Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 21, 2024 · 107 comments

    1. I stopped by my beloved dented vegetable store yesterday afternoon and shelled out $7.78 for an impressive amount of (actually undented) groceries/produce. Here’s what I got:

      • Two yellow heirloom tomatoes.
      • One container of cherry tomatoes.
      • Three heads of broccoli.
      • One container of mixed greens.
      • One big yellow squash.
      • Two boxes of egg & onion matzohs.

      Food prices are predatory right now, so it pays to be creative whenever possible.

    2. I walked my plastics wishcycling recycling to New Seasons Market without shopping downstairs.

    3. I came across a damp free pile on my way back from New Seasons, but I still took a minute to look through it. I wasn’t interested in the half used toiletries, but I did grab these two plastic organizers, which cleaned up perfectly after a run through the dishwasher. Organizing supplies are my love language.

    4. • My husband forgot to use coupons at the grocery store, so I stapled them onto the receipt so I can show them to customer service the next time I’m at Fred Meyer.
      • I finished listening to The Immortalists audiobook through the library’s free Libby app.
      • My plant cuttings are all starting to show roots, which means I’ll be able to fill my outdoor flowerpots without spending any money.

    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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{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra February 21, 2024 at 6:40 am

1. I finished up the last few cups of rotisserie chicken for two more meals. We had tacos one night and then I made quick Chicken Tika Masala. The Tika Masala used the leftover chicken taco meat, plus some chopped tomatoes and onions that were left over, too. There is enough Tika Masala sauce for at least four large servings, probably more.

2. We also found great buys at the dented vegetable store. On two recent trips we found bags of Brussel sprouts for $1.00, bought four, ready made pie crusts for $1.00, bought two, and Porto Bello mushrooms, two in a package for $1.00, bought two. All such good buys. We had spinach stuffed mushrooms with the Porto Bellos…so good and yesterday morning we enjoyed steamed Brussel sprouts with our eggs and toast. The pie crusts are just nice to have one hand when I want to throw together a quick pot pie.

3. My daughter bought me two beautiful sweaters on clearance at $4.50 each. They had originally retailed at $24.99. I was purely delighted. There is still plenty of winter left and I have many opportunities to wear them.

4. I enjoy decorating for the holidays. It brightens up the house and gives me a new perspective. A few days ago I put away the Valentine’s Day decor and got out the St. Patrick’s Day decorations. Lots of them I’ve had for years and it’s like seeing old friends again each time I get them out. No new money spent, lots of enjoyment.

5. Reading library books and magazines, plus enjoying their copies of the PBS series, Miss Scarlet and the Duke. No cost entertainment for the win. I want to thank you and your contributors for the recommendations you make. I always find them to be good and I probably wouldn’t find them otherwise.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:38 am

I too get so many good ideas from the readers here! And wow, you scored on the brussell sprouts!


Caroline February 21, 2024 at 12:45 pm

I’m so jealous of the dented vegetable store! Are these common around the country or more just in the NW? I live in Denver and have never heard of such a place. I hope I’m missing something and it’s been right under my nose here. We do have a “bread store.” I used to go there a lot, but it’s too far to justify the use and out of my way to and from work.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 1:14 pm

Go ahead and google “grocery liquidator” or “discount groceries” plus your location and see what comes up. I found this Yelp list for the Denver area:


Julia February 21, 2024 at 6:24 pm

We have them near where I live in Pennsylvania.


MB in MN February 22, 2024 at 9:14 am

Caroline, I’m so glad you asked that question. And Katy, I’m so glad that you provided the link. I found several discount stores in my area that I was not aware of.


Katy February 22, 2024 at 11:25 am



Caroline February 26, 2024 at 8:51 pm

Yes! Thank you, Katy!

Michele February 21, 2024 at 6:45 am

1. Made up some cauliflower, black bean, salsa, chipolte cheesy bowls for my work lunches.
2. Read The Christie Affair from the library (so good!) and have 2 more books on hold there. I think it was recommended here. LOVE my library.
3. Rolled over a CD to a higher interest term. This will be my “salary” when it matures in a year and I’m retired.
4. Shopping around for flights to go see our oldest son and daughter in law in March. We actually prefer driving, but time is short. We have left warm weather clothes, etc. on previous visits- so no baggage fees. They have great thrifts- so if I need something while I’m there- I thrift it.
5. Making a tuna casserole for dinner tonight. My MIL comes over once a week and we do not change the meal to anything “fancy” for company.
Like her son, she appreciates whatever I make.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:35 am

Those sound like some delicious work lunches! That’s so smart to leave warm weather clothing there for future visits. Regarding your not “fancy” meal, my joke/not a joke is that my favorite food is “other people’s cooking.” It’s such a treat to get a break from cooking my own standard meals.


Marybeth from NY February 21, 2024 at 6:54 am

I did not know that there are different flavored Matzos.
1. I made a new to us mushroom soup and we didn’t like it. I added beef gravy and seasonings and put some on egg noodles. It was much better. Hubby took a second serving.
2. I make my dogs food. Lentils are good for dogs so I add some to it. I have so many dried lentils and beans from when my uncle died 6 years ago. No one else wanted them. I put them in buckets in the cellar and rarely used them. I have gone through 6 bags of lentils already this year.
3. I cooked pinto beans in the crock pot. We had tacos last night. The rest were frozen.
4. Got a $90 rebate check for dental work Hubby had done.
5. My daughter and I carpooled to Aldi and Whole foods. They are across the street from each other. I didn’t need anything in whole foods so I stayed strong and didn’t buy anything. My daughter is GF so she gets a lot of her stuff there. I found a penny at Aldi. We then came to my house and ate lunch.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:33 am

There are, and priced at 69¢/box I’m not so picky! I love mushroom soup, but the only version I’ve ever made is Mollie Katzen’s Hungarian mushroom soup. So good!


cathy February 21, 2024 at 6:46 pm

That is a seriously amazing price on the matzah! And Mollie Katzen soup recipes are delicious. Still have my beat up copies of Moosewood and Enchanted Broccoli Forest.


