
3. My daughter came over for a little while today and asked if we could make cookies. It’s great to have a nice pantry with everything I need. I sent her home with half of them.
4. I made blueberry pancakes with home made apple sauce for breakfast. I’m making spinach ravioli with homemade dinner. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday being the same day is weird. We still have leftover cherry cheesecake from his birthday for dessert.
5. Hubby snowplowed our driveway and a neighbors last night. I threw sand on the ice this morning. Still being able to do it ourselves saves us a lot of money. Most of the neighbors have a plow guy.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:53 am

What a cozy treat to make cookies together.


Shona February 16, 2024 at 6:43 pm

In 2009, after staying up until 3 am watching a marathon of the most brain cell killing TV show ever aired, I called the cable company and canceled my service. I’ve never looked back.

Congratulations on making the leap.


MB in MN February 14, 2024 at 2:47 pm

1. I found a penny, too! It was at the self-checkout lane, which I never use, but the store’s other register was having problems.

2. Cooked up dried beans and froze several jars.

3. Went to the thrift store and found several things I either wanted or needed. For the ones I simply wanted, I put them in the cart and wheeled them around while I shopped. At the end, I put all of the non-necessities back.

4. Combined three Buy Nothing pick-up trips.

5. Combined eleven errands on another day. I had to write them down in order to keep it all straight. They were all in the same area and one of them was to use a free meal coupon so it was worth it.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:51 am

Gotta love a free meal! Especially when it’s combined with ten other errands, which doesn’t sound pleasant.


Lindsey February 14, 2024 at 2:53 pm

1. Had some leftover clam chowder that was not quite enough for a meal for two. Added some liquid and a few more mushrooms and ended up with enough that we could each have a bowl. Added some homemade biscuits still warm from the oven and we had a cheap but filling meal.
2. Husband has a bomber jacket that is almost as old as he is! The pockets were completely worn out so I used my rudimentary skills to put in new pockets that were ugly but hidden. Bonus: Lots of things had fallen through the holes in the pockets to the bottom of the jacket between the liner and the leather. I found a $10 bill, three wrapped mints, a paperclip in the shape of a dog bone, and a scrunchie.
3. We hit a high of 33 above yesterday!! This is a false spring that happens every February. You imagine that spring has arrived only to have your hopes dashed a week later when it goes to zero or colder gain. I used the time to inventory the outside freezer (also known as Rubbermaid totes on the back porch). I managed to bring in all the frozen foods except some loaves of bread. We should have those taken care of by the time real spring comes and we can’t depend on nature’s freezer.
4. Made a chocolate silk pie this morning for dinner tonight. I don’t eat chocolate or meat during Lent, so this was an act of love for the husband who loves this pie. The year I bought one from a local bakery, it was $40, whereas this cost me about $3.
5. About 20 years ago I bought 9 yards of tartan wool from a small mill in Scotland, after being seduced by a tour of the place and several days in the town. I had some misguided notion that I could make it into some wearable item for myself. I finally faced facts and sold it for the unbelievable price of $20 a yard. I had no idea what to ask so put it on FB marketplace and said the buyer would have to make me a reasonable offer. I paid about $7 a yard back then so I actually made a profit. It was in pristine condition and had lovely colors but $20 seems like a lot to me.
Not frugal but made me happy: Neighbor girl asked if I had any chores she could do to earn money (she is 8). I paid her $10 to pick up all the dog poopsicles that have accumulated since last time we did the chore. There are some things that are worth outsourcing, especially that we now have two pound hounds and Great Danes are not delicate poopers.


A. Marie February 14, 2024 at 3:20 pm

Lindsey, I think that the $10 to your 8-year-old neighbor for scooping “poopsicles” was extremely frugal. No question that Clobber Paw is probably producing frozen briquets–but, as I recall, Houndini is a golden retriever? I suspect he isn’t a delicate pooper either.


BettafrmdaVille February 14, 2024 at 7:04 pm

And, since you think you made a more-than-reasonable profit on the fabric, you can always see it as a pay-it-forward act of generosity. I love that you have neighborhood kids looking to make money from doing chores/work.


Selena February 14, 2024 at 8:04 pm

We’ve had unseasonably warm weather since the cold snap in January – storm that spawned the tornado 30 miles north of me headed north just west of me to escape its wrath. But was outside last weekend and saw hostas and a tulip starting to peak out – mind you I live in zone 5 and have snow/cold in the winter (thought not like Lindsey).


