Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 19, 2019 · 35 comments

  1. I didn’t sell much this week, although I made my favorite sale of 2019, which was the ornate wooden feet from my couch-that-must-not-be-named for $35 on eBay! Considering that I spent $50 on said couch, it’s a miraculous work of alchemy.

  2. My friend Lise needed to go to the fabric store, and asked if I wanted to tag along and then hit up the nearby pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet store together.

    Hmm . . . let me think that over. I’d just watched a couple of The Recycled Life, YouTube videos that night before was itching for a trip to “the bins.” So yes, my answer was an emphatic YES!

    I started out slow, and probably spent a good twenty minutes poking through the blue wheeled bins before getting into the groove. I ended completely filling my blue Ikea bag, which seriously dug into my shoulder, especially after I hit a deep pocket of heavy Brio track pieces.

    Here’s what I bought:

    – 54 Brio and Thomas The Tank pieces.
    – One new looking Hydroflask water bottle.
    – Two stuffed animal/blanket “lovies.”
    – One Scrabble mug with the letter “J.”
    – Four brand new Mikasa “fromage” plates.
    – One Nasa dress-up jumpsuit.
    – One new with tags Disney park stuffed animal.
    – Three Calico Critters animals.
    – One pair of Chico’s pants for myself.
    – One large macrame bunting.
    – One mini stainless steel bowl.
    – One antique bedknob.
    – One Electrical something or other.
    – One vintage rosary.
    – One antique Blue Ball jar that reads “Improved.”
    – One water bottle lid to replace one that my daughter broke.

    Total: $44 for everything, including Lise’s stuff.

    I then spent a pleasant few hours on the front porch cleaning, photographing and listing said items on Facebook Marketplace and eBay. My happy place.

  3. Lise and I pulled the car over near the fabric store as there was a row, probably 100 yards long of wild blackberries heavily laden with ripe berries. Neither of us had a container to collect the berries, but we did help ourselves to the berries for a good ten minutes or so. My plan is to go back tomorrow in long sleeves and closed toe shoes for more. Only one bandaid was required.

  4. I stopped at the Franz Bakery outlet store in a quest to see if they sold discounted gluten-free bread. Unfortunately theirs was just as expensive as any regular store. (Five dollars!) However, I discovered that they have a bargain area in the back stocked with mostly $1 loaves including their fake Dave’s Killer Bread and other whole grain items. I’ve been buying bread from The Dollar Tree lately, but it’s super hit or miss, so I think I’ll switch this errand over to Franz.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 35 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 16, 2019 · 81 comments

  1. Sales this week were not too shabby. I finally sold the thrifted Yakima bike rack system, as well as another Starbucks travel tumbler, a carved piece of wood from an antique piano, some brand new racquetball equipment (that I plucked from a free pile) and three more Portland Thorns soccer tickets. (Most of the tickets are for August games, so I expect to sell the bulk of them next month.) Once again, I got the tickets for free by taking advantage of an easy 76 gas station promotion.)

  2. I finally got mad enough at my couch to heave it out of the living room and onto the front porch. Some mothers can harness Hulk-level strength to lift automobiles off their precious children, but my muscular prowess is reserved for urine scented furniture.

    Yes, this is the $50 couch that I just bought mere months ago. The couch I bought to replace my beloved yet cat urine soaked vintage couch. Because as much as I laundered the cushion covers, doused gallons of enzymatic cleaner onto every non-launderable surface and even pressure washed the seat cushions, it still emitted a slight funk.

    NOT OKAY, PEOPLE!

    I’d rather have zero couches in my living room than a living room that everyone avoids.

    However, this couch had really ornate carved wooden feet that were easy enough to remove. I’m asking $35 on eBay*. Edit: I sold the couch feet!!!!!!!!!!!

    Addendum: The cats (Zelda and Hyena) are fine, and have been deemed healthy by the veterinarian. We added an extra litter box to the nearby bathroom and have not had any inappropriate urination since. It just took awhile for my decision making brain to catch up to my irate nose.

  3. My friend Dezsea was gifted an absolutely ginormous TV and generously offered us her hand-me-down plasma screen TV. It’ll replace the four-foot thick/not so energy efficient version that we currently watch. I thanked her with a Goodwill gift card. Thank you, Dezsea!

