Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 19, 2017 · 97 comments

  1. I was on my way to a work meeting, when I came to the realization that traffic was peak crappy and I should just turn my car back around. (There’s a repeat of this meeting on Monday.) I took this as an opportunity to make a Costco run to gas up the car, return a $45 item and pick up coffee, honey and the dog food that I buy for my father’s dog. I then dropped off the dog food and popped in one of my favorite Goodwills. I bought a couple of mugs to resell on eBay and nothing else.

  2. I worked yesterday and brought some leftover split pea soup that needed to get eaten up. I somehow avoided all the candy and cookies that populate break rooms this time of year, which should earn me some kind of medal. Nothing frugal about eating a gut-ton of unhealthy food, even when it’s free.

  3. I’m arranging to sell three items through Craigslist, NextDoor.com and Facebook Marketplace tomorrow. I sold some Discovery toys marble roll pieces through eBay and I’m thisclose to being ready to put a finish on my Broyhill credenza buffet sideboard cupboard thingy, which should bring in a couple hundred dollars. I also have two new paid writing assignments. I know it’s a ridiculous goal, but I’d like to bring in an extra $1000 per week with all my side hustles.

  4. My husband brought me a big box of free bubble wrap from his work.

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 17, 2017 · 79 comments

  1. I remembered that I had a free trial voucher for the Chinook Book app. This was perfect timing as my plans for today included a movie theater with 2-for-1 Chinook Book coupons. This translated into my friend Nancy and I being able to pay $2 apiece for our theater admission! Again, yes, I am a unapologetic cheap date.

  2. I spent hours scraping paint from the midcentury buffet that’s been my summer project that somehow snuck in the fall season. I pretty much have all the paint stripped off, and should have the piece completed by the end of the week. I’ve toyed with the idea of keeping it, but I’m trying to increase my side gig income so I won’t have to work so many hours at the hospital. I figure I should be able to get $200-$300 for it when all is done, which will be a nice reward for all my hard work.

  3. I was leafing through a magazine when I realized that I miraculously had almost all the ingredients for a Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili recipe. Not only did it use up the 1/4-cup of quinoa that’s been slowly aging in my pantry, but I’d just picked up super cheap peppers and zucchini from The Grocery Outlet. Sure it called for kidney beans, but I substituted black beans, and sure it called for “fire roasted diced tomatoes,” but regular diced tomatoes did the trick. The end result was incredibly delicious and will most certainly be added to our rotation. I love soups this time of year, and am happy to welcome a new recipe into my somewhat tired repertoire.

  4. I have buyers who are interested in a cast iron pan and a vintage suitcase, both recently picked up at the Goodwill Outlet. I just got an email from someone who wants to buy a board game that I nabbed while visiting my son last week. I sold one eBay item and am working two days 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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I Test Out Four Beauty Hacks

by Katy on October 16, 2017 · 29 comments

This post first appeared over at ClarkHoward.com. Enjoy!

It seems that the internet is crowded with every category of life hack, you know the type. “Seven life changing hacks, you won’t believe number four!” Unfortunately, 9 times out of ten there’s not even a single piece of new or useful information within those dratted listicles.

Lucky for you, I’ve tested out the following four beauty hacks, which should hopefully steer you in the right direction.

Re-solidify powdered makeup

I must be a closet klutz, as it’s pretty common for my pressed makeup (such as eye shadow and blusher) to transform into a powdery mess, tempting me to just toss it into the trash.

But I recently came across a tip of how to bring accidentally powdered makeup back to a solid state, requiring nothing more than a few drops of isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as “rubbing alcohol.”

  • Step one: Gently break up the makeup until it’s a uniform powdery consistency. (I used the back of my makeup brush.)

  • Step two: Drip in the isopropyl alcohol until it’s uniformly wet, but not watery.

  • Step three: Smooth the mixture so there’s an even top surface. Make sure to leave the lid open so it dries in a timely manner.

  • Step four: Enjoy your refreshed product!

Grade: A+ 

Scrape out every last bit

Another frustrating makeup experience is when a tube or bottle of liquid makeup has an inaccessible amount of product that stubbornly clings to the side. Of course you can spend $5.78 for a “beauty spatula” to address this issue, but there’s a free option for those of us who prefer to hold onto our money, which is the Starbucks green plastic stick, officially called a “splash stick.” (See? You learned something new right there!)