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:51 am

I think you got a bargain with your neighbor girl’s labors!


Sandra February 14, 2024 at 2:58 pm

1. I, too, did away with cable. It’s been over a year ago now and I don’t miss it at all. It was something I had considered for a long time, as the cable company kept raising rates.

2. I also got rid of my land line. It was part of a bundled package through my cable provider. I knew that many friends and family members had dropped their land line and I decided to make the change. It felt funny at first, but I have adjusted and the monthly savings is significant.

3. At around the same time I dropped our print edition of the local newspaper. It kept getting more and more expensive and the customer service delivery was poor. So once again, it was an adjustment, but I now read the local news online and am saving some serious bucks.

4. I have long enjoyed working jigsaw puzzles, especially during the winter. A neighbor brought me 8 puzzles the other day. I had puzzles ready to send home with her so it felt like an even exchange. There are other friends who share puzzles with me, too, and I often find them donated at our community center. Saving money through sharing, isn’t that the best?!

5. I have been cooking all meals at home. My daughter brought me a rotisserie chicken last weeks and it has been a source for many meals, plus the extra bonus of several quarts of homemade chicken broth made with frozen vegetable scraps and the carcass of the rotisserie chicken, so much savings.


A. Marie February 14, 2024 at 3:29 pm

Sandra, I’ve done your 1, 2, and 3 (in that order) over the past several years. I agree: big savings.


Selena February 14, 2024 at 8:08 pm

Dropping landline has been on my list but a) my internet cost will likely go up (not a lot of options where I live) and b) that means I’d have to buy a Tracfone as I am very selective about giving out my cell number. And that would likely require occasional adding of minutes (read: credit card). VoIP would only be slightly cheaper.


Fru-gal Lisa February 15, 2024 at 7:48 am

I enjoy Boatload crossword puzzles online. They are free. USA Today and also provide free crosswords. Best thing about online is that you can set it so that incorrect letter entries are marked in red, and of course you don’t need an eraser to correct them.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:49 am

How perfect to have a used puzzle partner! I enjoy puzzles, but get obsessive with them so I just don’t do them.


Monique Noriega February 19, 2024 at 1:06 pm

I los my apartment due to losing my job due to Covid. I now live at home with my elderly mother. I have a bed in her living room so I am technically homeless. I am a freelance chef and drive a lot to get to different places. I got a membership card to Sam’s Club because hands-down, they consistently have the lowest prices on gas. I got my membership on Groupon for only $20. I save much more on gas than the cost of my annual membership. I don’t usually need much from Sam’s. But I do buy the 24-pack of 12″ tortillas. I make beans in my Instant pot, then I make meat. Each takes one hour. Then I make 10-12 burritos. This is enough meals for the week. No eating out. Save lots of time too.


Marybeth from NY February 16, 2024 at 7:32 am

My dad, daughter and I all swap puzzles. We all live in different states so it sometimes takes a while to swap. We put notes on the inside cover of the box which also helps track who got the puzzle already.


Ruby February 14, 2024 at 3:18 pm

1. Used store coupons for milk, tangerines and vitamins at the grocery store.
2. Rack dried a load of laundry.
3. Picked up discounted crackers, trail mix and rice at Ollie’s Outlet.
4. Bought paper goods at Aldi, which has the best prices if I don’t have coupons to use at the drug store.
5. Used some wood touch-up markers to conceal some chips and scratches on our kitchen cabinets.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:47 am

Think of your touched up cabinets as “tromp l’oeil.”


A. Marie February 14, 2024 at 3:48 pm

FTFT, I Used Stuff Up Edition:

This week, I said goodbye to the following things I didn’t enjoy using but used up anyway:

(1) A bottle of not-very-good (thin and runny) body lotion.
(2) A can of Old Spice Sweat Defense “dry spray” deodorant that I never could get the hang of using satisfactorily. (One of my very few bad bargains at Ollie’s.)
(3) A pump bottle of hand soap (found at the Salvation Army) with a not very appealing scent.
(4) And a container of frozen beef stock that was about a year and a half old. (This went into the lamb stew I made on Monday, and I’m not dead yet.)

(5) Finally, along with Ruby, I’m rack-drying a load of laundry. (In front of a furnace register, in my case; this should only take a jiffy.)


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:46 am

Lamb stew? Yummy, even with aged beef stock.