    Our next door neighbors replaced their five-year-old air conditioner and offered it to us. (there was nothing wrong with it, they just worried that it was getting old.) Since my son’s window unit is easily twenty years old, we were happy to accept their generous offer. I thanked her with a latch hook rug kit for their energetic granddaughter.

    Both these items will be more energy efficient than their predecessors, and I look forward to some savings. Sometimes it’s nice to be on the receiving end.

  4. I used a 2-for-1 coupon to treat my son to some slices of pizza, I thrifted a fancy Arcteryx brand backback, which I quickly cleaned up and listed on Facebook Marketplace, I made another batch of homemade Everything But The Bagel mix, I finished my library copy of Lost Roses and started a Lucky Day copy of The Lost Girls of Paris, and I stopped into New Season’s Market for ice cream, balked at the $7.50 price tags and walked the extra two blocks to Fred Meyer for their $2.50 store brand.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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  • This eBay link is an affiliate link, so if you choose to buy anything from eBay over the next few days I’ll make a few cents at no extra cost to you.

{ 81 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 11, 2019 · 73 comments

  1. I’ve been sloooowly but consistently selling things, including a pair of pricey Nike soccer cleats, a Starbucks tumbler and the set of free pots and pans that my husband earned for blah-blah years of service to his employer. I have someone supposedly coming by this evening for a Yakima bike rack system that everyone emails me about, yet no one follows through on. Crossing my fingers.

    However, my experience has been that any item that gets this much attention, (however flaky that attention may be) will eventually sell for full price.

    The money from all of these various income hacks goes into an account for my son’s college tuition and expenses. (The next tuition payment is due around October 1st.) Zero debt college is my goal, which so far we’ve been able to reach. One $22 Starbucks tumbler at a time.

    For those who may wonder about my son’s financial role in his education. He’s working full time in a well paying job all summer, and will be contributing to rent and his own books and expenses for the 2019-2010 school year.

  2. I’m attending an information session about building ADUs (accessory dwelling units) with a high end remodeling company. I’m not really in the market for one, but it should be interesting new information to tuck into the chaos of my brain. Plus, they advertised free hor d’hoeuvres, beer and wine, which is my love language. I roped my friend Lise into being my “plus one.”

    Free food + free booze + information + socializing = my kind of night!

  3. I paid $95 to my next door neighbor for six months of shared garbage service. Because my family of four creates very little garbage, it’s really easy for our two families to share this necessary service. (Oddly, garbage pickup is privately run in Portland, Oregon.) This isn’t something that the garbage company offers, but we set this system up at least ten years ago.

    Each of our families saves $190 per year which makes it worth the hassle.

  4. I drove my mother across town and she filled my gas tank as a thank you gesture, (thank you mom!) I found 31¢ in change under the credit union coin counting machine, I dropped an eBay package off with a nearby buyer instead of mailing it, I redeemed four more vouchers for free Thorns MLS soccer tickets through the 76 gas station promotion, I watched a library DVD of Coal Miner’s Daughter with my daughter and I crossed “avocados” off my grocery list this week.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 73 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 8, 2019 · 72 comments

  1. I sold a few things here and there, including a pair of cute wooden clogs, a vintage light globe, a cute printed metal recipe box and more free Thorns soccer tickets. I also turned in a paid writing assignment and listed a few more things on eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. No one of these income hacks will individually transform me into a Rockefeller, but they’re still worth the effort.

  2. I attended a co-worker’s baby shower that was being held in a lovely downtown restaurant. I made sure to eat ahead of time and just ordered a coffee. (I did chip in $5 towards the total.) I used store credit from Powell’s Books to pick up three different CatWings books as a gift for the baby’s big sister. It was nice to see people outside of work and to celebrate the joy of new life.

  3. I was dropping my daughter off downtown and realized that Sunday evening was the perfect time to stop into Powell’s City of Books as free parking was rich and plentiful. You may remember that I’d sold them a couple boxes of books after gleaning garage sale leftovers a few weeks back, which left me in possession of some juicy store credit.

    I love books, and pretty much always have a couple going at once, but I’m a read-em-and-return-em kind of library gal. However, Powell’s sells stuff besides books, including . . .  locally roasted coffee beans for the tourist crowd! Which means I was able to magically transform other’s people’s garage sale leftovers into delicious caffeine liquid.

    Just like Rumplestiltskin.