A. Marie February 22, 2024 at 11:55 am

Katy and cathy, my late and much-esteemed friend Edith Lank (real estate columnist, pillar of JASNA, and all-around amazing human being) was a cousin of Mollie Katzen and owned a copy of the “beta version” of the Moosewood Cookbook. I used to kid Edith that this might be worth as much someday as some of her Jane Austen first editions.


Katy February 22, 2024 at 3:24 pm

That is very impressive in certain circles!


Robina February 26, 2024 at 4:59 am

Just reading your comments. I live in Far North Queensland, Australia. You are all obviously intelligent women and you equaly obviously have pleasant personalities and a positive attitude to life.
What I don’t understand is why people like you need to worry so much about food and money. Has something happened to make your lives such a struggle?


Ruby February 21, 2024 at 7:19 am

Those are some lovely veggies, Katy.

1. This week I took another big bag of stuff to Goodwill and resisted going inside. Our local Goodwill is small and you have to walk stuff to the donation dock or take it inside if the weather is bad.
2. Am reading a free e-book from the library.
3. Bought a bagged salad kit on sale and jazzed it up with tomatoes, spring onions and sweet pepper left over from cooking on Sunday. Yum and no waste.
4. Mended a thrifted sweater again after the washer pulled a button off.
5. Used some insoles from my box of salvaged insoles to keep my gardening sneakers going a little longer.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:31 am

See, we’re fancy here with all our drive-through Goodwill donation stations! Box of salvaged insoles? That’s so smart!


Ruby February 21, 2024 at 2:29 pm

The big Goodwill in the city, which is near my dentist and eye doctor’s office, does have drive-up drop off. It is very civilized.


A. Marie February 21, 2024 at 11:54 am

Ruby, I have one of those #5 boxes, too. Many’s the time I’ve made a thrift store bargain pair of shoes usable with those salvaged insoles, or kept a pair going longer.


Ruby February 21, 2024 at 2:32 pm

I keep a pair of dollar store insoles in there in case I goof up and need to donate a pair that no longer has insoles. So far that’s happened only once in shuffling around insoles.


Fru-gal Lisa February 22, 2024 at 6:51 am

Ruby and A.Marie,
I once found a pair of SAS Shoes, a really good brand that’s usually $100, at a consignment shop. They were my size but too tight. I made them work by taking the insoles OUT of the shoes; when I did, they fit just fine. In fact, I’m wearing them right now. I think I paid $25 for the shoes, which were brand new. That was a big frugal win for me!


Ruby February 22, 2024 at 8:24 am

SAS was one of the brands the podiatrist suggested for helping with foot pain. It was less expensive than some of the others, which were shockingly expensive.

Kara February 21, 2024 at 8:05 am

1. Returned an item
2. I keep eating the chicken vegetable soup that is dark purple due to the free organic purple carrots I put in it. It tastes good, but looks unappealing
3. Received a free bag of clothes from Buy Nothing for my grandson
4. Found a free baby car seat on FB marketplace that my daughter-in-law will turn it at the Target trade in event in April. This gets her a 20% coupon off a new car seat for new baby.
5. Downloaded a mystery shopper app and there’s lots of available shops within 2 miles. I signed up for one this week at a sewing shop where I’ll get paid and my purchase reimbursed. Since I sew, this feels like a double win.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:29 am

Plus, you trading in the old car seat keeps a potentially dangerous car seat from going back into circulation.


Bee February 21, 2024 at 3:37 pm

I love rainbow carrots, but the purple carrots really do change the color of anything you cook with them.


Roberta February 21, 2024 at 8:50 am

I tend to forget my good ideas when I’m trying to list what I’ve been up to, so my comment earlier this week was pretty weak. I actually did better than that!
1. Mended a sweater for my husband, with embroidery. He had like eight holes across the back, and after I mended them, they were still too visible for my taste. So I added golden ferns that look like late summer bracken, and we both love it.
2. I cleaned out the fridge, and only found a few things that had gone south. Not enough for a meal, in most cases. Now there is less in the fridge, which will make losing food harder.
3. Squeezed our own oranges for brunch Monday, because we had it as a holiday. I was at the store, looking at grocery store oranges, when I realized we have a whole tree full of tiny oranges that I could use up. We also made orange syrup out of some of the juice. I didn’t want to do the work, but it wasn’t really that much effort!
4. Working on a puzzle we bought used, of the London Underground map. It’s getting us really excited for the trip to see our son. I am telling myself we will not get lost as a result of the puzzle. And this way, we (probably) won’t have to move it.
5. When we decluttered the closet, I found a dopp kit we bought for one of the kids ages ago. I’m going to fill it with essentials (soap, new toothbrush and toothpaste, etc) for my son’s Easter “basket.” It’s a sunk cost for us, and he’ll definitely appreciate not having to buy that sort of thing for himself, now that he’s buying his own toiletries.