Christine February 14, 2024 at 3:54 pm

A tiny Lear Jet sounds awfully cute. Maybe a Matchbox car sized one.
1. I found a dime on the floor at work.
2. Sitting here at my kitchen table typing on the laptop, my heat is set at 64. I have on a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks and slippers and I’m sipping a cup of hot tea (made here at home, of course) and I’m warm and toasty.
3. I’m in the early planning stage of a chili cook-off with four other couples here at my house. Each couple will bring a crockpot of chili. Someone is bringing the cornbread and I’m making dessert unless somebody else volunteers. I’ll spring for some beer and we already have wine we’ve received as Christmas gifts which are unopened. DH has been collecting wood from the yard so depending on the weather, we may have a campfire. As I’ve said here before, I so much prefer entertaining at home than going to a restaurant. The cost is so much less and the ease and relaxed mood of sitting around with friends is something I love. Plus, they’re all bringing food! This is set for March 11th so time is not of the essence…
4. I found a deposit bottle by the side of the road while walking. I’m quite certain I will never find as many as you A. Marie!
5. I bought Valentines at the dollar store for two friends in nursing homes. Little spent but hopefully brings smiles to their faces.

Happy Valentines Day everyone!


Michele February 15, 2024 at 4:32 am

Love the chili cook off idea at your own home!


Bee February 15, 2024 at 5:15 am

Maybe if it is warm enough for a fire, you can have s’mores for dessert. It’s always fun to toast marshmallows.


Jill A February 15, 2024 at 5:30 am

I prefer getting together at home vs. a restaurant. I always feel like I have to yell to be heard in a restaurant which is exhausting and then there is the cost.


Heidi Louise February 15, 2024 at 8:18 am

And the restaurant TV sets. Why?


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:20 am

I hate TVs in restaurants! My husband and I went to a Chinese restaurant last week and there were two huge TVs in a rather small room.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:45 am

A pocket size Lear Jet? count me in!

That was very nice of you to send those Valentine’s Day cards.


Cindy in the South February 14, 2024 at 4:06 pm

The lentils and fried rice with veggies sounds fabulous! Bonus points for it being frugal!


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:43 am

The fried rice is so good that I overindulged last night.


Jean C February 15, 2024 at 1:30 pm

Can you please give a tutorial on how you throw together your fried rice ? Especially any seasonings?


Katy February 15, 2024 at 3:17 pm

It’s really quite simple. I sautéed a whole bag of mixed vegetables in canola oil and then added two-day old rice, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. I pushed everything to one side of the pan and scrambled a couple eggs in extra oil/butter and then mixed everything together. Day old rice is key as you want it a little bit dried out. I’m sure there’s a thousand variations, but this is what I did.

I also scooped out some of my homemade sauerkraut to top my serving as I figure that sauerkraut is a variation of kimchi anyway.


K D February 14, 2024 at 5:18 pm

1. I went to Costco and stuck to the list. They have very good prices on chia seeds and frozen blueberries.

2. There is a Giant grocery store in the same shopping center as Costco so I stopped in there to see if they had any bags of bananas. They did and they were

3. The past two afternoons have been sunny so I opened the front door for a bit of solar heating. Our storm door is glass.

4. I made a nice meal for Valentine’s Day. We don’t do cut flowers (there is such a big environmental impact and they don’t last long) or special chocolates.

5. I received an email today that our last financial tax document is available online. I printed the applicable pages on scrap paper and will work on taxes tomorrow. I’d like to get them submitted as soon as possible.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:43 am

My husband buy frozen mixed berries at Costco and they really are the best!


Bee February 14, 2024 at 5:30 pm

Fried rice is among my favorite budget dinners. It is so easy to make gluten free too. Just substitute Tamari for soy sauce. Here is my list of very tiny frugal things;

Since it is Valentine’s Day and DH is out of town on business, I volunteered to babysit for the grand babies. This allows my DS and DIL to have a frugal night out together. Of course, It’s fun for me too.

Today I had my car serviced. I brought my library book with me to read while I waited. I am currently reading The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store.

I enjoyed a free cup of chai tea provided by the car dealership.

I waited to eat lunch at home.

I stopped on the way home at Trader Joe’s where I bought $0.19 bananas, ground chicken for the kitty, and a bouquet of white lilies. I just couldn’t make it by the flowers today

Wishing everyone peace, good health, happiness, prosperity, and of course, love!


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:41 am

I buy gluten-free soy sauce at H Mart as my daughter can’t eat gluten and I actually prefer it. Thanks for the book recommendation, I put it on hold through Libby and it estimated it’ll take 22 weeks! But like planting a tree, the best time to put this book on hold was 22 weeks ago, the second best time is today.


