Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on May 31, 2024 · 47 comments

  1. My step mother leant me her library copy of  The Women, by Kristin Hannah, which was welcome as I’m currently #166 of 92 copies for this book through the library! I have one week to complete this 471 page book!

    I also started listening to The Burnout, by Sophie Kinsella through the library’s free Libby app.

  2. I hung out with my son at his apartment and then accompanied him to the grocery store. There aren’t any Albertson’s on my side of town, as they’re the same store as Safeway. However, I got an extra 350 points from scanning “any Albertson’s receipt” into the Fetch app.* I did grab a 10-pound bag of flour for just $3.99 as it was marked the same price as the five-pound bags. Probably an error on their part, but I was low on flour anyway.

  3. My husband saw a neighbor and her daughter walking to the park with their lacrosse sticks. He ran down to the basement and grabbed the single lacrosse ball that we somehow own and we brought it to them. They were happy to get the ball and we’re happy to put this single item back into circulation.

  4. • I found a penny in the Albertson’s parking lot.
    • I baked three apple crisps from my clearance priced apples. (4/$1, plus a $10 credit union rebate for swiping my debit card a certain number of times throughout the month of May.) I froze one for future Katy and will give the other one to my daughter. We also ate a lot of sliced apples this week.
    • My step mother had me look through stuff in her basement and I ended up bringing home some canning equipment, plus a big vintage tin. I decided the tin would serve as the perfect catch-all for all my random canning supplies, so I created a label using watercolors, an index card, Mod-Podge and a random magnet from the side of the fridge. I like having my storage supplies be cute and I enjoy a creative challenge.

  5. No Lear jets, no felony convictions.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni May 31, 2024 at 11:51 am

Halfway through The Women- loving it.


Heidi Louise May 31, 2024 at 1:11 pm

Really like the canning tin! Re-using and re-decorating containers is fun, and I like the era that one is from. (Did the vintage house you posted about some months ago sell?).

1. Neighbor decided to replace (gorgeous, huge flowers) clematis plants on fence around deck with honeysuckle, and offered the five clematises to me. Two of them seem to be surviving the transplant.
2. My library has started putting books in the online electronic catalog earlier than they used to– I think it is when they order upcoming works that aren’t out yet. I am first on the hold list for Maisie Dobbs, “The Comfort of Ghosts”, coming out next week. Not sure if Jacqueline Winspear is retiring or just switching to different characters: this is announced as the end of the series, as WWII ends.
3. Husband has started making baked potatoes once a week for supper, with very crispy skins. I made the second half of a package of bacon in the oven to go with them, reusing the foil to line the pan from the first half.
4. I don’t often laugh out loud but thoroughly enjoyed “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” which was broadcast last week on PBS. If it is on the Passport app, I recommend it if you have any background in community theatre.
5. I got a clearance small carton of buttermilk and used half to make cheddar-chive biscuits, as chives pop up all over my gardens, and half for buttermilk chocolate cake, recipe in my old Fanny Farmer cookbook. I think the texture was a bit lighter than when I have made “sour” milk with regular milk and lemon juice.


Susie's Daughter May 31, 2024 at 6:09 pm

Fannie Farmer is the cooking bible in my family. My paperback copy falls apart in three places. Here’s to the Boston Cooking School!


Bee June 1, 2024 at 12:01 pm

Love clematis! It is a little difficult to grow in Florida. What color are yours?
Also I can’t wait to watch “Peter Pan Goes Wrong.” Thank you for the recommendation.


Heidi Louise June 1, 2024 at 12:24 pm

I don’t think the purple clematis made it; the stripe-y pink one is ok, and the red one. The true test will be what comes up next spring.
(May have mentioned this before) My sister-in-law in Florida grows orchids outside at the bases of the trees in her yard, where they grow up the bark. Quite lovely!


Bee June 2, 2024 at 4:16 am

Is she in the southern part of the state? They are abundant there. I live in the northeastern region. We sometimes get hard freezes where we are and all the orchids and tropical must come in. Did she ever read the book The Orchid Thief? It is about the search in South Florida for the elusive Ghost Orchid.