MB in MN February 21, 2024 at 9:56 am

Roberta, that’s a great idea for an Easter basket!


Lindsey February 21, 2024 at 10:28 am

The underground is in the process of issuing a new map, with new names and new colors, so you might not want to spend a lot of time plotting activities in advance by using the older map your puzzle features.


Roberta February 21, 2024 at 11:58 am

Aaaaaa! There goes my rich fantasy life, wherein I am not constantly lost.

My husband once had a nightmare in which he couldn’t find the freeway entrance. As he described it to me, I kept waiting for the scary part. This is how my life is all. the. time!


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:28 am

I’ve done that exact puzzle before! That sweater repair sounds adorable, I wish you could share a photo in the comments section.


Selena February 21, 2024 at 8:08 pm

@Roberta – don’t forget to “mind the gap”.


Blue Gate Farmgirl February 21, 2024 at 10:04 am

I made brownies out of plums I had canned for my dad (pureed them to use in place of oil), walnuts that I had gleaned while I walked the neighbor’s field. The walnuts line the grass seed fields and are never picked up, so I fight the squirrels for them. The recipe also used up egg yolks left over from another recipe.
I picked up broken stemmed flowers from 2 florists for pennies to make my 2 casket sprays for friends funerals this week.
*Organizers are my love language, too. I drove by a house being flipped and they had 8 drawers sitting beside the mailbox, I picked them up. I put casters on the bottom and use them in my deep shelves in the shop. I also picked up 4 wooden window frames, those will be used in my “garden living room” where we sit under the big apple tree. My goals is to collect enough windows to make a secondary not as fancy greenhouse for over wintering some potted plants.
*Picking up a load of large cardboard boxes to line my garden walk ways between the raised beds, then pile sawdust on top of the boxes.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:26 am

I’m sorry to read that you have friends’ funerals, what a lovely gift to put together the flower arrangements.


A. Marie February 21, 2024 at 11:56 am

What Katy said about the funerals and the arrangements. I wish you didn’t have the funerals, but the arrangements are a brilliant idea.


Q February 21, 2024 at 10:06 am

1. While we were enjoying a wonderful visit to our daughter’s family, her car needed a tire repair. She was going to Uber back and forth while it was done, as she had a work meeting. We took the car for her, and read magazines (and DH enjoyed free espresso) and waited until it was done (under an hour) and paid for repair. Daughter was very appreciative, as she just started a new position, and is quite busy right now. We were glad to help out. They had picked us up at airport, and we did not rent a car for this trip.

2. We visited the Cleveland farmer’s market one morning for entertainment, where I bought many different dried beans, reasonably priced, that are unavailable at home, along with some unusual spices, also very reasonable. A great bean cookbook “Cool Beans” from the library as hard copy and as an electronic version, meant we had some delicious meals. My daughter and her husband are excellent cooks, and they asked for the recipe of one that I made. The one tough part was that I had 20 pounds of beans in my carryon backpack as I walked through the airport!

3. DD’s neighbor and his son accompanied our family to the Natural History museum, and we all were allowed in on his family pass. A nice surprise! Everyone had a great time at the museum.

4. I needed to buy some Velcro for doll dresses my granddaughter and I were making. I used willpower, and resisted the (quite pricey) cute buttons that were available at fabric store, and made embroidered designs instead. GD and I made many doll rooms and accessories out of cardboard and found objects.

5. Today I have been working on my yard, as a jumpstart on spring. This will mean that I will not need to hire help, as I can do a little at a time. I am chopping small branches and trimmings into little pieces, and scattering them into the mulch and tucking them under shrubs, etc. This restores nutrients to the ground, and means I won’t need to add mulch this year. I will force the small magnolia trimmings to use as indoor décor.

The usual: wearing old clothes for yard work, wearing aprons, reading library books, cooking from scratch.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:23 am

You made my laugh with your twenty pounds of dried backpack beans! Airplane snack?


Jill A February 21, 2024 at 2:26 pm

I really like the Cleveland Farmer’s Market. It’s amazing. My daughter and her husband live in Cleveland.


Q February 22, 2024 at 10:22 am

We love the market, too. We get twice the fun: enjoying the market experience and buying great food for a great price, and then enjoying the terrific meal afterwards.


Liz B. February 24, 2024 at 8:02 am

My family and I love Cleveland! The Natural History museum is – literally – a gem. The free art museum is also well worth a visit. My bestie grew up there.


MB in MN February 21, 2024 at 10:08 am

Katy, that’s an impressive haul for undented items!

1. Drove my husband to/from the airport to save on the cost of parking.

2. From my stash of little plastic covered condiment cups that I save from restaurants, my husband was able to corral little things in his toiletry bag.

3. While my husband was gone for a week, I made it my mission to finish the food in the fridge and freezer that we either didn’t like or had lost interest in. I doctored up some dishes with different ingredients to make them more palatable and ate them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

4. A friend gave me three lovely small bottles with cork stoppers (they previously held alcohol). I reused one of them on a snack board for pouring out salsa.

5. After a foot procedure, I bought some supplies that were not needed after all. Returned them for a $20+ refund.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:20 am

There’s something so cathartic about returning unused items. Almost like a time machine.


K D February 21, 2024 at 10:46 am

I love how well a dishwasher cleans up items like your free pile picked baskets.

1. I made a big pot of bean soup in the Instant Pot using a bag of 16 bean soup mix. I added carrots and a large can of tomatoes. I also used a large onion and some spices. I put it outside to cool while I was away for a few hours late morning then put it in jars to store in the refrigerator.