Nancy February 16, 2024 at 1:16 pm

Lilies are HIGHLY HIGHLY toxic to cats. Even a tiny bit of pollen on your clothes that gets brushed onto the cat can kill kitty! Never have lilies around cats! FYI


Q February 14, 2024 at 5:52 pm

1. Mardi Gras dinner was homemade vegan waffles topped with strawberries and homemade vegan ice cream (which is hard to find and expensive.) First time making it: delicious.

2. I made my granddaughter a doll dress and little tote bag from free-cycled fabric, and embroidered a design to cover a rust stain on a doll dress that had belonged to her mother, (it looked really pretty with the new floral design) and ironed up a baby doll bonnet that went with the dress. I will sew bean bags for her brother, so we can make a game up when visiting.

3. We got a good fare by flying on Thursday and returning Tuesday, We are helping out when grandkids are off from school Friday and parents are working. Taking train to airport, saving horrendous parking fees at JFK. My brother will drop us at train station, saving an Uber. Family is picking us up on arrival, saving car rental. We’ll bring lunch.

4. Tonight was Quick Tofu Stir Fry from Budget Bytes: my husband loves this easy, cheap, and delicious recipe. I had made fudge last week, and put some aside (hidden) for today.

5. I sped up my computer quite a bit, for free, after researching on the internet. I cleared off desktop documents, winnowed through and deleted files, etc., keeping my 9 year-old laptop functioning well. I was surprised how effective this was.

I won a large Valentine heart of chocolates, which I will bring to grandchildren.


Selena February 14, 2024 at 8:15 pm

Q – if it is a “winblows” (my politically correct term), go to c/users//temp. Ctrl-A to select all and delete – skip anything in use. This folder can grow to GBs over time – MS software does a less than stellar job cleaning up after itself. Work has winblows but I won’t spend my money on anything from MS.


Q February 15, 2024 at 4:50 am

Thank you, Selena!
I have a 2103 Mac. I have dropped it many times, and abused it when I was a teacher. I will look to see if there is an equivalent action. I found what helped the most was clearing off the 100 files i had on desktop: turns out that having files on desktop is very slowing. But I will look for the temp files as well!


Selena February 15, 2024 at 7:46 pm

Kudos for having a Mac – typically less headache than winblows.
I replaced my 2013 Mac last year – I wore out the mouse/tracker pad (or whatever you call it). I’ve not found an equivalent to “temp” folder on my Mac.
I would take a look at your download file – software updates can be large. You can also do a find by file size – Garage Band (like I’ve ever used that) is a big application. I use private browsing mode but if you don’t, periodically restarting your preferred browser will clean the browser house. I also have Siri and any location services turned off.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:35 am

I need to delete the dead wood off my laptop, maybe I can work on that tomorrow.