  4. I finished reading a library copy of the marvelous The Secret Keeper, I was able to hand a lightweight eBay box to the mail carrier instead of driving to the post office, I picked up a library DVD of Coal Miner’s Daughter after putting it on hold for my daughter and I bought ice cream at New Season’s Market, as they put one brand on sale every weekend in the summer, which bring their food down to my budget as there’s no way I can swing $8 for a half gallon of ice cream!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 72 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 4, 2019 · 84 comments

  1. I did sell the vintage suitcase that I mentioned in the last blog post, as well as one more Thorns soccer ticket. (I’ve been getting these for free through a 76 gas station promotion.) But the biggest sale of the week was a set of four knock-off Breuer style chairs that I picked up at the Albany, Oregon Goodwill, and proceeded to sell within two hours through Facebook Marketplace. If only it was always that easy.

  2. I got together with my friend Lise to parallel play while we both worked on our laptops. Instead of going to a pricey café, we hit Ikea to enjoy the free coffee offered through their Ikea Family program.

    I use the term “parallel play” to describe when a friend and I get together socially, but instead of chatting we both work on our individual projects. Of course, we catch one another up on our lives during the drive, but once the laptops open, we focus on our own tasks.

    I also recycled some crusty AA batteries from some Goodwill Furbies and Lise returned some towels.

  3. I was on a solo road trip the other day and working on a ravenous hunger. I didn’t feel like spending a significant amount of money, so I made a plan to stop into a Costco for one of their infamous $1.50 hotdogs. (Yeah, it’s not the healthiest, but I rationalize it by piling on the sauerkraut and choosing straight seltzer instead of a sugary soda.) I was also running low on olive oil.

    However, I was saved from spending the $1.50 by a boon of free samples, the likes of which have never been seen. It’s kind of a blur of tortellini and beef jerky, but I would estimate that there were close to twenty sample stations, yet miraculously no lines!

    I then hit the water fountain and was back on the road. Stomach stated and wallet intact.

  4. I returned my library edition of A Woman of No Importance and picked up a hold copy of The Secret Keeper, my husband brought home an armload of used bubble wrap from his workplace, I sold one of my son’s unwanted soccer scarves through my eBay account, I picked up a paid writing assignment, I scavenged the fridge for makeshift meals and I accepted a neighbor’s hand me down air conditioner that’s better than what my son is currently using.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 84 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 30, 2019 · 66 comments

  1. I’ve been slowly but consistently selling things through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay all week long. No super-wow-amazing-impressive flips, but together they added up to a financially respectable amount. This included another pair of Danskos, a groovy old light fixture, a vintage office chair, a book and two more freebie soccer tickets.

    I have someone supposedly coming tomorrow to pick up a cute 1960s suitcase, although I know to hold off counting that chicken until it hatches.

  2. My county commissioner held an informational meeting at a nearby library, and I’m not too proud to admit that I was sold by the promise of “free coffee and pastries.” It was actually very interesting, and I enjoyed increasing my knowledge of various community concerns.

    Of course, the combination of civic engagement with free coffee and pastries, all in the presence of free books practically demands my presence.

    I helped myself to a coffee, a sprinkled donut and a Lucky Day copy of A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell.

  3. I received a email reminder about my son’s July rent, so I got on the horn with the property management office as his lease actually ended on June 30th. This company has high turnover, which in the past has meant that an employee ensured me that some issue was of no concern, and yet was long gone by the time it did become an issue. I confirmed that they had the correct information, and then had the person send me an email confirming that we were in no way responsible for July’s rent.

    This may sound paranoid, but getting things in writing is never a regret.

  4. My neighbors are heading out on vacation, so they gifted me fresh peas and lettuce from their CSA box, I created a dinner that used up three (THREE!) half-used boxes of pasta, I gleaned a free enormous cardboard box from a local business after hitting up an appliance store that was going to charge me, I almost bought tickets to visit my sister in NYC and then hit the brakes as the tickets were $420+ apiece, (I’ll continue my search for cheaper tickets) I pulled a handy not-too-big-not-too-small box from a neighbor’s recycling bin, (perfect size for eBay) and I socialized with friends by going for walks, sharing errands and simply chatting on our front porches.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 66 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 27, 2019 · 77 comments

  1. My eBay woke from a deep slumber and I sold three items in a single day. (A keyboard, a video game and a vintage marble bowl) Of course, it went right back into a hibernation after having exerted all that effort. I then sold a desk, (the pink and white one from the last blog post) a set of six stacking chairs and a pair of Sanita/Danskos. I also took a box of free books to Powell’s and earned $14 in store credit.