Heidi Louise June 2, 2024 at 7:35 am

She’s on the NE coast. I will ask her about the book– Thank you!

Bee June 2, 2024 at 2:56 pm

We are neighbors!

Lynda May 31, 2024 at 1:49 pm

I love your canning supplies tin!


Kara May 31, 2024 at 1:49 pm

1. I have potatoes baking in the solar oven and have mixed up a batch of tuna fishcakes and a batch of veggie patties. This will be our dinner, with bok choy from a neighbor.
2. A friend dropped off her cast-off items, they are for me to sell and keep the money, or gift on buy nothing, or donate. Win for her because I’m nearer her house than any thrift store, win for me because she never drops trash and I make some money.
3. Planted 2 gifted butternut squash plants. Hopeful for a good crop this year.
I don’t know what happened last year!
4. My husband brought home cookies made by students in a culinary class at his school. You all know my love of free food!
5. Using water we catch in a 1 gallon bucket in our kitchen sink to water our grapevines. The vine starts were free, the compost is free and the water is caught. Virtually free grapes.


Lindsey May 31, 2024 at 3:12 pm

1. a decade ago, the husband built plastic domes to put over our three foot tall raised beds. Our Great Dane puppy chewed through the plastic, stuck his head inside and somehow pried off the dome (6 feet long!!! and three feet tall!!!) and ate every single dahlia. The bulbs had been stored all winter and lovingly replanted and then transplanted into the garden when a foot tall. A friend who has a giant dog gave me her excess dahlia transplants; at the nursery they would be $25 to $40 each. She gave me 9, saving me a lot of money.
2. I had never had wild rice so bought a pack on sale. I did not realize how much they swelled so all the broth of the chicken and rice soup was absorbed. I added cheese and turned it into a cheesy casserole, and we will get four dinners out of it by the end. Quite tasty actually. Years ago, I would have thrown away everything, so this saved us money and I actually like casseroles better than soup.
3. Today was food bank volunteer day. They are closed on weekends so all perishables had to go. I came home with a loaf of challah and an accidently thawed bag of corn. They are so overrun with bread just now that there is no freezer room left for dozens of loaves of challah.
4. Husband went shopping for milk. He stopped by the fish counter and was raving to the fishmonger about how much I liked their dried smoked trout. Turns out I am one of the few in town who buys it, so they are discontinuing that offering. The employee gave my husband the rest of the tray full—at least $60 worth, for $6. (Not sure why $6, but I will take it.)
5. Came to the end of toothpaste tube and sunscreen tube and anchovy paste tube. Sliced them open and from each one got several days of product that would have ended up in the trash.

Love the tin!!


Kathleen May 31, 2024 at 8:21 pm

I got such a smile out of your pup eating dahlias! 🙂 Brought to mind a forty-six-year-old memory I hadn’t thought of in years.

Sorry your dried smoked trout is being discontinued, but glad you reaped a great bargain on the last of it!


Ecoteri May 31, 2024 at 9:24 pm

OHHHH the dahlias – he ate the tubers too? GAH, that is a REALLY annoying thing. mutter mutter. I just picked up steeply discounted dahlias from the grocery store (they are ‘blowing out’ some of the less popular flowers to make room for horridly expensive mixed baskets….). I also have about 15 gallon pots in my greenhouse of dahlias that I had to purchase new (at the seedy saturday) this year – last winter was very very cold and I had neglected to pull mine … we get away with leaving them in the ground, until the winter we don’t
I trust you managed to coordinate your cut-open tubes and apply each to the right place? Made me laugh that all three came due to be sliced open in the same week. DEFINITELY disaster possibilities.


A. Marie June 1, 2024 at 2:15 am

Naughty boy, Clobber Paws! I hope the dahlias didn’t also make him sick.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl May 31, 2024 at 3:17 pm

Aww, I love that Mr. NCA was able to get that lacrosse ball into the hands of someone who can use it!


Katy May 31, 2024 at 7:02 pm

Plus he gave the girl a few pointers as he’d played lacrosse in high school.


Ruby May 31, 2024 at 4:03 pm

That canning tin is so cool!