Ecoteri February 14, 2024 at 6:40 pm

FFT Valentines Edition

1. Finally sold (Marketplace) an unused 4 litre glass water/juice dispenser that came in my $100 huge lot bought months ago. $13.00 cash, baby! I have decided to create a record keeping system, to keep track of my vast online sales earnings. Glass canning jar, bit of green painter tape, coloured recipe card – bam! My sister and her husband, on the other side of Canada, have been doing a planned 5 year purge, and she has a spreadsheet going to keep track. As they have sold off some biggish farm/forestry equipment, I suspect there are a few more zeros in some of her sales. It is encouraging, to me, to keep track of the successes – otherwise things get forgotten and I need all the encouragement I can get.
2. My Daughter now wants to paint her new place. I know how much work painting is, however she doesn’t. I am, however, willing to give her some time and equipment and advice and encouragement this weekend. I have a long list of ‘stuff from mom’s’ that i need to assemble tomorrow and Friday for an early drive down on Saturday – I am planning to have some meals or meals-to-make ready before I go, as I know she isn’t quite there yet in her planning process. Having “travelling tools” that are sharable with my kids and friends is priceless – my best girlfriend is loaning me drop cloths, for example. I get to take (big breath) : Spackle, putty knife, saw, mitre box, nails, sandpaper, brushes, rollers, small rollers, trays, other paint stuff, rags, hammer, drill and bits and screws, step ladder… Am I forgetting anything?????
3. Before gym on Monday I put some very frozen chicken legs in the instant pot, along with some sad carrots, a mass of cheapo celery, and an onion. Poured in some recently made chicken stock, and sprinkled random spices on top (chili, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, chipotle powder). Set up some brown rice and wild rice in the rice cooker and headed out. SO nice to come home to a cooked warm meal. I tore it all apart and stored leftovers in the fridge. Not so keen on them after two nights, but tonight I ate more and there is enough for tomorrow, sigh. Might need to find a creative way to deal with them so they seem ‘different’. I am missing my #2 son, who won’t be home until late Thursday from Costa Rica – he’s always willing to eat leftovers for days.
The chicken was steeply discounted and frozen a month or so ago, the onion was from my big bag o’ onions, and I buy brown rice in bulk – the wild rice is a local fundraiser and I only use 1/4 cup per cup of brown, so it stretches. Trying to eat down my pantry and freezers. I AM heating and drinking some of the broth which is SO satisfying. Don’t need to always cook with it!
4. Still sorting seeds, planning the garden, and enjoying our deceptively mild February weather – if nothing else, I try for 1/2 hour of garden chores each day, it is great for my mental health, even on grey or wet days. I’m not made of sugar, I won’t melt if it rains, but I am fragile and will break if I don’t take care of my mental and physical health.
5. Continuing to use my Instant Pot to cook up the many squash/pumpkins that I grew last year. The dog gets a generous scoop each dinner, and I am now putting a scoop in my weirdo morning glop. After reading the Highly Processed People book, I am more and more aware of how many processed foods I have eaten because they were convenient. My morning glop is a place where just about everything is really close to its starting place – kale, squash, chia seeds, ground flax, ground turmeric, frozen banana chunks (that I froze), yogurt that I made, a splash of citrus juice that I squeezed from whatever citrus is on discount, plus a scoop of whey protein with very few additives. It is way more work to eat closer to the land, but so much healthier – and the reduction in hidden sugars is beginning to show up in my loosened clothing.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:34 am

In medicine it’s often said “if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen,” when referring to charting. The same can be said for just about anything, even with your “vast” sales.

Your chicken and rice sounds delicious, although I totally get the challenge of eating the same meal multiple days in a row.


Ecoteri February 15, 2024 at 10:55 pm

luckily (YAY) #2 son came home one day early, STARVING – I fobbed off most of the veggies and chicken on him when he arrived. I had also fried up a couple of pre-baked potatoes into lovely crispy buttery goodnessness for him (yes, glad he is home) and those were inhaled with appreciation. He just took the last of the chicken for his lunch tomorrow (along with the (sob) just made chowmein. I shoulda made more). Just delicious broth and some rice left, I know I can be creative with those!


BettafrmdaVille February 14, 2024 at 8:05 pm

1. I picked up a mystery shop lunch for my long commute that will happen during the lunch hours on Friday. (and a continued 1,000 thanks to Lindsey who introduced me to the wonders of mystery shops)
2. I ate lunch and dinner (for free) at work today.
3. I’m doing a silly “heart healthy” challenge at work. I need to reach a certain number of points to not be charged a considerable surcharge on insurance premiums through work.
4. Heat is set at 60 even though it is quite cold. I’m huddled under lots of blankets.
5. Still drinking the not-great-but-free coffee at work.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:29 am

Three cheers for adequate coffee!


Jann in Maine February 15, 2024 at 2:55 am

Which mystery shop site are you using? Thanks


Denise February 15, 2024 at 4:45 am

Katy, I envy you your local friendships. My friends are dotted around London so we always meet up in central London, priciest place in Britain. I suggest frugal options (sandwiches and a free museum, for instance), but it’s not always embraced by the other person(s). I’m going to have to have some crunch conversations, as they are still working with good salaries and I’m now retired. Any suggestions (single and childless so perhaps more socially dependent upon friendships than people with a vibrant family life) for how to navigate this will be gratefully received.

1. My brother and his husband are visiting this me for the weekend. I’m making meals, snacks and desserts from scratch. Sister is coming over, and keeps suggesting going out for all our meals. She’s motivated by kindness – to save me effort. I’m motivated by (i) spending time at home and just talking with my family; (ii) saving money; and (iii) eating better food. I have bought some lovely (expensive) salmon and prawns – one is a pescatarian, so that will feed him. But “expensive” is relative: as much as my main course would be at a mid-range restaurant locally. Soups, snacks and this amazing, amazing fruit cake, are all being made from store cupboard items so that uses them up and saves me money. And there will be at least a week’s worth of fruit cake left for meeeeeeee!

