Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on March 14, 2024 · 66 comments

My husband and I just got back from my aunt’s memorial service in Nebraska and are completely and utterly knackered. Okay, we actually got back yesterday, but yesterday was a blur and doesn’t count. I’m going to string some sentences together and count it as a blog post.

  1. I found just two single pennies over the five days of this trip. An extremely low amount, but I wasn’t exactly out and about while in Nebraska. I can’t exactly scour through my cousin’s house in the name of seeding the Found Change Challenge.

  2. My husband and I set our alarms every single day to take full advantage of the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Not because the food was in any way amazing, but because we’d paid for it and by gum we were going to get our money’s worth! However, I’m very good at hacking a mediocre hotel breakfast and figured out that you can top the oatmeal packs with the chopped nuts that are set out for yogurt. Filling, high fiber and actually pretty yummy. I also put any snobbery aside and ate the likely powdered scrambled eggs. Lastly, their coffee was halfway decent.

  3. The person sitting next to me on the Denver –> Portland flight was a premier frequent flier and got a free $10 tapas snack box, which he handed over to me. My husband and I packed food for the day, so I tucked it into my backpack. I then gave it to my son as a treat/gag gift as he loved the word “tapas” in high school and took any opportunity to say it.

  4. • Although we ate multiple meals at my cousin’s house we also took everyone out for brunch one day and my mother and step father out for dinner another. Not officially frugal, but worth every penny. However, Nebraska restaurants are so much cheaper than Portland!
    • My husband and I walked the Holmes Lake trail loop one afternoon as it was sunny and barely even windy. We had perfect warm weather every single day of our trip and I kept joking that people should consider tropical Nebraska as a destination to escape the winter blues.
    • We moved our flight up from late afternoon to morning as Denver was forecast for a dramatic snow storm. There are precisely zero direct flights from Portland to Lincoln, Nebraska.
    • I gave the last of our Aldi purchased Mandarin oranges to my cousin.

  5. I didn’t thrift a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill A March 14, 2024 at 10:20 am

Welcome back. Traveling is very, very exhausting, especially if you’re flying. I actually prefer to drive if I can. It takes longer but I hate feeling rushed. It’s emotionally exhausting for me. TSA makes me feel like I’m in a herd of cattle.
1. I took my car in for a free tire rotation at Costco and it took a long time. They repaired two leaky valve stems. I wandered the aisles and ate free samples for lunch while I waited.
2. I found a nickel and a 1904 Indian Head penny on the floor at Costco. I never find change. My husband was a coin collector so I know he would have been happy.
3. I stocked up on spices and a huge bottle of vanilla at a very clean estate sale.
4. I tried a new veggie burger recipe that turned out to be really good. It made 8 burgers and we already had them two nights in a row. I’ve frozen the rest.
5. I returned all my empty cans to Meijer. I purchased a few groceries while I was there and after the can return rebate I only owed 19 cents.


Katy March 14, 2024 at 11:17 am

I loved that you specified that it was a “very clean garage sale!” And although TSA wasn’t actually too bad, it is so very tiring none the less.


Bee March 14, 2024 at 1:24 pm

When you shop at estate sales as opposed to general thrifting, you are able to see the environment that your items came from. This is wonderful when you are buying specific items like soft furnishings or pantry items. I once bought a case of black olives at a sale. Although I love an estate sale like Jill, there are certain thing that I’ll only buy from a clean house.


Liz B. March 14, 2024 at 3:06 pm

Lol, last year, I went to an “estate sale” at a home that had been unlived in for at least 4 years, and had not been well tended for at least three years before that. (The owner’s daughter had let it sit empty for several years after her dad went to live in a nursing home). As you can guess, it was a filthy disaster. I did find some wonderful vintage items, but only bought things that could be washed and disinfected. I did manage to sell some of the vintage clothing for the daughter.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl March 14, 2024 at 10:29 am

I bet you loved those blue skies! Did you come back looking sun-kissed?