I used some heavy nylon fishing line to repair a shredded scrubby pad. Used some expired apple cider vinegar to clean lime buildup off the bathroom taps. Bought 11 cans of organic diced tomatoes off the clearance shelf at the grocery store for 50 cents per can. (This was very timely, as we were out of canned tomatoes.) Used a $5 off $15 coupon at a local clearance store to buy pet supplies and received another coupon for donating $1 to charity. Harvested the first cucumber from our container garden to add to a salad.


BettafromdaVille May 31, 2024 at 4:14 pm

1. Partner started a new “gentleman retirement” job at our friend’s shop and works the day for the farm share pick-up. This means that in addition to his pay, he will get a produce box weekly. Between that and our mystery shops for grocery, I should be able to bring our monthly grocery bill down to about $50 (for 2 people). The cat food on the other hand….
2. filled up gas at BJ, even though it is a mile out of the way. It is also .45 cents cheaper, so worthwhile.
3. A friend was flying into town but if she were to come to my work apartment, it would mean 30 more minutes of driving (her hotel was on my way). Instead of the extra drive OR going out to eat, I brought a charcuterie/pick plate/picnic dinner and we ate it in her hotel room (it had a seating area). I also brought a bottle of wine that I had received at Christmas.
4. Super tired as my 3-hour commute turned into a 4-hour commute due to a car crash. Really wanted to order delivery but made dumplings from the freezer and a quick veggie stirfry.
5. Saved 1/2 billion dollar in legal fees.


Lindsey May 31, 2024 at 7:20 pm

HA!! We have used shops to lower our food bill and now I can bring home 10 pounds of expiring products from my food bank volunteer shift…but the dog food bill for a lab and Dane more than make up for our lower food bill. No cats here, at least, and the hedgehog died so no money spent on food or vet bills for us in those areas.


A. Marie June 1, 2024 at 2:16 am

RIP hedgehog, Lindsey. (What, BTW, did the hedgehog eat?)


Susie's Daughter May 31, 2024 at 6:01 pm

1) Excess of evaporated milk has led to a fast and tasty instant pot recipe for rice pudding. Trying to encourage DS to eat this over more highly processed stuff, like $7/box breakfast cereal. (Even he was shocked at the cereal price and said “Nope”). Jury is still out on whether pudding is a breakfast food in his book…
2) Six loads of laundry this week hung out to dry
3) Purchased “frosted” (ie – damaged by frost) marigolds for $2 less per pack. Marigolds are hearty. They’ll be grand after new leaves grow in.
4) Several things that appeared to be lost forever have recently reappeared including a set of measuring spoons (beloved because they actually FIT in the spice jars), a necklace and two pairs of earrings last seen at a cousin’s wedding a year ago. All things were found trapped someplace (my car, the bottom of a dark suitcase). I have found their reappearance incredibly uplifting. And I hadn’t purchased any replacements in their absence.
5) Scored a brand I like at thrift store for even less than the already affordable price tag. Apparently that color tag was on sale this week. New top for $3.75 from Coldwater Creek. Yes, thank you!


Martha Sell June 1, 2024 at 4:09 am

Rice pudding for breakfast sounds wonderful. Add preferred berries, a little milk, warm in microwave. Extra cinnamon.


Bee June 1, 2024 at 12:17 pm

If your DS is like my boys were, he can eat an entire box of cereal at one sitting. Definitely, time to look at alternatives! If he eats a box a day that is $49 on cereal alone!


Susie's Daughter June 1, 2024 at 5:04 pm

Bee!! This is exactly right! He is not quite at a box a day, but a box has an average life of about three days right now. He’s almost 14 so this intake is only going to increase. He is good about making eggs and we have a friend with chickens (several friends actually) so they are readily available, but he does need some variety in his life. The volume of food is stunning!


A. Marie June 1, 2024 at 2:41 am

FTFT, Grad School BFF’s Visit (So Far) and Gardening Edition:

(1) So far, Grad School BFF and I have eaten all but one of our meals together at home. (The exception was a pair of breakfast sandwiches at the antique show we attended yesterday, which served as both late breakfast and early lunch. So at least we ate only one meal in the field instead of two.) She was taken out to dinner by another of her local friends last night.