2. I found two coins: a 50 pence piece this morning and a £1 coin yesterday. Yayyy. 50p is my favourite, because of the shape.

3. I only have sausages left in the freezer which will feature in the meat-eaters’ breakfasts this weekend. Win-win.

Only problem with eating down the freezer is “having to stock it back up again”. Do you do this in bulk when you empty the freezer out??

4. I have been using my heated throw instead of the central heating and my heated clothes airer, instead of tumble drying. This is a significant change for me so a huge win.

5. I have decided to cancel Amazon Prime when it comes to renewal in a few weeks. I’m spending very little, trying to shop locally and I haven’t been watching Prime Video in the evenings. And I haven’t missed it.

My next challenge: I hate the kitchen in the house I bought last summer. I want a new one, but I certainly don’t need one. How do I beat the “but I want it…!!!!” whining out of myself??


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:28 am

Yes, I have friends who live in the suburbs and hardly ever see them.

My advice in being content with your kitchen is to look at the kitchens people were living with in the past and hopefully realize how lucky we all are to have refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, electricity and running water. Maybe enjoy a Laura Ingalls Wilder book? My kitchen features Formica counters and mismatched appliances and turns out a lot of delicious meals.


KathyP February 15, 2024 at 12:16 pm

Hi, Denise. Is there places local to you that you could maybe volunteer in? We did ( life got too busy lately to keep up, and a bit of mental collapse means staying home with the polytunnel, hens sheep and homeschooled child!!!) alot with local stuff soup clubs, lunch clubs etc best thing is helpers get fed, you are usually in the warm, we’re in the Highlands so warm is relative!!! Good chats. Real friends will accept your changing lifestyle, just tell it how it is!! Good luck


Selena February 15, 2024 at 7:55 pm

Full disclosure, I do have family, albeit small number, a couple of friends with whom I keep in touch, WFH and mostly communicate at work via online chat.
Me being me, I’d be tactfully blunt – that while they aren’t retired, you are. And while the occasional less than frugal get together works budget wise, it doesn’t work all the time. IF they are truly friends, they should understand.
And I concur about finding a new (semi) social circle. You just might find some like minded, like situation folks.


Denise February 15, 2024 at 11:03 pm

Thank you all for the encouragement. You’re all absolutely right: it comes down to me. Katy, thank you for reminding me to look at the abundance instead of the perceived “lack”.


Anne February 16, 2024 at 7:40 am

I love decorating my home no matter what my budget is so I had some thoughts on your kitchen. A new coat of paint in a color that you love would go a long way into transforming the room. Also, search your closets for some of your favorite things to display around your kitchen.


Ecoteri February 15, 2024 at 11:16 pm

Brilliant suggestion by KathyP re volunteering in a soup kitchen or some such, as the folk who volunteer there are usually really caring humans, great place to start for friends. Your local library might have a variety of monthly gatherings (mine sure does) or you could even suggest some (mending monthlies, knitting events, story telling, reviewing some kind of government stuff (we have a Truth and Reconciliation document that nobody in Canada really understands. someone in town got our library to host a twice monthly gathering where people share or explore. unfortunately it is on my Hospice Volunteering day and time or I would go). If there is something that you love to do, find a club or group and join or volunteer. Local walking groups are popular here. (again you could try starting one!).
As for your empty freezer (lucky you) situation, no, don’t bulk buy! Just now that there is room, a) fill it with water filled plastic jugs to make ice. the freezer will thank you for being full until you find food. b) start seriously watching your sales and be judicious about what you love to eat. If you have a food saver that can be a food-saver for tearing down larger packages of meats into one or two person sizes. Don’t just fill it, be thoughtful about what you want in there. In addition, perfect time to do some future-me gifting by preparing and freezing some fast meals – so when you get home from an adventure you don’t even THINK you need take-out, because you have something thawing or can thaw it quick. Do some baking for future-you and company, practice making bread and slice it and freeze it in your spacious (so jealous) and roomy (did I mention I am jealous) freezer.
Congrats on your plans for saving when you have company, good luck with the difficult convos with your working friends. Remember some friends are only for a season…. (and seasons have a habit of coming around again… they will eventually retire!)


Vickey February 27, 2024 at 6:45 am

Denise, that’s the perfect re-framing re your kitchen perspective! Good on ya for realizing it!
Re #3: can you extend those sausages by browning them and using them in a breakfast casserole bake? Potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, seasonings of choice, with a “binder batter” poured over all? Just a thought.
Re eating down and stocking up the freezer – since food prices rarely go down, sales not withstanding, we replenish staples as they’re used up, unless I’m sure they’ll go on sale soon, in which case we do stock up. That results in lower overall rolling food costs here. YMMV.