Katy March 14, 2024 at 11:15 am

Indeed I did. Also with very dry skin though, as my body is not used to such low humidity.


K D March 15, 2024 at 8:49 am

They say that flying dries you out so you had a double whammy with the low humidity as well. I’m sure it will be humid in NE in the summer.


Marybeth from NY March 14, 2024 at 10:51 am

We are still sick.
1. Friend dropped off a cabbage because it was on sale for 19¢ a pound and she knows I’m home sick. She wouldn’t take money for it.
2. Hubby is working from home all week so that he doesn’t get anyone else sick. No gas being used.
3. My son went to Aldi for us since he was going for himself. He bought the few things I asked for so no splurging.
4. The mending pile is done. I fixed several things for my son too.
5. Using the crockpot because I can load it up when I feel up to it and we eat whenever we want.


Katy March 14, 2024 at 11:15 am

Ooh . . . the bottom of a mending pile is a glorious thing!


Coral Clarke March 14, 2024 at 3:59 pm

I can only say that I have heard this is so! I cannot speak from personal experience! I’m pretty good with current stuff, but the same couple of items ( which I reallySHOULD do) still linger on! I should donate them to a museum, I’m sure they would qualify as artefacts by now!


Peg March 14, 2024 at 10:55 am

Smart move to change flights! We are in SE Wyoming, it’s not especially nice here today, but Denver (especially south Denver) is getting hit hard. A family member just called from DIA, and as of right now, it’s not bad at the airport.


Katy March 14, 2024 at 11:14 am

I’d love to take full credit, but United sent a notification about the weather forecast a day in advance.


Becky March 14, 2024 at 12:49 pm

Katy, have you ever done a post with all your travel tips? Travel is my splurge but I’d still like to stretch that dollar as far as possible.


Heidi Louise March 14, 2024 at 11:23 am

I was flying back from San Francisco to Chicago one March and had a choice of changing planes in Denver or St. Louis for the same fare. Without a strong reason when I booked, I chose St. Louis. Turned out that took me safely south of the blizzard shutting down Denver that day.


Katy March 14, 2024 at 11:31 am

Even without a “strong reason” you were still very smart!


Betty March 14, 2024 at 12:21 pm

1. Dropped off a bag of craft magazines at the library for their craft exchange on Saturday and got 16 tickets!
2. Helped my son buy some frugal clothes at TJ Maxx for his wedding tomorrow ( yes he waited till the last minute)
3. He’s using his grandpa’s wedding ring, which we had resized ( using money from the sale of a ring of my mind I didn’t want)
4. Went to a business expo this weekend and got a lot of freebies, including some free solar eclipse glasses were gonna need in April and some odds and ends I can put in my operation Christmas child boxes this year
5. Did a lot of reading and watching movies this week, all courtesy of the public library!
6. Also picked up some gorgeous yarn from the thrift shop which I used to make a hat as a thank you gift for the woman who’s funding my trip to a college reunion in October


Bee March 14, 2024 at 1:28 pm

Grandpa’s wedding ring! That is wonderful and sweet.


Coral Clarke March 14, 2024 at 4:10 pm

My father( who died when my grandson was 3) absolutely adored him, and they shared a middle name. For my grandsons 21st I had my father’s ring resized and re-engraved,as the monogram had worn right off ( carpenters are hard on rings!) I was going to have grandsons initials, but he requested his grandfathers , which I thought was sweet.My mother donated a very fine broken gold chain to fund the resize, I paid for the redidesign of the monogram and the engraving. I had written a brief life story of my father when started losing his memory( he LOVED it) and I photocopied the page ( including photos) about his RAF war service years( when he was 21) to wrap the gift. The wrapping paper was read by everyone, and , at the same age, really meant a great deal to my grandson, who had only known him as an old man.

Jill A March 15, 2024 at 5:11 am

Coral, that is such a wonderful thing that you did. I love it.