2. I stopped at Sam’s Club and picked up some Tylenol. I remembered to pay for it with our Flexible Spending Account debit card. We are still working on spending 2023 funds. I picked up a few other items while I was there.

3. A local bookstore is having a fill a tote bag with used books for $20 event. I was near there this morning so walked over to take a look. There was not much that interested me so I didn’t buy anything but I did discover there are shelves where you can exchange jigsaw puzzles: leave one, take one, or swap one.

4. A friend is losing her part time job (she is being paid to do not much for a month then will receive 20 weeks of severance pay). I was able to arrange a walk, on a local trail, with her at the last minute yesterday. Walking with a friend is a social outlet for me and the price is right.

5. We were not receiving mail on a regular basis (no mail Wednesday – Saturday last week) and the next door neighbor said she did receive mail. I broke down and signed up for Informed Delivery. It showed at least four pieces of mail should have been delivered but were not. They were not important but still. Now I will keep an eye on things, something I didn’t want to do. We do not seem to have a regular carrier and it is not unusual for whoever delivers to be distracted by phone conversation. I don’t like having to keep on top of yet another thing but I don’t want to potentially not have important mail delivered. I’m done ranting.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 11:18 am

I wrote a blog post a few years back about all the things that can go in a dishwasher:

That sounds like it was a thoroughly delicious soup!


A. Marie February 21, 2024 at 11:59 am

Our current mail carrier on our otherwise excellent street is a sourpuss who (a) frequently mixes up mail and (b) often can’t be bothered to take his earbuds out long enough to answer a question. The USPS, like many other things, is going to hell in a handbasket. (OK, that’s my Andy Rooney moment for now. And if you’re old enough to remember Andy Rooney, you’re in my age group.)


Lindsey February 21, 2024 at 6:10 pm

Not going to hell in a handbasket here, A. Marie. Our last guy, who used to check in on the elderly even if they had no mail that day, retired (and died about a month later) and was replaced by an equally wonderful guy. Cheerful, goes out of his way to hide packages if he can so they don’t get stolen (although porch pirates are not very common in our area, anyway), will apologize on the rare occasions he misdelivers, Waves when you drive by him in other parts of the street. Really cannot say enough good about him. Maybe you need to move to Alaska!


MB in MN February 21, 2024 at 6:32 pm

K D, I’m a big fan of Informed Delivery. It sure helps to know when something is supposed to be delivered and then doesn’t arrive. On occasion I’ve flagged that I didn’t receive a mail piece and it is usually delivered soon thereafter.


geri February 29, 2024 at 2:12 pm

KD-I am having that exact problem with my mail; as an added problem Informed Delivery is showing “we have a piece of mail for which we don’t have a photograph” quite often-which makes figuring out what’s missing even more of a mystery. Please let us know if you are able to figure out anything which improves the situation-pretty desperate here, especially around tax season. Had my identity stolen a few years back because our carrier delivered mail while it was on hold, and spending hours trying to fix that mess was NOT thrifty-and very time consuming!


Ashley Bananas February 21, 2024 at 11:41 am

Grocery prices really do seem predatory right now. I was walking through Walmart this morning and Oreo cookies were $5 a package. Their discounted red meat was 4.90 a lb. There is no relief at the check out line.


A. Marie February 21, 2024 at 12:32 pm

FTFT, A Day Out Edition:

(1) I put pedal to the metal and completed my tax paperwork package Tuesday. I then dropped this off at our longtime tax preparer’s office this morning. Both the office receptionist and the preparer are warm, good-hearted souls, and were genuinely distressed to hear about DH and concerned about me. I suppose that my tax situation is now simple enough that I could do it with TurboTax or whatever henceforth–but (a) it certainly wasn’t simple back when DH was a landlord; (b) I’m grateful for the personal touch; and (c) this is far enough out of my skill set that I’m OK with continuing to pay for this service.

(2) Because we’re enjoying a brilliantly sunny day today, I then treated myself to a ramble through a Thrifty Shopper and a Salvation Army north of my usual digs. This particular Thrifty Shopper is one of my happy places, and I had some brilliant finds–including:

(a) Two *huge* Vera Bradley bags in perfect condition that will be gifts at this year’s Triple Birthday Celebration for JASNA BFF and my JASNA Panera friend in August. (JASNA BFF calls us all VBBAs, for Vera Bradley Bag Addicts.) These were $7 and $8.
(b) Pristine CDs with the original Broadway cast recordings of South Pacific and Ain’t Misbehavin’, for 99 cents apiece. (Yes, I know I’ve been culling CDs, but I simply couldn’t resist these two.)
(c) One of those wooden foot roller things for $3, which I have blissfully been rolling my sock feet on ever since I got home. (I’ll worry about athlete’s foot later.)

(5) And since my three-part (2) really counts as three, I’ll end with my thrifty lunch of a $5 haddock sandwich at our local Fish Company. The sandwich is big enough to satisfy my fried fish craving without constituting a Filet of Moby Dick. And the weather was fine enough that I ate it outside, washing it down with the Gatorade Zero I had with me in the car.

There’s more, but I’ll save it for the next FFT or FTFT.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 1:19 pm

Yum, I love fish! Sounds like doing your taxes with the company you’ve used long term is worth every penny.


Bee February 21, 2024 at 3:56 pm

I would buy the South Pacific CD just to hear, “I’m Gonna Wash Z
That Man Right Outta My Hair.” My momma would sing done version of this when ever my sisters and I were having “boy trouble” as teenagers. A fun memory!