Michele February 15, 2024 at 4:57 am

1. Keeping track of our expenses, which is dull, but gives real insights into our spending. Can we live on my husband’s retirement? 🙂
2. Had a lovely Valentine’s Dinner at my MIL’s last night. My husband brought a big bouquet of flowers and divided them well to make us each a bouquet. I meant to remind him earlier in the day to get his Mom flowers, and he remembered, which is progress!
3. Meal prepped all my breakfasts and lunches this week, which really makes it so easy to get out of the house in AM- and prevents me from the temptation of the drive thru.
4. Grocery spending has been way less last two months because I have been using up pantry/ freezer overstock.
5. Having my husband’s “family” Birthday Party this weekend at our house and a drop-in at my Aunt’s house to see my visiting cousin. At each party, we all bring an appetizer or sweet and it is so nice to just visit and for each of us not to have the whole burden of providing everything!


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:23 am

You meal prepped all your breakfasts and lunches? I award you the Big Blue Ribbon of frugality!


Jill A February 15, 2024 at 6:03 am

1. Your post reminded me to take ham out of the freezer for some split pea soup I’ve been meaning to make.
2. I also took out some ground beef from the freezer and tomato juice I froze in jars from a bigger bottle. I’ll make goulash for dinner tonight. It will be an easy dinner with lots of leftovers.
3. I listed a couple items on Ebay and also sold a couple. Money in, crap out. Of course this crap was purposely purchased to sell but still satisfying.
4. It’s snowing pretty heavily right now. I will stay home today and work on my cleaning out the file cabinets project.
5. A friend invited me to go to a book signing for a local author. I bought her book – not frugal but worth it. I’m looking forward to reading it and I will pass it along to family and friends. The book is The Waters by Bonnie Jo Campbell.
She is a classmate of my friend. Refreshments were provided. I took home a cupcake and piece of chocolate for my daughter as a valentine treat.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:21 am

I’m full on for supporting local authors!


Blue Gate Farmgirl February 15, 2024 at 11:05 am

I found 3 quarters outside of the Dollar store as I stopped in to get some old fashioned moth balls (yuck) to toss under my larder (aka above ground root cellar) as a nasty skunk has decided that it is a good house. Eew.
I used Grocery Outlet’s $5 off $25 to pick up dried beans, rice, pizza cheese and avocados.
Bought only list items @ Costco – with exception to a $14 red graventstein tree to plant in the orchard. I also picked up 2 roses to replace 3 dead ones.
The best neighbor brought me a big level and clamps to build the wood fence on my driveway. These tools will keep me from hiring a helper, saving about $250. The boards were on sale, from a local building supply.
I got a quote to have a back fence line cleared of brush, almost $3k, so I bought a sawblade for my weed whacker and will do it myself in stages. Plus it’s good exercise.
I planted spring pea pods, a fresh crop of broccoli and spring onions in 2 raised beds. still eating kale, spinach and chard.
I propagated primroses and planted the babies into pots for sneaky thank you pots for the neighbors. Each week I make a sweet treat for a neighbor.
I had a good laugh, I had put a pot in the garden tool shed and it was an amaryllis, well the poor thing was white and trying to grow, so I gave it a good soaking and light fertilizer and set it in the bay window in the living room and now the bud is forming and all greened up. Normally after they finishing blooming, I plant them in my raised bed in front of the greenhouse and they bloom every July.
Organized and inventoried home canned goods, planned meals for the next 3 weeks.


Katy February 15, 2024 at 11:20 am

Aww, poor little amaryllis. Good thing you rescued it!

I used to go regularly to the Grocery Outlet as it was close to my kids’ high school, but I haven’t been in years.


Selena February 15, 2024 at 8:00 pm

I use herbicides very selectively. While I don’t know what kind of “brush” is along your fence line, you might want to consider having some Brush-B-Gone type herbicide on hand to treat the re-sprouts. You can also use a brush and paint it (full strength) on stumps.


Anne February 16, 2024 at 7:49 am

Your skunk story reminds me of ours that happened over 30 years ago. In the middle of the night, sleeping on the SECOND story, we were awakened by the over powering smell of skunk. I never knew you could be awakened by smell.