Crunchycon March 17, 2024 at 2:32 am

I love family wedding rings. Thirty-four years ago, my DH and I were broke grad students, I had enough money to buy him a ring at some place called Service Merchandise. My ring came from a ziplock bag produced by my mother – it was the ring Dad had give her at their wedding when they were broke college students and they found their rings at a jewelry close out, so goodness know how old it really is (she upgraded many years later). I love wearing a ring that has my parents’ initials engraved on the inside.

Jill A March 15, 2024 at 5:10 am

I love that he waited until the day before his wedding to buy his clothing and especially love that he’ll wear his grandfathers ring.


Ruby March 14, 2024 at 12:03 pm

Tropical Nebraska is very funny!

The frugal stuff at my house:
1. Used a $5 off anything coupon at the hardware store to knock the price of a bag of mortar mix down to $3.36. Used it to repair some cracks in our patio and walkway.
2. Used the 10% off coupon at Ollie’s Outlet to buy discounted coffee, cat litter, puppy pee pads, canned salmon, mac & cheese, and some new towels. The coupon saved me $6, which was like getting free coffee and mac & cheese.
3. Next up was a trip up the street to Aldi for Winking Owl wine, salami, cheese, strawberries, raspberries, and sandwich bread.
4. Stopped at the auto electronics shop a little farther up the street and got a price on a Sony navigation system for my 14-year-old car. It equals about two months of a new car payment. One of my friends bought a new car just because the family’s older, perfectly good car did not have newer tech. Ouch.
5. At Aldi, I got to use the quarter holder for my keychain I made out of a little piece of leather on a bead chain. It had been a zipper pull for an old purse. Folded in half with a couple of stitches on each side, it holds an Aldi cart quarter perfectly.


Pat March 14, 2024 at 3:49 pm

LOL.I can top your new car because of tech.
I live in an apartment for over 55,a neighbor who mind you uses a scooter,just bought a fairly late model Ford Fusion…pretty!
She got it about 2 weeks ago,I remarked to my friend as we were leaving in my car,wondering whose car it was.
I’ve gotten to know what car belongs to who and we keep an eye on everybody’s.
She had a really cute little Kia Soul that she rarely drove.
In fact when we get a lot of snow, NYS,we move our cars so they can thoroughly clear & salt the lot and 1 of our guys would move the car for her.
None of my business, obviously,but I guess it’s truly textbook having more money than sense!


Ruby March 15, 2024 at 11:55 am

She probably was married to someone and/or raised by someone who said cars should be replaced on a certain time schedule. Which was true decades ago, but not now. Or there’s the possibility that her insurance company declined to insure a Kia, as there’s a serious problem with ease of theft with them.

I was really surprised that my friend, who is quite a techy person, did not try to get an aftermarket navigation system on the older car because she liked that car so much. You can still buy dedicated GPS boxes for older cars, like Garmin or TomTom, which is pretty smart considering how many old cars are still on the road in the US.


Ecoteri March 15, 2024 at 9:03 pm

the 2007 (I am guessing here) Toyota Matrix that my friend’s son bought was lacking in a few things (although it had a fancy schmancy exhaust pipe!) so he invested in an updated radio/backup camera, and put after market heated seat covers in the front seats. I ended up with that vehicle and sure enjoy the tech, wouldn’t have thought to do either of those things myself, though! I love the justification (two months of a new car payment) and if you are planning to drive that vehicle for more years, you might as well enjoy!


Vickey March 26, 2024 at 3:29 pm

When I read that she had owned a Kia Soul, I did wonder if perhaps it had been stolen.


Bee March 14, 2024 at 1:07 pm

Family time is precious. I hope that you can have a restful day and recover from your trip. Traveling can really take it out of you.