Lindsey February 21, 2024 at 6:16 pm

I am a sucker for Broadway cast recordings. Also fish sandwiches. Also Vera bags, although I don’t care for some of the more recent patterns. I used to get them at a cut rate from friends who owned a Vera store, and after I quit a regular job I sold some of the many I had collected. I no longer carry a purse (and really they had been treated more like briefcases) because my bras are commodious enough to carry my phone and a small wallet. I have turned into my grandmother, who insisted I carry my cash in my bra because that way they “will have to rape you to rob you.”


Selena February 21, 2024 at 8:16 pm

@Lindsey – LMAO at your grandmother’s insist. Though odds are she was more right than wrong – money beats a lot of things (including rock, paper, scissor).


Anne February 23, 2024 at 11:03 am

I love that you can cram a wallet into one of your bra cups, but isn’t it a little embarassing when you have to answer the phone or pay for something?


Lindsey February 23, 2024 at 12:30 pm

Not to me. I just dig right in there, after I say “Excuse me. My breast is calling.” I do turn slightly so there is less digging for them to witness. My husband just rolls his eyes. I have just found it so much easier not to carry a purse, so it is worth it to me. I also have slowly changed out all clothing does not have pockets, and I mean commodious pockets. I wear a leg brace so pants seldom work for me unless they are of thin material, like leggings., so all my dresses or long tunics have large pockets. However, if I do have something with no pockets, it is the boob packet for me.


Ecoteri February 21, 2024 at 11:27 pm

oooo. I love me a fish sandwich. Going to eat down the fridge for a few more weeks while watching the sales, boxes of frozen fillets come up in rotation and when I buy them, we inhale them. Gives me an excuse to make buns/rolls instead of bread, too!


Heidi Louise February 22, 2024 at 7:11 am

With the start of Lent, this is a good time to find frozen fish fillets.


Bee February 21, 2024 at 1:00 pm

The first few days of the week have not been marked by really frugal choices or activities.
* I had the arborist come and care for my palm trees ahead of hurricane season. Certain types of palm trees can become home to rodents and raccoons, so it’s important to keep them trimmed. In a few weeks, the arborist will come again to trim up my oaks removing the branches that are over the house. I guess this is frugal because it Mitigates against more expensive services and repairs.
* It was time for my Semi-annual bloodwork. My insurance requires me to use a specific lab. However every time I go to have this work done, I have a different phlebotomist. Not all phlebotomists are created equal. On my husband‘s last visit earlier in the month, he was poked three times as the tech searched for his vein. Ugh!!! I decided this was not for me. My endocrinologist has a phlebotomist on staff, so I paid the $20 fee to have my blood drawn in her office by a phlebotomist that wasn’t going to make me into a pincushion. Not frugal but painless and uneventful.
* I used my YMCA membership and trotted 5 miles on the elliptical yesterday while listening to a library book. Love my library!
* I pulled out my mending, but haven’t mended a thing as of yet. Do I get credit for thinking about it?
* Made a trip to Costco today since I was near by for 40lbs of dog food, 40lbs of Kitty Litter and coffee.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 1:16 pm

Yes, you get credit. A journey of a thousand miles . . . .


Heidi Louise February 21, 2024 at 3:45 pm

It’s amazing how one (ignorant me) would think all phlebotomists have the same training, yet some of them are So Bad.
And some are not.


A. Marie February 21, 2024 at 4:27 pm

With phlebotomists, I think that personal skill and touch matter as much as, if not more than, anything. At the same lab, I’ve gotten some who did it so well I didn’t even know when the needle went in, and others who not only inflicted pain but left me completely black and blue. Go figure.


Selena February 21, 2024 at 8:19 pm

@A. Marie – I hear you re: black and blue. I always ask the phlebotomist use the smallest needle s/he has. Not all listen and the worst one left me with a bruise that extended inches above “the stick” and inches below it. I was not happy.


Anne February 23, 2024 at 11:06 am

And it also just depends on how experienced they are. It is a slightly difficult skill that gets better with time. When you’ve done hundreds you are usually pretty good, when you’re starting out you’re not so skilled.


Selena February 23, 2024 at 8:11 pm

The “bruiser” I had was not a novice. Not sure what her problem was that day.

Jill A February 21, 2024 at 2:17 pm

1. I clipped my dogs nails. This is a recurring thing that has saved me hundreds of dollars so really not tiny.
2. I walked two mornings in a row with my friend at a local nature trail. Free exercise.
3. We ate leftovers for dinner last night. The bread had gone moldy so I took some rolls out of the freezer leftover from Christmas and we had those with our meal.
4. I listed a couple more items on Ebay and sold a few. Money in, crap out.
5. I picked up oil free facial lotion for sensitive skin at the discount grocery store. It was 59 cents a bottle. I bought some a few weeks and to try and my daughter and I both liked it.


Ecoteri February 21, 2024 at 11:26 pm

@Jill A, I would love to know more about clipping your dog’s nails. Mine is old and was used when we got her – something terrorized her about her feet and we used to have to get the vet to knock her out in order to clip her nails. Right now I take her to a lovely groomer, but at $30 a pop (with the tip) I am beginning to consider trying again with her. Treats and a rotary tool of some kind is my plan, do you have suggestions or do you actually clip?