We put mothballs in the crawl space and it was almost as bad as the skunk smell. After that we religiously blocked up all entrance holes so there were no repeats of the great skunk/mothball episode.


Ashley Bananas February 15, 2024 at 11:57 am

1. We are flying to see my mother this weekend and I have made sure to get a bunch of snacks to help us avoid impulse buying in the airport.
2. To avoid food waste we have been eating out of the refrigerator, and I am avoiding going to the grocery store until I come back.
3. I am researching interest free credit cards to do a balance transfer. I have one 0% interest card that will expire soon, and another card that let’s me do payments over time with ‘fees’. The fees are currently $87 dollar a month. I think that $87 could go to principal if I just transfer them to a different card with no interest. =)
4. My son’s birthday was Wednesday. I made a cake at home and we celebrated with friends. For dinner we went to go out to eat, but ended up doing take out as not one but two restaurants were extremely busy. We ate at home saving drinks, tips, etc.
5. I have yet to invest in any lear jets.


texasilver February 15, 2024 at 7:04 pm

Several days a week I walk in a neighborhood behind the campus where I work. Different scenery is refreshing. There are 2 apartment complexes on my route. This week I looked inside the fence that encloses the dumpster. I found a 750 ml bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. I looked online & it retails for 55 to 70 dollars US. I’m not sure what I will do w/ it, maybe give it as a gift. Is that a weird thing to find or what? There were also 3 small cans of Jack Daniels & Coca Cola, & 4 cans of spiked iced tea. I may drink those small portions.


A. Marie February 16, 2024 at 6:24 am

I’ve found several bottles of beer over the years, and even two or three bottles of wine…but Veuve Cliquot?? That’s wild!


MB in MN February 16, 2024 at 8:40 am

Wow! The champagne would make an impressive gift.


Bee February 16, 2024 at 10:13 am

I rarely drink alcohol, but I always drink champagne when offered. It’s my favorite. I guess that I have champagne taste. Since this appears to be a gift from the trash picking gods, I would probably drink it. However, if bubbly isn’t your favorite, it would make a great gift.


Katy February 16, 2024 at 12:24 pm

Do you like prosecco?


MEM February 16, 2024 at 7:45 am

Mine are indeed tiny but here we go:
1. Switched to Kirkland Ultra Clean Free and Clear laundry detergent. I used
Tide Free and Gentle for years. The Kirkland one works fine but I struggle with the 1.5 gallon jug. I use two tablespoons for a full load.
2. I’m experimenting with reusing my Shout color catcher sheets at least once.
3. Spent the time prepping a 6 pound bag of organic carrots from Costco – I can definitely tell the difference in flavor. I filled two jars with carrot sticks for my 3 little rescue dogs. The rest of the carrots will be roasted, put in soup or possibly blanched.
4. Frugal for a fellow puzzle-lover. We have a FB puzzle swap group in my town and I gave a woman a 1000 piece Charles Wysocki puzzle – he’s her favorite. No swap needed as I am now a terrible snob about puzzles – has to be Ravensburger and they rarely appear in the swap.
5. Keeping the house at 62 degrees here in the Greater Boston area. Utilities here are obscenely high. I work from home full-time so I dress in layers but wonder if I should try wearing a beanie, too.


mary in maryland February 16, 2024 at 7:53 am

Hats and fingerless gloves make a big difference in comfort.


MEM February 16, 2024 at 9:30 am

Hats, yes, but fingerless gloves don’t work so well with my computer’s mouse.


mary in maryland February 16, 2024 at 2:17 pm

I knit mine myself and made them short enough that I can still use all y computer parts and do hand sewing.


Vickey February 27, 2024 at 7:08 am

I’ve found that silk liner gloves, with the ends cut off (they were already pretty worn through), keep my hands warm and still allow for typing, mousing, etc.


Ecoteri February 16, 2024 at 7:57 pm

I buy a huge jug of concentrated laundry detergent but I decant it into an older, smaller jug saved for just that purpose – and, like you, use 1 or 2 Tablespoons per load. Much easier to pour that into the lid of the smaller jug, it stores up near the washer, and I keep the rest elsewhere. means I also am aware when I am running low, I always don’t pour it ALL out at the end, in case I neglect to get more…. Then, when I have ‘run out, oh noooooo!!!’ there are still a couple of loads worth so I have leeway…


Selena February 16, 2024 at 8:27 pm

A small bottle of detergent was dang near free at Meijer a few years back. I transfer from the mega bottle of detergent into the smaller bottle.


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