Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on June 27, 2024 · 33 comments

  1. I continue to provide the entire neighborhood with free wood chips for garden mulching. My pile is definitely getting smaller, but it’s an agonizingly slow process. I’ve learned to discern the faint sound of scraping shovels so I can run to ask strangers if they need to borrow supplies. I definitely weirded out one father-son duo with my overly enthusiastic gratitude, but I have no regrets.

  2. I sold a pair of IKEA frames for $10 that I sourced from a neighbor’s garbage can a few months ago. Free. Money.

  3. I walked to Fred Meyer (Kroger) with my friend Lise and came home with a $1 bag of lemons and a $1 bag of red onions from the clearance shelf. I also bought four of boxes of on-sale $1.99 Overshine brand mango popsicles, which was perfect timing as my son just tested positive with his first case of Covid and is currently staying at our house.

  4. • I got a bag of marbles from a “free box.” My son’s cat, (“Mama’s Little Meatball”) loves to chase them around the house and she too is staying with us.
    • We had three boxes of the free government Covid tests stashed aside for this exact circumstance.
    • I listened to an audiobook of The Little House in The Big Woods through the library’s free Libby app. I missed the Garth Williams illustrations, but the audiobook did have Pa’s fiddle playing.

  5. I didn’t buy a tiny Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy June 27, 2024 at 12:16 pm

1. Found on FB Marketplace a tall soft basket $5. I’m going to get the books and magazines off my night stand and put in the basket
2. Had a $10 coupon from JCPenneys that I used to buy no shoe socks for $10. No $$ out of pocket
3. My sister gifted me 4 new tshirts .
4. Friend gave me tomatoes, onions and squash from his garden. I’m going to make tomato pie tonight
5. Picked up a 4 pack of panty hose for .50 from the thrift store. I wear them when I wear dresses


Sandra June 27, 2024 at 1:05 pm

I was asked to make a fruit tray for our club picnic. I bought watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, and grapes. The melons weren’t quite ripe, but I had four days and thought that if I put them in a brown paper bag with a ripening banana that would be long enough. Well, the cantaloupe was perfect, but the honey dew was still unripe (no flavor). I just put out the watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes. Hating to throw away the melon, which I had already cut open, I decided to use it like fresh pickled cucumber. I mixed up a slurry of vinegar, water, salt , pepper, and sugar. I poured the slurry over thin squares of melon and finely sliced bits of red onion. Everyone declared it the best use of honey dew, particularly unripe honey dew. Produce saved for the win!

I use microfiber shoe covers on my swiffer mop head. It is a huge savings over buying their wet and dry covers. The shoe covers are only a few dollars for a pair and I’ve been using them for at least five years. After mopping or dusting I just throw them in the wash and they come out perfect – no shrink, no fade, ready to use again and again.

My daughter went to the bakery outlet yesterday and brought me a lovely loaf of cracked wheat sourdough bread. It is so good and was on their dollar rack. I guess I won’t be baking bread this week. It’s really too hot to bake anyway.

I wanted to find a new space for a favorite covered casserole dish that was taking up space in my baking cupboard. I was always having to move it out of the way so that I could get to my baking sheets. I started studying where else it could go and discovered that it would sit in an underused cabinet drawer. Of course there were things in the drawer, but when I took everything out, I discovered that most of it was saved plastic bags. I put all but a few in a recycle bag where I save produce bags and other large bags for my daughter who uses them to clean the cat’s litter box. Problem solved for the win!

My best buy this week was free, in fact, the store owed me money. I found bagged microgreens at the dented vegetable store, usually $2.99 each, with three $1.00 off stickers on them. I bought two. Which meant they lost on that transaction. The few cents just came off of my other purchase. By the way, the microgreens were fine. I sorted through each bag and only found one or two small leaves to discard. I then placed them in a lidded container with a paper towel on the bottom and one over the top. I’ve already served them up a few times and they are delicious.