Jill A February 22, 2024 at 4:52 am

Ecoteri, I actually clip her nails. This is the first dog I’ve done it on. I bought a clipper on Amazon and styptic powder in case I cut to far (so far I haven’t done that). She is very cooperative and it’s easier because most of her nails are white so you can see where the vein is. I also probably clip a smaller amount than a professional would because I’m alway nervous about clipping too much.


Roberta February 22, 2024 at 8:53 am

We have had good luck with using cornstarch as styptic powder over the years. We have chickens, and when you have to remove a roosters spurs there is always a small amount of bleeding.


Selena February 22, 2024 at 8:26 pm

Wow, they still make styptic – blast from my past as I remember one of my grandpa’s had it in the medicine cabinet. Old school blade shaver (not straight razor) for him. AND the medicine chest had a slot to drop used blades. Wonder how many remodels have found a stash of razor blades!


Linda M February 21, 2024 at 5:39 pm

I absolutely am over the moon when someone else cooks for me! Sure doesn’t have to be fancy…quite the gift for sure.


Lindsey February 21, 2024 at 6:32 pm

1. I had an MRI this morning. I am very claustrophobic and the new imaging center does not do drugs and it was weeks to get it at the hospital where I can be given fentanyl. So far no anti-anxiety drugs have worked for me, so this time I had to tough it out. (I think it alarmed the tech when I had to stop by the bathroom to vomit before I went into the machine.) I lived so the husband took me out to the best hoagie place on the planet. They screwed up the order, admitted it, replaced it and gave me the wrong order to take home rather then throw it away. Husband was very polite and explained that I was there to be pampered so please bring us the correct order. They did and then added a dessert for free. So now we will share the wrong order for lunch tomorrow!
2. I do quilling, but rarely. The wife of my husband’s singing group member fell and died as a result. I made what turned out to be a lovely card (not always the case). In the store these are about $15 so saved money.
3. Did a grocery shop where I have to buy at least three items that will equal over a specific dollar amount. Found three BOGO items that I wanted, so got double the value of the shop.
4. Exchanged a bag of magazines with a neighbor so we each got fresh reading material.
5. Found four containers of small amounts of soup in the freezer. Put them all together, added a small amount of cream, and it was a tasty lunch for the two of us for three days.


MB in MN February 21, 2024 at 6:42 pm

Lindsey, I had to look up quilling cards. So beautiful! I had seen them before but didn’t know they had a special name.


texasilver February 21, 2024 at 8:47 pm

On my after- school walk, I visited some apartment buildings. I looked in their dumpsters. I saw 2 new toilet seats peeking out of their boxes. I figured the maintenance dept. had bought the wrong size. I couldn’t reach them though. Later that evening after hubby & I went out to eat (using a BOGO coupon) we returned to the dumpster. He got the toilet seats out. I have been wanting a new toilet seat but my husband was too cheap to buy one. He painted the old one. Well, the paint was peeling off now. He installed my new toilet seat & I am happy. I never know what I will find. It’s an adventure.


Katy February 21, 2024 at 9:15 pm

Okay, you win today’s award for most frugal! You and I are both in the same club:


Ecoteri February 21, 2024 at 11:23 pm

@texasilver, that your husband is so onboard with this dumpster diving adventure just warms my soul. I BET you are enjoying your new-to-you, non-peeling toilet seat! You and Katy must be sisters from a different mother…


texasilver February 22, 2024 at 11:06 am

I am using a ploy from Katy’s playbook.
Hubby was full of restaurant food & grumbled a bit, but I was driving. So off we went to the dumpster. Afterwards he said it was a fun evening. We are easily entertained.


BettafrmdaVille February 21, 2024 at 10:24 pm

1. For mystery shop that was downtown, we were able to easily find on-street parking, and it was free due to President’s Day (I had researched and found a garage that was $10).
2. Our over-the-range microwave died. I found one on-sale and in the open-box section saving over 50% off cost
3. Convinced my partner that we can ABSOLUTELY (fingers crossed) install it ourselves, saving $299 in delivery and installation costs. We remembered that our neighbor is super-handy with reno, so we’ll make him dinner and he’ll help us install it.
4. I’ve been reading about heated mattress pads. I found one on the-place-that-Katy-hates, but it was on sale with 20% off coupon and it is GLORIOUS. I don’t even put the heat on in the bedroom now. It is cold when I get up but it just means that I get dressed really quickly.
5. Made myself a eat-in-the car dinner to have tomorrow night for my 3.5 hour commute. (Lindsey: my job is in academia, and since the jobs can be hard to come by, I split my time between 2 different states).


Ecoteri February 21, 2024 at 11:21 pm

@BettafrmdaVille, you so CAN install that microwave, you and the Reno guy neighbour, a good meal and YouTube. Even if the meal cost $299, (as if) it would be more informative and fun and educational and simply feel better…. Go you!
The heated mattress pad reminds me of the new-to-me car that we got from a friend’s son a couple of years ago. He had installed a nice new stereo, which had a backup camera, and also installed heated seat pads. (he did switch the pads so the controls are backwards, but I ain’t complaining). I have heated seats in our other vehicle, and these achy days I am tempted to just go drive errands because that heat is so deliciously soothing. I love the idea of the mattress pad rather than an electric blanket – seems it would heat me differently.
As for your horrendous commute, I imagine you either have good audio books, radio programs or music playlists. And wonder if you stay overnight and drive back the next day or two days later? Long days but if you kind of like the work, might be worthwhile. hope you are doing that drive infrequently not 4 times a week…


BettafrmdaVille February 22, 2024 at 8:17 pm

Spotify and free library audiobooks on Hoopla save me on my long commute! This semester, I drive down Monday night and return Thursday night, so I have a few days of respite between each long drive….