Did it work as well as a spatula? Probably not, but it was certainly able to get into nooks and crannies that my applicator sponge couldn’t access. Just make sure to not use this hack as an justification for an expensive coffee purchase!

Grade: B+

Shave with conditioner

I recently had an opportunity to try out this beauty hack as I was staying in a hotel and staring down one of those tiny bottles of conditioner.

Although the conditioner was a thinner consistency than a traditional shaving cream, it still did a serviceable job of providing a smooth shaving experience. This is a perfect use for hotel conditioners, which are already a travel friendly size. (Actually smaller than official travel-size shaving cream.) Plus most of us have a few of these already floating around in our homes.

Will I replace my traditional shaving cream with conditioner? No. But I can certainly add this into my travel routine.

Grade: A

Powdered cocoa as eyebrow filler

I should preface this hack by admitting that I normally don’t give even a moment’s thought to my eyebrows, so it’s hard to compare this product to its traditional counterpart. However, in the name of research I dove right in.

This hack was a bust, as I ended up smelling like a Hershey bar, but looking like Groucho Marx.

Perhaps someone with superior eyebrow grooming skills would have better luck with this hack, but for me, this one was a hard “no.”

Grade: D-

The best frugal hack when it comes to makeup and general beauty products is to buy from a store with a liberal return policy. This includes Rite Aid, who promises that “Any opened or used beauty product of any brand name can be returned for a full refund when accompanied by a receipt.” Although think twice before buying from Walgreen’s whose “Returns and exchanges for specific items, particularly cosmetics and electronics, are handled on an individual basis by individual store managers.”

Hopefully you’ve learned something that will help you to simplify your beauty routine while keeping your hard earned dollars in your wallet.

Your pal,

Groucho Marx

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 15, 2017 · 83 comments

  1. I worked the past two days and brought my dull leftovers for lunch, and then drank the free crappy coffee and the free delicious tea. My husband spent a day volunteer teaching CPR, and was sent home with delicious Vietnamese food leftovers. It’s been lovely to simply heat up food after work instead of having to actually cook. Pad Thai after a stressful day of work is pretty damned perfect in my world.

  2. I used a $3-off-$25 coupon at the Grocery Outlet and brought home an enormous amount of food. This included two big boxes of Red Rose tea for just $2.50 apiece. This coupon was from a Chinook Book that I received from my local buy nothing group.

  3. I’m planning a trip to New York City in early December to hang out with my sister and ostensibly work on writing. I nabbed a great price on a direct flight that’ll set down in the early afternoon. This is key, since I take public transportation from the airport to her house in The Bronx. Click HERE and HERE to read how I turn NYC into a frugal destination.

  4. I switched one of my dust gathering items from eBay onto Facebook Marketplace, (despite one of my eBay items actually selling a few days ago!) and I stayed at work even though I was given the opportunity to cut out early. (I want a gold-efffing-medal for this one as I was having an awful day!)

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 12, 2017 · 97 comments

  1. I went to breakfast with a friend who insisted on picking up the check as I’d paid the last round. My meal was hearty enough to provide enough leftover food for today’s lunch as well.

  2. I sold two thrifted Thule rack component pieces to ReRack, and I’ve lined up buyers for two thrifted items that should sell tomorrow. (The people will come tomorrow to pick up their purchases, although I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch.) One of the items I’m selling is a “Margaritaville” brand shirt, which I picked up as Jimmy Buffett is playing in Eugene, Oregon next weekend. (If I’m lucky that earworm might stop playing on a nonstop loop in my head, but that may never happen as it’s worked itself deep into my addled brain!) I also submitted another Clark Howard article that’s been vexing me for a couple of months as it involved math, which is not my strong suit.

  3. My husband and I went to see the movie Baby Driver last night on 2-for-1 Tuesday, which brought the ticket price down to $2 apiece. I broke out two dum-dum lollipops as a treat, and to really solidify that I might be the cheapest date ever. I didn’t love the movie, as I find it hard to enjoy super cool and stylized gun violence right after a mass shooting. (Actually, I never enjoy gun violence.) Also, this film’s two superficially written female characters existed solely to play off the male characters. I kept leaning over to my husband and remarking how ridiculous it was that the lead woman was willing to die and/or be on the lam for the rest of her life for a man with whom she’d shared a single date! I need to see a good movie to cleanse myself of this shoot-em-up dum-dum movie. Maybe I should just stick to gentle narratives like Game of Thrones.