Mary Ann June 28, 2024 at 7:00 am

I love when I recognize a nearly subconscious irritation in organization – like constantly banging cookie sheets. The solutions are often so simple, free and satisfying.

I have just come home from a long trip and need to put items back in place – so easy because my shelves and cupboards have plenty of designate space. I even have empty drawers. I am so grateful I have spent the last two years doing big clean, declutterring and redesign projects. It really allows me to enjoy little things.


Jill A June 27, 2024 at 1:58 pm

I hope your son feels better soon. I hate it when my kids are sick even though they’re adults now.
1. I used a coupon and a reward to buy my dogs kibble. It was on sale so overall it was $21 saved. It was still ridiculously expensive though.
2. I got three walks in on my favorite trail with my favorite friend this week. Free exercise and amateur therapy.
3. I drove my mom and sister to lunch in a beach town. Not frugal. After lunch we walked through a beautiful casino they’d never seen. We didn’t gamble. We just enjoyed the beautiful decor and walked back out.
4. I shared some columbine seeds and some monarda plants with my daughter.
5. I raided my daughter’s bathroom for dental floss. She had an abundance of dentist samples.


Edie June 27, 2024 at 2:11 pm

5 things!

1) I found a working Kitchen Aid mixer on the street- no attachments, just the motor base! An incredible find! I then found attachments at the thrift store for $6 in total (blade, dough hook and whisk). Baking and making my own lotions just got easier.

2) Am using the dented vegetable store for my juicing and summer iced tea needs. It’s worth the bike ride to the store and back.

3) Hosted some girls over the past weekend! Instead of going out for snacks, ordered snacks for delivery, which wound up being cheaper than going out. We also had brunch at home with freshly pressed juices- the equivalent of a $100 meal plus tip for about $20 worth of ingredients and power!

4) Am picking cherries and raspberries from public byways- free, sweet fruit!

5) Am still eating from my garden!


Liz B. June 27, 2024 at 5:26 pm

A most excellent score on the KitchenAid mixer! Yippeee!


Edie June 28, 2024 at 9:52 am

I feel like I won a lottery!


Mary Ann June 27, 2024 at 3:09 pm

Getting ready for a two week trip to a lake cabin in Big Bear and then, wait for it, sailing certification lessons in San Diego for four days. The latter is a luxury but the opportunity came up for my friend and I. We cancelled our hotels because we sleep and eat on the boat. On the whole, a bucket list gig.

1. I went thrifting and found a brand new sunshirt, large black. No way does that ever happen. It is usual worn, a size small or a wild color. I also found a travelpro long sleeve bug resistant shirt for the hiking portion of our show.

2. Staying on my food plan is a priority. I make a “Dr. Greger Daily Dozen” powder mix that I use in smoothies. Usually I add frozen fruit which will not be available. I bought at Sam’s Club Fairlife Chocolate Protein drink. Through experiments I have found I can put the powder in a cold drink ( I’ll have a fridge but no blender) I’ll take a mason jar with me as a shaker. I am also bringing a bottle of Chocolate balsamic vinegar ( 2 T a day according to How Not to Diet.) Shake it up. Stir out the clumps and a damn fine choc cold drink. Pretty cheap for a meal replacement.

3. I did NOT buy a personal blender. See above solution.

4. I bought microwave pouch “Tasty Bite” madras lentils and 365 bean grain meals. I usually get two meals per pouch. That is a 1.50 a meal for vacay. I will have a microwave and/ or a stove.

5. I bought to books for $2.00 total to take on my trip- in case the books go over sailing.


Roberta June 27, 2024 at 4:52 pm

Years ago, my husband learned to sail at Harbor Island sailing club in San Diego. A pool, spa, and barbecue are part of the club amenities, so if you’re going there, you might want to bring a swimsuit!

It’s really family friendly, not yacht-club-ish (according to what I have seen in movies), and we enjoyed the barbecue and walking on the edge of the bay as a change of pace.


Ruby June 27, 2024 at 3:38 pm

So sorry your son is sick. He did a good job avoiding the virus this long.