(2) I scored some bargains at the show, including a Basketville picnic basket with most of its original utensils included for $5 (I’m going to try to sell this on Sunday to my young friend with the secondhand-housewares shop, but wouldn’t at all mind keeping it for myself); a pie basket for Ms. Bestest Neighbor’s birthday (she makes marvelous pies) for $7; and a tiny Wedgwood egg and a set of Little Women paper dolls for JASNA BFF’s birthday for a total of $22.

(3) We will, as noted, be visiting the secondhand-housewares shop on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the picnic basket, I’ve got two more baskets, some of DH’s old tools that originally belonged to my FIL, two boxes of cooking/gardening books, and a number of odds and ends for my young friend’s perusal.

(4) All my transplants continue to thrive, including the basils I had to separate out of tight quarters in a two-pack. Two of the seven plants didn’t emerge from the process with many roots left, but I put them in water, and they seem to be re-rooting well enough to be set out with the other five soon.

(5) I’m not a multiply convicted felon.


Pat June 1, 2024 at 10:22 am



A. Marie June 1, 2024 at 11:22 am

Yep. This is the first time I’ve been to the early summer show, and I now prefer it to the August show (smaller, less crowded, more manageable).


Patricia June 1, 2024 at 3:56 pm

And not so warm.


Bee June 1, 2024 at 12:20 pm

You did get some wonderful bargains! I wish I was there.


K D June 1, 2024 at 2:54 am

The Women was a difficult but worthwhile read. I borrowed it digitally from the library.

1. I took lunch with me to a friend’s house. She would have fed me but I am usually GF plus I had a ton of salad fixings to use up.

2. I am cat sitting for neighbors that are away for the weekend. I do not expect anything in return since I’ll ask them to water plants when we are away later this summer.

3. I thinly sliced and cook half a cabbage, with an onion and some carrots. When vegetables are ready to eat I will eat them.

4. I’m about to head out an a walk to take advantage of a cool morning.

5. I too am keeping my legal fees in check.


Kathy P June 1, 2024 at 3:00 am

This week we had a “birthday treat” voucher for the cafe in our local garden centre. Just paid for my daughter’s biscuit and juice and mum and I got coffee and cake free!! We do pay £12 for the loyalty card a year, but it pays back in 2 hot drinks a month, and a kids gardening club!!
Found 21p in various outings!
At a separate garden centre got some really reduced herbs and wildflowers. Including a large, weary primula managed to make 6 new plants from!! Win win as trying to create a forest garden on a steep wilderness patch we own.


Fru-gal Lisa June 1, 2024 at 7:19 am

Love, love, love the canning supply box!!

1. I had been given a can of Waterloo grape-flavored sparkling water. Tried it for the first time. Didn’t like it — and here I had opened the pop-top can. Almost poured it out….then remembered that my ex-roommate left a can of frozen purple grape juice. It calls for 1 can of juice + 3 cans water. Measured the Waterloo into the grape juice can, exactly the right measure for one can, and used 2 other cans of tap water. Got me a nice pitcher full of grape juice, with a little fizz, that tastes just right! And all the ingredients were stuff I had. Free drinks on the patio!
2. Another storm knocked down the small branches stuck on the roof since last March. They are now in the recycling dumpster. Yipee! Did not break a bone climbing to the roof to retrieve them!
3. Friend gave me some coupons for restaurants. Most are “buy one get one free”– not easy for us singles to use. But I will see if coworkers want to go in halfsies with me, since many of the eateries are near our store. We’ll get the deal and each pay half.
4. Found another Little Free Library in the area — left a book and got a book.
5. Still using drying racks outside in garage, instead of clothes dryer (except for 10 minutes on de-wrinkle for garments that need it). Set up even more racks, taking advantage of summertime heat. Why pay the electric co. for hot air when Mother Nature provides it free?