1. When I had my car serviced, the service coordinator told me that I needed new windshield wipers. The price to replace them at the dealership was $60. I respectfully declined this service, and then I purchased them at Costco on my last visit for $8 each. They are on sale this month and a very easy DIY fix.
2. I stopped into Whole Foods. I know the thrifty among you are a bit surprised, but it is the only store nearby that carries the gluten-free flour that I prefer. Since I was already there, I thought that would pick up cabbage, carrots and potatoes for St. Patty’s Day supper saving another stop. However, the cabbage was $1.99 per pound. Since cabbage is so heavy, I decided to weigh it before purchasing, and it was well over 4 pounds. Imagine a $9 cabbage. Heck no!!!! I put it back, bought just the flour, and made another stop. I paid just over $2 for the same size cabbage at another store.
3. The carcass from the Costco Rotisserie chicken that I recently purchased is currently in the IP along with celery leaves, carrot ends, and inner onion peels. Today’s broth will be the basis for tonight’s rice ramen. I also put in 2 whole carrots to cook in the broth. These are Rescue Pup’s favorite treat.
4. My son asked me to send his backcountry water filter along with some other gear to him as he was planning a long distance hike. Since he is a grad student, he still has a lot of stuff at our house. I looked in his storage box with all his equipment in it, and I couldn’t find anything that resembled a water filter. I had him send me a photo of the filter only to realize that I had thrown it away when cleaning up the garage. It looked just like a broken sprinkler head. Oops! Thus, I got online and ordered a new one from REI. I paid for it and was going to have my husband pick it up on the way home in the evening. I realized that I had forgotten to input my REI rewards number and I had a $16 credit waiting for me. The store clerk cancelled my order and rung it up a second time just so I could save $16 (actually $17.20 with tax.) This made it a little less painful. Good backcountry equipment is not inexpensive by any means.
5. Mary in Maryland suggested books by the author, Elinor Lipman, when I asked for light reading/listening recommendations last week. I had had read several good but heavy books in a row. My thoughts and emotions needed a break. I listened to On Turpentine Lane this week via my library app Hoopla when puttering around the house. It was just what the doctor ordered. Hoopla and Mary’s suggestion for the win!

Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Christine March 14, 2024 at 4:00 pm

I know all about having to buy a new water filter. DH forgot his filter at a shelter near the top of a mountain while hiking the Appalachian Trail. With the hiking he had ahead of him that day, he didn’t want to go back up and get it. Without it, he had to drink unfiltered water for a couple of days. Yup, you guessed. Intestinal upset that lasted too long and went undiagnosed despite testing. I think if it happened again, he’d turn around and hike back up that mountain.


Marie March 17, 2024 at 4:10 pm

Is that what you do to make rice ramen palatable?
Bought some at Costco, and husband just cooked it plain.
Apparently it was awful


Bee March 17, 2024 at 4:27 pm

I cook it in chicken broth with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and tamari, Then I add bok choy, mushrooms, and chicken. I’ve also made it with Thai peanut sauce and veggies. I imagine plainly boiled rice ramen would be rather tasteless.


Susie's Daughter March 14, 2024 at 1:56 pm

Katy, I am glad your flying was relatively uneventful (what I hope for now in the actual flying part these days) and that you were able to be with family. Nice weather is a plus too!

1) “I’ll take the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” category for 100 please, Bob!” I made yogurt in the IP today with old, OLD milk that had been frozen for a WHILE (like a year) and the yogurt seems to be just fine. I am delighted to know this as it opens up opportunities (besides baking) for nearly expired, frozen milk. Yogurt, some with lemon curd (yum!), is divided into containers and is resting in the fridge overnight to fully set. It’s a much modified recipe for a version of the expensive Australian kind that people in my household love.

2) Used the water from the milk cooling process of yogurt making to water the plants.

3) Buying much needed pants for fast growing DS from online resale sites. He is not picky about brands, but is picky about comfort.

4) Realized that the interest rate on our Home Equity line has gone up substantially to 8.5% and so that will be a focus of additional principal payments whenever we can throw more money at it.