I love those Outshine popsicles. Our local grocery store had them on sale for a couple of weeks and I had tangerine to my heart’s content.

Today I did the annoying chore of soaking all our white washcloths, hand towels and cleaning rags in the laundry room sink to get the stains out. The hard water here discolors white cotton, so it has to be done at least once a year. Also got my teeth cleaned, bought a few grocery items (nothing was on sale) , and took along a storage container that fits in my purse for transporting home leftovers from an early supper out.


Bee June 27, 2024 at 4:37 pm

I hope your son recovers quickly from his bout with Covid.
I am re-reading The Tightwad Gazette using a free online source. This time around the contents of TTWG do not seem so novel and cutting edge. Perhaps it is because I am now officially a Tightwad in my own right.

Ii bought aa Suduko book for $0.25 at the thrift store. I like to play every once in a while when I’m having my coffee.

I was able to turn off the sprinklers because we had afternoon thunderstorms 3 days in a row.

I am reading The Women which I borrowed from the library and listening to The Frozen River on Libby. Both are a little dark, but feature strong women as major characters. However. I may need something light and bright next.

I am doing all the usual things… drinking primarily water, brewing my own coffee and eating simple meals with inexpensive fresh ingredients —celebrating summer’s bounty.


Fru-gal Lisa June 28, 2024 at 11:25 am

If you need a laugh-out-loud mystery, try Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. They are hilarious!


Marybeth from NY June 28, 2024 at 2:15 pm

I love that series. I enjoy all of her books.


Roberta June 27, 2024 at 4:49 pm

1. Bought an outside table to make the deck more hospitable, from Goodwill.
2. Bought 4 cans of spray paint to repaint the outside chairs that were starting to rust. The paint was more than I wanted to spend, but less than new chairs.
3. I have been using up the contents of my CSA box, and I’m loving the creativity. Discovered muhamarra, a Lebanese dip made of roasted peppers, walnuts and breadcrumbs. We had peppers from the CSA box, I had walnuts in the pantry (even though we don’t like them), and breadcrumbs made from bread ends. This is one of the most delicious foods I have eaten! We’re devouring peppers, something I never thought would happen. I also made a spanikopita from beet greens, and filo I had stuck in the freezer from a million years ago.
4. We’re building a cabinet to go over the window, so I can hang sheer curtains and regular curtains. The sheers will filter out the light when we’re home, so we don’t have to sit in a cave with the lights on all summer, and the regular one will block the light when we’re not home. It keeps the house cooler, and even with 100+ temps, I like to keep air conditioning to a minimum. The cabinet is being built out of a reclaimed bookshelf we bought second-hand about 20 years ago.
5. Took a nap during the heat of the day. I could totally make a siesta habit!


Jill A June 28, 2024 at 6:35 am

That dip sounds delicious. I’ll have to give it a try.


Lindsey June 27, 2024 at 5:13 pm

1. This is a freebie but more of a sign that kindness lives. Our neighbor, who has enough to deal with having infant twins, and works from home so is their primary caretaker, mowed our lawn. It is 85, which is unusually hot here, and very smokey because we are surrounded by forest fires right now. The sky is pewter colored, and the sun is orange. I saw him as he was finishing and went out to thank him and he said the air was so bad he didn’t want to see my 75-year-old husband laboring in the heat and smoke. I had just talked to my husband about hiring someone to mow until weather conditions improve!
2. The neighbor on the other side, 87 now, is off to Korea to visit family; her stamina is amazing. She gave us produce that would have gone bad in her fridge during her absence. While I think it is a waste of money, I sort of love that she buys a new car every year “just because I can before I die.”
3. Did a grocery pick up mystery shop that gave us $30 of free groceries.
4. Husband did a shop that was in a village he had to fly into anyway for another reason. He was paid $250! (This is not the usual amount you get paid for shops, believe me.) If you live in a tiny village, you don’t really want to do jobs that might piss off your neighbor business owner, so it is better if a stranger does them, in case they find something really wrong with the business.
5. I have been very tempted to stop and buy cold drinks while out and about. I finally just made a gallon of lemon iced tea. We keep a case of bottled water on hand in case of earthquake emergencies, and they have to be rotated out every so often—you can’t keep a flat of bottled water for years and not lose some of it in evaporation even through the plastic. We save the plastic water bottles and reuse them as grab and go bottles. I filled some with the iced tea mix so I can easily grab one to take in the vehicle to avoid coffee kiosk shops.