Katy February 22, 2024 at 11:29 am

Hooray for discounted appliances!


Ecoteri February 21, 2024 at 11:15 pm

1. (Fail?) I made bread again, and for some brain-fart reason set the oven at 4:15 not 3:75, by the time I smelled browning the brown was heading to – er – black. Of course, this was the extra seedy bread with extra seeds on top! Put some tinfoil on top and dropped oven to – get this – 3:25 (where was my brain?) and cooked it for longer. Finally figured out who I was and what planet I was on, got the oven to 3:50 where it should have been, kept pulling the loaf out and thumping the bottom, and since I had to leave for an appointment (1-1/2 hours after I started the bread cooking…) I gave up and pulled it out. Currently it sits, brownly/black on top and pale on the bottom (like #2 son after his not-great holiday to Costa Rica. What is brown is BROWN, what was covered is NOT BROWN). I fear slicing it but need to gird my loins and do so, perhaps shave off some of the most offensive bits, and put the rest into the freezer while I slink in shame. #2 son will steal it anyway, for his lunches, however I am still shaking my head about wherever self-same head WAS.
2. During the bread fiasco, I did, however, manage to also cook a pan of discount chicken drumsticks (homemade shake and bake for the win! I make it in quantity and store in a quart canning jar. I put some into a bowl, and pour some of THAT into the sacrificial produce plastic bag. I only add more to the bag if the chicken isn’t getting coated any more. What is left in the pristine bowl goes back in my jar.)
I also got a YUGE orange yam (bought before Christmas and neglected ever since ) peeled and sliced into 1/4 X 4” diameter rounds, smeared with olive oil and placed on another pan (three rack oven for the win).
Due to my creative oven temperature variations, both these things took longer to cook than ever before – however they are both temperature-flexible foods. They yams turned out like candy – what should have been 4 servings disappeared into our gullets in one sitting. The drumsticks are still on sale tomorrow, and since #2 and I have already eaten two trays worth this week, I think I need to stock up a few.
3. I continue to try to ‘take one for the team’ by cooking up the discount brownie mixes that are now stale dated. For some reason, the team doesn’t feel this is a hardship and (thank goodness) #2 son is doing yeoman’s duty and eating (almost ) his fair share.
4. I have now discovered that the newest fantasy series i am reading (on my $9 for 3 month Kindle Unlimited promo) HAS NOT ALL BEEN WRITTEN. This is the third darn set of books I have discovered that is really new and really EXCELLENT and really NOT FINISHED BEING WRITTEN. Shades of younger me, impatiently hanging out on cliffs, waiting with bated breath to find out what will happen to my beloved characters… I am being forced to read all kinds of back catalogues of these newly discovered authors. Luckily, seems that “Kingle Not-Everything” actually carries some of these books, so I can attempt to sooth my sorrows.
5. My housekeeper was given free-rein in my living room (often off limits due to piles of books and projects). She didn’t need to be told twice, and it all is vacuumed and dusted and tidied (with direction) and even a bit staged. This, and the fact she strips my bed and remakes it after I wash the sheets (and stages the bed beautifully, with all 11 pillows that I seem to need), make me feel completely justified in spending the money for her service. She brings me peace of house, and I can spend my limited energy doing things I much prefer to do.


Katy February 22, 2024 at 11:28 am

I love that she “stages” the house!


Ashley Bananas February 22, 2024 at 7:49 am

1. I took home a ring pop for my son from the free table at work. He ate it as soon as I brought it home.
2. I accepted two bottles of vegetable oil and four boxes of generic mac and cheese from a friend who gave them away in our neighborhood Facebook group. Oil is between $3-4 a bottle now and we often use it in baking and pop corn making. Very excited for this.
3. Last night my son requested pizza. We have been getting Little Caesar’s stuffed crust which was on promotion for $9, it is no longer on promotion and is ~$14. We changed the order to the new promotion of half pizza half sticks for ~$7. He enjoyed the treat, I enjoyed the savings.
4. I bought two new to me shirts in a local Facebook auction site for $1. .50 each? Thank you!! Those are yard sale prices and far better than Goodwill lately.
5. I took time this morning before work to work on my monthly accounting and spreadsheet. I also decided to scan all receipts into Fetch and Receipt Hog. I am excited for the day I can cash out a gift card on Fetch, and cash out on Receipt Hog.
6. I drink a protein drink every day. I recently bought Walmart brand to see if the savings were worth it for the taste. I will stick to my regular brand and keep looking for it on sale at Costco. Savings attempted, but not a hit.


Katy February 22, 2024 at 11:25 am

A buck-fifty is an excellent price for a shirt, well done!


Ashley Bananas February 22, 2024 at 12:57 pm

I think it typed out funny….it’s $1 for both shirts, so .50 cents each!!!! Score!!!

Totally need new shirts in my size too.


Katy February 22, 2024 at 3:23 pm

Even better!


Susie's Daughter February 23, 2024 at 7:16 am

1) We are going on vacation to a warm place that requires sunscreen. When the time comes, I think the math is worth paying to check a bag rather than search for, buy and then discard the size bottle of sunscreen we will need for the week. Plus, it means we can take other things (regular lotion, snacks etc) which will offset the bag cost.

2) Made refried beans in the instant pot with “pink beans”, rather than pinto last night because that’s what we had. Still delicious and still makes a ton. We had yummy nachos at home last night – 4 meals for the price of one order out.