MommaJo June 1, 2024 at 8:34 am

How do you keep the pollen off of your clothes?


mary in maryland June 1, 2024 at 8:18 am

All things come to she who waits…Remember the Breville toaster oven I bought three months ago that lacks a crumb tray? This morning on Buy Nothing a guy offered the same model that doesn’t work very well. I owned that we only need the accessories (and maybe we could replace our bent door?) and told him to feel free to give to someone who could use the whole thing. He said,no,no,no–it’s all yours, and he wants to drop it off this afternoon. Which will allow me to move on the really old one whose crumb tray we are using as an intact toaster oven.


MommaJo June 1, 2024 at 8:33 am

Five Tiny Frugal Things:
1. Glued a magnet (I save them if they are given to me with ads) to a small chip clip to hold a pen on the fridge. Frugal because now it is next to the shopping list pad we keep on the fridge, and shopping lists help me save $.
2. Learned how to make home made egg drop soup on a Netflix show, its so cheap and easy! Good for my cold and allergies right now. I put my home grown herbs and chives in it.
3. Cancelled my live TV app and my newspaper subscription. Going to see if we miss them at all. When I cancelled them I was offered a lower price that is good for a few months if I decide to resubscribe.
4. Rooted some of my pretty cactus plants to give to my supervisors as an end of the school year gift.
5. Posting egg boxes on Buy Nothing, for people who have chickens. Makes me happy that they are useful to someone.


Bee June 1, 2024 at 9:19 am

I love the tin!

My driveway needed to be cleaned. Rather than paying someone $200 to power wash it, we borrowed a pressure washer from my son and did it ourselves. Bonus: we did not use unnecessary chemicals in the cleaning process.

It was time to stock up on toilet paper and paper towels. These are two items I do not buy at Costco. (I am brand loyal when it comes to my toilet paper.) Target was offering a $15 off a $50 purchase of household essentials. I also used a gift card for $5 from another promotion. I scanned my receipts to Fetch and Ibotta which put an additional $3 in my account. Together these promotions and discounts decreased the cost of the items I purchased by $23.

I straightened and reorganized the pantry. As food cost began to increase, I found myself buying in bulk more frequently, and my pantry was becoming less organized. This is never a good thing. I finally decided to tackle this project after making a trip to the store to buy an item that I already had on hand.

I fertilized by orchids with a name-brand fertilizer that I purchased at an estate sale for $1. (This is a $6 savings) I mixed it in a repurposed milk jug.

I currently have two books on hold at the library. Founding Gardeners which is a book club selection and Horse which was recommended by Christine last week. I enjoyed the magazines “English Home” and “Art & Antiques” using my Libby App, and I’m listening to a cozy mystery on Hoopla as I do my household chores.


Heidi Louise June 1, 2024 at 9:58 am

I looked up “Founding Gardeners”. Fascinating idea for a study!


Julianne in MN June 1, 2024 at 7:02 pm

1. The trailing vines in my 2023 patio pots survived the winter which saved me the cost of purchasing them this summer.

2. While shopping for annuals, I picked up a purple wandering Jew plant stem off the ground. I am trying to propagate it in water.

3. I watched the movie Begin Again on Hoopla and listened to the audiobook The Only One Left by Riley Sager on the Libby app.

4. At the end of our vacation, I did laundry at the rental house. Water is very expensive at home.

5. I found an old Sudoku book when decluttering. I enjoyed doing the puzzles on a rainy weekend.


Mary Ann June 1, 2024 at 9:54 am

It is the last Saturday before the last week of 35 year career in teaching. I am allowing myself to follow a few rabbit holes in my office. The breeze is still cool coming from my office window and I am thinking about my next life.

I feel so grateful that I will be free to follow creative pursuits because my retirement pension will provide for a small mortgage on a cabin, healthcare for hubby and son ( California teacher’s blessing), continued retirement savings . quite a bit of flexibility if I keep to my frugal-ish habits. Frugal-ish habits for me is defined as big savings coupled with pricey investments. Thoughts on how these two go together. ( Spitballing so wiki numbers here so do your own calculations.)