I stopped by a “free” pile at the end of a driveway but there was nothing of any quality there. I am sure you, Katy, would have found a treasure whose value eluded me.


Christine June 27, 2024 at 6:25 pm

Good neighbors are priceless. It sounds like you hit the jackpot!


Anne June 28, 2024 at 8:10 am

Lindsey, loved your number two. Husband and I are in the same boat. A life time of frugality and an extra unexpected pension have put us in the catbird seat in retirement. We are not into new cars and have traveled to almost every place on our bucket list so ridding ourselves of excess money tends towards gifts of cash to adult offspring and monthly charitable donations. A “first world” problem for sure.


Michele June 27, 2024 at 5:18 pm

1. Went to Aldi today and stocked up. My friend asked me to bring dip and veggies for our get together this weekend.
2. So hungry while shopping (bad!), but successfully drove past 100 fast food places to eat at home.
3. Cooking up black beans in the crock pot. I portion them into 15 oz ( 1 can portions) and freeze.
4. Called my work today to clear up a payroll issue. I retired, so it’ll be my last check. Moneybin bank soon, I hope.
5. Got 5 large picture frames for my husband to “harvest” the glass and hanging hardware from a store going out of business. All for $20. Similar size glass at stores is now about $50. He mats and frames for us and others.


Christine June 27, 2024 at 6:41 pm

Sorry to hear your son is sick. I’ve always felt it’s tough to be sick in the summer.
1. DH and I went swimming at the Community beach one street over. It’s small but good enough to cool off when we were under the heat dome.
2. I went to the library to pick up a book I had on hold, another Colm Toibin book. This one is “Nora Webster”, with some of the same characters as “Brooklyn”.
3. Deep cleaned and found the missing cat toys!
4. I made a pitcher of peach iced tea. I’m still waiting to find a large, glass pitcher instead of dividing the iced tea into the two smaller pitchers I already own. I looked at the Salvation Army Store today but only saw smaller ones. Patiently looking.
5. The Marigolds in pots I moved to the porch in the front of the house have not been discovered by the Woodchucks.


Selena June 27, 2024 at 7:26 pm

LOL.. there are always missing cat toys, deep clean or not. I go with the flow but am a bit perturbed that ONE homemade cat toy is no where to be found. Been a month since I looked for it, perhaps I’ll grab a flashlight and look again. I know which cat played with it, the little stinker. She’ll probably trot it out some day when I least suspect.


Christine June 28, 2024 at 5:51 am

LOL! Cats are like that!