5) Experimenting with doggie sleepovers so that we can share dog sitting with our dear friends whose dog is our dog’s bestie. This would save money, but will also make for very happy dogs and more at ease dog people. Paid dog sitters are a much sought after and often unavailable commodity in our neck of the woods.


Coral Clarke March 14, 2024 at 4:16 pm

Could a little selective dog sitting be a lucrative side hustle for you?


Selena March 16, 2024 at 7:13 pm

When interest rates are low (or too low – don’t get me started), investigate a fixed rate HELOC. The bank where we renewed our expiring HELOC offered a fixed rate option. Yep, paid a little more to renew (still had to haul in the same paperwork) but fixed rate of 4.75 to 2026. We haven’t used it but once 17 years ago. Original intent was capital in case of a major home repair (read: septic). Probably didn’t need to renew it but I knew interest rates would not be low/too low forever. Paying for a major home repair is not an issue these days so will think long and hard about renewing.


Liz B. March 14, 2024 at 3:16 pm

Bee, not related to your frugal this week, but a huge THANK YOU for mentioning recently about scouring your insurance information for any available benefits, discounts, etc. It prodded me to do the same, and discovered some discounts offered my our health insurance – including a discount at a chain fitness gym, discounts on hearing aids (hubby desperately needs them), and several others I need to pursue. My employee duscount portal also has discounted City Paases available for Boston, Mass., where my family and I will be vacationing in June. Thank you so much!


Liz B. March 14, 2024 at 3:17 pm

Employee *discount*, Boston City Passes….


Bee March 14, 2024 at 6:03 pm

I am so glad that was helpful. I couldn’t believe how much money that we were leaving on the table. It adds up quickly!


Christine March 14, 2024 at 3:44 pm

Very tiny 5 here but it all adds up.
1. DH found a dime while out hiking a trail.
2. I found another penny on the floor at work.
3. My doctor’s office overcharged me and sent me a check for $9.62. My money anyway but nice to know someone’s keeping an eye open.
4. My rhubarb is up on the southern side of my house here in Massachusetts!
5. A friend is giving me free knitting lessons.


MB in MN March 14, 2024 at 5:44 pm

1. My husband drinks a daily glass of tomato juice from a 46-ounce can. When the can is empty, I add a bit of water, swish it around, and drink the remaining diluted juice.

2. Continue to find hairbands on the ground. I wash them and use them as rubber bands.

3. Received a virtual prepaid card as a rebate from a recent dishwasher purchase. Since I don’t buy anything online, I called the company to have it converted to a physical card.

4. Used our 5% monthly discount at the food co-op.

5. Made such a flavorful broth out of frozen vegetable scraps that I was able to add more water to extend the broth.


Lindsey March 14, 2024 at 6:22 pm

1. wanted to make a quiche but didn’t have enough of the ingredients to make the crust. Instead made the crust of crushed crackers and butter; in a springform pan, it popped out nicely and gave a nice twist to the common quiche. Better yet, I made the crust from a bunch of leftover crackers, so it had some cheese, some garlic, and some pepper flavored ones.
2. Two friends wanted to go to lunch. Instead, I suggested they come to our house, and I made sandwiches with things I already had, while someone else brought DIVINE puff pastry cups filled with cream Anglaise. Cheaper, much cheaper, and we had privacy to talk.
3. Still handing out bottles of red and white cooking wine given to me by a friend moving to Las Vegas. I have not bartered, I have given away all of them. Nevertheless, this week I received several thank yous from various people, in the form of eggs from a neighbor’s chickens, two giant cinnamon rolls, and six handmade cards.
4. Library for books and puzzles
5. Husband fixed my leg brace, using gorilla glue and velcro. It cost $800 over 10 years ago so I am sure it is double that now. It looks and feels perfect.


Jill A March 15, 2024 at 5:17 am

Your husband wins the great husband award again.


A. Marie March 15, 2024 at 11:24 am

Lindsey’s husband deserves his own niche in the Great Husbands Hall of Fame–alongside my own late DH, of course. In fact, I wish the two of them could have known each other IRL.