  4. I rescheduled a mandatory work inservice after somehow writing the time down incorrectly the first time around. I was super annoyed with myself for this error, although I did take it as an opportunity to pick up my free work sponsored public transportation pass which would set me back $1100 were to buy it for myself. I don’t use public transportation that often as I’m usually running at least three errands at a time, but I do use it whenever I need to go downtown.

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 10, 2017 · 83 comments

  1. My mother and I took our $3 stipends to the Goodwill Outlet to try our luck at recreating Bargain Hunt in our own cheap American fashion. I chose a number of lightweight items with an eye for resale, while my mother bought a single heavier item that actually cost $3.86. (She gave me the gift of life, so I let this slide.) The idea is that we’ll now list our items for sale, and the “golden gavel” will go to whichever of us realizes the highest profit. I am much more into the premise than she is, but I think I can lure her into my goofy game. (Silly woman kept wasting her time reassembling puzzles and chatting up the other shoppers. Mom!)

  2. I sold a Tardis jewelry box that I’d plucked from an outlet bin, (not part of the challenge) I sold my North Face down vest, I almost sold a Trek trail-a-bike that I’ve been listing and relisting (and relisting) for the better part of two months, (I regret ever having bought it, but it’s a helpful reminder to not not invest too much money on resale items.) I miraculously sold one of my eBay items, which was a Marimekko latté cup that I’d picked up for $1.99 or so. Of course I packaged the cup using secondhand supplies.

  3. My husband works night shifts, which means that I’m on my own most evenings. Because of this, I’m able to prepare dinners that cater to my own picky frugal palate. Last night’s dinner was the last of some refried beans with a sautéed onion, lettuce and salsa. Nothing I would ever serve to anyone but myself, but it was tasty, filling, healthy and frugal. Let’s just agree that this meal is unlikely to ever be featured on Pinterest. Beans smeared on lettuce? Mmmm . . . .

  4. I went to lunch yesterday at a locally owned restaurant with my father, which was quite frugal for him as I’d filled up a punch card from previous visits to this same restaurant. Greedy (Id) me was tempted to save the punch card to treat my husband to lunch at some point, but rational me (Ego) took over and handed over the punch card since my generous father is the one who always pays for lunch. Damn you, Freud!

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 9, 2017 · 76 comments

  1. I took the last bits of a Costco roasted chicken and simmered it all day in the crock pot. There turned out to be hardly any meat left on the bones, so I added carrots, onion, garlic, herbs and a half bag of dried tortellini. Such a delicious soup, which should last the rest of the week.

  2. I sold an All-Clad pan that I’d picked up from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet and have someone coming by today for a North Face down vest from the same source. The vest weighs next to nothing, so my profit from this sale will be around 99.99%. My eBay sales have been in the toilet, but the stuff that I list on Facebook Marketplace is mostly selling. There are zero fees, which I find delightful.

  3. I did a grocery shopping trip where I bought sale apples, milk, peanut butter and general staples such as onions, bananas and lettuce. I then massively overpaid for a candy bar to support a fundraiser for the elementary school’s 5th grade Japan. (They were $2.50 apiece, but I gave them $5.) Because we live below our means, my husband and I are able to donate money to good causes. This might be through traditional charitable giving or just being generous with friends and family.

  4. I watched a few more episodes of BBC’s Bargain Hunt on youtube, which has quickly become my favorite new show. (Okay, okay . . . it’s tied with The Orville!) My mother and I are seriously considering doing our own version, but instead of us each getting £300 to buy antiques to auction off, we’re each going to receive $3 to spend at the Goodwill pay-by-the-pound Outlet. We’ll then compete to see which one of us can flip our items for the highest profit. Stay tuned!

  5. I didn’t fly to an Indiana football game at tremendous taxpayer expense to protest those who peacefully exercise their free speech rights.