Marybeth from NY June 28, 2024 at 8:01 am

Those were great deals. There are some good deals coming up this week that I am hoping to get.
1. The garden is providing. I am picking lots of basil, parsley, sugar snap peas, lettuce and now raspberries. Lots of salads this week with homemade dressing.
2. A coworker offered hubby clams so I quickly made a large batch of baked clams. I sent a gallon bag of lettuce as a thank you.
3. Went to a beautiful wedding yesterday. It was our best friend’s daughter. The weather was perfect. I borrowed a dress from my sister. She told me to keep it as she lost some weight and it doesn’t fit her currently. My daughter did my hair and nails. She wore a dress she already had. Hubby wore his suit from my eldest’s wedding.
4. They did a game to see who won the centerpiece. Our friend won. She said all the ladies should take some of the flowers so I have a beautiful bouquet on my table. My youngest caught the bouquet so she has flowers too.
5. The food was amazing. The cocktail hour was the best I have ever been to. I ate way to much. Then there was 3 courses at dinner; a wrapped salad in a cucumber, shrimp cocktail and then the main course. Hubby is allergic to shrimp so he gave me his. My friend won’t touch seafood so she and her husband gave me there’s. My daughter took a few but I had a huge pile of shrimp. I couldn’t eat the steak when It came. I hade it wrapped up. Hubby and my daughter took home leftovers too. I did notice other people getting it wrapped up too. Then the had the largest dessert bar I have ever seen. They had a wall of all different coffees with add ins. Then the was an ice cream station(my favorite) with fresh waffles, fresh whipped cram and over a dozen toppings. They then had a chocolate fountain with a dozen choices. They then had 2 tables of about 20 cakes and pies. The y then had a stuff your own cannolis and donut holes. There were mini cups everywhere with mouse and puddings and other items. And lastly there was a table of fruits . Good thing I danced all night because I ate so much. My friend already texted me that I need to come and get some desserts. They boxed everything up and sent it home with her. It was truly an amazing night. Dinner tonight is leftovers.


Sandra June 28, 2024 at 8:06 am

What is a wrapped salad?


Marybeth from NY June 28, 2024 at 1:40 pm

It was this without the bacon because there were a lot of vegetarians and vegans.


Jill A June 28, 2024 at 3:07 pm

That’s just really cute


Fru-gal Lisa June 28, 2024 at 11:16 am

Sounds like a royal wedding! Wow!


Teri June 28, 2024 at 3:14 pm

Was this lovely wedding at Villa Barone, by any chance? I see you live in NY and my son and dil had their wedding reception there years ago. Your event sounded very familiar. We had NEVER seen (or enjoyed) so much different foods. It was a real treat.


Marybeth from NY June 29, 2024 at 11:39 am

No it was Flowerfields. We have lots of beautiful catering halls in NY.


Selena June 28, 2024 at 6:58 pm

Sounds like a grand event in which you had a good time. I hope the marriage lasts – far too many are in love with the idea of getting married than being married. Sorry, being frugal me – I’ve seen (and been to a few) too many upscale weddings only to see the sugar high wear off.


Marybeth from NY June 29, 2024 at 11:49 am

It will last. They are so cute together. They did a Thursday so it was cheaper in NY standards. My friends(her parents) helped them too.

I had a very small wedding(16people) and we are on 31 years. My sister had about 150 people the year later and lasted 12 years. He ex is a dud. We all liked him early on and they dated for 8 years. He just never grew up. He was very me, me ,me. With 2 kids(1 autistic), my sister didn’t need a 3rd man child so she kicked him out after several years of spotty employment. She tried everything else but he refused to grow up.


Elizabeth M June 28, 2024 at 8:53 am

1. I used Amazon gift cards to buy anti-itch cream and cat food. No money spent.
2. I found some good deals at Kroger.
3. I have been reafing books borrowed from family and the library.
4. I have started hanging up my laundry to dry again instead of using the dryer.
5. I found some old clothes in my dresser that I can fit into again. “New” clothes with no money spent.


Fru-gal Lisa June 28, 2024 at 11:13 am

1. Took some donations to Goodwill, got a discount coupon, and then shopped at their store. Apparently, everyone is cleaning out closets and donating stuff; therefore, GW’s coats and sweater section is full. In 100-degree weather, not too many folks are shopping for coats! I found a nice large sweater that was the color of the week, meaning it was half-price. I’ve been looking for one in that color. Very happy to get it –although it will be quite a few months before I’ll need it!
2. Went to Walmart and found some plants in their nursery section. Most of the plants are withering and/or mostly dead, but I did get a few good ones on sale. Also got some more AC filters; need to help the central air work more efficiently.
3. Shopped Habitat for Humanity’s Re-store and found some LED night lights for 25 cents each.
4. Paid off a credit card.
5. Filled up with gasoline early this morning before the stations raised their prices for the 4th of July holiday. Sure enough, this afternoon, the price per gallon was upped 20 cents!


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