    Not too shabby considering that it’s only Thursday.

  2. My son and I spent an hour or so perusing the aftermath of another neighborhood’s garage sale day. (Needless to say, we went in the late afternoon when people were inclined to set any unsold stuff out with a “free” sign.) Although there wasn’t much to choose from, we got lucky and scored the aforementioned stacking chairs, which were “Isaac Mizrahi for Target,” as well as a silverplate coffee set that might actually be worth a couple hundred dollars. We also helped ourselves to a Nike baseball cap, miscellaneous books and a leather purse.

    After hitting up Powell’s I donated the leftover books to Goodwill, except for one which I set onto my to-read stack. I happily accepted the donation receipt for my 2019 taxes.

  3. My son and husband went to see the band Mastadon in concert, which was our 21st birthday present to him. I no longer recall the cost of the tickets, (not cheap!) but this experiential gift far outweighs any thing that we could have purchased from him. The two of them had a terrific evening out together, which will be a memory to outlast any physical item.

    Experiences > Stuff

  4. I slathered a $4.99 thrifted table with some Restor-A-Finish to ready it for resale, I started reading another library book, my father treated me to lunch, I brought home a graphing calculator from a free box, I cobbled together a faux Pine State Biscuits dinner for my family, even thought it meant having to bake a separate batch of gluten-free biscuits for my daughter, (still cheaper than eating out) and I downloaded a free audiobook of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine through the Libby app.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 77 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 23, 2019 · 76 comments

  1. I sold a few things including the free FitBit that I got for participating in a wellness program, two vintage lighting globes and some video games/DVDs from a free box. Not crazy impressive, but better than a swift kick to the tuchus.

  2. My son got a well paying job within a few days of arriving home from college. And as much as my husband and I could have used our connections to boost his likelihood of finding employment, he independently found this job by doing a web search for “jobs” plus “Portland.” It pays well, is full time and is even close to the house!

    I look forward to him going back to school in the fall with a fat credit union account.

  3. My mother and I spent a couple hours cruising around a nearby wealthy neighborhood that had just completed their annual garage sale day. Although I didn’t find as many brag-worthy treasures as the one I hit a few weeks ago, I still came home with enough stuff to deem it a successful outing.

    I brought home:
    – A desk to sell.
    – A working printer for my son to bring back with him to college.
    – A fat stack of books to try and sell to Powell’s.
    – Two pairs of NYJD jeans to sell on eBay.
    – A cell phone case for my daughter. (Her’s looks like it went through a wood chipper!)
    – The aforementioned box of DVDs/video games which I immediately sold to a local store.
    – A handful of miscellaneous stuff such as a skein of wool, a pretty box for eBay packaging, a toy wooden dresser, a recent magazine and a coaster.

    A different wealthy neighborhood will complete their two-day garage sale event this afternoon, so I’ll spend an hour or so meandering through that area this evening.

  4. I used up a batch of scratch cooked black beans and prepped another, I read a library copies of Rhys Bowen’s The Victory Garden and David Sedaris’ Calypso, I took advantage of a local grocery store’s 50%-off Tillamook ice cream deal, I walked to the library to replenish my reading options, I stopped into various Goodwill thrift shops while running otherwise dull errands, (Costco for cat food. Yawn . . . ) I listed more stuff on eBay and I stopped at a 76 gas station to fill up my Prius and earn another voucher for two free MLS Thorns tickets. The attendant spontaneously gave me three vouchers without me even asking. Since I’m attempting to sell them for $12 apiece, that’s a potential $72 profit!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 76 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 18, 2019 · 74 comments

  1. I sold a number of things including a Toy Story finger puppet, a vintage suitcase key, an All-Clad kitchen timer, two Thorns soccer tickets and nothing else. It would easy to worry about stagnant sales, but I know that people are on vacation this time of year, and remember from years past that it’s simply a slow time for eBay. A natural ebb in the rhythm of commerce.

    However, I’m always stocking my inventory, and this week picked up four more free women’s soccer tickets by gassing up my minivan, and then thrifted a few more items which I immediately listed on eBay.