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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 8, 2017 · 90 comments

  1. My friend Lise and I went to check out a new salvage shop, a store now deemed to be “where scratched up Teflon pans go to die.” It was yuuuge, so I had high hopes, but there wasn’t even a single item that caught my eye. Afterwards we checked in on her father’s apartment so she could bring in his mail and borrow a suitcase. I tore a Halloween candy coupon from his junk mail that I can double at Safeway. We treated ourselves to lunch afterwards at a locally owned restaurant.

  2. My friend was about to dump some wrinkly peppers into her compost, but I swooped in to save them. I’ve since sautéed her yellow pepper with an onion to top refried beans and stashed the rest in the refrigerator.

  3. I thrifted a new garbage can for our bathroom and then sold our old one, I sold my thrifted Bob Mackie scarf, I sold a big bag of vintage handmade Barbie doll clothes and I’m arranging sales of a few other items. I also worked two days and jumped through a couple of annoying RN competency hoops that allow me to keep my job. The amount of continuing education that RNs are required to do is no small task. I’ll attend a mandatory class about how to self-edit my time card in a few days. (Don’t be jealous of my glamorous life of used garbage cans and time card inservices!)

  4. I got rid of a few random kitchen tools, some dress pants, a sweater and a blouse through my local Buy Nothing group, I bought a like-new board game and a vintage shoe polisher to resell, I mostly puttered around the house, (doing nothing is very cheap) I listened to free Dave Ramsey podcasts during a long dull drive and I’ve yet to turn on the furnace despite chilly weather. (Layers, people. Layers!)

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 3, 2017 · 89 comments

  1. I sold the shoes through NextDoor.com that I’d thrifted on Saturday after attending my cousin’s housewarming party. I sold an extra cast iron pan, (also through NextDoor.com) I sold another garbage picked clock (Facebook Marketplace) and then sold a thrifted rotary phone through Craigslist. I made sure to deposit all this money into our college fund specific savings account.

  2. I went through the annoyingly complicated steps of arranging to automatically pay my son’s rent each month, which will avoid ever having to pay a late fee.

  3. I dropped off a library book and picked up a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money, which I’d spied at Powell’s bookstore and put on hold.

  4. I’ve been very content to just putter around the house lately, but my mother pried me kicking and screaming from my cocoon for an afternoon of Goodwill Outlet thrifting. I wasn’t planning on buying much as I’m no longer outfitting apartments for my sons. However, I found a number of things to sell, as well as a nice Land’s End sweater for myself. I spent $13.05 and bought:

  • A Vera Bradley tote bag in perfect condition.

  • A very large pair of fancy high heels.

  • A Bob Mackie scarf.

  • An adorable pair of dress up chaps.

  • A fancy cloth diaper cover.

  • An Anolon brand skillet that required an expert Katy level of scrubbing to bring back to life. (I’ve already found a buyer for it!)

  • A metal garbage can to replace the one my husband’s been complaining about for years. (The lid is on a spring that requires you to use two hands, making it difficult to dispose of dental floss.)

  • The Land’s End sweater.

      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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 1, 2017 · 89 comments

  1. My mother and I drove a couple hours to attend my cousin’s housewarming party, and unsurprisingly we were unable to resist a spot of thrifting. I spent $1.99 to replace the exact travel mug that went missing from work a few years ago. I then bought a new looking pair of Allegria shoes which already have a number of interested buyers. (I expect to sell them through the NextDoor app by the end of the day.) My mother offered to fill my dangerously empty gas tank as a thank you for driving, which only set her back $14, as I’d earned a 70¢-per-gallon discount through Safeway. Thanks, mom! Thanks, Safeway!

  2. I sold a vintage telephone through Craigslist and a set of curtains through eBay. I also worked on Friday and I re-upped all my Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace listings.

  3. I’m transforming leftover pot roast broth into French onion soup, I ate leftovers for last night’s dinner, I put out a free box of drinking glasses and clothing, I watched an episode of Bargain Hunt on youtube and I’m wearing my thrifted $5 Ibex hoodie.

  4. The weather has taken a turn towards chilly autumn weather, which is attempting to seep into my summer warmed body. However, I’m simply adding layers instead of turning on the furnace in our 114-year-old house. Old houses are so wonderful with their craftsman details and unique character. However, they weren’t exactly constructed to modern day standards. What is this thing you call “insulation?” Tea, layers and lap throws will take the edge off a house with a high of 63°. Right?

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or 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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