Selena March 16, 2024 at 7:18 pm

You can add my better half to the list. I’d not live in my nice house without him and his connections. Buddy Guy sang Cheaper to Keep Her but in my case, Cheaper to Keep Him. Best part is he knows his limits – that Y chromosome doesn’t always know its limits.


Christine March 15, 2024 at 3:32 pm

Your #2…this sounds like something I would do. Restaurants tend to be noisy and I always feel like I can’t linger at the table especially when there’s a line of people waiting to be seated. I also read recently with the price of food going up everywhere, dining out is a luxury. I’ll save my “luxury” for birthdays and anniversaries (sometimes).


Kara March 14, 2024 at 6:27 pm

1. Not much frugal here, except I visited my parents for 2 days and they don’t cook, so I brought all my own food. I took my mother to an appointment, ran an errand for her and did some tasks around the house.
2. I’m taking home some old sheets from my parents that I will use to sew practice garments before I sew the real one with ‘ bought’ fabric (often something from thrift store that I cut up and use for the fabric). Actual bought fabric is quite expensive
3.Also taking free Meyer lemons home
4. I started a little embroidery kit that I had bought a while ago but was too nervous to start. I am trying hard to use what I have and not have aspirational projects taking up physical and mental space.
5. Used a gift card from a mystery shop to purchase something I needed.


Selena March 16, 2024 at 7:20 pm

I am domestically challenged but found I could embroider. Who new – haven’t done it in decades but might be a “now I’m retired” activity.


Vickey March 26, 2024 at 3:44 pm

Some who are inclined to certain perspectives + needlework might enjoy looking up the Tiny Pricks Project on Instagram and elsewhere.


Katy March 27, 2024 at 10:28 am

That name is hilarious, I fully approve!


Jill March 14, 2024 at 6:53 pm

Smart choice on the earlier flight. I’m in Denver and we’ve had 24 hours of snow, schools, and most businesses, closed yesterday and today, 70 was closed for 17 hours – basically Snowmageddon. I know that all of that is not flight related but there were 800 cancelled flights at DIA today.


Blue Gate Farmgirl March 14, 2024 at 7:38 pm

So glad you got sunshine in Nebraska and you came home to fab-oh sunshine in P-town! You might actually get a tan line in the next few days if you’re not careful! I have been cleaning out my dad’s office and found tucked away in the back of the closet a 2 drawer file cabinet. In it were family treasures from my grandparent’s business and dad’s business accounting from 2005. Of course, I’m loving going thru it all and seeing dad’s handwriting (he was an engineer). My mom urged me to just shred everything in one fell swoop. Stubborn is my middle name, today I found an envelope still sealed from the bank with $44.01 in it. I handed it to mom and she gleefully squirreled it away.
The neighbor showed me his jacked up sawzall with a pruning blade and I drove across town to the guy who buys up storage default auctions and asked him if he had any sawzalls. Yes he did and one matched my battery system, 6.88 for a blade and I am in business. Saved me $149!
Cut up dad’s dress shirts for a quilt I saw, really have enough for 3 quilts.
Picked up my solid gold fertilizer order for the hay fields. Glad that I ordered it in December – saving 34%
Asked for a water bill audit and they refunded me $228.71.
Thank you, dad, for making me go to all those boring water board meetings acting as your ‘secretary’ to the secretary.


Jill A March 15, 2024 at 5:20 am

I love every single one of your frugal things.


Heidi Louise March 15, 2024 at 8:52 am

My Dad had engineer handwriting, printing much more often than cursive. When we were little, we thought he wrote like a typewriter. Thank you for the memory!