1. Spent: $7.37 : Sam’s club rotisserie chicken for 4.97 and a gallon of fat free milk at Winco. Together these provide about 300 grams of protein. for the week. I figure I need about 322 grams of protein a week. I got mine for about $8.00 without factoring in the random protein I get from beans, spinach, popcorn etc. . .
Instapot $100 to make yogurt and various soups and chilis with leftover chicken.
Hatrigo $40 : 1 gallon yogurt stariner: So easy and clean, machine washable. Stores the yogurt. I was NOT a cheesecloth kind of gal especially with so a large amount at once.
Sam’s Club membership: $0 year promotion I think was offered becuase a Costco opened up nearby.

2. Spent: $0 Yoga with Adrienne videos on youtube – Day 8 of 30 of Flow.
Investment: $23 yoga paws. I take them with me when traveling because I try to pack in only an under the seat wheelie and exercise is super important to me when I travel.

3. Spent: $132 Racquet club with steam room, cold plunge, indoor / jacuzzis, pickeball courts, two lap pools, and classes including yoga. Hubby is willing to do group class at 5:45 in the morning, I am training for my two week packpack, and it is our date night often.

Investment $132 a month. Totally worth it because it is a social outlet that doesn’t involve extra calories and is quite a beautiful spot in the kind of one horse ag town we live in. It goes in my total health budget. It was also three hour a day of free child care when son was little. Since most people go to the $50 a month club across town, my club wonderfully often empty and cleaner.

4. Spent: $ 0 weed barrier for the rock garden I am creating in my front garden.

Investment: $0 cardboard boxes from Sam’s club. I am going to try this out. I hate that black tarp stuff because it ALWAYS shows through. Blick. I bought burlap for the mounds but now am going to put cardboard in the 4 inch ditch I dug around the mounds which will be filled with large cobblestoe. People are warning me about it drgading. We’ll see.

5. Chess Lessons. I am 100% into keeping my mind active during retirement. I love learning chess and am really quite bad at it. But it works a side of my brain I almost never use.
Investment: $6.67 a month billed yearly. I was paying 10.00 a month a realized I didn’t need that pay that much for the services I was using.

If I stick with my new budget which includes this type of thinking, I won’t have to touch my 403B until I am 67 which could then theoretically double in 7 years which gives me extra peace of mind in the years to come.


Ecoteri June 1, 2024 at 10:48 am

OOOOO I love how you are thinking about your investments and savings! Got me thinking about what I want to be doing particularly on the exercise front… My one year gym membership expired and I haven’t had TIME to go so I let it languish, however I am missing the committed time to lift weights. They have a red light sauna there which I need to commit to myself to use. And there are classes which I haven’t been attending, however a change is as good as a rest.
Your approach to investments and savings is inspiring.


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 1, 2024 at 11:01 am

Neat-o tin for canning supplies.
I went to the best estate sale yesterday. I bought a gorgeous Ekornes Stressless recliner+ottoman for $250. Oh my word, like buttah! An early birthday gift to me.
I also picked up 5 wool bed blankets that I will use for washable wool batting in 4 quilts that I have been commissioned to make for my brother’s Yellowstone cabin.
I also picked up 2 refrigerator glass dishes for $1 ea, a set of wooden tv trays, a box of book club novels (from 2003 – 23) for $3, 4 ceramic planters in the free pile and a stack of heavy duty pie pans for give away pies, a dozen stainless pet dishes that stack and 4 bins to use in the greenhouse.
I picked up 6 pairs of men’s dress shoes for $2/pair. I will re-sell on Poshmark, plus 10 pairs of men’s original levi’s for $1 ea.


A. Marie June 1, 2024 at 1:29 pm

You made out like a bandit at that estate sale! Congratulations!


Teri June 1, 2024 at 8:30 pm

I read Horse last fall and just finished The Women. Highly recommend both.


kathy June 2, 2024 at 5:58 am

1. Ordered and filled 2 bags for Trashie. I use the Trashie $$ to buy household items and gifts
2. Listing and selling via eBay, FB marketplace, Poshmark and Mercari
3. Used Libby to download James Patterson book
4. Enjoyed treats daughter in law bought at farmers market
5. Used Katy’s frankenbox method to mail out a sale


Norma June 2, 2024 at 11:30 am

I finished The Women in two days. Couldn’t put it down.


Katy June 3, 2024 at 9:12 am

As did I!


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