    My husband came home with one of those corporate, “Congratulations on blah-blah years of service, please pick out a gift” catalogs. I asked him if there was anything he wanted, which prompted a hearty “No!” I went into research mode to find which item held the best (and easiest) resale value. I ordered a 10-piece set of Calphalon pots and pans, which sells for around $135 on eBay. (They’re $199 new.) I’ll try to sell them locally first to save the buyer the cost of shipping.

    We appear to be in a season of left field expenses, (Medical! Dental! Leftover Spring Term Stuff!) and although our son’s next tuition payment isn’t due until October, his college savings account is pitifully low. Gotta build it back up!

    Creative frugality is great, but it needs to be balanced by creative income generation!

  2. I brought home an ironing board that a neighbor had put out for free. Although I already own a board, mine has a disintegrating cover that annoying drops flakes onto the floor. This one appeared brand new, so it was a definite upgrade. I’ll list my old one through my local Buy Nothing Group with an honest description of condition. I also gave away a rug, some seeds and a calligraphy set through the group.

  3. I tore through a library copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I recently read a New York Times article by Ben Dolnick about the benefit of binge reading, which shifted my approach to reading. It’s hard to reach that point of full immersion into a book when reading for a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Characters get mixed up and important plot points are muddied. Instead I’ve been prioritizing big chunks of time to reading, which is a dramatic game changer.

    “If you do push on through one chapter break, and then on through the chapter break after that, something amazing happens. Subplots that would once have been murky to the point of incomprehensibility (what was the deal with that dead sea captain again?) step into the light. Little jokes and echoes, separated by dozens or even hundreds of pages, come rustling out of the text forest.”

    All for the price of a library card!

  4. I stopped at an estate sale and picked up a $3 plastic bin of craft paint, (which I gifted to a friend who teaches art) I scooped three quarters from under my credit union’s coin counting machine, I accepted an offer to join my mother and step father for dinner at a barbecue restaurant, my husband and I prepared all other meals at home, I started a new library book, I returned something to Goodwill and I enjoyed raspberries from my garden.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 74 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 13, 2019 · 82 comments

  1. I sold a few things through eBay including a fancy Kermit The Frog stuffed animal that I picked up at the Goodwill Outlet (they sell by the pound, so lightweight items are crazy bargains!) as well as a pair of like-new plastic Birkenstocks.

    The Kermit had been sitting on eBay for at least six months, which made it a satisfying sale. It’s exciting when things sell immediately after being listed, but it’s more common for my inventory to sell months after languishing on eBay. It validates that it’s a perfectly fine strategy to practice the art of patience and wait for the perfect buyer to come along. Essentially — list it and forget it.

  2. I unzipped the covers from three matching outdoor throw pillows that I snagged from one of last week’s garage sale freebie pile and indulged them a overnight soak in my trusty Dollar Tree oxy-cleaner. They’re now bright and clean and cheering up the front porch.

    I then laid the demoted sun faded pillows on the corner for the taking. They quickly vanished so I can only assume they’ve set out on a new adventure.

  3. I had an annoyingly long commute to and from a scheduled doctor’s appointment yesterday, but kept my sanity by listening to free podcasts including How To Money, Before Breakfast and Scavenger Life.

    On the surface these three podcasts may not seem to have anything in common, but together they dovetail to hit my current main interests which are personal finance, reselling thrifted/found items and intentionality. So instead of finding myself frazzled from the drive, I ended up focused and ready to hit the day running.

  4. My son took his last spring term final, which means he’ll be home within the next few days. No, let me reiterate that . . . he and his overwhelming amount of stuff will be coming home within the next few days. An entire bedroom/kitchen/bathroom’s worth of stuff. Oy vey!

    I ventured into his fully outfitted bedroom last night and made a plan to sell a pretty but superfluous Bombay Company desk, as he’ll be heading home with his preferred desk. This won’t fix the too much stuff issue, but my 21-year-old son is extremely organized and can do his own decluttering.

    We save money by signing 10-month leases on his apartment as he comes home for summers. So, yeah . . . schlepping his stuff to and from his college apartment is a less than ideal.

    Extreme frugality can be a pain in tuchus, and this is a prime example of how making sacrifices in the here and now supports big picture financial goals.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 82 comments }