Ecoteri March 15, 2024 at 9:20 pm

Oh yeah, the sawzall pruner – I actually don’t know if I have used my sawzall for much else, it gets a real workout as a pruner. I got mine ages ago as part of a kit of battery powered tools, rarely used it (didn’t know what it was, tbh) until moving to the hobby farm. the old batteries were starting to fail after only a few minutes, and when I went to the local tool guy he suggested I get a converter for my old tools that will let me use the newer longer lasting batteries. Since I have a number of tools that use the batteries I went for it – my one complaint is that the converter is REALLY hard to remove from one tool and attach to another. but instead of replacing 5 tools, I just am replacing some batteries and getting the converter. Win for keeping things out of the landfill
Today was actually pruning day, most is hand tools (clips and loppers) but the sawzall was certainly used for some of the bigger stuff. Even a bent blade cuts just fine! So glad you have got your hands on one, you will really find it an energy saver – big jobs get smaller when you have a bit of battery power behind the saw.


Roberta March 14, 2024 at 8:21 pm

1. Had my sister-in-law to lunch, instead of going out. She saw me putting onion and sweet potato scraps in the jar in the freezer. When I explained that I use them to make vegetable broth, she just said “We live very different lives…” I love my sister-in-law, but cooking intimidates her.
2. Picked up take-out pizza (pie) to celebrate Pi Day. Ate it at home with salad, and my husband was not tempted to order a beer. We asked them to skip the plastic pizza table, and they did!
3. In putting together this year’s tax documents, I found that one of our donations was recorded as being much lower than it actually was — a zero had been omitted. When I asked my tax preparer about it, she refunded us the amount we would have saved.
4. Loaned my biggest cast iron skillet to my sister-in-law. She was going to buy one, but I’ll be out of town, so it will give her a chance to experiment. If she doesn’t love it, one fewer pan needs to be manufactured!
5. I had something really good,but as soon as I started typing, it went away. I’ll try to remember and add it later -‘ I was really proud of myself, and look8ng forward to sharing!


Michele March 15, 2024 at 4:07 am

5 Frugal- boring edition
Travel is exhausting! I’m still recovering from our WY trek last week.
Like Roberta’s SIL, my best friend is in awe of what we do to save money. I’ve just always lived that way…..public servants are underpaid and I chose to save more rather than make more money to allow us to live the life we wanted to!
1. Packed breakfast and lunches and drinks for work.
2. Son dropped off my tire to be patched for $25 dollars at a local shop. Husband aired up all my tires and I swear I’m getting better mileage. Might be all in my mind.
3. Opening up doors in the cool Fl AMs to try to use less AC.
4. Tracking my mileage for work. Some people don’t bother. I’m socking each check away for eventual car repairs.
5. Recording all purchases. Tedious, but eye-opening and necessary to see how much we NEED to live on in retirement.


A. Marie March 15, 2024 at 4:35 am

FTFT, No Recent Air Travel Edition:

(1) First, Katy, I’m glad that you and the hubs are back safely from your trip, especially the parts involving the airlines and the TSA. Of course, this was a trip you had to make for family reasons, and I understand that folks do have to travel by air for family and business. But I’m fortunate enough not to have had to fly anywhere in over 10 years, and I’m not looking forward to it if and when I ever do fly again. (I haven’t done the math on the savings, but I’d guess they’re considerable.)

(2) And, needless to say, I’ve joined Katy in not thrifting any tiny Lear Jets.

(3) The rest of my TFTs are truly tiny. First, I found and cleaned up a nice reusable shopping bag; I have more than enough of these for myself, so I’ll be using it for my next round of clothing donations to the Salvation Army or the Rescue Mission.

(4) I also filled my 8th box of books for donation since New Year’s.

(5) And two or three charities keep sending me nice notecards in an effort to get me to donate to them. As it happens, I’ve crossed all of these off my list–but if they want to keep sending me notecards, that’s fine with me. I use these for keeping in touch with friends who still use snail mail, particularly a venerable JASNA friend who’s now in assisted living.