3) Made orange muffins for breakfast this week using juice from squeezing the sad looking and neglected oranges in the produce bin. Did same with some questionable lemons and lemon juice is in freezer for some future need.

4) Reading three books on Libby.

5) Continuing to make “mocha” with instant coffee and cocoa at home. Tasty and already paid for.


Liz B. February 24, 2024 at 8:31 am

The mocha idea is brilliant! We have an overabundance of hot cocoa mix….I think I’ll borrow your idea. Thanks!


Susie's Daughter February 24, 2024 at 9:37 am

Hi Liz! It’s a game changer for those days when I want “fancy” coffee! I like my coffee strong so I use a TB of instant and a TB of cocoa mix in a 12 ounce mug. Enjoy!


Anna Chan February 27, 2024 at 7:47 am

I really hate throwing away perfectly good food, but we always have an abundance of chocolate after the holidays, but I have found a way to make mochas with it. I put it all in the food processor and grid it up. I put a scoop in my coffee cup then add some boiling water to dissolve it, then I pour my coffee in the cup, it’s delicious.


Vickey March 23, 2024 at 9:20 am

Thanks for the inspo, you three! I’ll be adding cocoa powder (avoiding the sat fats in chocolate) to my homemade midday “level-up” Masala soylatte coffee now. Yummy!

Katelyn February 23, 2024 at 3:16 pm

The excessive ads and popups on your page are extremely annoying and make your site lag immensely. What happened to non-consumerism?


Katy February 23, 2024 at 6:54 pm

Are the pop ups covering the content? That was an issue in the past which I hope has not returned.

It costs money to run this his blog, ($90/month for hosting, $30/year for domain registration and random extra costs for tech assistance) which costs money. I’ve put countless hours of work into the blog since 2008 and making a bit of money from it is one of the rewards. I don’t do sponsored posts or Amazon affiliate links like other blogs do. If the blog is lagging it’s because the blog has been extra popular lately due to inflation.

Hopefully you can look past the ads and find some content that speaks to you.


Marie February 23, 2024 at 7:53 pm

Last year the pop up ads were bad. This year, I find if I keep
X-ing them out they go away.
P!us I just deal with them.


Jill A February 24, 2024 at 6:26 am

I haven’t had any more problems with it either on my laptop or my phone. The adds are not covering content and I agree they are easy to x out of and they go away but usually I don’t even have to do that. I just let them run because they aren’t bothering me.


Heidi Louise February 24, 2024 at 7:05 am

I agree with Jill A– they aren’t covering content on my laptop, are all in the right hand column. This is not the situation it was last year.


Katelyn February 24, 2024 at 9:19 am

They consistently cover content for me and it’s become an effort to navigate the site. As I type this, two popup ads have halted my typing and scrolled the page back to the top.

I have no problem with recouping expenses, but I think I’ll bow out until the popups go away.


Katy February 24, 2024 at 11:07 am

That sounds really frustrating, I’m sorry that the ads are loading that way on your computer. I wish I had the ability to adjust the code from my end, but alas I do not.


BettafrmdaVille February 24, 2024 at 9:56 am

I’m on a laptop and have no issues.

Thank you, Katy, for providing all of us with a place where we can share ideas, inspire each other, and often laugh. I also think that it is great if you can make some money to acknowledge all of the work/effort that you put into this blog as well as any cost that you incur! It is my favorite! (Along with The Frugal Girl)


MB in MN February 24, 2024 at 10:28 am

I totally agree! The content and community here are great and the ads are part of the deal. Thank you, Katy, for all of your efforts in making this a free site for us. Free = non-consumerism.


Selena February 23, 2024 at 8:16 pm

Not sure why but I only see an eBay and Powell’s “clickable picture” on the upper right side of this page and experience no pop-ups.


Anna Chan February 27, 2024 at 10:13 am

I do not have any issues either with ads blocking the content, @Katelyn, the fix could be as simple as turning on the pop up blocker in your settings. If someone with more technical experience would like to weigh in, that would be great.


Nancy from mass February 24, 2024 at 5:53 pm

Great score on all the veggies!

1. I went to an indoor farmers market last weekend and got a bunch of meats and veggies all for $60.
2. Since the bok choy I bought two weeks ago had roots still on it, I put them in water, and I have new baby bok choy growing!
3. Turns out, when I was battling water last month in my basement, I re-tore my rotator cuff. So, I have an appointment with my ortho to discuss the findings from my MRI and see when I will have surgery.(I had reconstructive surgery on it in 2011 after an injury and then foolishly swimming4 days before my surgery. yes, I was an idiot) my shoulder had been fine for the last 12 years.
4. I helped a friend put together a small bookcase (yes, with a sore shoulder) so she bought me lunch as a thank you. She takes care of her mother with dementia and I’m the back up. It was a lovely visit and her mom looked really good today.
5. I didn’t give money to a supposed billionaire to pay his massive fines


geri February 29, 2024 at 2:29 pm

Love your #5!


ANNA February 26, 2024 at 8:10 am

I love the free pile culture that exists in your area. My husband never stops the car when we pass a free pile, claiming that we have enough stuff already, maybe he’s right, I haven’t looked at the free stuff to see if there is anything good. I am hoping you will do an updated free-pile photo essay soon. Thank you for all of your work and effort for this blog.


Katy February 26, 2024 at 4:47 pm

Feel pile season is right around the corner here, as most people don’t set things out in the rainy season. I’ll be sure to put together a dedicated post in a month or two.


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