Bee March 15, 2024 at 5:02 am

I also receive many notecards, calendars and bookmarks in the mail. Most of the ones I receive are from organizations that my MIL supported. She died in 2015. I take them out of the packages and give them away if I can’t use them. The one package that always leaves me in a bit of wonder comes from the Nature Conservancy. It comes at the end of the year and contains notecards and two calendars. My father supported them. He died in 1998. He loved Florida and hoped that sensitive lands would be conserved. There is some absurdity in this whole concept.


Heidi Louise March 15, 2024 at 8:59 am

Absurd indeed! Last fall and winter, deceased “Dad” received three identical calendar/note book sets from the same organization over a period of weeks, as though his name was stuck in a loop in their system. I just don’t want to donate to a place that doesn’t manage their mailings.
I put calendars in the free magazine exchange at the public library. Some of the nature ones are very beautiful.


Christine March 15, 2024 at 3:39 pm

Your #5…I have a friend from long ago school days who now resides in a nursing home in my town. We love to write each other notes and cards too. It may be a leftover habit of passing each other notes in the hallway between classes!


K D March 15, 2024 at 9:00 am

Most of mine involve food:

1. A fellow Grocery Outlet shopper alerted me to $.59/# BL SL chicken breasts. I bought a 5# package and used the Crock Pot to make pulled chicken. I shared some with a neighbor, I froze some, and we ate a lot of it.

2. I went to Costco and stopped at the Giant in the same shopping center. They often have $.29/# bananas in a bag. I bought a bag (5+#s) of them. If we don;t eat them all I’ll use them for muffins.

3. DD and I went to a town about 40 minutes away to go to a store associated with orchards. I called ahead and they said they still had apples from last fall. Crimson Crisps were on sale for $.59/# and I also bought three large boxes of seconds for $10/box. There is a lot of Crock Pot applesauce making in my future. It’s a good thing I like to save glass jars. I’ll freeze the applesauce in them.

4. A friend invited me to lunch. I was able to bring GF corn muffins to go along with the chili she made. After lunch we walked a few blocks to a state park and took a hike. She has lived in her house about six months and had not been to the park yet.

5. I gave a friend and her husband a ride to the airport when their plans changed at the last minute. She does a lot of favors for me and the airport is not far away.


A. Marie March 15, 2024 at 10:53 am

K D, re: your #3, a friend of mine is scoring similar deals on late-season apples at our Regional Market. She likes to make dried apples in her dehydrator.


Bethany M March 17, 2024 at 1:28 pm

Cooked a pound of pasta, made my own marinara, and added some sausage from the freezer. Portioning for school lunches. I’m out of lunchmeat and those rink-a-dink slices are too expensive anyway.

We pre-ordered a Costco pizza. $10 for an after church, no cook, no clean up meal was fantastic. Then we did some shopping. I’ve gotten better at price comparisons so I knew I was getting true deals.

I have plans to drop off some winter clean out from my gardens and pick up some free compost. Then I’ll plant some greens.

I did all I was supposed to for SMART goals and was prepared to lay my case for the annual review and raise consideration, but the board decided to give all of us a 25% raise and save merit-based raises for next year. I’ll take it.

The high school science teacher grew an indoor herb garden. He encouraged me to use it all. Delicious, and they are regrowing. I’ll most likely get a second go-round. Tiny perks of teaching middle school science.


MB in MN March 17, 2024 at 4:08 pm

Congrats on the nice pay raise!


Selena March 17, 2024 at 6:49 pm

Outside of what I deem the Midwest big cities – Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Madison, Des Moines (and some associated other college towns), cost of food is extremely reasonable – be it grocies or dine out. Any expensive restaurant within a 30 mile radius of me is priced to keep “certain people” out.
So your comment re: costs of Portland v. NE-wherever did not surprise me.


Katy March 18, 2024 at 10:12 am

It’s so enjoyable to see the lower prices, from gasoline to restaurants!


Vickey March 26, 2024 at 3:59 pm

And housing! Not that you were shopping for that there…


Sara March 18, 2024 at 2:57 pm

There is a direct flight from Des Moines to Portland in case that is helpful for you in the future. Three hour drive to Lincoln.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: